We're swinging back into a semi-normal routine after vacation. If you haven't already read the BE Press Forum on the Senate, it has several very solid articles from multiple leading Senate scholars. If you have the time and interest, I recommend all of them (also, its free).
Jonathan Bernstein has a great take on who decides when congressional recesses occur. Beyond recommending his blog more generally, Bernstein always has excellent analyses on Senate confirmations or, more accurately, the lack thereof.
In a similar vein, Matt Glassman offers some perspective on recess appointments and constitutional powers more generally. It's a great read and digs a little deeper into the potential historical significance for the separation of powers.
Ok, this isn't about the Senate but over at The Monkey Cage Charles Tien and Michael Lewis-Beck offer their 2012 Election prediction based on consumers' perceptions of business conditions. I've used their analyses as a guide in a couple of my posts but reading the real thing is better. As conditions (read: perceptions) stand right now they predict a narrow victory for Obama in November. Keep in mind, this is before the President's campaign is in full swing (i.e. relatively little Obama spin on economic numbers compared to the Republicans' primary campaigns). My guess is that voters' perceptions will shift in Obama's favor as his campaign ramps up.
Happy 2012, everyone!