I’ll probably come back around 8pm ET with a liveblog/recap of the President’s remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan from the Oval Office tonight. (UPDATE to that: Siun will be liveblogging at the mothership, I’ll probably just take to the Twitter.) For now…

…Oh, also, I’m scheduled to be on Nicole Sandler’s radio show at 6Et talking about my HAMP series.

• For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the withdrawal of combat forces restores Iraq as an independent nation, in remarks today. If he gets ousted from the PM job in the new government, somehow I think he’ll have a different take.

• Tim Duy hammers Ben Bernanke’s speech from last week, compares it to Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” address.

• An appeals court upheld the indefinite detention of a former cook for the Taliban. Lawyers for the detainee could not get the court to rehear the case. This will affect legal strategies to challenge detentions going forward.

• Yesterday the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights challenged the Obama Administration’s assertion that they can kill American citizens abroad without due process of law. Al-Aulaqi v. Obama is a very important case that could reach all the way to the Supreme Court. More from Spencer Hsu in WaPo.

• I never had the time today to seriously delve into the question of export controls, but on the surface this sounds like a technocratic fix that could improve our manufacturing sector at the margins. Could be wrong, however.

• I don’t really mind if the health care law makes business unprofitable for insurance company thieves. Not sure that will continue, however.

• The President cancelled 17,000 deportations by executive order, as he focuses on criminal deportations first and shrinks the backlog of immigration cases to be heard by the courts.

• Paul Krugman is an optimiston the economy? Sadly, yes.

• Instability in Kyrgyzstan, home of the Manas Air Force base, could create more problems for the US in Afghanistan. Of course, this has been true for a few years now.

• I thought Harry Reid’s ad against Sharron Angle showing an unemployed woman directly responding to her was pretty solid, but mainly it made me want to vote for the unemployed woman.

• Speaking of ads, I thought this one from Joe Sestak was unusually effective, and in the spare style that characterized his game-changing ad against Arlen Specter (such a game changer that other campaigns are using parts of it to win in FLORIDA). But it seems mightly early for him to deploy it; maybe the polls are showing the race slipping away.

• Consumer confidence rose along with consumer spending last month. Must be the weather.

• Matt Yglesias thinks teachers effectively judged by performance metrics ought to be rewarded, but of course those metrics get put in place to punish, not reward, and anyway, the metrics really don’t cut it. By and large, teachers want to know how their kids perform and how they can improve, but slapping a number on it without statistical foundations, and then setting pay to that number, seems crazy to me.

• China, standing in for North Korea, pushes for new six-party talks. Really, Kim Jong-il wants it this time, they say.

• Benjamin Netanyahu’s surrogates are pressing the Obama Administration to allow settlement construction shortly after the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. That’s going to just shut down all negotiations, if they try it. Meanwhile, four Israelis were shot to death in the West Bank. There are just a lot of denizens in that part of the world heavily invested in the status quo.

• A disturbing investigation into undocumented workers cleaning up the hazardous oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

• What the hell does Fannie and Freddie’s regulator have against clean energy retrofit financing? He seems to be upset about a non-existent problem, that a borrower would pay off their retrofit loan while defaulting on the house. This is absurd, and the Administration needs to step in.

• I’ve read this article about Greensburg, Kansas about a hundred times, it seems, but it remains pretty heartening.

• The Oval Office will look quite a bit different tonight, having been redecorated. I have to say I like very much the quotes Obama chose for the rug; I hope he reads them every day and pays some attention to the words.