The Wires

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New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

White House Live Video
August 28

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

The Oliver Brief. We do note, however, that the so-called 'Insular Cases,' which established a less-than-complete application of the Constitution in some U.S. territories, has been the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism. See, e.g., Juan Torruella, The Insular Cases: The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid, 77 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1 (2008); Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories, Youtube (Mar. 8, 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE. -- Footnote, Paeste v. Guam, Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon

Jordan Golson of Wired: "Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage. The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars — there’s no flying beams of light, no 'pew! pew!' sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down. People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t.... Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents — that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet."

"The cream cheese is too damn much." Scott Lemieux and I agree.

Sunday Morning Come-Down. Politico: "Al Sharpton is leaving MSNBC's weekday dayside lineup, and moving to Sunday mornings. Sharpton's last weekday 'PoliticsNation' will be Sept. 4. He moves to Sundays a month later on Oct. 4, according to a memo sent to MSNBC staff by the channel's president Phil Griffin Wednesday evening."

Washington Post: "Stephen Hawking believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes."

Washington Post: "The case for canonizing [Sister Blandina Segale,] the 19th century Italian-born nun, whose run-in with Old West outlaw Billy the Kid is the stuff of legend, was presented at a ceremonial 'first inquiry' in Albuquerque on Tuesday. If approved, her name will be sent to the Vatican, where it will head down the long (and somewhat secretive) path toward sainthood."

New York Times: Can't sidewalk scaffolding be attractive? Yes, it can.

Terror in Toledo! ABC News: "A man caught on video the moment a public art installation in Toledo, Ohio -- a giant, 250-pound red ball -- decided to run away and start rolling down streets lined with parked cars. Part of a Toledo Museum of Art exhibit, the RedBall Project had been wedged between Roulet Jewelers and Ice Restaurant in downtown Toledo when a thunderstorm and strong winds this past Wednesday evening knocked the ball loose and caused it to start rolling away, according to Kelly Garrow, the museum's director of communications."

... AP: "America’s two foremost Democratic families, the Obamas and the Clintons, mingled on Saturday[,August 15,] as politics mixed with summer repose on swanky Martha’s Vineyard."

Washington Post: "Offering such perks as 'free' bags and 'free' airline tickets, [some credit] cards are big on promises, but they often fall short on the delivery. And although these financial instruments are legal, experts say they are not always worthwhile."

Kori Schulman of the White House: "Today (August 14), the White House joined Spotify — and our inaugural playlist was hand-picked by none other than President Obama. When asked to pick a few of his favorite songs for the summer, the President got serious. He grabbed a pen and paper and drafted up not one, but two separate summer playlists: One for the daytime, and one for the evening." ...

... CW: If you're subscribed to Spotify, you can play the President's list from the linked story (at "Today".)

Washington Post: "Google, one of the best-known brands on the planet, on Monday[, August 10,] radically restructured itself under the corporate name Alphabet, an almost unprecedented shift that reflects the company’s far-reaching ambitions and the vast Web it helped evolve. The move represents Google’s biggest push yet to ... turn the company into a multifaceted General Electric for the digital age."

Bureaucracies Move in Mysterious Ways. New York Post: "The city [of New York] moved to fire an employee for missing about 18 months of work, even though he had the best excuse of all time — he was dead. Bureaucrats at the Human Resources Administration filed charges against Medicaid-eligibility specialist Geoffrey Toliver accusing him of going AWOL — even though his death by cancer was reported in an online obituary.... 'It is my understanding that . . . his employer was fully aware that he was not able to come back to work,' Toliver’s brother Anthony told The Post. 'It is my understanding that my brother’s family spoke directly to his supervisor during his long hospitalization and informed them of his death.'” ...

... CW: Doesn't surprise me at all. When I lived in Manhattan, my mother sent me a gift which came directly from the catalog company from which she had bought it. My father had died a few years earlier, but my mother was still getting these catalogs in his name. So my father's name, not hers, appeared on the package as the giftor. He had never lived in New York City. He was not the addressee on the package. The package didn't come from New York City. And my father was dead. But never mind all that. A few months after I received the gift, I got a letter at my New York home addressed to my father. It was a notification from the city ordering my father to show up for jury duty. Or else.

 

Josh Feldman of Mediaite: "For years and years, plenty of websites (Mediaite included) have written about the many times Jon Stewart has 'destroyed,' 'annihilated,' or 'eviscerated' anything from terrorism to race relations to Fox News. Well..., on his penultimate night, Stewart discovered that he didn’t actually do any of that":

Exit Laughing. John Koblin of the New York Times: "Since [Jon] Stewart started hosting 'The Daily Show' 16 years ago, the country’s trust in both the news media and the government has plummeted. Mr. Stewart’s brand of fake news thrived in that vacuum, and turned him into one of the nation’s most bracing cultural, political and media critics. With his over-the-top presentation of the news — his arms swinging wildly, his eyes bulging with outrage, followed by a shake of the head and a knowing smile — Mr. Stewart attracted a generation of viewers ready to embrace an outlier whose exaggerations, in their view, carried more truth than conventional newscasts." ...

...Stewart hasn't done any interviews prior to ending his run on the "Daily Show," but he did sit down with "Daily Show" producers for an "exit interview" on Episode 20 of the "Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart." You can listen to it here.

Los Angeles Times: "Donald Sterling filed for divorce Wednesday[, August 5] in Los Angeles Superior Court, almost a year after a contentious legal fight with his wife, Shelly, led to the sale of the Clippers.... However, the court later rejected Wednesday’s filing because it was incomplete, according to a spokeswoman. The matter is expected to be re-filed."

New York Times: "Jason Fine, the editor of Men’s Journal, will take over as the managing editor of Rolling Stone as part of what the magazine’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, described as a 'shake-up.'”

"Where Are My Pancakes?"

The Word Salad King. If Donald Trump's good friend & possible running mate Sarah Palin is the Word Salad Queen, it stands to reason that the Donald would be the king. Slate challenges you to diagram this "sentence." To help you out, Slate has transcribed the words in the order delivered. Not that the order delivered matters much:

Obama Slept Here

For a mere $22.5MM this Martha's Vinehard house on 10 acres can be yours. The Obamas stayed in the house for 8 days in 2013. The current owner bought the property, which has expansive views of the Atlantic & Chilmark Pond, in 2000 for about $3MM. So, hey, the price is negotiable. Slide show.

The Birth of Franklin. Washington Post: After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Glickman, a white California mother wrote to cartoonist Charles Schultz urging him to introduce a black character to his "Peanuts" cartoon strips. When Schultz demurred, saying he was afraid "it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends," Glickman got two of her "Negro friends" who backed the idea to write to Schultz. A short time later, Schultz introduced Franklin. Oh, yes, & strips showing Franklin in an integrated! classroom upset Southern editors, according to Glickman.

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Thursday
Aug272015

The Commentariat -- August 28, 2015

Gardiner Harris of the New York Times: "President Obama came to ... [New Orleans] on Thursday to make a case for his entire presidency: that when disaster strikes, the federal government should help not only to rescue the stranded but also to rebuild better and fairer than before. 'The project of rebuilding here wasn’t just to restore the city as it had been,' Mr. Obama said to several hundred people at a new community center in the once-devastated Lower Ninth Ward. 'It was to build a city as it should be — a city where everyone, no matter what they look like, how much money they’ve got, where they come from, where they’re born, has a chance to make it.' The president explicitly linked New Orleans’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina, which struck 10 years ago this month, to the nation’s recovery from the 2008 recession":

Lydia DePillis of the Washington Post: "the National Labor Relations Board ... voted Thursday to redefine the employee-employer relationship granting new bargaining powers to workers caught up in an economy increasingly reliant on subcontractors, franchisees and temporary staffing agencies.... In a case that drew intense lobbying by both business and union groups, Democratic appointees on the panel split 3-2 with Republicans to adopt a more expansive definition of what it means to be an 'joint employer,' making it more difficult for companies to avoid responsibility through various forms of outsourcing."

Timothy Cama of the Hill: "A federal judge in North Dakota acted late Thursday to block the Obama administration’s controversial water pollution rule, hours before it was due to take effect. Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota found that the 13 states suing to block the rule met the conditions necessary for a preliminary injunction, including that they would likely be harmed if courts didn't act and that they are likely to succeed when their underlying lawsuit against the rule is decided. The decision is a major roadblock for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, who were planning Friday to begin enforcing the Waters of the United States rule, expanding federal jurisdiction over small waterways like streams and wetlands."

the Washington Post: "Officials at Planned Parenthood mounted an aggressive defense in a letter to Congress on Thursday, offering evidence from an outside investigator that undercover videos targeting the women’s health organization were heavily edited and should be considered unreliable. The letter, written by the ­organization’s president, Cecile Richards, comes as four congressional committees are pursuing investigations into allegations that Planned Parenthood sells ­fetal tissue for profit, which is prohibited by law, and that it has changed its abortion procedures to extract better specimens. The accusations stem from an elaborate undercover investigation by antiabortion activists, who recorded Planned Parenthood employees while posing as representatives of a tissue procurement company." ...

