Programming note: I’ll be liveblogging the State of the Union address here at FDL News tonight. Until then, this can tide you over…

• In addition to me and the 50,000 other people liveblogging tonight, Brave New Films and Rethink Afghanistan are doing live online organizing during the address, a solid addition to the genre.

• You’ve been reading Teddy’s excellent Prop 8 trial coverage this week, no doubt. The trial wrapped up this morning, except for closing arguments, which will be several weeks in the future. In addition to the explosive revelations in the courtroom, there was one outside it: Andy Pugno, a lawyer with, actually vetted the very first anti-gay marriage ballot measure back in 1998 through the Mormon church.

• Meanwhile, California state Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill to affirm that no religious leader would be forced to perform a marriage ceremony contrary to their own beliefs, in an effort to take a key talking point of the anti-equality side off the table.

• Jim White has some important information on US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry’s cables to government officials during deliberations on escalation. His fears may be coming to fruition, as Robert Gates has difficulty in Pakistan and the AfPak policy appears headed for the rocks.

• Did Tim Geithner tell Barack Obama that he would be too hot to handle and too tied to the bailouts to be nominated for Treasury Secretary, but Obama did it anyway?

• Turns out that John Hoeven, the likely Republican replacement for Byron Dorgan in the US Senate seat from North Dakota, called the Democratic Party “the best fit for my views” back in 1996. There’s an opportunity to drive a teabagger-led wedge through this race.

• This is a great discussion on Obama and the “theory of change” by Mark Schmitt and Rick Perlstein. Key line from Perlstein:

But what I worry “being like Barack” truly means is that the knockout never comes. That the patience and the building of trust is, in fact, the end in itself. “Our Barack doesn’t do mean,” means, “Our Barack doesn’t make the strategic choice to defeat a reactionary adversary even when that opportunity manifestly presents itself to him.” This is Leadership 101, and, I fear, Obama is flunking.

• Barney Frank certainly seems upbeat about passing financial reform. More than I am, anyway.

• Ezra Klein finally acknowledges the political utility of progressive taxation, sounds amenable to giving up the excise tax in exchange for a health care reform bill.

• Just read Dana Priest’s story from today. Not change we can believe in, unless that change includes extra-legal assassination squads.

• In a rare bout of sanity, Republican pooh-bahs at the RNC are walking away from that “purity pledge” idea.

• The Washington Post is accountable to its readers when it comes to the news page, but accountable to nobody when it comes to the editorial page.

• This is a stupid “Dems in disarray” story, but Dina Titus’ statement about Harry Reid – “Reid is done; he’s going to lose” – is pretty resonant. She’s a Congresswoman from Nevada, incidentally.

• This is about the worst thing that could happen to Alexi Giannoulias right now, a week before the Illinois Senate primary.

iPad. I want one.

RIP Howard Zinn.

• And finally, Steve King thinks it’s real convenient that the FBI just so happened to pick up James O’Keefe when he was innocently trying to bug a Senator’s office.

David Dayen

David Dayen