Happy Birthday to Joanne Linville, 85. Mainly because she's the Romulan Commander and I really like the episode (and her work in it), but she's also in a pretty good "Columbo" episode. And a "Mrs. Columbo," for that matter, but I haven't seen that one [insert Spock/Janeway joke here, I guess].

I should get to the good stuff:

1. Fred Kaplan on the Robert Gates memoir. Kaplan has long-standing opinions here about Gates and about Obama, and they clash a bit, but it's still a terrific, must-read, review. Also, it convinced me I have to read the book.

2. Jennifer Bendery has been doing great reporting on judicial nominations, including the strange case of Richard Burr's opposition to a judge he recommended in the first place.

3. Against the Port Authority, from Matt Yglesias. My bias here is against government re-organizations (the efficiency gains, even if real, are often swamped by the transition costs), but he makes a pretty good case for it.

4. Why was the economy (still) sluggish in 2013? Jared Bernstein argues: fiscal drag from the rapidly falling federal budget deficit.

5. Alex Pareene on conservatives scamming each other. It's possible to get too focused on this - it's not the only thing going on within the Republican Party network - but it is important to be aware of it, too.

6. Against new Iran sanctions: Jeffrey Goldberg makes the hawk case against them.

7. Against new Iran sanctions: James Fallows makes another case against them.

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To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net