Had some bidness to take care of in the middle of the day there. But this has been a slow news cycle, so hopefully you didn’t miss me too much.

• Dianne Feinstein engineered a defeat for two Dems on the Intelligence Committee trying to get the Obama Administration to reveal their secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which probably includes state-sponsored geotargeting of US citizens. One of the Senators, Ron Wyden, says he’ll block the Intelligence authorization bill over this. Incidentally, that bill would also extend the FISA Amendments Act.

• The sight of Hosni Mubarak in a defendant’s cage, bedridden, and on trial in Egypt has captivated the Muslim world.

Shorter Verbatim Eric Cantor on airlines pocketing FAA taxes for themselves: “That’s what business does.” Are you ever right about that. Cantor was on a roll today, he also said that government promises will not be kept for the next generation on Medicare and Social Security, and that everyone had better get used to the idea.

• If we had a sensible Congress, we wouldn’t have a Super Congress, but perhaps Super Congress could look at positive health care reforms like all-payer or changing the formulary for prescription drug pricing in Medicare Part D.

• The Administration has once again invoked state secrets as a means to throw out an entire lawsuit alleging government misconduct and illegal surveillance. We cannot claim to have a judicial system if the government can avoid responsibility by simply alleging official secrets.

• Ilyse Hogue thinks the debt deal has made clear the disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country. I’m just worried about how it paves the way for the rollback of the New Deal.

• Jared Bernstein condenses 40 years of economic policy into one article for The Atlantic.

• This is a great story about ALEC, state legislatures and the rise of prison labor, sometimes for as little as twenty cents an hour.

• Barney Frank says that the Tea Party has been an asset in the fight to reduce military spending.

• In a very good move by the Obama Administration, the State Department will allow food shipments into areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, considered a terrorist organization. This is to deal with the epic famine in that country.

• David Corn writes what amounts to an extended defense of the Administration’s negotiating strategy.

• Jessalyn Raddack and Thomas Drake write about Obama’s war on whistleblowers. They ought to know.

• Noam Sheizaf on the Israeli tent protest revolution.

• Kirsten Gillibrand, who voted against the debt limit deal despite representing Wall Street, has also been the most vocal national politician on the Wisconsin recalls, in particular the fact that 5 of the 6 Democratic challengers for the state Senate are women.

• One area where the Administration has at least shown a little strength is in tax evasion. One former UBS banker could be going to jail because of his role in facilitating it.

• The terrible forecasting in 2009 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis may have something to do with the recovery-less recovery.

• I’m not so naive to believe that a clean energy bill will pass Congress in September.

• More Americans are on food stamps than ever before.

• Jonathan Bernstein thinks it’s time for the White House to get tough on recess appointments.

• Revolving door watch: former national security advisor James Jones joins the board of General Dynamics.

• Why is Obama choosing Mike Lee’s chief legal advisor to be the next US Attorney in Utah?

• Pretty unusual to see the DSCC criticize a Democrat’s poll.

• Eric Massa is going to get that white whale someday, I just know it.

• How could anyone imagine that Wigger Wednesday at a mostly white high school in Minnesota could be offensive?

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. Where corruption failed, the bond market might succeed in ending his kleptocracy. Berlusconi, however, says he will not resign, and he mimicked John McCain by claiming that the fundamentals of the Italian economy are strong.

• The mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania got a Mercedes out of a bike lane by crushing it with a tank. One way to do it.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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