* This new White House chart showing how far combined troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan will have fallen by next year demonstrates how much the White House wants the larger story to be that the Bush-initiated war era is coming to an inevitable end.
* Matt Duss on how Obama’s Afghanistan speech was a shot across the neocon bow.
* Nancy Pelosi calls for quicker withdrawal, a suggestion Obama didn’t buy himself much political space on his left.
* Still more signs New York’s gay marriage bill is headed for passage, but it might not happen until after midnight because state senate Republicans would prefer to vote for it when everyone is asleep.
* Rachel Weiner on Van Jones’s plans for a new Tea Party of the left, and why the political moment might be ripe for it.
* Unions and the left go up with their first ad of the recall wars, this one targeting GOP state senator Sheila Harsdorf, and you can bet these races will heat up very quickly, with lots of outside money flowing in.
* Jon Huntsman will soon discover whether the only GOP candidate not running a standard-issue conservative campaign and not vying for Fox News/Rush Limbaugh voters has a prayer of surviving in today’s Republican Party.
* Mitt Romney’s backers quietly launch a super PAC to spend unlimited sums, another sign the GOP money establishment is putting its chips on Romney.
* Prognosticator Larry Sabato runs the numbers and concludes Republicans are slightly favored to take the U.S. Senate, predicting the best Dems can do is hold it by one vote or in a tie.
* Frontiers in journalistic sourcing: One of today’s big stories, that Rick Perry has decided to run for president, was based on what the Wall Street Journal called a “normally reliable Republican source.”
* Dave Weigel, on a key difference between how Dems and Republicans sell their fiscal priorities:
Democrats don’t pretend that tax increases will boost employment, whereas Republicans will tell anyone who ask that spending cuts will help create jobs.
* Really, now. Why should the lack of “direct evidence” stop right wing bloggers from flogging away at their latest scandal?
* Fox News misinforms viewers in countless little ways, and that may be even more pernicious than the big ones.
* Uh oh. Justin Elliott catches Michele Bachman saying that Israel is just as exceptional as America. Does she really not believe that America is the single most exceptional country in all of human history?