* Joel Achenbach asks: is the debt downgrade a sign of American decline?
* "What the debt ceiling deal tells us about the Tea Party's grim vision of American power."
* Gang tactics used by the powerful Mexican cartels are spreading elsewhere.
* Regulators overwhelmed as food-based illnesses spread.
* Former US police chief advises the UK on preventing gang crime by addressing the causes.
* What's behind the weird political ploys in Russia?
* Nice: "What any independent-minded voter saw in that moment were eight people who were not, in fact, serious about governing."
* BAGnewsNotes discusses Bachmann's mastery of the visuals.
* "I've made this chart illustrating the recent explosion in charts designed to explain the causes and size of the federal deficit."