New York Times Editors: "What are Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Draghi waiting for? Slower growth? Higher unemployment? Lower output?"
Paul Krugman: "President Obama, if re-elected, can, and should, replace [Ed DeMarco, the acting director of the agency that runs Fannie & Freddie,] through a recess appointment. In fact, he should have done that years ago.... Mr. Obama has made plenty of mistakes. But the DeMarco affair nonetheless demonstrates, once again, the extent to which U.S. economic policy has been crippled by unyielding, irresponsible political opposition. If our economy is still deeply depressed, much — and I would say most — of the blame rests not with Mr. Obama but with the very people seeking to use that depressed economy for political advantage."
Tim Egan has a few thoughts on Nino Scalia's contribution to democracy. Like this: "Secretive donor money in federal elections went from 1 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2010, after the Supreme Court lifted restrictions." And this: "Fewer than 200 people in a nation of 313 million comprise 80 percent of all super PAC donations."
A Brave Senate Finance Committee Tackles Tax Reform. Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "... members of the Senate Finance Committee congratulated themselves for agreeing to jettison 20 [tax breaks], including a $5,000 credit for first-time home buyers in the District and a cash-incentive program for wind-energy projects that has been derided as benefiting foreign companies. But their failure to weed out dozens more pet provisions clouded prospects for a far-reaching simplification of the nation’s tax laws advocated by President Obama, GOP challenger Mitt Romney and congressional leaders in both parties." Among them: "An accelerated write-off for owners of NASCAR tracks." Well, of course, some of these guys are "great friends" of Mitt's. (And of a senator on the Finance Committee, too, no doubt.)
Dave Weigel posts on the closing arguments in the Pennsylvania voter fraud trial.
AND Teddy Partridge of Firedoglake finds "the best obit correction ever: the New York Times on Gore Vidal."
Chances are you pay a higher tax rate than him [Mitt Romney]….Mitt Romney made $20 million in 2010 but paid only 14 percent in taxes…probably less than you. Now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break. And raises taxes on middle class families by up to two thousand dollars a year. -- Voiceover in Obama ad ...
... Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "This ad is tough, but we cannot fault the accuracy of its key points. To some extent, the Romney campaign has been hoist with its own petard by refusing to provide sufficient detail that shows how the numbers add up in Romney’s tax and budget plans. So we are left with the judgment of a respected and independent third party. We hold campaign ads to a high standard, particularly attack ads.... For the first time in this frequently nasty campaign, we award a rare Geppetto Checkmark for a campaign ad."
Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "continued his swing-state offensive against ’s tax-cut plans, deriding them as a boon to the rich at the expense of everyone else — 'trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust,' he called them at a college here."on Thursday
Richard Oppel of the New York Times: "After a rocky trip to Europe and Israel in which his remarks drew complaints from British and to try to regain his footing and refocus his campaign on his core message of renewing the economy."leaders, flew Thursday to Colorado, an important swing state,
Jennifer Epstein of Politico: "President Obama touted his record on women's issues and stressed the women in his personal story as he addressed a major gathering of women bloggers on Thursday. 'Women’s issues are front and center as they should be. But the conversation has been oversimplified a bit,' he told the BlogHer conference in New York, speaking live via video from Orlando, Fla. 'Women are not a monolithic bloc, not an interest group. You make up more than half our country and our workforce, not to mention 80 percent my household if you count my mother-in-law.'"
Jamelle Bouie of the American Prospect: "Obama’s attacks on Romney’s financial life — Bain Capital, his tax returns, his ostentatious wealth — are meant to present the former Massachusetts governor as an unscrupulous plutocrat, indifferent to the lives of ordinary Americans. But the goal of that is to soften Romney for the main event — an all-out attack on his economic plan." ...
... More Secret Mitt. Benjy Sarlin of TPM: "A new study describing Mitt Romney’s tax cut proposals as an average tax increase for 95% of Americans is 'a joke,' according to Romney adviser Eric Ferhnstrom. But policy aides offered no indication they plan to offer more details on Romney’s plan in order to clarify how it would be paid for...." ...
... David Firestone of the New York Times: "The Romney campaign’s increasingly desperate attempts to dismiss a new study of its tax plan are a pretty good sign that the study is devastating. That isn’t to say the campaign is trying to counter it with actual specifics.... The Tax Policy Center ... has one of the more reliable and unbiased computer models of the nation’s tax system. But for the far right (also known as the Republican center), any tax analysis that doesn’t swallow the prosperity gospel of tax-cut magic is, therefore, liberal." ...
