A few items we found interesting today:

• The Post published a gallery of Washington power brokers who spoke for a book and oral history project at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The web feature includes quotes from 14 beltway heavyweights about what shaped their lives. (The full book covers more than 80 individuals).

From Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who serves as vice chair of the House Democratic caucus: “My dad would tell me stories that when he was younger, he couldn’t walk into some restaurants because of the signs that said, ‘No dogs or Mexicans allowed.’ Now I get to walk my parents though the doors of the White House. It’s a leap.”

• Lilly Fowler of the investigative-reporting group FairWarning.org wrote an in-depth article about Peace Corps volunteers who face indifference from the agency after suffering injuries abroad. Her report, based partly on a study by the Government Accountability Office, exposes signs of “flawed management” and a failing system for providing benefits to those who need them.

• Jonathan Karl of ABC News discovered a few “surprising items” included in the Obama administration’s $60-billion emergency aid package for victims of superstorm Sandy. Among them are requests for tens of millions of dollars for relief in locations well outside the epicenter of the storm.

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