... Joan McCarter of Daily Kos: "The investigators looked at the first four of the videos released ... and concluded that 'the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries' unless C.M.P. provides investigators with its original material, and that material is independently authenticated as unaltered.' Their analysis suggests that even the long, supposedly unedited versions of the video also show signs of manipulation, as do the transcripts. In one case, the transcript provided by CMP omits as many as 4,000 words.... That should be enough to stop congressional investigations. It won't be." ...

... digby: "The Planned Parenthood jihad is underway and fact[s] don't matter to the Republicans.... Here are the facts as they see them. Women are the worst mass murderers in the history of the world":

Supreme Plagiarist. "A Supreme Court Justice of Few Words, Some Not His Own." Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "Justice Clarence Thomas has not asked a question from the Supreme Court bench since 2006. His majority opinions tend to be brisk, efficient and dutiful. Now, studies using linguistic software have discovered another Thomas trait: Those opinions contain language from briefs submitted to the court at unusually high rates.... In the last decade, nine majority opinions shared 25 percent or more of their language with one party’s brief. Justice Thomas signed five of them. Taking account of both parties’ briefs in those cases, four opinions overlapped more than 30 percent of the time. Justice Thomas signed all four." CW: Let's face it; this guy hasn't even been phoning it in for the last decade.

Amy Tsang & Peter Eavis of the New York Times: "Every major stock market in the world surged higher on Thursday, helped by an unexpectedly strong economic report in the United States and a late rally in Chinese stocks." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Obama’s sanctions chief will arrive in Israel on Friday to defend the nuclear containment deal with Iran and try to reassure a government and public deeply opposed to the accord that the United States is still prepared to inflict severe financial penalties on Tehran for its sponsorship of terrorism and support for military proxies. The Obama aide, Adam J. Szubin, the top Treasury Department official who helped negotiate the accord between Iran and six world powers, will meet with Israeli government officials and foreign policy experts to make his case during a three-day trip...."

Democrats’ election outreach efforts to veterans may need to start with a refresher course on what U.S. troops look like. For starters, they don’t wear Polish military uniforms. Until Thursday, the Democratic National Committee’s 'Veterans and Military Families' website had as its only picture a shot from White House photographers during President Obama’s visit to Warsaw in 2011."

Matthew Yglesias of Vox: "New poll showing Clinton beating everyone is reported as bad news for Hillary." ...

A vast majority of the public would oppose the White House moving forward with the nuclear deal with Iran without the support of Congress, according to a new survey released by an organization critical of the deal. The poll, released by Secure America Now, found that 82 percent of Americans — including large majorities in both parties — oppose the White House granting billions of dollars in sanctions relief 'without the approval of Congress.' The survey also showed that, when informed about 'secret side deals between Iran and the U.N. monitoring agency,' 61 percent of people thought that Congress should vote to kill the deal. Just 16 percent said it should be approved, despite the existence of the side deals. The results could be troubling for supporters of the agreement.... Secure America Now has run television ads urging Congress to oppose the deal." ...

... The pollsters, BTW, were McLaughlin & Associates (a bit on their track record here) & Caddell Associates, with too many mentions to mention, but here's one. Anyhoo, congrats, Julian. Now go back to journalism school.


Confederates Were Right -- Science Is Bunk. Jacob Kastrenakes
of the Verge: "A huge, collaborative research project attempted to recreate 100 studies that were recently published in major psychology journals, and it found that only 39 of those studies' results could be replicated. That could mean that the studies were wrong in the first place, but researchers say that the findings tell more about the difficulty of designing a reproducible study than the accuracy of the studies themselves. Studies need to be reproducible so that scientists can confirm their effects.... In part, that's to catch scientific fraud, but it's also simply to make scientific findings more trustworthy."

Presidential Race

Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker: "All of the Democratic Vice-Presidents that Biden grew up watching eventually became Democratic nominees for President: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Al Gore. If Biden decides to forego a run for the Oval Office, he will be the first Democratic Vice-President unable to secure his party’s nomination in sixty-three years." Lizza goes on to explain numerous reasons that Biden would fare poorly against Clinton in a primary race. "It’s much more likely that the Vice-President is not actually preparing a campaign against Clinton, but rather readying himself as a replacement if something wildly unexpected destroys her candidacy. In that sense, Biden is being shrewd. He can’t beat Clinton, but he can set himself up as the Party’s insurance policy in case of her collapse."

Betty Cracker of Balloon Juice: "Hillary Clinton talked about women’s issues, comparing the views of backwards, Bible-humping, god-bothering, patriarchal fanatics in the GOP race with the views of anti-modern, Koran-thumping, god-bothering, patriarchal fanatics in terrorist groups.... She specifically name-checked Bush, Rubio and Kasich." ...

Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.... They espouse out of date and out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st Century America. -- Hillary Clinton, Thursday

CW: Jonathan Martin, et al., of the New York Times have a big story currently on the NYT's front page about how "Democratic leaders are increasingly frustrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failure to put to rest questions about her State Department email practices and ease growing doubts among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness." Blah-blah. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) But a version of the AP story I linked yesterday, which demonstrates that Clinton was treating classified documents the same way everyone at State did and had done in past administration, doesn't get a front-page link (I had to find it in a search) & doesn't appear to have made the print editions of the paper. ...

... David Ignatius of the Washington Post: "Does Hillary Clinton have a serious legal problem because she may have transmitted classified information on her private e-mail server? After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this 'scandal' is overstated. Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court.... 'It’s common knowledge that the classified communications system is impossible and isn’t used,' said one former high-level Justice Department official.... There’s no legal difference whether Clinton and her aides passed sensitive information using her private server or the official 'state.gov' account that many now argue should have been used. Neither system is authorized for transmitting classified information."

GOP Candidates = "Crash Test Dummies." Paul Krugman: "Nowhere is there a hint that any of the G.O.P. candidates understand [sic!] the problem [causing global market swings], or the steps that might be needed if the world economy hits another pothole.... Scare stories involving Chinese ownership of U.S. debt have been a Republican staple for years.... And you can see why. 'Obama is endangering America by borrowing from China' is a perfect political line, playing into deficit fetishism, xenophobia and the perennial claim that Democrats don’t stand up for America! America! America! It’s also complete nonsense, but that doesn’t seem to matter.... One side of the political aisle has been utterly determined to learn nothing from the economic experiences of recent years."

Tierney Sneed of TPM: "Attendees at a Republican fundraiser in Colorado Wednesday say that House Speaker John Boehner called Sen. Ted Cruz a 'jackass,' the Daily Caller reported.... Boehner said that the 2016 presidential race kept 'that jackass' away from Washington....Cruz has long had a reputation for being a thorn in Boehner's side, having led a government shutdown over Obamacare for 2013 and publicly causing leadership headaches on various occasions." CW: See, even the Orange Man can be right once in awhile. ...

... Jackass Returns to Washington, Brings Jackass Buddy, Plans Huge Jackass Rally. James Hohmann of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump revealed Thursday that he’s been coordinating with Ted Cruz for a joint appearance at an event opposing the Iran deal in Washington. 'We are talking to Ted Cruz, who is a friend of mine and a good guy, about doing something very big over the next two weeks in Washington,' the billionaire businessman said after a rally in South Carolina. 'It’s essentially a protest against the totally incompetent deal that we’re making with Iran.'” ...

... Not to worry, the Anti-Trump is coming to town, too. Tim Egan contrasts Trump with Pope Francis.

Hunter Walker of Bloomberg: "Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump recently called the Bible his 'favorite book' while on the campaign trail, but he apparently doesn't want to discuss it in interviews. Trump was asked to name 'one or two of your most favorite Bible verses' during an interview on Bloomberg's television show 'With All Due Respect' Wednesday.... 'I wouldn't want to get into it because to me that's very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible, it's very personal, so I don't want to get into verses,' Trump said.... Later in the interview, host John Heilemann asked Trump if he was 'an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy.' 'Probably equal,' Trump said."

     ... CW: Okay, let's assume Trump has never actually read his "favorite book." It's still stupid to ask a presidential candidate to pick a "most favorite" Bible verse. If you're not sure it's stupid, let me just add that the questioner was Mark Halperin. Case closed.

Beyond the Beltway

Finally, an L.A. car chase with a happy ending, I guess:

... KTLA: "The woman was booked for felony evading and allegedly driving a stolen vehicle."

