Just finished an “open letter” piece for TNR recommending that “Reform Conservatives” take a long look at both the successes and the failures (political and substantive) of the New Democrat movement. It’ll appear at some point next week.

Here are some midday treats a little fresher than my journeys in the Wayback Machine:

* House approves ban on “backdoor searches” by NSA that collect info on Americans without theoretically “targeting” them. Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman thinks it’s a pretty big deal.

* Paul Ryan directly accuses IRS commissioner of lying about missing Lois Lerner emails. Ryan’s credibility balance is a bit short.

* Sistani calls for formation of new government in Iraq, not a real good sign for al-Maliki.

* WaPo’s Craig Whitlock reports there have been more than 400 “major accidents” around the world in 2001 due to U.S. military drones falling from the skies.

* Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in DC features urinal cakes fashioned to look like the President of the United States. Yeah, real Christians at work.

And in non-political news:

* Chelsea Handler taking her act to Netflix. No word yet on fate of Chuy Bravo.

As we break for lunch, here’s the Beach Boys, this time definitely with Brian Wilson, performing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” in 1986.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.