Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week's address, President Obama highlighted the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill in Congress that could help us find a cure for Alzheimer's, end cancer as we know it, and help those who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction":

The Ledes

Sunday, December 4, 2016.

Washington Post: "Irving Fradkin, an optometrist who in 1958 began collecting $1 donations to help send local high-schoolers to college and whose efforts grew into a charity that has distributed $3.5 billion to more than 2.2 million students in the United States, died Nov. 19 at his home in Fall River, Mass. He was 95." -- CW

The Wires

The Ledes

Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Los Angeles Times: "Authorities said they were preparing to deal with dozens of fatalities after a fire raced through a converted warehouse crowded with people attending a Friday night concert, officials said. Nine bodies have been recovered, but Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said officials were prepared for up to 40 fatalities. He said many of those inside the warehouse were young, some from foreign countries. Firefighters were beginning to move through the burned-out remains of the building looking for victims. The building’s roof caved in, and debris will make the search effort difficult, Kelly said. Firefighters plan to use drones with thermal-imaging equipment to search the building. There is no known cause of the fire. While arson is not suspected, Kelly said investigators are on scene and nothing has been ruled out. Officials said the warehouse isn’t currently considered a crime scene." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

Guardian: (Nov. 3): "An Alzheimer’s drug has been shown to successfully target the most visible sign of the disease in the brain, raising hopes that an effective treatment could be finally within reach. A small trial of the drug was primarily aimed at assessing safety, but the findings suggest it effectively “switched off” the production of toxic amyloid proteins that lead to the sticky plaques seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.” -- CW

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

A Night at the Opera. Los Angeles Times: "The curtain rose on Act 2 of 'The Daughter of the Regiment,' revealing the figure of a tiny woman barely visible in a large dome chair with her back to the audience. Suddenly, she swiveled around — and there was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Cheers and prolonged applause rang out from the crowd at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night even before Ginsburg, a life-long opera lover who was making her official operatic debut, opened her mouth to speak as the imperious Duchess of Krakenthorp.... Her biggest laugh came when — in apparent reference to the bogus 'birther' campaign against President Obama — she asked whether [the character] Marie could produce a birth certificate and added: 'We must take precautions against fraudulent pretenders.' Ginsburg herself wrote her dialogue, in collaboration with ... [the] dramaturge for the Washington National Opera...." -- CW 

Bruce Springsteen performs at Hillary Clinton's rally in Philadelphia, November 7:

Washington Post: "Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday evening in London, becoming the first American ever to take home the prestigious award. His satirical novel 'The Sellout' beat five other finalists for the $60,000 prize, which also essentially guarantees substantial new sales and interest around the world. Amanda Foreman, chair of the Booker judges, called 'The Sellout' 'a novel for our times. . . . Its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.' Originally published last year in the United States, 'The Sellout' is an outrageously funny satire of American race relations. The protagonist, a black man whose father was killed by police, wants to reinstitute segregation in his California town. He eventually lands before the Supreme Court in a bizarre case involving slavery. 'The Sellout' also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in March." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Comic actor, movie star and America’s best friend Bill Murray tried to sum up the emotions of being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night [Oct. 23] at the Kennedy Center. 'My theme tonight is what is it like to be beloved,' a straight-faced Murray told the crowd at the end of the two-hour salute. 'It’s hard to listen to all those people be nice to you. You just get so suspicious.'”

Hill: Actor Bill Murray "spoke with President Obama, who congratulated him for winning this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a White House official said. Asked by reporters in the Oval Office if he met with Murray, Obama said 'absolutely,' but didn’t reveal what else they discussed."

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.

 

The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

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Saturday
Jun282014

The Commentariat -- June 29, 2014

** Joe Stiglitz in the New York Times, on income inequality. This is the best short discourse I've read on how the Republican Tea Party has destroyed "who we are" -- or were -- "as a nation." Also, Tim Geithner is a putz. (Stiglitz never mentions Geithner by name nor does he specifically call out Ronald Reagan & his legacy of unscrupulous wingers & selfish, self-defeating dingbat voters.) Thanks to P.D. Pepe & MAG. ...

