* Good stuff from Michael McAuliff, who talks to multiple GOP Senators and operatives who are pleading with conservatives to step back from the government shutdown abyss, and are increasingly fearing real losses in 2014.

* Over at his new Salon home, Brian Beutler is good on the choice House Republicans face on immigration reform, and what it will really mean if they kill it. And, yes, whether reform lives or dies is up to them entirely.

* Sarah Kliff has a deep dive into whether it’s legal for the Obama administration to tweak the Affordable Care Act.

* Pro-immigration reform forces go up with a new ad in cable and broadcast markets across the country that endeavors to put a human face on the debate.

* The National Rifle Association is asking the Supreme Court to strike down regulations against handgun sales to minors. One wonders how many gun owners (who, recall, favor policies the NRA opposes, such as expanded background checks) are in favor of that.

* Paging Politifact:

The government is on track to record the lowest deficit of the Obama era and the first annual deficit below $1 trillion. The CBO said that by the time the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, the final deficit should clock in at less than the $642 billion level the CBO forecast in May.

So it’s 100 percent true that the deficit is falling, but somehow it’s also “half true” that the deficit is growing.

* Paul Krugman skewers PolitiFact’s deficit flub in one sentence:

It’s as if I said it was raining when it was actually sunny, and you declared my statement half true because (unreliable) weather forecasts call for rain later in the week.

* A very good question from Kevin Drum about the bogus GOP threat over the Hillary mini-series: Will other networks refuse to host GOP debates, in support of any networks that are excluded by the RNC?

* A nice meditation from Harold Meyerson on what air travel tells us about the rise of inequality and the disappearance of the middle class.

* Funny catch by Juliet Lapidos: GOP Rep. Rodney Alexander is blaming his retirement on “gridlock” in Congress, after voting to repeal Obamacare 40 times.

* David Dayen has 20 urgent questions for Obama on the housing and mortgage crisis.

* Civil rights hero John Lewis says Edward Snowden is acting in the tradition of civil disobedience he knows so much about.

* And this juxtaposition of comments from protestors at an Obama speech today is a bit hard to process:

Another protestor shouted, in reference to the president, “He’s 47 percent Negro.”

Yet another whined about Obama, “He’s divided all the races. I hate him for that.”

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.
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