Paul Krugman: "... most Americans have no idea just how unequal our society has become.... In the United States the median respondent believed that chief executives make about 30 times as much as their employees, which was roughly true in the 1960s -- but since then the gap has soared, so that today chief executives earn something like 300 times as much as ordinary workers.... Today’s political balance rests on a foundation of ignorance, in which the public has no idea what our society is really like."
Brian Knowlton of the New York Times: "President Obama acknowledges in an interview to be broadcast Sunday night that the United States underestimated the rise of the Islamic State militant group while placing too much trust in the Iraqi military, allowing the region to become 'ground zero for jihadists around the world.' In some of his most candid public remarks on the subject, Mr. Obama says in the interview with the CBS News program '60 Minutes' that it was 'absolutely true' that the United States had erred in its assessments of both the Islamic State -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and the Iraqi military." ...
... Here's a clip. I'll get full video when it becomes available:
... The full interview:
... Justin Sink of the Hill: "Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would be willing to call the House back into session if President Obama submitted a war resolution for his fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Republican leader said Sunday. 'I'd be happy to,' Boehner told ABC News's 'This Week.' 'The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to the Hill. The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions.' Boehner said he agreed with the administration that the president has the authority to carry out the strikes against ISIS, but that 'Congress ought to consider' a resolution explicitly authorizing such action." ...
... Justin Sink: "The U.S. may have 'no choice' but to send in ground troops to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned on Sunday. The top House Republican said he did not believe the strategy outlined by President Obama, which includes the use of American air power but rules out boots on the ground, will accomplish the goal of destroying the terror network." ...
... Timothy Cama of the Hill: "President Obama still supports repealing Congress's 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, despite relying on it for efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But Obama wants it replaced instead with an authorization specific to ISIS to support the current fighting, said Tony Blinken, deputy White House adviser for national security. 'We still would like to repeal it. We think what would be very helpful is if ... Congress worked to give us a targeted, focused authorization,' Blinken said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'But while we welcome that, we don't need it,' he said."
Matthew Boesler & Kathleen Hunter of Bloomberg News: "U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for congressional hearings into allegations that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been too deferential to the firms it regulates. A radio program about the regional Fed bank raised 'disturbing issues' and 'it's our job to make sure our financial regulators are doing their jobs,' Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement [Friday].... Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who's also on the banking committee, backed Warren's call for a probe."
"Chastisement." Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker briefly reviews the history of U.S. laws on domestic violence: "It was not until the nineteen-seventies and eighties -- when feminists and the battered-women's movement brought renewed attention to the problem, introducing shelters and hot lines, and treating assault within the family as seriously as assault outside of it -- that law enforcement and legislatures responded, passing mandatory arrest laws, creating domestic-violence units in prosecutors' offices, and making it somewhat easier to obtain and enforce protection orders."
Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic interviews Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link.
Brent Kendall of the Wall Street Journal: "A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday will consider a fresh challenge to campaign-finance rules, this time a 74-year-old law prohibiting government contractors from making political contributions tied to federal elections. The case ... follows a string of Supreme Court rulings that have considerably eased federal restrictions on political donations. The ban applies to both individual and corporate contractors and is aimed at preventing corruption. The challenge comes as the government is outsourcing more work to the private sector: Spending on government contracts has grown to roughly $500 billion annually." Firewalled. If the link doesn't work, copy part of the lede sentence into a Google search box.
Vince Guerriri in Politico: "Jim Traficant was our kind of crook."
Let's Go the the Audiotape. Alice Ollstein of Think Progress: "At a town hall event in Ballantyne, North Carolina, ThinkProgress asked [North Carolina Rep. Robert] Pittenger: 'Do you think businesses should be able to fire someone because they are gay or lesbian?' He replied that businesses should have the 'autonomy' to fire workers for being LGBT, and asked rhetorically: 'Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?' The Charlotte Observer picked up the story, and reported that ... the congressman 'stood by his comments.' But after local and national human rights groups began ... protesting at Pittenger's office in Charlotte, he stood by them no longer. Local channel WSOC-TV reported: 'The congressman's office insists he never made the divisive statement....' The office repeated the denial to MSNBC." He blamed "the blogger" for misrepresenting his views. Post includes a surprising, sophisticated technological breakthrough: an audio tape of Pittinger's remarks. And, no, "the blogger" didn't misinterpret anything.
Another Sensitive GOP Candidate. Esther Lee of Think Progress: "During a debate for the 10th Congressional District with a Democratic challenger Wednesday, Virginia Republican congressional candidate Barbara Comstock said that the government can secure the border by tracking immigrants in a similar fashion to how the shipping company FedEx tracks packages." CW: Because immigrants are a lot like stuff you buy online: cheap & tax-free. As a bonus, no shipping charges.
David Streitfeld of the New York Times: Hundreds of writers have united to ask the Justice Department to investigate Amazon for monopolistic tactics.
Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. New York Post front page headline: "Another Liberal Crybaby for Dem Clintons. PARTY POOPER." In teensy, weensy print, a photo caption, which would be a normal headline: "Bill & Hillary Clinton welcome their first grandchild, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky."
Here's that Pew Research Know Your World Religions quiz that contributor Haley S. linked yesterday. CW: The test is kinda fun, especially when it makes you conjure up memories of stuff you haven't given any thought in 50 years. BTW, all you heathens who were boasting that you got perfect scores should bear in mind that atheists & agnostics know more about religion than do religious people. This makes one wonder why religious people of one faith system, denomination or sect are so willing to discriminate against those who belong to another. Answer: tribalism. I'm beginning to think tribalism accounts for 90 percent of social behavior.
Beyond the Beltway
American "Justice," New York City Edition. Jennifer Gonnerman of the New Yorker: "A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life."
Molly Hennessy-Fiske & Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times: "Far from finding peace after a round of summer protests and riots, Ferguson remains a city on the brink, its nearly every step troubled. The last week has been especially fraught. In separate incidents, one Brown memorial went up in flames and part of another was run over. When Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson tried to speak to demonstrators one night, clashes broke out with officers. Then there was the city's newly hired spokesman, brought in to help Ferguson repair its image. He was fired after it was revealed that he had been convicted of shooting and killing a man in 2004." ...
... Richard Fausset of the New York Times: "Disparities between the percentage of black residents and the number of black elected officials are facts of life in scores of American cities, particularly in the South. The unrest that followed the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., has emphasized how much local elections can matter, and prompted a push there for increased black voter participation. The disparities result from many factors: voter apathy, especially in low-visibility local elections; the civic disconnect of a transient population; the low financial rewards and long hours demanded of local officeholders; and voting systems, including odd-year elections, that are often structured in a way that discourages broad interest in local races. But Ferguson has become a vivid example of the way a history of political disengagement and underrepresentation can finally turn toxic."
John McCormick of Bloomberg analyzes the first Iowa Senate debate between Bruce Braley & Joni Ernst. McCormick thinks Ernst managed to comport herself like a normal person & Braley did her no damage. ...
... Greg Sargent has some sensible commentary on the debate & on Braley's chances of keeping the Iowa Senate seat in Democratic control. His remarks are consistent with what Victoria D. wrote in yesterday's Comments: "It seems that the Ernst campaign has successfully taken a blunder by Braley last March wherein an open mic caught him criticizing Grassley for being a farmer, not a lawyer..........and run with it, painting Braley as an elitist dick. Still, it's surprising to read about voters such as the woman described in the article as a Democrat who is voting for Ernst largely on personality /character issues, seeming to ignore the significance of policy altogether. She "likes" Ernst and Braley is an elitist. Case closed."
Ryan Lizza has a long profile in the New Yorker of Rand Paul. CW: Haven't read it yet, but I plan to. "In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party's most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters."
Tim Alberta of the National Journal: "Ted Cruz is running for president.... According to sources close to the Texas senator, Cruz could be preparing for an end-of-year announcement and is now dedicating considerable time and effort to cultivating a foreign-policy foundation that might help his candidacy stand out in what is guaranteed to be a crowded field. 'At this point it's 90/10 he's in,' one Cruz adviser said. 'And honestly, 90 is lowballing it.'"
Crazy Person Is the Religious Right's Choice for U.S. Veep. Josh Israel of Think Progress: "Dr. Ben Carson, a popular Tea Party activist and Fox News contributor who says he will likely seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, said on Sunday that he is seriously concerned that there will not be 2016 elections in the United States because the country could be in anarchy by that point.... Carson finished a close second Saturday in a straw poll at the 2014 Values Voters Summit for 2016 presidential preferences." [Ted Cruz was first.] ...
... Julian Hattem of the Hill: "As a signal of Carson's popularity at the summit, the former Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon came in first in the polling for vice president, winning 22 percent of the votes."
AP: "Militants of the Islamic State group were closing in Monday on a Kurdish area of Syria on the border with Turkey -- an advance unhindered so far by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, including one that struck a grain silo, killing two civilians, according to activists. Islamic State fighters pounded the city of Kobani with mortars and artillery shells, advancing within three miles (five kilometers) of the Kurdish frontier city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Nawaf Khalil, a Kurdish official."
New York Times: "A wave of protest in Hong Kong further engulfed the city on Monday as thousands of residents defied a government call to abandon street blockades, students boycotted classes and the city's influential bar association added its condemnation of a police crackdown on protesters."
Los Angeles Times: "Ashraf Ghani was inaugurated Monday as president of Afghanistan, succeeding President Hamid Karzai and marking the first peaceful transition of power in the nation's history."
Oklahoman: "In a bizarre coincidence, a fired Oklahoma City nursing home employee was arrested Friday after a co-worker reported he threatened to cut her head off. Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, 30, is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on a terrorism complaint. His bail is set at $1 million... She said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and said he 'represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,' the detective told a judge in the affidavit. The two had not worked together before."