Wednesday
Aug262015

The Commentariat -- August 27, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Amy Tsang & Peter Eavis of the New York Times: "Every major stock market in the world surged higher on Thursday, helped by an unexpectedly strong economic report in the United States and a late rally in Chinese stocks."

CW: Jonathan Martin, et al., of the New York Times have a big story currently on the NYT's front page about how "Democratic leaders are increasingly frustrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failure to put to rest questions about her State Department email practices and ease growing doubts among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness." Blah-blah. But a version of the AP story I linked below, which demonstrates that Clinton was treating classified documents the same way everyone at State did and had done in past administration, doesn't get a front-page link (I had to find it in a search) & doesn't appear to have made the print editions of the paper.

*****

Emily Rauhala of the Washington Post: "Chinese markets rose dramatically Thursday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index soaring quickly in less than an hour of late afternoon trading to finish up a significant 5.3 percent. The Shenzhen Composite also closed up 3.58 percent."

Peter Eavis, et al., of the New York Times: "The United States stock markets surged late in the day [Wednesday], with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 600 points after a late afternoon rally. Investors seemed to react to suggestions from a Federal Reserve official that policy makers may not raise interest rates soon." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

The market slide was the fault of Obama’s failure to get tough with China, but its rebound is probably due to the GOP Congress, or something. -- Greg Sargent

Carol Morello of the Washington Post: "A group of nearly 200 retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear agreement, which they say threatens national security.... The letter, addressed to Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House, is a response to one sent last week by three dozen retired senior military officers who support the nuclear deal.... The signatories include retired generals and flag officers from every branch of service, including a handful who were involved in some public controversies during their careers. One is retired Lt. Gen. William G. 'Jerry' Boykin, who was deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush and is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council. He had a history of making controversial speeches...."

Lisa Rein of the Washington Post: "The arrests this month of four young men on charges they hacked a fellow student to death in a federally funded job training center in Miami — and another murder in St. Louis this spring — are putting a spotlight on violence inside Job Corps. The antipoverty program born during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty to give low-income teenagers free vocational training has been beset by violence for years, with lax enforcement of discipline policies set by the Labor Department, which runs the 125 job centers around the country."

Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Ellen Brait of the Guardian: "Walmart will no longer stock AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons, saying the decision is because of less demand from customers and not continued political pressure in the wake of several mass shootings in the US."

Tim Wu of the New Yorker on some of the reasons better-paid white-collar workers work such long hours.

Nick Gass of Politico: "The White House fired back Wednesday at Charles Koch after a Politico article quoted him as saying he was 'flabbergasted' by a recent attack on him and his brother by President Barack Obama during an energy speech in Las Vegas earlier this week. In his Monday speech, Obama said that 'you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding — that’s a problem.' 'It’s beneath the president, the dignity of the president, to be doing that,' Koch responded in a phone interview with Politico on Tuesday. On Wednesday, during the daily briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Koch’s comments do not match with reality." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Here's the President's speech at the National Clean Energy Summit:

Ed Kilgore comments on Thomas Edsall's piece on Republicans' "conception of conception," linked yesterday in the Commentariat: "Edsall is fascinated, as I have been for some time now, by the orthodox RTL [right-to-life] position that fully-fledged human beings deserving legal protection are formed at the moment an ovum is fertilized by a sperm. Among other things, this means contraceptive methods that prevent (or may prevent) the implantation of fertilized ova in the uterine wall are morally indistinguishable from a late-term abortion—or for that matter, from killing an adult human being. Lest you think that’s an exotic position, it’s what was at the heart of the Hobby Lobby litigation, since the owners of that company professed a religiously-based belief that IUDs and Plan B contraceptives included in the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate are in fact abortifacients."

** "The Reactionary Soul." Paul Krugman: "Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open." Read it.

CW: Michael "Heckuva Job Brownie" has a long whine in Politico Magazine decrying his unfair press treatment. But you should forget about the whining & read, especially, the first section, where he writes about the negligence of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) (now residing in a federal pen) & Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. My recollection is that Brownie is essentially correct about these two.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. "The Trumpification of the News." E. J. Dionne: "Television is a business like any other, but journalism in a democracy is supposed to be about more than that. Nowhere is the tension between financial and public imperatives more obvious than in the massive coverage of the Trump spectacular and the parsimonious attention given to anything serious any other candidate might say. But hey, how often does a serious speech about our economic troubles win ratings for anyone?" ...

... Amanda Marcotte, in TPM: "Donald Trump has reignited his sexist harassment campaign against Megyn Kelly, and the folks at Fox News are, in seemingly coordinated fashion, striking back. Fellow Fox News hosts and pundits are asking Trump to cool it, and even Roger Ailes has released a statement calling Trump’s abuse 'unacceptable' and 'disturbing.' It’s almost touching, watching all these conservative media people who usually profit at peddling sexism choose, this time at least, to join together in an effort to stop this one particular instance of it. It’s also going to backfire.... You can’t tell people, day in and day out, that nothing is more fun than putting some mouthy broad in her place and then get upset when they continue to think it’s fun, even when the mouthy broad is one of yours."

Presidential Race

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "... Bernie Sanders is about to make a direct pitch to the Democratic Party establishment: Consider me, not Hillary Clinton. Sanders huddled with advisers at his home [in Burlington, Vermont,] Wednesday to chart what he describes as the second phase of a campaign that has exceeded all expectations but still lacks the infrastructure and support from the party elites that could help him compete with Clinton on a national level."

Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "The possibility that Vice President Biden may jump into the 2016 presidential campaign is convulsing the network of wealthy Democrats that financed President Obama’s two White House bids, galvanizing fundraisers who are underwhelmed by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s performance. A wide swath of party financiers is convinced that Biden will make a late entry into the race, and a sizable number are contemplating backing him, including some who have signed on with Clinton, according to more than a dozen top Democratic fundraisers nationwide." ...

... Guardian: "Joe Biden confirmed he is considering whether to run for president in his first publicly aired comments on whether he would seek the Democratic nomination. The US vice-president, in a conference call with Democratic National Committee members, said he was trying to decide whether he could give 'my whole heart and my whole soul' to a run for the White House, but also alluded to the burden that had been placed on his family by the death of his son, Beau Biden." CNN has audio clips & remarks from Hillary Clinton:

... Arit John of Bloomberg: "... Vice President Joe Biden ... polls better nationally against the leading three Republican candidates than Hillary Clinton, and has a higher favorability rating, too." CW: I'd call these polls pretty meaningless. The press has not been hounding Biden nor pointing out his negatives, of which there are many; that would change if he ran for president, & his polling would plummet.

... Ed Kilgore: "The more you look at the Biden bandwagon, it looks more like a ghost ship being pulled through the mist by a combination of hungry political reporters, Hillary haters (including most of the conservative media), and Delaware-based Friends of Joe.... [Biden's] leaping into the race now would be not a rescue, but a demolition mission. For starters, it would be received bitterly by the many Democratic women who figured HRC’s final assault on the political glass ceiling was a natural follow-up to Obama’s historic presidency. And worse yet, it’s hard to imagine Biden would have any compelling rationale for a candidacy that did not depend on feeding MSM and GOP attacks on her character. ...

... Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Former Senator Tom Harkin, a fixture in Iowa Democratic politics for over four decades, discouraged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday from entering the presidential race, suggesting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, if elected, could name him to a top diplomatic post instead. Mr. Harkin, who served with Mr. Biden in the Senate for nearly 25 years and is now supporting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said the vice president should not risk ending his career with what would be a third bid for the presidency." ...

... ** Ken Dilanian of the AP: "The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Clinton's use of a home server makes her case unique.... But it's not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used [the standard unsecured] department email. The department only systematically checks email for sensitive or classified material in response to a public records request.... In fact, the State Department's unclassified email system has been penetrated by hackers believed linked to Russian intelligence.... Clinton also had access to a classified messaging system, but it's not widely used at the State Department." (Emphasis added.) ...

     ... CW: If this report is correct, and I have no reason to think it isn't, it should put an end to all the breathless hyperbole (I'm talking to you, Michael Schmidt & Ron Fourier & every bozo personality at Fox "News"). But of course it won't. As Dilanian points out, "everybody does it" is not the optimal defense, but it surely puts Clinton's e-mail practices in context.

New York Times: "Priorities USA, the 'super PAC' supporting Mrs. Clinton, has released a digital ad that uses Mr. Trump’s statements to paint the entire Republican presidential field as hostile toward immigrants, focusing in particular on Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The super PAC will start airing the 30-second spot, titled 'This Is the Republican Party,' in Colorado, Florida and Nevada, states with large Hispanic populations":

... AND here's a long trailer to a documentary "abUSed: The Postville Raid," which contributor safari linked this morning. As safari writes, "... the documentary is a damning portrait of what reality would be like across this country if the Confederates were to assume the Presidency and enact their extremist policies":

Martin Pengelly of the Guardian: "Donald Trump has offered his strongest hint yet that he will not run as an independent in the 2016 US presidential election, saying 'it’s not something I want to do' should he fail to win the Republican nomination.... The Huffington Post, meanwhile, reported that Trump had told 'several top Republicans' he would swear off an independent run. It also reported a 'top Republican source' as saying the party would not necessarily regard such a move as the end of the matter, given the impulsive nature of Trump’s campaign." ...

