1. Hey, there’s a new United States Senator! He’s Jeff Chiasa, and he’ll serve until New Jersey holds a special election in October, but will not run to retain the seat. That brings the current balance to 54 Democrats (including the two Independents who caucus with Democras), 46 Republicans.
2. From earlier today, before he appointed Chiasa: Chris Christie is taking heat from Republicans, who pretty much expect to lose that upcoming special election. Robert Costa reports.
3. Democrat Ed Markey’s lead is holding in the Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate; a new poll has Markey at 51 percent, Republican Gabriel Gomez 40 percent among likely voters. David S. Bernstein has more details.
5. Another big civil liberties/security story breaking this afternoon: the Post reports:
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
6. We’ll see how that one develops; for now, The New York Times editorial board is brutal on the Obama Administration and the NSA/Verizon story.
7. While Jane Mayer explains: What’s the matter with metadata?
8. And Ron Fournier goes after Obama as well, but makes the important point that Congress is a major source of the problem on these civil liberties issues.
9. Republicans, however, know exactly what to do with the NSA story: drag out the “scandal” framing. Hey, anything to avoid an actual policy response. Sabrina Siddiqui reports.
10. Not all Republicans, however. Agree with him or not, Rand Paul is certainly not post-policy, and he has a new Fourth Amendment bill ready to roll out.
11. A terrific post by Ta-Nehisi Coates about how Barack Obama talks to black America.
12. Ross Douthat makes the case for why everyone should care about premiums for young healthies in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. He’s right about that (but don’t forget to include the subsidies when calculating how much insurance will cost).
13. But what if it turns out that most young, healthy people actually want insurance, and will be able to get it thanks to the exchanges and subsidies? Ezra Klein talks to one person who thinks that’s what will happen — and if it does, then Obamacare will probably work well. Remember, a lot of the case against ACA hinges on health insurance as “broccoli” that people don’t want forced on them.
14. Leading up to tomorrow’s jobs numbers: a good primer from Matt Yglesias on how to read these employment reports.
15. And one from me: on the Constitutional presidency and why stories of the presidency matter so much.