August 6

What you need to know to navigate today’s most critical debates.

Kagan Joins Supreme Court After 63-37 Vote in Senate (NYTimes)
A polarized Senate confirmed Elena Kagan yesterday, marking the first time in history that three women will sit on the nation’s highest court.

Wall Street’s Big Win (Rolling Stone)
Matt Taibbi pulls no punches with his in-depth look at the crafting of the Dodd-Frank bill, the deals struck behind closed doors, and the lies told along the way.

Medicare Gets New Lease on Life; Social Security Remains Healthy (HuffPo)
Government actuaries report that health care reform has substantially improved the long-term prognosis for Medicare, and that Social Security is fully paid for until 2037.

What Social Security Report Says vs. What They Tell You It Says (HuffPo)
Of course, good news for our most important public safety nets won’t stop conservative scaremongering. Dave Johnson cuts through the spin.

Debt Commission Fights Over Freezing Military Pay, Slashing Benefits (TPM)
Sources tell Brian Beutler that the deficit commission isn’t even considering raising taxes, but making soldiers pay for their own health care is still on the table. Good to know we have our priorities straight.

Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It (HuffPo)
Net neutrality dies not with a bang but with a whimper as Google considers a deal to allow Verizon customers to pay for faster access to some content.

The Flimflam Man (NYTimes)
Paul Krugman reviews Paul Ryan’s budget plan and finds that it just doesn’t add up.

The Return of the $1,000 Down Mortgage (Washington Independent)
Annie Lowrey reports that a new pilot program is offering fully financed loans to low-income homebuyers, but critics see more risk than reward.

An August Surprise from Obama? (Reuters)
James Pethokoukis hears rumors that the Obama administration may order Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive some portion of the outstanding mortgage debt of underwater homeowners.

The real lessons of declining homeownership (WaPo)
Subsidizing the “ownership society” may help to destroy the American Dream.

The Bush Tax Cuts and Small Business: What We Know (Tax Vox)
Howard Gleckman suggests that small businesses may have more to gain than to fear if tax cuts for top earners are allowed to expire.

Innovation is the Only Answer, But There’s No Reason to Wait (American Scene)
Noah Millman seeks a bipartisan solution to climate change and suggests abandoning cap-and-trade in favor of a carbon tax combined with investment in carbon removal technology.

Ready to work for political change you can count on? (CS Monitor)
Tom De Luca proposes eight ways to democratize American politics and break down the barriers to progress.

Is Obama’s position on gay marriage sustainable? (WaPo)
President Obama’s stated opposition to both same-sex marriage and efforts to ban same-sex marriage seems more and more incoherent — especially since we know what he used to believe.

Kennedy, Olson and the Right Side of History (FiveThirtyEight)
Nate Silver identifies two major factors that favor same-sex marriage proponents when Perry v. Schwarzenegger makes its way to the Supreme Court: Ted Olson’s argumentative skills and Anthony Kennedy’s concern for his legacy.

Democrats must seize the immigration issue (WaPo)
Democratic politicians shouldn’t count on the Latino vote in 2012 if they ignore immigration reform in 2010.

Baby Baiting (The Nation)
The right’s racist rhetoric about the children of undocumented immigrants is putting lives and the Constitution at risk.

Sharia vs. The New Deal (American Prospect)
Andy McCarthy provides political analysis from an alternate universe.