... Jenna Portnoy & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "The Virginia Republican Party is considering requiring a loyalty oath from presidential primary contenders — a move widely considered an early sign of GOP skittishness about Donald Trump’s campaign. State party officials are debating whether to require candidates to pledge their support to the eventual nominee and promise not to run as a third-party candidate — as Trump has hinted he might do.... Politico reported that North Carolina is considering a similar loyalty oath rule." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Dana Milbank: "Wednesday was Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote 95 years ago. And how have Republicans marked this egalitarian milestone? Why, with another bimbo eruption.... More telling than [Donald] Trump’s latest disparagement of women [-- in this case, his latest attacks on Fox 'News' host Megyn Kelly --] or his flip rejection of [Fox 'News' chief Roger] Ailes’s demand for an apology, is the reaction from the rest of the Republican presidential field: virtual silence.... Trump is acting like a sexist and a bigot — and the rest of the candidates are, with occasional exceptions, too timid to call him what he is. Over the weekend, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus even praised the contribution made by Trump’s candidacy. 'I think it’s a net positive for everybody,' he said in a radio interview."

Clash of the Titans! Philip Rucker & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "The 2016 campaign is only the latest manifestation of decades of discord between Trump and the Bush family. Since the gilded 1980s, when Trump and George H.W. Bush rose as forces in their respective spheres, the relationship between Trump and the Bushes has been a melodrama — veering between displays of public affection and acerbic insults. At the core, there are clashes of style, manner and class between the Bushes — a patrician clan of presidents, governors and financiers who have pulled the levers of power for generations — and Trump, a hustling New York City deal-maker who turned his father’s outer borough real-estate portfolio into a gold-plated empire." CW: This is actually a fun read, if you enjoy trash-talking the Bushes.

Carrie Dann of NBC News: "Jeb Bush says that Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who was escorted out of a press conference held by Donald Trump on Tuesday night, should have been 'treated with a little more respect.'" ...

This guy is now the front-runner. He should be held to account just like me. He should be asked — as he was yesterday — how are you going to pay for it? Why do you think this is not going to be — prove to me that it's not impractical. Explain to me how you're going to stop all the remittances without violating peoples' civil liberty. Go through these questions and what you'll find is that this guy doesn't have a plan. He's appealing to peoples' angst and their anger. I want to solve problems so that we can fix this and turn immigration into what it's always been: An economic driver for our country.... There are some people running, they're really talented about filling space. About saying big things. They think that volume in their language is a, some kind of a version of leadership. Talking is not leadership. Doing is leadership. That's what we need. -- Jeb Bush, at a townhall meeting in Pensacola, Florida, Wednesday

Katie Zezima of the Washington Post: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), told pastors Tuesday that he would do his best to make sure the government could not be funded if that funding included any taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood -- but that any attempt to blame him for a government shutdown that could result would be 'nonsense.'"

Senate Race

Mary Pols of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald: "Gov. Paul LePage has again told a Boston radio host that he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 against incumbent Angus King.... During Tuesday’s taping, LePage donned a hat bearing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, 'Make America Great Again.' He also referred to himself as 'Baby Donald.'... He also got in a jab at the press corps: 'The daily newspapers in Maine are so bad you can’t even believe the obituaries,' LePage... [said].” CW: What a card! Disappointed there were no more "jokes" about how stupid the French are.

Beyond the Beltway

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "The Mormon Church announced Wednesday that it would continue its close association with the Boy Scouts for now, ending speculation that it would sever ties because of the Scouts’s decision last month to let openly gay men and women serve as leaders.... 'At this time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of B.S.A. and, as in the past, will appoint scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify church doctrine, values and standards,' the statement said.... In July, bowing to growing legal and public pressures, the governing board of the Boy Scouts of America voted to permit openly gay adult leaders.... But in a compromise aimed at preventing defections by religious conservatives — including the Mormons, who are the largest single sponsor of Boy Scout units — the board said that local sponsors with religious objections could select volunteer leaders in accordance with their own beliefs. At the time, the response from the Mormons was unexpectedly sharp and included a threat to leave the Scouts anyway." CW: So now they've calmed down a tad, & they're just going to go on excluding gay leaders. Special.

Way Beyond

Anemona Hartocollis of the New York Times: "Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, mostly fleeing unrest in the Middle East and Afghanistan, are desperately pushing their way through the Balkans as they try to reach Hungary before it seals its border. A team of New York Times journalists has met up with some of these migrants to document their journey." ...

... Alison Smale of the New York Times: "The partly decomposing bodies of at least 20 people assumed to be migrants being smuggled across Europe were found in a truck abandoned on a highway east of Vienna on Thursday, the police said."

Tuesday
Aug252015

The Commentariat -- August 26, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Peter Eavis, et al., of the New York Times: "The United States stock markets surged late in the day, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 600 points after a late afternoon rally. Investors seemed to react to suggestions from a Federal Reserve official that policy makers may not raise interest rates soon."

Nick Gass of Politico: "The White House fired back Wednesday at Charles Koch after a Politico article quoted him as saying he was 'flabbergasted' by a recent attack on him and his brother by President Barack Obama during an energy speech in Las Vegas earlier this week. In his Monday speech, Obama said that 'you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding -- that's a problem.' 'It's beneath the president, the dignity of the president, to be doing that,' Koch responded in a phone interview with Politico on Tuesday. On Wednesday, during the daily briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Koch's comments do not match with reality." ...

... Here's the President's speech at the National Clean Energy Summit:

Jenna Portnoy & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "The Virginia Republican Party is considering requiring a loyalty oath from presidential primary contenders -- a move widely considered an early sign of GOP skittishness about Donald Trump's campaign. State party officials are debating whether to require candidates to pledge their support to the eventual nominee and promise not to run as a third-party candidate -- as Trump has hinted he might do.... Politico reported that North Carolina is considering a similar loyalty oath rule."

*****

Campbell Robertson & Richard Fausset of the New York Times: "The New Orleans of 2015 has been altered, and not just by nature. In some ways, it is booming as never before. In others, it is returning to pre-hurricane realities of poverty and violence, but with a new sense of dislocation.... Old inequities have proved to be resilient. The child poverty rate (about 40 percent) and the overall poverty rate (close to 30 percent) are almost unchanged from 2000. Violent crime remains a chronic condition, and efforts, both mixed results: While the city's jail population has been substantially reduced, the incarceration rate is more than twice the national average."

Ylan Mui & Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post: "Fed officials have signaled for months that they are getting closer to raising the central bank's target interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Many investors had anticipated the milestone would come when policymakers meet in September. But that timeline is now unlikely. Traders have slashed the odds of a rate increase next month. And a growing list of prominent economists say the central bank is not ready to let the American recovery stand on its own." ...

... Paul Krugman: "When thinking about the market madness and its possible real effects, here's something ... the Fed ... really, really need[s] to keep in mind: the markets have already, in effect, tightened monetary conditions quite a lot.... A Fed hike now looks like an even worse idea than it did a few days ago." ...

... Paul Krugman handily knocks down the reasons certain obsessive Very Serious People cite for raising interest rates. ...

... Everything Is Obama's Fault. Steve Benen: " In early 2009, with the Great Recession in full swing, Republicans blamed the faltering stock market on President Obama, just months into his first term. Soon after, Wall Street soared, sustaining a years-long hot streak, at which point the right quickly decided the major indexes weren't important anymore. That is, until yesterday, when Republicans decided to blame Obama all over again." Benen points out anew that Chris Christie " has the story exactly backwards."

David Lawder of Reuters: "The U.S. budget deficit is likely to fall by $60 billion in 2015 due to strong revenue gains, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday, enabling the government to stave off default without a debt limit hike perhaps through early December. The CBO said it now estimates a $426 billion deficit for fiscal year 2015, down from its $486 billion forecast made in March. It also forecast a fiscal 2016 deficit of $414 billion, a reduction of $41 billion from the previous 2016 estimate. The new forecast would bring the deficit to its lowest dollar amount since 2007, and as a 2.4 percent share of U.S. economic output, it would be below the 50-year average." ...

