Happy Hour Roundup

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

* Today in anti-Obamacare certainty, courtesy of Jonathan Chait: Leading opponents are now far more certain that the insurance pool demographics have doomed the law than even the insurance companies themselves. And guess what: the latter just might know better. But but but…bailout! You have no answer to that one, now do you.

* This morning, I noted that the Dem candidate in California’s 25th District is running on a platform of expanding Obamacare and Social Security. Don’t miss Howie Klein’s detailed look at his chances, the make up of the district, and why this matters for Dems nationally.

* Olivier Knox has a useful guide to the eight outstanding questions about NSA surveillance that remain unresolved, and what you should watch for. I agree Obama’s speech only ensures the battle will continue.

* David Firestone finds a hole in Obama’s speech: It said nothing about shedding more transparency on how much cash we’re dumping into intelligence agencies.

* Ryan Lizza makes a pretty good case, however, that today’s speech represented a big victory for the reform side of the debate, and paves the way for Congress to get serious about reform, too.

* Adam Serwer also explains how the pressure is now on Congress to step up, and has experts making the counter argument against the civil libertarian critique of the speech.

* Ed Kilgore translates John Boehner’s convoluted criticism of Obama’s speech:

Boehner’s saying Obama’s reforms probably go too far, and are politically motivated, but hey, he can understand why Americans have been confused by Obama’s wretched lily-livered defense of the War on Terror and thus are wrongly worried about their privacy.

So he’s defending the NSA programs, as Obama did, but faulting the way the president addressed public concern about it. Worth remembering, though, that a sizable bloc even of House Republicans revolted against the leadership to support the Amash amendment to defund NSA surveillance.

* Scott Wilson has a deep dive into how complicated the problems and cross-pressures have become for Obama as he mulls the very real possibility that his legacy could be that he preserved large chunks of the surveillance state.

* Steve Benen hears from Capitol Hill that public pressure, in the form of emails and calls, has increased against the misguided Iran sanctions bill. Good to hear.

* Matt Duss on how supporters of the Iran sanctions bill are refusing to grapple with the implications of their own arguments.

* Takedown of the day: Dean Baker butchers David Brooks’ argument that inequality isn’t the real problem, and that talking about it only makes it harder to solve poor people’s problems. Note Brooks’ suggestion that low wages aren’t that big a deal for them.

* Also: Paul Krugman catches Brooks’ in some slippery math seemingly designed to obscure the true depths of inequality.

* Interesting piece from Michael Hirsh detailing that Republicans are playing a dangerous game in killing unemployment insurance, because these days, the victims make up a substantial chunk of the GOP base, which is interesting, since it seems like a base-pleasing strategy.

* And Ezra Klein nails this: If you want to address the poverty problem, you have to spend some money. Special bonus admission of this inconvenient fact from a conservative reformer!

What else?

Also on The Plum Line

A good first step, but the fundamental argument remains unresolved