* Beth Reinhard on the mounting possibility that House Republicans really could end up killing immigration reform. This, from GOP pollster Whit Ayres, sums things up:
“There’s no way you can spin this as good.”
No, and it could be even worse if Republicans kill immigration reform out of hostility to Obamacare.
* Fascinating: Eric Cantor is preparing another initiative designed to humanize the GOP, this one a push for more funding for pediatric research. But fears are mounting that this one, too, will be killed by House conservatives who won’t let the GOP be about anything other than austerity.
* Jennifer Bendery reports that Senate Republicans are divided over whether to blockade Obama’s judicial nominations. Interesting: Perhaps Harry Reid’s escalation of the nuclear threat could bring about the desired result. Again: Dems don’t want to hit the nuke button. They want Republicans to drop their unprecedented obstructionism.
* And Jonathan Bernstein has a good post repeating what can’t be repeated enough: If Republicans want to avoid the nuke option, all they have to do is allow the government to function again. This is on them.
* David Firestone puts the NSA data-mining story in perspective:
“As Jameel Jaffar, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, put it today, imagine if the government required every American to report to the government every night who they spoke to, or texted, for how long, and from where. People would be furious, but that’s precisely the information the N.S.A. is collecting from telecom companies. And it’s precisely why the government desperately wanted to keep the practice a secret.”
* The Post has a good editorial detailing the core remaining question: Why was this program kept so shrouded in secrecy, anyway?
* Senator Jeff Merkley, a civil liberties champion, disputes Obama’s claim that every member of Congress has been briefed. Noted. Still, there’s no denying that Congress has been heavily complicit in enabling all this overreach.
* Good point from Alex Seitz-Wald: Despite Obama’s claim of FISA oversight on the programs, the court never really does much of anything to rein in in national security overreach.
* The pushback begins as Reuters reports that the NSA internet data mining program helped halt a plot to bomb New York City subways. Apparently this is what GOP Rep. Mike Rogers referred to when claiming these programs help fight terror.
* Two more polls show Ed Markey leading Gabriel Gomez by eight and eleven points. Both were taken before this week’s debate. But most analysts seem to have concluded Gomez didn’t help himself much in it; next week’s polls will be key in judging whether the current trajectory is holding.
* And Jonathan Capehart on a striking new poll finding: 72 percent of Americans think legalized gay marriage is inevitable. Also: 73 percent of Republicans think it’s inevitable — even as only 31 percent favor it. So: Time to accept the…inevitable?