... Rebecca Shabad of the Hill: "The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), who was appointed by GOP lawmakers earlier this year, said Tuesday that tax cuts don't pay for themselves. At a press briefing, a reporter asked Keith Hall about that theory. 'No, the evidence is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves,' Hall said. 'And our models that we're doing, our macroeconomic effects, show that.'... Some conservatives argue that cutting taxes leads to more economic growth, and thus higher tax revenue from job and wage growth." ...

     ... CW: Some conservatives? I thought "Thou shalt cut taxes" was the first commandment in the Confederate Bible, followed by lots of illustrated Bible stories about the joyous wonders of supply-side economics.

** Terrence McCoy of the Washington Post: How fast operators purchase structured settlements for a fraction of their face value from victims of lead poisoning -- like Baltimore resident Freddie Gray (killed in April by Balto police) & his family. CW: Notice how people destined for the Eighth Circle of Hell get away with their scams. Preying on the disadvantaged is about as depraved as it gets. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "F.B.I. agents have started a civil rights investigation into guards' use of force at a towering county jail in downtown Kansas City, Mo., federal officials said Tuesday. The local authorities have acknowledged four recent cases of 'possible use of excessive force' by corrections officers at the jail, the Jackson County Detention Center, and ordered a broader, independent review of conditions there. Just weeks ago, a former guard there was accused in federal court of kicking an inmate in the head in 2011. Prosecutors said the inmate had been restrained and posed no threat."

Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), an influential member of Democratic leadership, endorsed the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday in a lengthy statement that voiced some doubts of the plan's efficacy but gave a strong overall backing for the outline. Murray became the 29th Democrat in the Senate to back the plan, with only two Democrats declared in opposition, putting the White House on the cusp of ensuring President Obama can fully implement the pact lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear development." ...

... More Saber-Rattling, Please. Dennis Ross & David Petraeus, in a Washington Post op-ed: "Compared with today, with an Iran that is three months from break-out capability and with a stockpile of 10 bombs' worth of low-enriched uranium, there can be little doubt that a deal leaves us far better off, producing a one-year break-out time and permitting the Iranians less than one bomb's worth of material for the next 15 years . We also don't believe that if Congress blocks the deal, a better one is going to be negotiated." They go on to argue that President Obama should talk tougher: "Now is the time for the Iranians and the world to know that if Iran dashes toward a weapon, especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force."

Mark Mazzetti & Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times: "The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry."

Christian Davenport of the Washington Post: "Oshkosh Defense won a major contract to build the ground vehicle that could become a symbol of the U.S. Army for a generation and will eventually replace the Pentagon's storied but aging fleet of Humvees, the Army announced Tuesday. Under the contract, which could eventually be worth $30 billion or more, Oshkosh will build nearly 50,000 of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for the Army, and about 5,500 for the Marine Corps." CW: Count on Scott Walker to take credit for this.

White Girls Can't E-mail. Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The State Department's inspector general is faulting U.S. diplomats in Japan -- including U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy -- for conducting official business on private email accounts."

Presidential Race

Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling: "PPP's new New Hampshire poll finds Donald Trump in the strongest position of any poll we've done anywhere since he entered the race. Trump laps the Republican field with 35% to 11% for John Kasich, 10% for Carly Fiorina, 7% each for Jeb Bush nd Scott Walker, 6% for Ben Carson, 4% each for Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and 3% for Rand Paul. Candidates falling outside the top ten in the state are Rick Perry at 2%, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum at 1%, and Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal all at less than 1%.... There's been a big shift on the Democratic side since April as well. Bernie Sanders now leads the field in the state with 42% to 35% for Hillary Clinton, 6% for Jim Webb, 4% for Martin O'Malley, 2% for Lincoln Chafee, and 1% for Lawrence Lessig. The main story in New Hampshire is how universally popular Sanders has become with the Democratic electorate." ...

... Ed Kilgore: "Keep in mind that NH has long been considered a more 'typical' state in terms of its Republican rank-and-file voters as Iowa with its heavy concentration of self-conscious Christian Right types. Yet [Trump is] at present leading the three presumed co-front-runners, Bush, Rubio and Walker, by three-to-two in head-to-head polling."

Daniel Drezner of the Washington Post: "... the scariest thing [about Black Monday] was how one day of financial volatility was enough to make four presidential candidates -- Christie, Sanders, Trump, and Walker -- say really stupid things about the Chinese economy and the Sino-American relationship. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Cornel West, the influential scholar and civil rights activist, has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president, bolstering a candidate who has drawn huge crowds but also skepticism from black voters. Mr. West, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, explained in a series of Twitter messages on Monday night that Mr. Sanders, an independent from Vermont who is seeking the Democratic nomination, has been an ally in the fight for justice over the years and that his voice needs to be heard."

"The Republican Conception of Conception." Thomas Edsall of the New York Times: "The battle for the Republican presidential nomination has produced an unexpectedly intense burst of attacks on women's reproductive rights, not only on the right to abortion, but also by implication on some of the most commonly used methods of contraception. The shift to an aggressively conservative posture stands in direct contrast to the party's previous five presidential nominees, all of whom sought during their campaigns to play down social issues.... A majority of the most prominent candidates -- Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee, for example -- have said at one time or another that they oppose abortion even in the case of rape or incest, a view rejected by all previous party standard-bearers from George H. W. Bush to Mitt Romney."

Ha! It's All Boehner's Fault. Greg Sargent: "... this whole Trump mess probably could have been avoided. If Republicans had simply held votes on immigration reform in 2013 or in early 2014, it probably would have passed. That likely would have made it harder for Trump-ism to take hold to the degree it has so far." ...

... Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Jorge Ramos, an anchor for Univision news shows..., who asked Donald J. Trump about immigration was mocked by the candidate, then escorted out of a news conference [in Dubuque, Iowa,] on Tuesday evening.... Mr. Ramos asked Mr. Trump about his call to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country and build a wall the length of the Mexican border. 'You haven't been called, go back to Univision,' Mr. Trump said.... About 15 minutes after his ejection on Tuesday, Mr. Ramos returned, and he and Mr. Trump engaged in a long back-and-forth about Mr. Trump's immigration proposals, frequently talking past each other." ...

Here's the later exchange between Ramos & Trump:

... BTW, Politico has twice rated Ramos' claim that "40 percent of illegal immigrants come by plane" as "mostly true." The estimate, however, is based on a 1997 report, was shaky then & may have increased as immigration patterns have changed. Assuming the 1997 estimate is correct, "Since 2008, there are more immigrants overstaying their visas than crossing the border illegally, but there are fewer illegal immigrants in the country overall." ...

... Janell Ross of the Washington Post: "The lasting image will be that of Ramos -- who serves as Univision's lead anchor and is effectively one of the (if not the) most powerful newsmen on Spanish-language TV -- being hustled out of the room after trying to ask Trump a question.... In July, during his much-covered border visit, Trump cut off a reporter affiliated with the nation's second-highest rated Spanish language network, Telemundo, during the reporter's question about the language that Trump has used to describe those crossing the Mexican border." ...

... Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "... for the Spanish-language press, which has grown in size and influence in politics, the tense exchange [between Ramos & Trump] was a highly public flexing of muscle against a candidate who many outlets no longer pretend to cover objectively: They are offended by Mr. Trump's words and tactics -- and they are showing it.... About 58 percent of all mentions of Mr. Trump in mainstream news media -- broadcast, cable, radio and online outlets -- in the past month have focused on immigration, while on Spanish-language news programs, the proportion is almost 80 percent, according to an analysis by Two.42.Solutions, a nonpartisan media analytics company. The Spanish-language news media has also been more critical in its coverage of Mr. Trump's positions on the issue, with nearly all of it negative in tone." ...

... Hadas Gold: "On Tuesday, Fox News chief Roger Ailes said in a statement Donald Trump should apologize for a tirade of tweets aimed at Fox News host Megyn Kelly." Yeah, and Roger Ailes should apologize to journalism. ...

     ... Update: "In a statement, Trump said he 'totally disagrees' with Ailes and that he does not think Kelly is a 'quality journalist.'" ...

... Trump Expands Fan Club from Everyday Racists to Top Racist. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: "David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and self-described 'racial realist,' says Donald Trump is the best Republican candidate for president because he 'understands the real sentiment of America.'" CW: Great base you've got there, Donald. ...

... Everyday White Supremacists for Trump. Catherine Thompson of TPM: "... a self-described white supremacist attempting for the second time to carve out an all-white enclave in remote North Dakota said he may name it after real estate mogul Donald Trump.... [Craig] Cobb, a hate crimes fugitive from Canada who is currently on probation for brandishing a gun at Leith[, North Dakota,] residents in 2013, joins a number of other individuals with known white supremacist leanings who've expressed their adoration for Trump.... The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer posted an 'official endorsement' of Trump's candidacy while the Council of Conservative Citizen's Kyle Rogers encouraged his Twitter followers to purchase Trump 2016 T-shirts (his account has since been deactivated)."

