* The Federal government is bracing for a downgrade from Standard and Poors — one that will be partly driven by process confusion and partly by the GOP’s refusal to entertain any new revenues as part of a larger deficit-reduction deal.
* Andy Kroll on all the “dark money” that’s flooding into Wisconsin. Key point: The left mostly discloses donors; the right doesn’t.
* Dems have good reason to be cautiously optimistic about retaking the state senate, and if they do, they’ll have done it by taking bare-kuckled class-warfare rhetoric to the Republicans.
* David Axelrod emails supporters to alert them to Ehud Barak’s effusive praise for Obama, another sign the reelection campaign’s efforts to prevent Jewish defections is at full throttle.
* A good government group files an FEC complaint and demands a Justice Department criminal probe into that company that gave Mitt Romney $1 million before quietly folding up shop.
* The DNC is hammering Romney’s mystery million to raise money of its own, all of which will be disclosed.
* Dems are doing all they can to ensure that House GOPers spend their recess explaining to constituents why they voted to end Medicare as we know it.
Friendly reminder: It still remains to be seen whether Dems on the defict “super-committee” will themselves give ground on entitlements benefits.
* Why unions matter: It’s the inequality, stupid.
* Tim Pawlenty scrambles to catch up with Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum in the anti-gay rights primary.
* Ralph Nader says the chances Obama will face a primary are almost 100 percent, though I’d say the fact that he says he’s not making the race reduces the chances to something closer to zero.
* Good line from Digby on that poll showing a shrinking Tea Party: “Down to the swill in the teacup.”
Also note Digby’s suggestion that the Tea Partyers may have actually proven useful to GOP leaders in negotiations with Dems.
* Speaking of the Tea Party, Jed Lewison has fun with the cast of characters collecting around Rick Perry, and why they’re helping turn him into “the flavor of the month among GOP primary voters looking for an alternative to Mitt Romney.”
* Steve Stromberg has an amusing rejoinder to those who constantly wring their hands about how “broken” Washington is and how awful “partisanship” can be.
* And Dave Weigel translates Fox Nation’s Obama “Hip Hop BBQ” headline:
“Uppity Blacks Eat Soul Food and Laugh While You Hunt for A Job You Can’t Get Because of Welfare Queens, Affirmative Action, and Carjackers.”
What else is happening?