Happy Birthday to Lucy Lawless, 45. OK: I wasn't really much of a Xena fan, at least not as far as actually watching the show. But I very much liked her D'anna.
The good stuff:
1. James Fallows on the costs -- to the US budget -- of Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Micah Cohen looks at turnover in the Senate.
3. Ann Friedman interviews Chris Hayes, and talks quotas.
4. And a dissenting view to my post on public opinion, from Steve M. He argues that you can create "artificial" intensity that leads to action, which I said couldn't be done by presidents, by working at it in a sustained way for years. It's fair to say that there are some people who are partisan activists who were sparked by leading politicians, as opposed to those who became involved because some issue get them out of their houses. But in practice that's a very small group. Most of the people he's talking about, the Rush Limbaugh audience, don't become activists (more, although still a relatively small group, become avid consumers, but that's not the same thing). They learn, basically, the "right" answers to give on policy questions...but even then, it's not unusual to find that those answers are just a thin layer; that's why, for example, pollsters get surprisingly high rates of Republicans supporting some Democratic positions (minimum wage, background checks). Of course, the same happens on the other side, too.