This is an at-home exercise only; no need to mail in the results. But here's the set-up:

1) Start with this headline on The Washington Post's site:


2) See how you can put this development in context that is not too obvious, but just obvious enough to let people know what you're thinking. The general theme of "bonuses at the top, while ..." could trigger some thoughts.

3) If you're stumped on ways to get started, you could look at extra info in the story from the Post's Dan Eggen, or for numerical guidance turn to FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, or for historical allusions to Peggy Noonan. Or you could go the other way altogether and remind people that since the first rule of political coverage is "the story always changes," we should be preparing for "Race tightens" / "Campaign strategy kicks in" / "Bonus money well spent" stories next week.

4) Have fun. In the words of the ancients: Give a person a blog item, and you can distract him or her for ten seconds. Teach that person to write blog items, and you can add distractedness forever.

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