... CW: If you want to look for a good example of what Stiglitz is talking about, one that is expected to come with tomorrow's news, Ian Millhiser of Think Progress obliges: "On Monday, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down two cases, Hobby Lobby and a lesser-known case called Harris v. Quinn. Of the two, more is actually at stake in Harris than in Hobby Lobby." If the Harris decision goes against the union, it "could set off a death spiral endangering the unions themselves." ...

     ... There's something else implied in Millhiser's piece: that the right is again using its very effective tactic of filling the air with sound & fury over "values" issues in order to hide its scheme to ruin ordinary Americans in service of the few. There's a reason John Roberts chose to issue these two decisions at the same time and -- unless Anthony Kennedy has developed a sudden fondness for healthcare workers -- Roberts' choice does not bode well for most Americans.

Julia Preston of the New York Times: "President Obama will ask Congress to provide more than $2 billion in new funds to control the surge of illegal Central American migrants at the South Texas border, and to grant broader powers for immigration officials to speed deportations of children caught crossing without their parents, White House officials said on Saturday."

Sari Horwitz, et al., of the Washington Post: "Ahmed Abu Khattala, a suspected Libyan ringleader of the 2012 terrorist embassy attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, was brought Saturday from a Navy warship to the federal courthouse in the District, where he entered a plea of not guilty to a single conspiracy charge."

Annie Rose-Strasser of Think Progress: "The latest way that Facebook has been peeking into its users' personal lives may be the most surprising yet: Facebook researches have published a scientific paper that reveals the company has been conducting psychological experiments on its users to manipulate their emotions."

Nicole Winfield of TPM: "The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to 'close our eyes to anything' when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church. Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn't expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October." Via Steve Benen.

Emma Margolin of NBC News: "Six months after losing his ordination credentials for presiding over the wedding of his gay son and for leaving open the possibility of performing future same-sex wedding ceremonies, a Pennsylvania pastor has been welcomed back into the United Methodist Church. On Tuesday, a nine-person appeals panel of church officials overturned an earlier decision to defrock Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., who in 2007 married his oldest son, Tim, to another man. The wedding took place in Massachusetts...." Via Benen.

The Gray Lady Don't Shit. Often. Ben Zimmer in Slate: According to Politico's Mike Allen, President Obama & his aides have repeatedly said in off-the-record conversations with reporters that the Obama Doctrine is "Don't do stupid shit." However, the New York Times has bowdlerized the sentence to "Don't do stupid stuff" on four separate occasions, even in articles where the "doctrine" is the point of the story; this despite the fact that the Times in the past has accurately quoted Presidents Nixon & Bush II and others when they used the word "shit." Thanks to Barbarossa for the link. ...

... In a March 2014 New York Times op-ed, which Zimmer links, lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower makes "the case for profanity." Obviously, Sheidlower lost the case. ...

... CW: I think it is fair to euphemize surprise utterances, as in the Wendy Davis example Zimmer cites, but when a public figure purposely uses profane &/or obscene language, there's no reason to, um, mince words. I suppose I wouldn't put "shit" in a headline of a mainstream news outlet. It does really aggravate me when publications print "used a profanity," so I have to go hunting the Internets to find out what the person actually said. ...

     ... "Fuck Yourself." Ten years ago, Helen Dewar & Dana Milbank of the Washington Post -- and their editors & headline writers -- handled this story just right, IMHO. Sheryl Gay Stolberg & the Times, however, completely blew it." Salty language??? Oh, shiver me timbers.

Senate Election

Philip Bump of the Washington Post on why "Chris McDaniel isn't going to win any challenge" to the results of the Mississippi GOP primary runoff.

News Lede

ISIS, We Hardly Knew Ya. Washington Post: "In an audio statement posted on the Internet, the spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced the restoration of the 7th-century Islamic caliphate, a long-declared goal of the al-Qaeda renegades who broke with the mainstream organization early this year and have since asserted control over large areas spanning the two countries. The move signifies 'a new era of international jihad,' said the spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who also declared an end to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as the group had called itself."

