Peter Baker of the New York Times: "The back-and-forth this week over Russian support for Syria's government as it tries to crush an uprising underscored the limits of Mr. Obama's ability to 'reset' ties with Moscow."
Kevin Drum has more on Daniel Klaidman's book, To Kill or Capture, on the evolution of President Obama's policy in regard to terrorist suspects.
Bishops Form Pro-Child Abuse Lobby, Get Results. Laurie Goodstein & Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Victims [of child sex abuse] and their advocates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York are pushing legislators to lengthen the [statutes of limitations] or abolish them altogether, and to open temporary 'windows' during which victims can file lawsuits no matter how long after the alleged abuse occurred. The Catholic Church has successfully beaten back such proposals in many states, arguing that it is difficult to get reliable evidence when decades have passed and that the changes seem more aimed at bankrupting the church than easing the pain of victims." CW: I hope the last three people who thought the RC Church had any moral authority whatsoever are now ready to change their minds.
"The Wall Street Senate." Dana Milbank has a lively take on JPMorgan Chase CEO & Know-It-All Jamie Dimon's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. The only person in the room you might come away liking is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), but he barely gets a walk-on. Happily, Dimon did do a number on Republicans. ...
... David Dayen of Firedoglake gets more into the nitty-gritty, and he does highlight an exchange between Dimon & Merkley. Dayen's analysis is easy to understand. ...
... Dorsey Shaw of BuzzFeed on "Jamie Dimon's 5 Least Apologetic Moves At The Senate Banking Hearing." The first four are accompanied by illustrative videos, the last in the countdown to No. 1 is this: "Makes JPMorgan shareholders $2 billion richer while testifying":
Sam Baker of The Hill: "The Supreme Court's landmark healthcare ruling will pose a big test for Republicans, even if the court strikes down all or part of President Obama's healthcare law.So far, the party has not come together around a set of policies to replace the healthcare law.... Republicans also haven't said how they would handle policies that are already in place, including discounts on prescription drugs for many seniors." ...
... Jake Sherman & Jonathan Allen of Politico: well, House leadership is working on healthcare strategy. But in the meantime, "... many rank-and-file Republicans are grumbling that they don't have much to show for the last year and a half in Washington." ...
... If you're into tea-leaf reading on the Affordable Care Act, Linda Greenhouse has a fun post, stuffed with speculation, that, if nothing else, shows what a close reader of the Supremes she is.
Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times: "It's one of the most hyped bills on Capitol Hill, and it doesn't even exist. Three months after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio [R-Fla.] revealed he's working on an alternative to the Dream Act, triggering a gusher of positive news coverage, he's yet to produce a written proposal." CW: I'm shocked, shocked, to find out my senator is a do-nothing phony.
"Obama Snubbed Me." Alexander Bolton of The Hill: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this week that President Obama never made a sincere effort to reach out to him after the 2008 election." CW: it appears Obama made quite a few efforts, what with a candlelight dinner in honor of McCain & all, but apparently they weren't "sincere" enough. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
Steve Kornacki of Salon: In his economic speech today, President Obama "needs to find a way to frame the modest recovery as a delicate work in progress, something that has been painfully slow because of the epic nature of the catastrophe he inherited and the obstructionism and ideological rigidity with which congressional Republicans greeted his presidency. And he needs to make the case that a Romney presidency would upend the progress that's been made and return the country to the exact same policies that preceded the collapse of the economy." It can be done, if not easily. CW: I have no idea why, at least so far, the White House live site is indicating it will not carry the speech. If they change their minds, I'll run it here. ...
... Erin McPike of Real Clear Politics: Both Obama & Romney will speak in Ohio today, where "the economic conditions ... have been steadily improving, with the unemployment rate almost a point lower than the national average at 7.4 percent. What's more, two major actions taken by the Obama administration are viewed as a boon to Ohioans. For starters, both sides agree that the auto bailout has helped Obama's prospects in the northern part of the state. And on Wednesday morning -- after nearly four years of wrangling -- the Energy Department agreed to a $350 million investment in the United States Enrichment Corporation's 'shovel-ready' nuclear facility in Piketon, a small rural town in southern Ohio." Via Greg Sargent.
... Frank Newport of Gallup: "Americans continue to place more blame for the nation's economic problems on George W. Bush than on Barack Obama, even though Bush left office more than three years ago. The relative economic blame given to Bush versus Obama today is virtually the same as it was last September."
I guess we should all watch this, though if you live in a swing state, it will be coming to a teevee near you anyway in this and -- as the campaign season wears on -- many other forms, I'm sure:
Charles Babington of the AP does an excellent job of debunking Willard's claims that cutting public-sector jobs will help the economy & that the federal government doesn't pay for them. This is important because these AP stories often make it into papers throughout the nation. (The one I picked up appeared in the Boston Globe.)
