1. Voters say they hate waste, but what do they mean by “waste”? Emily Swanson and Mark Blumenthal asked. Bottom line: Mostly, it means “programs we don’t like.”
2. Good Kevin Drum piece assessing the House GOP position on a budget deal.
3. I have a column about John Boehner’s innovative “Boehner rule” that’s relevant to this. The key takeaway: To keep Republicans together in the House (and to keep his job), Boehner encourages whatever nutty things the fringe of his party wants to get to the House floor and pass, but for serious legislating he lets the Senate strike deals.
4. No, government spending has not been going up. Really? Yup. Jared Bernstein has the key chart.
5. Get ready: Family protection policies are going to be a big Democratic issue. For example, expect at least some Democrats to get behind sick-leave reform — and as Sharon Lerner reports, there’s plenty to be done that should work.
6. How will the GOP’s new efforts to avoid constantly offending Latino voters sort with the upcoming filibuster against Labor Secretary Tom Perez? Not well, Brian Beutler thinks.
7. “There is no way to look back at the 1990s and see a decade in which the U.S. was ‘not policing the world.’ ” Dan Larison, with a useful history lesson.
8. Via Yglesias: Chris Wilson and Yahoo have a cool new thingy for visualizing parties and networks in the Senate.
9. Steve Benen gets everyone up to date on the Menendez scandal — the one about someone paying prostitutes to make up a story about him, which was then spread via the GOP-aligned press just before Election Day. Menendez himself may still be in trouble for other reasons, as Benen notes, but it sure seems to me that this side of it could blow up more and wind up really damaging people.
10. The three Obamas of Republican spin — and how they don’t go together. Markos Moulitsas explains.
11. Sandhya Somashekhar explores those business leaders who spread scare stories about the effect of the Affordable Care Act — and the mixed bag of what’s actually more likely to happen. I mean, outside of most people having health insurance, which is actually a big deal!
12. If you’re wondering about the presidential nomination process procedures in the RNC report today, Josh Putnam explains exactly what they are, and what is likely to come of them.
13. And Seth Masket points out that if Republicans want to take advantage of the findings of political scientists they might stop attacking and attempting to defund them.