Charlie Cook:

As the immigration issue moves front and center in Congress, a chorus of GOP voices is warning that if immigrants—and, let’s face it, the debate is focused mostly on those from Mexico, Central America, and South America—are provided a path to citizenship, Republicans will never again win a national election. The same people also argue that Republicans would find it much harder to win statewide races in places such as Texas that now routinely fall into the GOP column. Implicit in both arguments is the notion that Republicans will remain a competitive party nationally and stay dominant in certain states if they can prevent Hispanic immigrants from becoming citizens and gaining voting rights.

But that position ignores the fact that the 45.5 million Hispanics already in this country legally are registering to vote and are seeing the Republican Party as distinctly hostile. The more the GOP comes to be seen as fighting immigration reform, the more difficult it will be for Republican candidates to compete for this group of voters. Remember, 50,000 Hispanic citizens reach voting age every month.

Oops. The GOP forgot to do something about the ones already here.

Michael Cohen:

This question of leakers v whistleblowers has frequently been conflated in the public reporting about the NSA leak (and many others). But this is a crucial error. As Tara Lee, a lawyer at the law firm DLA Piper, with expertise in defense industry and national security litigation said to me there is an important distinction between leakers and whistleblowers, "One reports a crime; and one commits a crime."
There are as many views as there are writers. Don't expect anywhere near consensus on this topic, no matter how certain you are about your own views. And don't fight with people who report that there are other opinions. It's something you should be aware of. Thank you, you're welcome.
Amid profound NSA debate, "image makers" say Snowden is "milking it." This is your story, @politico? http://t.co/...
By the way this WaPo project, entitled Top Secret America was from 2010 (h/t Jay Rosen, who points out not much discussion ensued):
This project was last updated in September 2010. Data is accurate as of that date.

"Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The NSA searches its mass database of phone records without real judicial oversight. http://t.co/... Knowing such = Snowden dividend.
More politics and policy below the fold.

Jonathan Chait:

Mitch McConnell delivered a speech today at the American Enterprise Institute to officially signal that the IRS scandal has entered its post-fact phase. When the IRS first revealed that its Cincinnati office had attempted to enforce its nonprofit laws using a search function that disproportionately impacted conservatives, Republicans were certain it must have come from the White House. They were going to follow the facts. But all of the facts point in the same direction, which is that the Obama administration had nothing to do with it at all. That was the conclusion of the agency’s inspector-general report, as well as the House Oversight Committee’s own interviews, which the Republican majority tried to suppress and which (when the Democrats released them) showed the operation was an independent, well-intentioned effort to enforce the law led by an IRS official who happens to be a conservative Republican.

McConnell’s speech is an attempt to reframe the issue in a way that it can survive the utter absence of incriminating facts.

Nothingburger. The real scandal is that Republicans are responsible for Congress being dysfunctional, and McConnell is part of that scandal.
Mitch McConnell appears to be angry with Norm Ornstein for accurately calling out his unprecedented obstruction for what it is.
James Poniewozik:
“I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person,” says Paula Deen in the transcript of a deposition for a workplace-discrimination lawsuit that surfaced yesterday. By today, I’m thinking, she might have a better idea.

For instance: admitting that she has used “the N word” (in her and the lawyer’s words)–”of course,” and probably on more than one occasion. Defending telling racial and ethnic jokes: “it’s just what they are, they’re jokes.” And wishing she could plan a “Southern plantation wedding” for her brother, with African American servers in the part of antebellum slaves. (Deen reportedly didn’t go through with that idea because, you know, “the media” would have twisted it into something. Those media! Always turning folks’ innocent plantation-slave parties into something racist!)

Here are three pieces we discussed in depth on Kagro in the Morning yesterday:

Tom Edsall's Our Broken Social Contract:

Many Americans think that their country has lost its way. But when they try to make sense of what’s happening, they disagree about whether the problem is essentially economic or whether it stems from cultural and moral decay.
and Bruce Bartlett's The Republican War on Data:
On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee voted to force the Congressional Budget Office to produce deceptive budget data. It is part of a longstanding Republican effort to prevent the government from producing data that conflicts with Republican ideology.

One of the measures adopted by the Budget Committee is called the “Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013” (H.R. 1874). It would require the CBO to calculate the macroeconomic impact of any legislation that would have more than a 0.25 percent impact on the gross domestic product in any year over the following decade.
This sounds harmless, but has an insidious purpose. First, it would require the CBO effectively to do a macroeconomic estimate of many bills just to determine whether the 0.25 percent threshold is met. Thus it will impose an additional work requirement on the agency without providing any additional resources.

But the true purpose of the legislation is to institutionalize the Laffer curve into tax analysis. The Laffer curve says that some tax cuts may pay for themselves by expanding the tax base more than taxes are cut.

and Michael Gerson's Republicans must come to terms on immigration:
The Republican camps in this dispute are largely defined by their answer to a prior political question: Does the current coalition of the GOP need to be motivated, or does it need to be modified? If it is possible to win future national elections by increasing the enthusiasm and turnout of current Republican voters, then embracing immigration reform is an unnecessary political risk. If the Republican coalition is unsustainable and requires transformation, then the assumption of political risk is required.

For two reasons, Republicans should be leaning toward the modification of their coalition.

Tom Scocca:
What's wrong with "North," next to all this awfulness? It's crisp and simple. People seem to be trying to complain that it's not a girl's name—as if they're somehow afraid that Kim Kardashian's daughter is going to grow up deprived of cues about how gender roles are enacted in contemporary society. Again, check those top names: Avery, Aubrey, Taylor, Riley. A girl's name is a name you give a girl, even if it's supposed to be a boy's name ("Aubrey" outranks "Audrey" nowadays). People figure it out.
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