1. I’ll start with a really good post by Dara Lind, who reminds us that policy changes can come through executive branch action. True, and important. But I’ll add: Just because the executive branch has the capacity to create and implement policy doesn’t mean that the president can always make those things happen. It takes serious effort and skill, and the president has important constraints, even within the executive branch.

2. Daniel Larison on Pakistan and what an ally really is.

3. A good post on “The Myth of the All-Powerful Ad Man” from Elia Isquire — but he should have noted that to date, GOP recovery from George W. Bush tracks, rather than differing from, Democratic recovery from Jimmy Carter. We’ll have to wait until after 2012 to know more.

4. Get ready for the Medicaid fight with posts from Ezra Klein and Suzy Khimm.

5. Great catch from Khimm on Paul Ryan, more than wobbly on Davis-Bacon.

6. Joshua Tucker on the Russian 2012 election.

7. And Alyssa Rosenberg is good on the 10th anniversary of “Moulin Rouge!,” which I liked, but the best non-Disney, non-Broadway adaptation musicals from that era are the underrated “Everyone Says I Love You” (1996) and the even more underrated  “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (2000).

Oh, one more thing: tonight, it’s the Republicans! The kick-off debate of the 2012 presidential nomination campaign. Fine; only half the field or so is going to be there, but still . . . I’ll be watching, and tweeting. Meanwhile, to get in the mood, Conor Friedersdorf goes back to 2007 and checks the questions that the field was asked in the first debate of that cycle.