Rick Gladstone of the New York Times: "The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has beheaded Steven J. Sotloff, the second American executed by the Islamic militant group, and posted a video of it on the Internet, the SITE Intelligence Group, a research organization that tracks jihadist web postings, said Tuesday. Mr. Sotloff’s family issued a statement saying it believed he had been killed." ...
... Burgess Everett of Politico: "Sen. Bill Nelson [D-Fla.] will introduce legislation that would give President Barack Obama congressional authority to bomb Islamic State forces in Syria."
Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "Federal judges pointedly questioned a Justice Department lawyer on Tuesday about the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of US phone data, in the opening day of case that represents a major step toward a supreme court ruling on the constitutionality of the program. A three-judge panel from the second circuit court of appeals aimed skeptical questions at assistant attorney general Stuart Delery about the scope and breadth of the call-records dragnet, reported last year by the Guardian thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden."
Mark Guarino of the Guardian: "After 14 months of intense legal wrangling, a public relations battle, late night mediation sessions and intense number crunching, Detroit finally entered a federal courtroom on Tuesday for a trial that will determine whether or not it can emerge from the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy to become a smaller, more economically nimble city." ...
... The Detroit Free-Press story, by Nathan Bomey & Matt Helms, is here. The page also contains links to live updates & related content.
Alexander Cohen of Public Integrity: "Gazprombank GPB (OJSC), a Russian bank targeted with sanctions by President Obama over the Ukraine crisis, has hired two former U.S. senators [-- former Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) & former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) --] to lobby against those sanctions, according to a new disclosure filed with the Senate. Gazprombank is controlled by Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom, the country’s largest gas producer; it supplies about a third of Europe’s natural gas." Thanks to safari for the link. See also safari's comment in yesterday's thread....
... CW: It will be interesting to see if any MoCs speak out for or against Lott & Breaux. Maybe Chuck Todd will ask permanent green-room occupant John McCain what he thinks about his former colleagues. Nah. Breaux & Lott sell their souls inside the Beltway. Dissing the distinguished gentlemen would be bad form.
digby: Ted Cruz's father Rafael, an "ignorant creep," lectures African-Americans on history. "I don't know if they're idiots or think everyone else is an idiot but the idea that black people don't understand that the parties switched places-- due to civil rights! -- in the 1960's and 1970's is mind-boggling." AND, as Daniel Strauss of TPM points out, contrary to Father Cruz's assertion, Democrats -- not Republicans -- controlled the Senate when major civil rights legislation passed.
Beyond the Beltway
Rosalind Helderman & Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post: "Jurors opened deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen on Tuesday, spending five-and-a-half hours discussing the case without settling on a verdict." In his jury instructions, presiding Judge James Spencer gave the jury a broad definition of "official acts" that is favorable to the prosecution."
Jonathan Katz & Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Thirty years after their convictions in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in rural North Carolina, based on confessions that they quickly repudiated and said were coerced, two mentally disabled half-brothers were declared innocent and released Tuesday by a Robeson County court. The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man with a history of rape and murder.... The current district attorney, Johnson Britt, did not contest the motion to dismiss the charges [against Henry Lee McCollum, now 50, & Leon Brown, now 46] and said he would not attempt to reprosecute the men because the state “does not have a case.' ...
As recently as 2010, the North Carolina Republican Party put Mr. McCollum’s booking photograph on campaign fliers accusing a Democrat of being soft on crime....
In 1994, when the United States Supreme Court turned down a request for review of the case, Justice Antonin Scalia described Mr. McCollum’s crime as so heinous that it would be hard to argue against lethal injection.
Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post: Iberia, Louisiana, police first claimed that Victor White, a young black man "with his hands cuffed behind his back in a patrol car, produced a gun that wasn’t found in two previous searches and committed suicide by shooting himself in the back." Then the coroner, whose report was not released for six months, said White shot himself in the chest (with his hands tied behind his back). White's parents are calling for a federal investigation. The full msnbc report, by Hannah Rappleye, is here. ...
... Update. Emma Fitzsimmons of the New York Times: "The it was investigating the death of Victor White III, 23, who died while in the custody of Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputies in March."said on Tuesday that
Jed Lewison of the Daily Kos: Cory Gardner, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate & aggresive abortion foe, has been a long-time proponent of zygote personhood -- which he now says he's against, even though he's still co-sponsoring a personhood bill in the House. He has a good chance of beating Democratic incumbent Mark Udall, especially if he can convince Colorado women he's their new best friend. Now he's running an ad advocating for over-the-counter contraception -- probably so women, rather than their health insurance under ObamaCare, will have to pay for the pills.
Eric Levenson of the Boston Globe: New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate & former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (RDoofus) apparently doesn't mind emphasizing his carpetebagger status. On a radio show last week, Brown jokingly invited residents of other states -- Vermont & Connecticut, "wherever" -- to come to New Hampshire & vote for him in the primary election. New Hampshire has same-day voter registration, so out-of-state resident who have a "domicile" in New Hampshire -- say, a vacation home like the Browns' -- could probably vote legally in New Hampshire.
Rand Paul is a hawk, ready to destroy ISIS. OR he's equivocal. OR he's a dove. Maybe. It depends on the day of the week time of day. CW: I need to update my old Romney flip-flops. But at least he's not John McCain.