Friday
Jun272014

The Commentariat -- June 28, 2014

Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP: "In a scathing appraisal, a review ordered by President Barack Obama of the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system concludes that medical care for veterans is beset by 'significant and chronic system failures,' substantially verifying problems raised by whistleblowers and internal and congressional investigators. A summary of the review by deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors says the Veterans Health Administration must be restructured and that a 'corrosive culture' has hurt morale and affected the timeliness of health care." The New York Times story, by Michael Shear & Richard Oppel, is here. The summary report is here.

... this decision came from people who work in a building where the protesters aren't allowed within 250 feet of the front door. -- Gail Collins, on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision that buffer zones around abortion clinics create an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment right to free speech

Scott LeMieux has an excellent rebuttal in the Guardian to Justice Scalia's claims that the Constitution "unambiguously" forbids the President to make intrasession recess appointments. He elaborates in Lawyers, Guns & Money. ...

... Jeff Toobin demonstrates that both Scalia's dissent/concurrence & Breyer's majority opinion are pretty stupid. ...

... CW: So why don't the Supremes expect the Senate to do its job? The Constitution reads, "... he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States...." While it's true this clause appears in the presidential powers section, doesn't it also imply that the Senate has a duty to advise? To me the authors of the Constitution imply by this arrangement that (a) these appointed officers are so important that one person -- the president -- should not have the soul discretion to choose them; so (b) the Senate must consent or deny the appointment -- because these officers are so important to the functioning of the government. That is, if they're so important, they need to be in place. Putting holds on nominations, tying them up in committee, just failing to bring them to the floor, etc., represents an unconstitutional dereliction of duty. ...

... New Yorker: "Amy Davidson and Jeffrey Toobin join Amelia Lester to discuss three unanimous decisions handed down by the Supreme Court in the past week":

** Massive, Multi-$$Billion Big Brother Op Does Practically Nothing. Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "The National Security Agency was interested in the phone data of fewer than 250 people believed to be in the United States in 2013, despite collecting the phone records of nearly every American. As acknowledged in the NSA's first-ever disclosure of statistics about how it uses its broad surveillance authorities, released Friday, the NSA performed queries of its massive phone records troves for 248 'known or presumed US persons' in 2013." CW: How intrusive is that? I think your Fourth-Amendment rights are safe with the NSA. Of course it's hardly impossible that the NSA is notbeing transparent & are listening in on your phone conversation now, plotting your undoing &/or laughing at your personal foibles.

Greg Sargent: "Republicans have ... opted to be the party of maximum deportations. Now Democrats and advocates will increase the pressure on Obama to do something ambitious to ease deportations in any way he can. Whatever he does end up doing will almost certainly fall well short of what they want. But determining the true limits on what can be done to mitigate this crisis is now on him." ...

... Here's the Politico story, by Seung Min Kim & Carrie Brown, to which Sargent refers. "The best chance in three decades to rewrite immigration laws has slipped away just one year after the Senate garnered 68 votes for sweeping reform of the system, 20 months after strong Hispanic turnout for Democrats in the 2012 election sparked a GOP panic, and five years after Obama promised to act.... Reformers underestimated how impervious most House Republicans would be to persuasion from evangelicals, law enforcement and big business, and how the GOP's animus toward Obama over health care and executive actions would bleed into immigration reform." ...

... Worse Than Mitt. Ed Kilgore: "You may recall that the whole push within the Republican Party to do something on immigration was impelled by fears that Mitt Romney's 'self-deportation' position had fatally damaged the GOP's standing among Latinos. I'd say becoming the party of forced deportation by government is worse." ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "For years, [President Obama] followed a strategy of beefing up enforcement in hopes of gaining goodwill among conservatives. In the end, all that accomplished was to anger his own Hispanic supporters without producing anything of substance." ...

... CW: I do think it possible that elected Republicans would have behaved just as badly toward Obama if he were as white as the driven snow, but I just can't help seeing the connection between the GOP's rejection of all of Obama's conservative-friendly outreach efforts over the years & Thad Cochran's refusal to sponsor voting rights reform (see Greg Sargent's reporting linked below). These ole boys feel no need to reciprocate any favors from black people because they have no respect for people who aren't the same color they are. They genuinely believe they're not racists because as far as they're concerned, having people of color kowtow to them is the natural order of things, not a racist POV. Pigs.

