I'm on vacation, but I've had a little time to read the news. Here are a few interesting takes you should check out if you haven't already:

1. The emergence of religious radicals Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry is a kind of Michelle Goldberg Full Employment Act. Read her latest today.

2. The Republican estbalishment starts to organize in response to Bachmann. Read National Journal and today's Wall Street Journal lead editorial, the former a description of the phenomenon and the latter an example of it.

3. I think Ross Douthat's pining for Chris Christie at the end of his column today is a little nutty, but this diagnosis of the GOP field is spot-on:

No one doubts Romney’s intelligence or competence, but he has managed to run for president for almost five years without taking a single courageous or even remotely interesting position. The thinking person’s case for Romney, murmured by many of his backers, amounts to this: Vote for Mitt, you know he doesn’t believe a word he says.
But his phoniness would remain a weakness even if he won the presidency. He’s a born compromiser pretending to be a hard-liner, and the hard-liners know it — which means he would enter the Oval Office with conservative knives already sharpened and ready for his back.
Rick Perry has many of the qualities that Romney seems to lack: backbone, core convictions, a killer instinct and a primal understanding of the right-wing electorate. He also has the better story. Where Romney has to run away from his Massachusetts health care bill and downplay his years as a downsizing artist at Bain Capital, Perry can spend the campaign reminding voters that almost half of the new jobs in Obama’s presidency were created on his watch in Texas.
What Perry doesn’t have, though, is the kind of moderate facade that Americans look for in their presidents. He’s the conservative id made flesh, with none of the postpartisan/uniter-not-a-divider spirit that successful national politicians usually cultivate.
Imagine if the Democratic Party nominated a combination of Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi for the presidency, and you have a sense of the kind of gamble Republicans would be taking with Perry.

4. Matthew Yglesias on Perry's desire to raise taxes on the bottom half of America. Also Yglesias has more thoughts on Perry after reading his book.

5. Warren Buffett on why the rich should pay higher taxes. He apparently hasn't been informed they now have to be called "job creators."