Yeah But. Scott Clement of the Washington Post: "... a new Gallup poll casts doubt on Trump's damage to Republicans in a summer dominated by his candidacy; Hispanics clearly despise Trump, but they view other Republicans much more positively (or have no opinion at all).... These numbers back up other polling ... that shows, even as Trump has lost support among non-white voters in a potential general election matchup with Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush has actually gained ground." ...

Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "Six ways Scott Walker has become more Trumpy."

Me Too, Me Too. Something Something. Mark Hensch of the Hill: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) late Tuesday became the latest GOP presidential candidate to criticize Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Cruz rebuked Kelly for questioning him about deporting illegal immigrants during an appearance on 'The Kelly File.' 'If you have a husband and wife who are illegal immigrants, and they have two children here who are American citizens -- would you deport all of them? Would you deport the American citizen children?' Kelly asked. 'Megyn, I get that that's the question you want to ask,' Cruz said after repeatedly listing the steps Congress should take for addressing the issue. 'That's also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask. They focus exclusively on 12 million people.'" ...

... CW: It's down to 11 million now, Teddie, but who's counting? AND the U.S. does deport parents of U.S. citizens. Raul Reyes of CNN (Aug. 21): "In the first six months of 2011, for example, parents with U.S.-citizen children constituted 22% of deportees. Between 2010 and 2012, the United States deported nearly 205,000 parents of citizen kids. And in 2013, more than 72,000 were deported, according to The Huffington Post. (President Barack Obama's executive action plan, which is tied up in the courts, would grant temporary deportation relief to parents of children who meet certain requirements.)" ...

... Greg Sargent: "Kelly is absolutely right to note, in the context of the birthright citizenship debate, Trump has answered questions 'explicitly,' while Cruz won't. This illustrates, once again, that Trump's immigration plan, if you can call it that, has had the effect of making GOP evasions on the overall immigration issue much harder to sustain."

New York Times Editors: Jeb!'s visit to the border town of McAllen, Texas on Monday provided "a chance to see how the supposed expert on this fraught subject handled [the immigration issue]. Short version: He was awful. In less than 15 minutes, Mr. Bush managed to step on his message, to give Mr. Trump a boost, and to offend Asian-Americans, a growing population that is every bit as important as Latinos in winning presidential elections. And he failed to give Latino voters any persuasive evidence that he had anything better to offer them than his opponents in a revoltingly xenophobic Republican campaign." CW: Read the whole post. Whoever did the actual writing of this editorial had some fun. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

Amanda Sakuma of MSNBC: Bush said that he used the term specifically to refer to fraud -- sometimes called 'birth tourism' – in a 'specific, targeted kind of case' involving mothers who travel to the United States only to win citizenship for their unborn children. 'Frankly, it's more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright citizenship,' Bush told reporters...." ...

... Steve Benen: "Part of the problem here is that Bush simply isn't telling the truth. We've heard the recording -- when the Florida Republican used the term 'anchor babies' last week, he wasn't talking about Asians and 'birth tourism.' He very specifically referred to Mexico, border enforcement, and 'our relationship with our third largest trading partner.'" ...

I, for one, don't think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though. And that's the difference, because they’re not actually doing women's health issues. They are involved in something way different than that. -- Jeb Bush, townhall meeting in Englewood, Colo., Aug. 25, 2015

Planned Parenthood clearly provides an array of women's health services, including Pap tests, female sterilization, contraception and urinary tract infection treatments.... Planned Parenthood clinics serve a disproportionate share of uninsured women who rely on publicly funded family planning centers, according to the Guttmacher Institute.... -- Michelle Lee of the Washington Post

... Heckuva Job, Jebbie -- Another Jeb! Ad Fail. Tal Kopan of CNN: "Jeb Bush's campaign on Tuesday put out a video highlighting his hurricane response record as governor of Florida as the nation marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But at one point, the campaign spot features Bush standing next to then-Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown, one of the most infamous figures of the George W. Bush administration's widely criticized response to the disaster."

Beyond the Beltway

Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times: "The terms of service on the website Rentboy.com said that people could not use it to exchange money for sex. But federal authorities, who called it the largest online male-escort service and arrested the site's chief executive and several other employees on Tuesday, said that was exactly what was happening. The chief executive, Jeffrey Hurant, 50, and six other current or former employees appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday afternoon on charges of promoting prostitution."

The Napa White Wine Train. Dayna Evans of New York: "On Monday morning, we told you the story of eleven black women and one white woman who were escorted off the Napa Valley Wine Train this past weekend after staff said they were 'laughing and talking too loud.' After one member of the ejected group, Lisa Renee Johnson, began sharing details of what had happened to them over social media, their story and the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack went viral. Later that day, the Wine Train's chief executive, Anthony Giaccio, met with a member of the group (a book club called Sistahs on the Reading Edge) to give a full apology for what he claimed was insensitivity on the part of his staff." ...

... Jeremy Stahl of Slate: "Norma Ruiz, a graduate student in the University of California -- San Francisco's nursing program, [says that in April] a woman from the train company approached their party, which at this point had quieted down to below the noise level of the dining car, and told them if they didn't 'control [their] level of noise' they would be kicked off the train. 'We were not making noise, we felt very uncomfortable the way we were being approached and [they were] embarrassing our group in front of everyone,' Ruiz says. Ruiz described the group as being made up of 'all Latino individuals,' the majority of whom were local University of California -- Berkeley graduates."

Way Beyond

Parade of Misery. Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post: "Thousands of refugees, most fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been snaking northward through the Balkans in recent days, confronting a Europe woefully unprepared to deal with them at every step. Most endured a perilous crossing to Greece aboard rafts and boats, some barely fit to sail. They traversed Greece, a nation paralyzed by economic crisis and too poor to handle a flow of people that in July hit a record high. At the border with Macedonia late last week, they trudged through a wall of riot police, who fought them back with tear gas before relenting. Now, the asylum-seekers, thousands a day, are racing into Hungary, which is rushing to complete a barbed-wire border fence by the end of the month to force them to seek other routes. It is a long parade of misery unparalleled in Europe in recent years."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was called the matriarch of the voting rights movement -- and whose photograph, showing her beaten, gassed and left for dead in the epochal civil rights march known as Bloody Sunday, appeared in newspapers and magazines round the world in 1965 -- died on Wednesday in Montgomery, Ala. She was 104." ...

     ... President Obama's statement is here.

New York Times: "Frank E. Petersen Jr., who suffered bruising racial indignities as a military enlistee in the 1950s and was even arrested at an officers' club on suspicion of impersonating a lieutenant, but who endured to become the first black aviator and the first black general in the Marine Corps, died on Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, Md., near Annapolis. He was 83."

New York Times: "... Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. on Wednesday issued 12 life sentences in prison to James E. Holmes, who fatally shot 12 people in a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora three years ago and wounded 70 others. The judge also imposed 3,318 years in prison on Mr. Holmes for his nonlethal crimes, including attempted murder."

CBS News: "A gunman killed a reporter and videographer for a CBS affiliate in Virginia in a shooting that was broadcast live Wednesday morning. Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, a reporter and cameraman respectively for CBS Roanoke affiliate WDBJ-TV, died in the shooting, the station's general manager, Jeff Marks, said during a live broadcast later in the morning." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke -- who also goes by the name Bryce Williams -- ... the suspect in the fatal shooting of two television journalists..., died Wednesday afternoon at a Washington area hospital after reportedly shooting himself during a chase on a highway west of the city.... Flanagan was a former employee of the station and had worked with the victims. He was fired in 2013, the station's manager said.... Flanagan is believed to have posted on social media videos showing him shooting the two television reporters.... A man who claimed to be the gunman sent ABC News a 23-page letter on Wednesday morning saying he was motivated by the mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church last month...." ...

     ... The New York Times has more on this maniac, who "used the tools of social media to ensure that his crime was broadcast live, recorded from multiple angles and posted online."

Monday
Aug242015

The Commentariat -- August 25, 2015

Afternoon Update:

** Terrence McCoy of the Washington Post: How fast operators purchase structured settlements for a fraction of their face value from victims of lead poisoning -- like Baltimore resident Freddie Gray (killed in April by Balto police) & his family. CW: Notice how people destined for the Eighth Circle of Hell get away with their scams. Preying on the disadvantaged is about as depraved as it gets.

Daniel Drezner of the Washington Post: "... the scariest thing [about Black Monday] was how one day of financial volatility was enough to make four presidential candidates -- Christie, Sanders, Trump, and Walker -- say really stupid things about the Chinese economy and the Sino-American relationship.

