May 23, 2013
President Obama (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Obama (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

1. The big news this afternoon was President Obama’s big national security speech. Heather Hurburt has an excellent quick summary of the main takeaways, and argues that “this speech must be the beginning, not the end, of an aggressive effort” to negotiate and implement new policy.

2. Republican Congressional reaction, collected by Ed O’Keefe.

3. Obama asked Congress to get involved; Spencer Ackerman finds one Democratic member of the House who intends to do exactly that.

4. The ACLU’s mixed reaction to Obama’s national security speech.

5. The other big news is that — finally — the Senate confirmed an Obama nominee for the very important D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That leaves one important question: Where are the three nominees for the other vacancies?

6. Shouldn’t have to be said, but glad Sheldon Whitehouse said it to Chuck Grassley: No, filling vacancies on the bench isn’t “court-packing.” Dylan Matthews reports.

7. Andrew Sullivan, at length, on “scandals” and what the Foxified GOP is up to.

8. While Jonathan Chait zeroes in on how the (still-real) IRS scandal is morphing into wild evidence-free conspiracy theories.

9. John Kerry arrives in Jerusalem to revive the Arab Peace Initiative; Matthew Duss has the details.

10. On campaign finance: I don’t care as much as Norm Ornstein does that the GOP position against campaign finance disclosure reveals breathtaking hypocrisy; I’ll just settle for agreeing with him that it’s a very bad policy position.

11. Whatever the reason: the percentage of outside money subject to disclosure has been crashing in recent campaign cycles. OpenSecrets has the numbers.

12. Fascinating stuff from Ta-Nehisi Coates on the biology of race and ethnicity.

13. Michael Konczal has a pretty good primer on what Keynesians want and don’t want for economic and budget policy.

14. And Michael Tofias on scandals, null results and conspiracy theories. Excellent point.