Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "A House divided along unusual and unpredictable lines voted Wednesday to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels to confront the militant group Islamic State, backing President Obama after he personally pleaded for support. The 273-to-156 vote was over a narrow military measure with no money attached, but it took on outsize importance and was infused with drama. Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, actively and strongly backed the legislation, and both sought to portray it as a modest measure.... Republican and Democratic vote-counting operations said they would not press for 'yes' on what they termed a 'vote of conscience.'” The Senate hopes to pass it as soon as Thursday....
... "'The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,' President Obama said Wednesday in addressing troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. 'I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq'”:
... Bob Gates Is Still Sounding Off. Jonathan Topaz of Politico: "Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday said the U.S. will need troops on the ground to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and spoke out against President Barack Obama’s contention that the U.S. aims to degrade and destroy the group."
... AND, It Should Go without Saying, So Is Ted Cruz. Adam Weinstein of Gawker: "Ted Cruz, Princeton '92 and creepy bathrobe enthusiast, is really tired of all these nancyboys who run the military, insisting that there must be political reconciliation and trustbuilding to forge stability in Iraq. Is he gonna have to go over there and bloody up some jihadi ass himself? Whilst comparing hair-care notes with Sean Hannity last night, the grandstanding GOP senator said today's military is not so much an elite fighting force as a bunch of bleeding heart social workers...." Read the whole post. Weinstein gets serious & emphasizes how dangerous Cruz's loose language is.
Dana Milbank: Trey "Gowdy, a former prosecutor, was known for theatrical outbursts in hearings, rank partisanship and a fascination with Benghazi conspiracy theories.... But when the South Carolina Republican chaired his [Benghazi select committee']s first public hearing Wednesday, Gowdy did something completely unexpected: He played it straight.... Gowdy adopted as the theme of his first hearing an idea suggested by one of the committee’s Democrats, Adam Schiff of California: How well the State Department has been implementing recommendations to prevent future attacks on U.S. diplomats like the one in Libya two years ago that killed four Americans.... Over three hours, there were so many thank-yous it could have been the Oscars." CW: Stay tuned.
Edward-Issac Dovere of Politico: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most. Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters." CW: I don't think this is more of the usual Politico breathless speculation. I think Wasserman Schultz is screwing up.
Kendall Breitman of Politico: "Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that it was a 'poor choice of words' for him to use the term 'Shylocks' in a recent speech. On Tuesday, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, had said the word 'Shylocks' promoted an anti-Semitic stereotype.... 'There is no truer friend of the Jewish people than Joe Biden,' Foxman said in a news release.... He added, 'Clearly there was no ill-intent here, but Joe and I agreed that perhaps he needs to bone up on his Shakespeare.'”
Suicide (Or Murder) by Rented Gun. Adam Weinstein reports: "A new video report by Fusion's Kimberly Brooks highlights the difficulties in preventing gun deaths at rental ranges, where shooters don't need criminal or mental health background checks to take a variety of loaded weapons to the firing line."
Dahlia Lithwick explains why Constitution Day -- which was yesterday, in case you missed it, as I did -- "might just be the most American holiday of all." Also, Constitution Day is more than likely unconstitutional. God bless America.
Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. CW: A few weeks ago, a site called Our Bad Media claimed it had found more incidences in which Fareed Zakaria plagiarized the work of others. However, the Washington Post & CNN did reviews & made a pretty good case that the cited passages did not constitute plagiarism. The other day, Our Bad Media brought new charges. Dylan Byers of Politico: "This week, I conducted a review of the reports to determine whether the instances they cited truly qualified as plagiarism. I also asked two jourrnalism ethics experts — Robert Drechsel..., director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Kelly McBride, the vice president for academic programs of The Poynter Institute — to review the reports. They came to the same conclusion I did: Fareed Zakaria plagiarized.... There are different degrees of plagiarism, to be sure. Case by case, the examples here qualify more as violations or misdemeanors than serious crimes.... But taken together, they show an undeniable pattern of behavior." ...
... Senate Race
Plagiarism, Senate Candidate-Style. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: "Large portions of an economic plan released by Oregon Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby appear to be heavily plagiarized from multiple sources, including one section that copies word-for-word from a plan put out by Republican Sen. Rob Portman a month earlier. Likewise, portions of Wehby’s plan also copy sections nearly-verbatim from the economic growth plan of a 2012 congressional candidate named Gary DeLong and a survey from Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads.... At no point in Wehby’s plan is attribution given." ...
... Ed Kilgore: "What makes this striking is that Wehby is a practicing physician.... In her defense, though, the stuff in both Crossroads’ poll and in Wehby’s plan is so incredibly hackneyed, such a tired assortment of conservative health policy pet rocks ... that use of the very same words isn’t that surprising. It’s not like any original thinking is going into this, so why use any original writing to describe it?"
The Funniest Presidential Candidate. Rand Paul Is at It Again. David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: Sen. Rand Paul (RTP-Ky.) charged that a recent Post story which highlighted his flip-flops, was "full of inaccuracies." He called it a "hit job," in an interview with the winger publication The Federalist. However, neither Paul nor any of his staff members will reveal what the inaccuracies in the hit job might be. The Post tried several times to get the Paul camp to identify the "inaccuracies," but they refused to do so & would not schedule Paul himself for an interview with the post. "In his interview with The Federalist, Paul also criticized The Post for not providing a response from him or his political team." CW: The link to Fahrenthold's piece is messed up. I'll check again later to see if the Post has straightened it out.
Gail Collins: Mark Sanford is running for re-election to his House seat unopposed! CW: I'm thinking Sanford would make a great running mate for Li'l Randy. It would be the funniest ticket ever.
More in the morning.