Kind of hard for me to get back into the flow of things after the four-day weekend. I hope it didn’t show! Here’s the rest:

• Nathan Newman provides another contrarian take on how progressives have had tangible victories so far this year. Again, the stimulus was both undersold and oversold. It includes some great policies and down payments on potentially groundbreaking ones – but it was too small, even in those groundbreaking areas. Anyway, from a political standpoint, the victories have to be tangible for this to properly sell to the public.

• Here’s some legitimate good news – the Obama Justice Department is scrutinizing Monsanto for their violations of anti-trust law in controlling the market on seeds through genetic modification. Do some follow-up on that and you’ll have a real change you can believe in to tout to progressives.

• Jeffrey Young has a good list of seven major issues to watch as the Senate continues its health care debate.

• On top of the myriad problems for the nation’s unemployed, for many of them their COBRA subsidy is about to run out, for some as soon as today.

• The conservative candidate won the election in Honduras which ousted former President Mel Zelaya and his supporters consider illegal. The Honduran Congress takes up whether to restore Zelaya to the Presidency on Wednesday; don’t hold your breath, especially given the flip-flop from the US on this issue and their willingness to accept the outcome of elections.

• In addition to the candidates I mentioned opposing Barack Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan, Howie Klein found some more. Incidentally, Jason Chaffetz’ dissent makes it eight Republicans on the record in opposition.

• On the other hand, Gordon Brown is in for 500 more troops. That’s 5% of the target for NATO members to contribute, as set by the Obama Administration.

• Even Stanley McChrystal is talking exit strategies:

Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican congressman from Colorado, said this week that during his visit to Kabul, he asked McChrystal: “If you get these troops that you are requesting, the 40,000, where’s the tipping point? At what point will we begin to draw down?” According to Coffman, McChrystal responded: “Sometime before 2013.”

• Interesting McClatchy story on the biologics debate. The headline – “Health care bill includes generic path for biologic drugs” – does not match the story, which explains how the bills allow a 12-year exclusivity clause that would put that generic path out of reach. And it fails to mention the evergreening clause.

• The big stumbling block in global climate talks may be how much money industrialized countries would offer poorer countries to compensate for the effects of climate change.

• One of the few hopes for a Democratic pickup in the House comes from Dr. Ami Bera in CA-03, a seat ripe for the taking from Dan Lungren. The field just cleared for Bera to get the nomination.

• Looks like the New Jersey legislature has been frightened out of passing gay marriage, after the subpar showing for Democrats in statewide elections. Bad news.

• Republicans are really holding an ACORN forum tomorrow. ACORN forum v. jobs summit – you figure out who’s trying to help people.

• Finally, my friend Dave’s mother went to high school with Bernie Madoff. Check out the yearbook photo.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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