Andrew Rosenthal: "Republicans love to kvetch about 'uncertainty' -- employers' uncertainty about the economy, for instance.... About the only 'uncertainty' they don't talk about is the status of health care reform. That's because this particular uncertainty was entirely manufactured by Republicans -- who began plotting to undo the Affordable Care Act by re-legislating it in the courts before the ink was dry on Mr. Obama's signature." CW: Plus, Rosenthal debunks another Romney lie. Willard just won't stop. ...
... Greg Sargent has the backstory, which is worth reading. ...
... Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post has more. He gives President Obama kudos for his response to a local TV news questioner whose premise was counterfactual, & dings everybody else, including Romney, for their piling on misstatements.
What Could Possibly Be Wrong with This? Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "In recent days, [Sheldon] Adelson, a billionaire casino owner, and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, gave $10 million to Restore Our Future, a 'super PAC' backing the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney..., leaving the Adelsons by far the most prolific campaign donors in the country. All told, the Adelsons have now given at least $35 million to super PACs during the 2012 campaign, not including several hundred thousand dollars worth of $2,500 contributions directly to federal candidates." ...
... E. J. Dionne: in this election cycle, "Americans won't even fully know what's happening to them because so much can be donated in secrecy to opaque organizations. It's always helpful for voters to know who is trying to buy an election, and for whom. This time, much of the auction will be held in private. You can be sure that the candidates will find out who helped elect them, but the voters will remain in the dark."
Devin Dwyer of ABC News highlights Romney's opposition to requring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats are hitting him on this, but let's hope they hit harder later in the campaign.
Stupid Romney Tricks. Pat Garofalo of Think Progress: "Over the weekend, an op-ed authored by one of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s economic advisers appeared in a German newspaper. In the piece, Glenn Hubbard criticized the Obama administration's approach to Europe's ongoing economic woes, instead calling for the adoption of more austerity.... Aside from the fact that Hubbard ... explicitly [took] politics beyond 'the water's edge,' he is advocating for a doubling down on austerity that has simply made Europe’s economic situation worse." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
Politics Is for Twits. Alex Altman of Time on the Twitter war between backers of Obama & Romney. CW: Just trying to keep you informed.
Right Wing World
Ali Gharib of Think Progress: "In a rare 'scoop' for an editorial cartoonist today, Matt Bors skewered a little-known National Rifle Association (NRA) program that offers insurance to cover policy holders' costs should they become embroiled in a legal battle after shooting someone in self-defense. The insurance -- technically endorsed by the NRA and administered by Lockton Affinity exclusively for NRA members -- is available as a rider to the 'excess personal liability' plan":
CW: Congratulations to San Diego County! Looks as if they have elected themselves a birther as superior court judge. It was a tight race. I just checked, & with 100 percent of the votes counted, Kreep (yes, that's his name, which is way better than that of his opponents, which is Peed -- not making this up) won by 122 votes. I suspect there will be recount.
This is really stunning. Laura Conaway of the Rachel Maddow Show reports on the GOP state house in Michigan both faking a voting total & violating the state constitution, all in an effort to make it harder for people to register to vote. With video of the farce. Back in the day, the parties didn't admit to stealing votes. Now Republicans do it right out in the open. They have no shame.
Washington Post: "President Obama will travel to Cleveland on Thursday to deliver what aides describe as a speech that will sharply cast November's election as a choice between his economic stewardship and an alternative that would return the country to the policies that caused the downturn." ...
... New York Times: "On the eve of a major economic speech by President Obama, Mitt Romney told a group of business leaders in Washington on Wednesday that the Obama administration had pursued the 'most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history' and was responsible for the tepid pace of the recovery."
Reuters: "The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, government data on Thursday showed, suggesting persistent weakness in the labor market after stumbling badly in recent months." ...
... BUT. Bloomberg News: "Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed for the fourth straight week as more Americans said their personal finances were improving." ...
... AND. Bloomberg: "Americans are digging themselves out of mortgage debt. Home equity in the first quarter rose to the highest level since 2008 as homeowners taking advantage of record-low borrowing costs to refinance their loans brought cash to the table to pay down principal. The gain in percentage terms was the biggest jump in more than 60 years...."
New York Times: "Rejecting suggestions that he struck deals with Rupert Murdoch's newspapers to win electoral support, Prime Minister David Cameron began a day of testimony on Thursday at Britain's inquiry into media standards about the nature of his relationship with Mr. Murdoch, his family and his aides." The Guardian is liveblogging here, & includes live video. ...
... NYT story has been updated.
New York Times: "Nokia said Thursday it would slash 10,000 jobs, or 19 percent of its work force, by the end of 2013 as part of an emergency overhaul that includes closing research centers and a factory in Germany, Canada and Finland, and the departures of three senior executives."
New York Times: "The United States Anti-Doping Agency is set to bring doping charges against Lance Armstrong that could lead to his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles."