* Steve Benen has a really good diagnosis of what Dems did wrong in the budget wars. I hope it makes the rounds on the Hill.

* Fred Kaplan on how Obama’s Libya address was really about gently telling the neocons that America isn’t as powerful as it once was.

* The Wisconsin State Journal has a good report on how the recall drive has hit a critical juncture and has devolved into a long, hard slog as signatures grow tougher to find.

* Wow: a Wisconsin judge again blocks the rollback of bargaining rights from going forward, overruling efforts by Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans to get around the earlier temporary restraining order, and the GOP’s continuing shenanigans can only help the recall drives.

*It’s all the rage! Evan McMorris-Santoro on how a free-market think tank — backed by big-name conservative donors — is trying to get the private emails of pro-union academics and ... Rachel Maddow.

* Takedown of the day, from Joe Klein, who apparently doesn’t think much of the current crop of sharia-pandering, birther-flirtatious 2012 GOP contenders:

I have never before seen a bunch of vile, desperate-to please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism.

* Kevin Drum gets at the real reason why virtually all the 2012 GOP hopefuls have traveled from embracing climate science to pandering to the climate-denying conservative base.

* Howard Dean hands Republicans a cudgel for the budget wars, claiming Dems should be “rooting” for a government shutdown, because we “know who’s going to get blamed.”

* What John Boehner has to deal with: Members like GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, who thinks a shutdown may be necessary, and that the country would support it, in order to force Congress to get “serious” about spending. In reality, large majorities oppose a shutdown.

* It looks like the signs are pointing to Boehner ultimately realizing he needs Dem support for a budget deal, potentially averting a shutdown.

* Harry Reid says Dems may be willing to give Republicans some of their riders, potentially throwing them another sop in search of a compromise.

* Keep an eye on The NewDEAL, a new group that is devoted to scouring the country for talented left-leaning policians and policy thinkers experimenting with new ideas on the state and local level.

* And in the wake of Bill Sammon’s admission, Adam Serwer proposes a new slogan for Fox:

Fox News: We lie to you. But it’s okay, because you believe it.

What else is happening?