New York Times Editors: Jeb!'s visit to the border town of McAllen, Texas on Monday provided "a chance to see how the supposed expert on this fraught subject handled [the immigration issue]. Short version: He was awful. In less than 15 minutes, Mr. Bush managed to step on his message, to give Mr. Trump a boost, and to offend Asian-Americans, a growing population that is every bit as important as Latinos in winning presidential elections. And he failed to give Latino voters any persuasive evidence that he had anything better to offer them than his opponents in a revoltingly xenophobic Republican campaign." CW: Read the whole post. Whoever did the actual writing of this editorial had some fun.

*****

Neil Gough, et al., of the New York Times: "After a three-day rout that erased nearly $3 trillion in value from stocks globally, markets other than China’s on Tuesday showed signs that selling pressures were easing. Shanghai stocks closed down 7.6 percent on Tuesday, after Monday's 8.5 percent plunge, and Beijing officials sought to stabilize financial markets by cutting interest rates and reducing the amount of money banks are required to keep on hand to guard against risk." ...

     ... New Lede: "Stocks in the United States came roaring back from a three-day rout on Tuesday morning. In late-morning trading, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 2.4 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average had risen more than 370 points, or 2.3 percent, after falling almost 10 percent over the last week." ...

     ... Newer Lede: "The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index closed down 1.4 percent, to 1,867.62, after earlier rising almost 3 percent from Monday's close. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down 1.3 percent, off 205 points, at 15,666.44. The Dow was up as much as 441 points in the morning." ...

... Neil Gough & Chris Buckley of the New York Times: "China's central bank on Tuesday cut its benchmark interest rate and freed banks to lend more, the latest signs of the government's growing distress over slumping stocks and slowing economic growth. The central bank's action followed a global stock market rout in which China led the declines. The main Shanghai share index plunged another 7.6 percent on Tuesday, to its lowest level this year."

... CW: In contrast to the GOP candidates' "assessments," (see Paul Krugman's comment below) James Suroweicki of the New Yorker has a fairly straightforward reality-based explanation of the U.S. market's downturn: "The short-term reasons for the sell-off are easy to enumerate: the continued decline in oil prices; worries about a possible interest-rate hike by the Fed in September; and concerns about the struggles of emerging-market economies like Brazil, Malaysia, and, above all, China.... But behind all of these issues was something more fundamental: when stock valuations are high, even small changes in investors' expectations about the future can have a big influence on stock prices in the present.... The price of a long-term perspective ... is sometimes short-term turmoil.... At the moment, this looks like the kind of healthy correction we should periodically expect in a richly valued market."

Clifford Kruass & Rick Gladstone of the New York Times: The depressed price of oil is bringing or threatening political as well as economic instability in oil-rich countries throughout the world.

Kevin Cirilli of the Hill: "Liberal activists are descending upon a global economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to criticize Federal Reserve officials for adopting an 'insane' economic agenda that doesn't benefit minorities. The liberal Center for Popular Democracy has launched a "Fed Up" campaign to urge the central bank's chairwoman, Janet Yellen, and her team of policymakers against raising interest rates."

Mike Lillis of the Hill: Nancy Pelosi "is hitting the phones to whip on-the-fence Democrats behind the [Iran nuclear] agreement in hopes of building the numbers proponents may need to seal the deal in the face of GOP efforts to scuttle it.... And she's invited the ambassadors from each of the six world powers that negotiated the Iranian deal -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- to meet next month with House Democrats on just their second day back in Washington after the long summer recess." ...

... Greg Sargent puts Pelosi's whip campaign in context.

Obama v. the Crazies. Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "On his first day back from vacation, the president hit the road to attend a clean energy summit in Las Vegas hosted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and headline a fundraiser for the retiring senator's possible Democratic successor, Catherine Cortez Masto. Obama said he rode to the fundraiser with Reid late Monday, when they spent time reminiscing and 'figuring out how we're going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems,' according to a pool report."

Charles Pierce on the Sunday showz: Ken Burns is no Maureen Dowd. CW: Yes, funny how Burns somehow picks up that birther, anti-immigrant Donald Trump is a racist, while MoDo altogether misses that little tic. Maybe it takes a documentarian.

Presidential Race

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The White House on Monday said President Obama may offer an endorsement in the Democratic primary, which could pit his former secretary of State against his vice president. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for the party's nomination, but Vice President Biden is looking at the race. 'I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an endorsement during the Democratic primary,' press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday." ...

... Michael Shear of the New York Times: "... Mr. Earnest noted that Mr. Obama had said in the past that adding Mr. Biden 'to the ticket as his running mate was the smartest decision that he had ever made in politics.' Jon Karl of ABC quickly pounced, noting that the statement must mean the president would support Mr. Biden if he decided to run. 'I mean, this is obviously a better decision than the secretary of state he chose, so. You said it was his best -- the best decision he made.' 'Yeah, it was. It was,' Mr. Earnest said, though he quickly added that 'the president has spoke at quite some length about the appreciation, respect and admiration he has for the service of Secretary Clinton.' The Republican National Committee took only moments to leap at the chance to point out the awkwardness.... (Though the G.O.P. conveniently left out the part where Mr. Earnest praised Mrs. Clinton.)" ...

... Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "Major Democratic fundraisers have been invited to meet with Vice President Joe Biden at his residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory after Labor Day, part of a series of conversations he is having with senior party players as he contemplates jumping into the 2016 race. Among the guests invited to the gathering are top bundlers who raised large sums for the Obama-Biden campaigns in 2008 and 2012, according to people familiar with the outreach. The sitdown is scheduled to take place during the week following Labor Day." ...

     ... CW: In case it isn't obvious, I'll tell you how Matea Gold -- (and now you) knows this, as well as how you know all the other Biden for President stuff that's come out the past couple of weeks: Joe Biden wants you to know. This doesn't necessarily mean he's the source, & it doesn't necessarily mean he'll run, but it does, at minimum, mean he likes the attention.

** Steve Coll of the New Yorker: "... the tenacity of Republican opposition researchers does not by itself explain why Clinton and her husband are so often beset by accusation. Both of them too often co-author their dramas by obfuscating and tolerating conflicts of interest, such as when, between 2009 and 2013, with Hillary Clinton guiding American foreign policy, the Clinton Foundation accepted large donations from foreign governments, including several that abuse human rights.... Hillary Clinton's vulnerabilities as a Presidential candidate are visible and often remarked upon -- conspicuous wealth, a self-protecting style, and the baggage accumulated during three decades in public life. Her strengths are less often acknowledged."

** "Maybe This Time Really Is Different." Norm Ornstein, in the Atlantic, takes a long view & determines that the Republican party is flat-out wingnut crazy: "History may prove a guide, but it's no longer clear where it's pointing." Ornstein sees the possibility of a raucous GOP convention.

Paul Krugman: "... a stock crash in China triggered a big decline around the world.... Trust the Republican field to declare that it's all Obama's fault. Scott Walker wants Obama to cancel a state dinner with Xi; Donald Trump says that it's because Obama has let China 'dictate the agenda' (no, I have no idea what he thinks he means). And Chris Christie says that it's because Obama has gotten us deep into China's debt.... Remember: all the experts said that the GOP had an unusually strong field, a very deep bench, a lot of talent running for president."

Sam Frizell GOP pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group of Trump supporters that left Luntz's "legs shaking" because the participants were so mad at Republican politicians.

     ... CW: Here's my favorite bit: "... a woman who added she comes from a military family [said]. 'I look at where we are now as a country where entitlements are just totally out of control.'" Really, Lady? Let's just assume for argument's sake that your "military family" includes a father & husband who were career military men. That means you've been living on "entitlements" -- direct income plus housing, health care, pensions, etc. -- your whole life. STFU. ...

Jeb! & Marco Knock Asian "Anchor Babies." Michael Bender of Bloomberg: "'This is ludicrous for the Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I'm using a derogatory term [i.e., "anchor babies"],' Bush said at a news conference in McAllen, Texas. 'What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there's organized efforts -- and frankly it's more related to Asian people -- coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.'... On Fox News last week..., Marco Rubio also identified Chinese women coming to the U.S. to have babies.... Bloomberg Businessweek reported in May on the increasing number of agencies bringing pregnant Chinese women to the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the IRS have been investigating the growing business of 'birth tourism,' which operates in a legal gray area, for at least a year.... Bush traveled to McAllen in part to ridicule Trump's immigration plan...." CW: Sounds like a great success. ...

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "Presumably this is a clumsy reference to this story from last spring, but it's more fun to think it's a veiled shot at Bobby Jindal. In any case, the immigrants that Republicans get really worked up about are not the ones who can pay $50,000 to 'birth tourism' operators and stay in luxury apartments, but nice try at deflecting, Jeb! He then went on with another deflection attempt, saying 'I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness that somehow you have to be scolded every time you say something.'" CW: Well, yes, every time you say something racist or sexist or homophobic, some "politically-correct" lefty snob will whack you for it, fair or not. ...