... Paul Krugman: "Obama['s tax plan] is inadequate; Romney['s] is intensely, screamingly irresponsible. On top of that, Romney is scamming voters, claiming not only that he can make up the lost revenue by closing unspecified loopholes, but that he can do so in a way that doesn’t shift the tax burden away from the rich onto the middle class. He can’t, as a matter of sheer arithmetic — which is the point of that Tax Policy Center study. The Romney campaign isn’t even trying to make a substantive argument in response — they’re just calling names."
Maggie Haberman of Politico: "On Sean Hannity's radio show, Mitt Romney just told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to 'put up or shut up' on the unsubstantiated allegations he's made about the GOP hopeful not paying his taxes for ten years.... But the 'put up' line was a bit surprising, since Romney is the one under fire for not releasing his returns..., and only he, in this specific instance, has the documents in question that someone is asking be 'put up.'"
Fred Kaplan of Slate: "Romney's foreign policy ideas are really quite scary.... Romney took this trip to pass a fairly simple test: to demonstrate a bedrock comfort and competence on the world stage. He failed that test.... In comparing Romney’s foreign policy to Obama’s...: They’re the same, except when Romney’s is more reckless or mysterious. Not a good bumper sticker."
... AND in Sporting News.... "Ann Romney's horse fails to win dressage but avoids offending British." Sam Jones of the Guardian: "... the 15-year-old bay Oldenburg mare acquitted herself rather well. True, she and her rider, Jan Ebeling, may have been left well behind by Britain's Carl Hester, Germany's Dorothee Schneider and Denmark's Anna Kasprzak but, by Romney standards, her performance was a positive triumph. Never for a second during her seven-minute performance did a hoof stray dangerously mouthwards, nor did she do anything at all to offend or upset the host nation. From the moment she entered the Greenwich Park equestrian arena at 12.15 on Thursday afternoon, the most famous political horse since Caligula toyed with making a consul of Incitatus seemed in her element."
AP: "Syria reached out to its powerful ally Russia on Friday, as senior officials pleaded with Moscow for financial loans and supplies of oil products — an indication that international sanctions are squeezing President Bashar Assad's regime.... Rebels fought regime forces in the Syrian capital only two weeks after the government crushed a revolt there."
New York Times: "Cass Sunstein, 57, who projected an air of disheveled academic detachment while becoming one of the Obama administration’s most provocative figures, announced Friday that he was leaving government to return to Harvard Law School."
Houston Chronicle: "A federal judge in Galveston on Thursday partially blocked new Texas registration laws that critics say amount to vote suppression because they prevent large voter registration drives. U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa blocked the state from enforcing five provisions of the laws that its defenders say are aimed at preventing voter fraud."
Bloomberg News: "Payrolls in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in July, boosted by a pickup in employment at automakers, even as the jobless rate unexpectedly rose to a five-month high. The increase of 163,000 followed a revised 64,000 gain in June payrolls that was less than initially reported.... Unemployment rose to 8.3 percent."
New York Times: "because of waste, employee theft and lack of proper oversight, government auditors have found."lost more than $800 million on its food and beverage services over the last 10 years, largely
AP: "Growing use of generic medicines has reduced U.S. health care spending by more than $1 trillion over the past decade, according to an industry-funded study released Thursday. The fourth annual report, produced for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, found use of generic prescription drugs in the U.S. saved about $193 billion last year alone."
Washington Post: "Two federal agencies and Congress said Thursday that they were investigating an incident at Reagan National Airport in which commuter jets headed in opposite directions closed to within about 1,650 yards of one another at a combined speed of 436 mph.... Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ... praised the air traffic controller who recognized that the planes were closing on each other at a high speed. The controller ordered one pilot to abort his approach to National and turn south. The three planes, all operated by US Airways, carried 192 passengers and crew members, the airline said. They all reached their destinations safely."
Reuters: "U.S. Representative Diane Black won the primary election by a comfortable margin over Lou Ann Zelenik, noted for her fierce opposition to the Islamic Center built in Murfreesboro..., although it was outside the congressional district she sought to represent. Zelenik was backed by a wealthy conservative businessman from Nashville, who paid for ads attacking Black over the mosque and Islam. Zelenik charged that Black had not opposed the mosque vigorously."
Space: "The 1-ton Curiosity rover, the heart of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, is slated to touch down inside the Red Planet's Gale Crater on Sunday night (Aug. 5)."
Politico: "The House officially reprimanded Rep. Laura Richardson on Thursday for improperly using her official staff to conduct campaign work and personal errands, the latest blow to the California Democrat’s bid for a fourth term in Congress."
Guardian: "Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was formally charged with phone hacking and will appear in court next month.... Six other journalists from the News of the World, including David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson, have been officially charged and will appear at the same court on 16 August."