* Can Obama break through the GOP blockade by appointing Richard Cordray through a recess appointment? Jonathan Bernstein has a useful road map to the procedural ins and outs.

* The GOP primary turns sharply negative with an absolutely brutal ad from the pro-Romney “Restore Our Future” PAC attacking Newt Gingrich’s vulnerabilities, and the take-Newt-down campaign is fully engaged.

The ad again attacks Newt for supporting “amnesty” for millions of immigrants, apparently over Newt’s humane opposition to mass deportation of longtime illegal residents. But what’s Romney’s position on this?

* Special bonus hilarity: The new Romney super PAC ad actually contains this line as an attack:

“Newt was a longtime supporter of a national health insurance mandate, the centerpiece of Obamacare.”

The pro-Romney forces have a point: This revelation really should raise serious doubts about Newt’s conservatism!

* Rebecca Traister slams Obama for using his daughters to justify his administration’s opposition to relaxing access to Plan B contraception.

* The Dem and GOP payroll tax cut extension proposals both failed in the Senate today, with a majority of Republican Senators opposing the Republican plan, even though it was paid for by spending cuts.

* The White House response, from Internet outreach spokesman Jesse Lee:

True & Amazing Fact: 20 GOP Senators voted 4 times against Payroll Tax Cut in 2 weeks, including 2 versions from McConnell

* I’m as frustrated as Steve Benen is by the refusal of news orgs to acknowledge that the unprecedented GOP use of the filibuster is not a matter of partisan argument, but a matter of verifiable fact.

* More on the absurdity of that Crossroads GPS ad: Jason Linkins digs up multiple examples of Elizabeth Warren slamming TARP and the big banks over the bailouts and bonuses.

* As Chris Bowers puts it, Wall Street doesn’t want Warren anywhere near the Senate, so it’s bankrolling attack ads slamming her for being too close to Wall Street.

* But Paul Krugman reminds us that history shows no argument is too laughable or dishonest to work, and even if Dems are winning the argument, Warren still has a campaign to win.

* Some nice reporting from Sam Stein about how Rick Perry’s reprehensible anti-gay ad provoked objections even from his own top staff.

* Erick Erickson makes the conservative case for the very real possibility of a brokered GOP convention. And the claim that still another unknown candidate just might come along lives on!

* Dave Catanese on why Tim Kaine defeated George Allen in their recent debate, in a race with far reacing implications for 2012 that we should (and will) be paying more attention to.

* Stephen Stromberg’s brief recap of Hillary hatred over the years reminded me just how far she’s come since the days when she starred in countless right-wing fantasies that seemed truly limitless in their lunacy.

* Gallup finds that Americans think those earning over $150,000 are rich, never mind those over $250,000 or even $1 million that must not be asked to endure tax hikes ever, no matter what.

* And a former AIPAC spokesman is shopping oppo research designed to get neocon writers to target bloggers who have unacceptable views about Israel.

What else is happening?

UPDATE: The video of the Romney super PAC ad attacking Newt seems to have been yanked, but supremely valued reader Bernie Latham has found it right here.