... CW: Oddly enough, the wealthy mothers of these infants born in the USA return with their newborns to their home countries within weeks of their brief American "tours." So if, years later, their presumably well-educated children come back to the U.S. to establish residency, would that be so terrible, Jeb!? Jeb! & other Republicans are trying to conflate two types of instant citizens: (1) the babies of (mostly mythical) poor Latina mothers who race across the U.S.-Mexican border, sans papers, the moment their water breaks; and (2) the babies of wealthy women, from China, India & elsewhere, who visit the U.S. on legal visas for the purpose of giving birth & establishing their newborns' U.S. citizenship, a right the children may never choose to exercise. ...

... Also, don't be surprised if the GOP is gearing up to attack Chinese -- & Indian -- immigrants. In 2013, there were more immigrants to the U.S. from China (147K) & from India (129K) than from Mexico (125K). ...

... Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "After enduring those slings and arrows [from Donald Trump] for weeks..., Mr. Bush ... and his aides have decided to ... borrow a page from Mr. Trump's playbook: Hit back, with force and creativity, over and over again in the coming weeks. It is a turning point in Mr. Bush's campaign that was on display Monday in McAllen, Tex., along the border with Mexico. There, Mr. Bush called Mr. Trump's immigration plan 'unrealistic,' described his policies as un-Republican and acidly recommended that the businessman read Mr. Bush's book 'Immigration Wars' to acquaint himself with a practical solution.... In a phone interview Monday, Mr. Trump laughed at the suggestion that he read Mr. Bush's book on immigration. 'That would be exciting,' he said dryly." CW: Yeah, calling a nutso mass-deportation plan "unrealistic" is mighty forceful & creative. ...

... The Unrepentant. Nick Gass of Politico: "Donald Trump marked the return of Megyn Kelly [to her Fox 'News' show] on Monday night with a series of tweets and retweets blasting the Fox News host and continuing his ongoing war of words with Republican rival Jeb Bush. 'I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!'... Trump also ... retweet[ed] someone who called the former governor of Florida 'crazy' and urging him to speak English, not 'Mexican,' in reference to Bush's border visit earlier Monday in which he spoke in Spanish.... [CW: and English.]" ...

... Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "... Donald Trump ... fired his latest salvo in his attack against GOP rival Jeb Bush, criticizing the former Florida governor for saying his use of the term 'anchor babies' applied more to Asians than Hispanics. Trump sent a pair of tweets blasting Bush early Tuesday.... 'Asians are very offended that JEB said that anchor babies applies to them as a way to be more politically correct to hispanics. A mess!'"

Nick Gass: "Lindsey Graham excoriated Republican presidential rival Donald Trump on Tuesday morning for his immigration plan, calling it both 'stupid' and 'illegal.'... Graham also took aim at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus who in an interview over the weekend said that Trump is a 'net positive' for the party. 'I think that's dumb, too,' he said." CW: Last I looked, Graham is running 15th among 17 in the GOP presidential polls. ...

... Jeet Heer of the New Republic: "Rather than a populist, Trump is the voice of aggrieved privilege -- of those who already are doing well but feel threatened by social change from below, whether in the form of Hispanic immigrants or uppity women (hence the loud applause he got at the first GOP debate when he derided 'political correctness'). Far from being a defender of the little people against the elites, Trump plays to the anxiety of those who fear that their status is being challenged by people they regard as their social inferiors. That's why the word 'loser' is such a big part of his vocabulary."

The Flippity-Flip-Flop Flop. Dana Milbank: "Scott Walker has for two decades won primary elections by refusing to allow any Republican to outmaneuver him on the right.... Nobody has been hurt by Trump more than Walker, who has seen his support drop nearly in half in the last month, to single digits.... His donors and supporters are jittery, and ... he tried to reassure them with a vow to emphasize his conservatism with more passion. That could explain the birthright-citizenship fiasco.... There is no way to outflank Trump on the right. Trump, without a care for Republicans' long-term electoral viability, is making a parody of the conservative-dominated Republican primary process by embracing the most extreme positions, particularly on immigration. The showman has reduced GOP politics to absurdity -- and you can't trump that." ...

... CW: Trump has a huge advantage over standard-issue politicians, who have to pretend they're sincere, even when they execute a politically-motivated flip-flop. Nobody thinks Trump is sincere, & nobody is surprised by his flip-flops. Even his ardent fans would probably say Trump "tells it like it is" -- at the moment. Most of his positions are ripe for flip-flops. Even as he labeled Mexican immigrants rapists & criminals in a campaign that breathes & breeds racism, Trump said, "I love the Mexican people. I've had a great relationship with Mexico and the Mexican people." & he predicted he would win the Hispanic vote. Could President Trump soften his hardline on immigration? Claro que sí. ...

... Amateur Hour.Joshua Keating of Slate: Scott "Walker seems to think that these concerns ... cyberattacks, militarization of the South China Sea, human rights abuses ... would be best addressed by snubbing Xi altogether, even though he himself met with Xi in a 2013 visit to China, when relations weren't significantly better than they are now.... To state the obvious: China isn't deliberately crashing its market to punish Wall Street.... It's hard to avoid the impression that Walker simply saw that China was in the news today and decided to make some tough sounding noises about it. "

Nick Gass: "Ohio Gov. John Kasich's standing continues to rise to an all-time high among voters in the Buckeye State as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, according to the latest results from a Quinnipiac University poll of swing states released Tuesday. Voters approved of Kasich's job performance 61 percent to 28 percent, with even stronger numbers among Republicans at 84 percent to 10 percent." CW: This contrasts with Scottie, who "remains miserably unpopular among the voters who know him best.... His Wisconsin "approval" rating: 39/57 percent."

Sometimes You Have to Bribe Pay Politicians to Get What You Want. Because Kentucky law forbids a person to run for two offices on the same ballot, Rand Paul "talked" the state's Republican party into changing its presidential primary to a caucus, thus allowing him to run to retain his Senate seat on the ballot & run for president in the state's new caucuses. Here's the kicker, as Akhilleus laid out more fully in yesterday's Comments thread: Eugene Scott & Tal Kopan of CNN: "The change is estimated to cost between $400,000 - $600,000, according to Scott Lasley, Kentucky GOP 2nd district chairman. 'Sen. Paul reaffirmed his intent to pay for the caucus. $250,000 is to be raised or transferred to (the Republican Party of Kentucky) by September 18. If the money is not there by the 18th, it will revert back to a presidential primary instead of the caucus,' Lasley said in an email to CNN. 'Details on the remaining balance will be determined as the process unfolds.'" ...

... The Check Is in the Mail. Tom Loftus of the Louisville Courier-Journal (August 18): "Despite what he said in a letter to members of the Republican Central Committee days ago, Sen. Rand Paul has not transferred $250,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky to help pay for the presidential caucuses Paul is seeking.... Paul said in a letter to members of the 334-member committee this weekend... [claiming] 'I have transferred $250,000 in an RPK account to begin the funding.'"

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "The chairman of [Rick Perry's] campaign in Iowa, Sam Clovis, is leaving the campaign, Mr. Perry's team said on Monday. Despite the departure, Mr. Perry ... still plans to campaign in the crucial caucus state, a spokeswoman said."

Beyond the Beltway

Paul Waldman: "... the place where the GOP is really exercising its creativity is in coming up with new ways to restrict abortion rights. In the latest inspired move, Republican state legislators in Ohio have introduced a bill to make it illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy because she has discovered that the baby would have Down syndrome. The bill is expected to pass, and though he hasn't yet taken a position on it, it would be a shock if Governor John Kasich ... didn't sign it.... Look for identical bills to come up in state after Republican-controlled state. Anyone who objects will of course be accused of wanting to kill children with disabilities."

Rachel Cote of Jezebel: "Freshman women at Old Dominion University were given a very special welcome last week when they arrived on campus: Large banners that read 'Rowdy and fun/Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,' 'Freshman daughter drop off,' and 'Go ahead and drop off mom too.'... Several members of Sigma Nu [fraternity] live there...." ODU's administration & its student government association are not amused. ...

... CW: Of course if freshman daughter or Mom gets PG as a result of rowdy fun good time with these excellent young men, it would be wrong for her to have an abortion. Nope, there's nothing wrong with our culture.

News Lede

Washington Post: "A man who had climbed a wall near the White House earlier this year was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy Tuesday after cutting another deputy with a knife inside a Pennsylvania courthouse, authorities said. The incident took place inside the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester, Pa., west of Philadelphia. A man named Curtis Smith of Coatesville, Pa., walked into the lobby of the courthouse, 'pulled out a knife and attacked a deputy sheriff, slashing him,' Thomas Hogan, the Chester County district attorney, said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon." ...

... The Philadelphia Inquirer story is here.