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope's representative in the Caribbean nation. The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to have been removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse."

Congressional Races

Colleen Jenkins of Reuters: "The Tea Party-backed candidate who has refused to concede defeat to Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi's primary runoff said his campaign has found more than 1,000 instances of ballots cast by people who were ineligible to vote. Chris McDaniel said his supporters continue to look for evidence of voters who participated in the state's Democratic primary on June 3 and then voted in the Republican runoff primary on Tuesday, which would not be permitted by Mississippi law." ...

Josh Marshall of TPM: By his own definition & legal theory of "voter fraud," Chris McDaniel himself is one of the few Mississippi voters who openly committed voter fraud under a (probably unenforceable) provision of state law. Marshall admits, "Yes, the whole thing is sort of a reductio ad adsurdum down the rabbit hole of Chris McDaniels' world of derp. But this is his theory. And the theory seems to fit him way better than it fits the voters whose votes he wants to invalidate." CW: Read the whole post to get the gist of the legal/theoretical argument. ...

... Jimmie Gates of the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger: "Attorney Mark Mayfield was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday at his Ridgeland home. Mayfield, vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, and is one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.... Mayfield of Ridgeland, an attorney and state and local tea party leader, was arrested last month along with Richard Sager, a Laurel elementary school P.E. teacher and high school soccer coach. Police said they also charged John Beachman Mary of Hattiesburg, but he was not taken into custody because of 'extensive medical conditions.' All face felony conspiracy charges." The New York Times story, by Jonathan Weisman, is here. ...

... James Hohmann of Politico: "State Sen. Chris McDaniel's policy director lashed out at the GOP establishment Friday over the apparent suicide of a supporter charged with felony conspiracy related to pictures taken of Sen. Thad Cochran's wife. 'A good man is gone today [because] of a campaign to destroy lives,' Keith Plunkett, a Mississippi GOP operative, tweeted. 'To all "so called" Republican leaders who joined lockstep: I WILL NOT REST!' Plunkett deleted the post after others on Twitter responded negatively and accused him of using a tragedy for political gain." ...

... Thad Cochran to black Mississippi voters who made his primary win possible: Thanks, suckahs. P.S. I'm not supporting a fix to the Voting Rights Act. CW: Those Southern white politicians are all class acts, aren't they?

So you think Chris McDaniel is a doofus for challenging black voters who voted in a "white primary"? Well, here's a sore loser to beat all:

... Courtney Francisco of KFOR Oklahoma City: "An Oklahoma congressional candidate has announced he plans to contest Tuesday's primary election of long time Rep. Frank Lucas. In a bizarre letter obtained by NewsChannel 4, Tim Murray says ... 'it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike.' ... His campaign website goes into detail about his theory that Lucas was hanged '... executed by the world court on or about jan. 11, 2011...' in Ukraine." Via Sam Levine of the Huffington Post. ...

... Charles Pierce quotes at length from what he calls Murray's "completely awesome Website." Something about Starship & President Ford & tiny body doubles in Space (with a capital "S." CW: Okay, so the guy is a completely insane conspiracy theorist. That doesn't make him much different from much of the GOP base. I'm surprised he only got 5.2 percent of the vote, and not just because he was running against a body double (or two).

Gail Collins: Colorado GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner has had a change of heart about personhood: "Gardner had supported the unsuccessful personhood referendums in Colorado when he was a state representative. Then he went to Congress in 2010, and twice co-sponsored Life Begins at Conception bills there. Then he announced he was running for the Senate against Mark Udall. Then he announced that he had changed his position on personhood entirely.... Supporters said it was unfair to presume that his change of heart was inspired by the need to run a statewide race in a state that had twice rejected the idea by 3 to 1 majorities."

News Ledes

Reuters: "A U.N. expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday. The finding comes just days ahead of the next round of negotiations in Vienna between Iran and six world powers.... Despite Israel's public statements that the seized arms were destined for Gaza -- an allegation that Gaza's governing Islamist militant group Hamas dismissed as a fabrication -- the experts said the weapons were being sent to Sudan."

AP: "The US has confirmed it is flying armed drones over Baghdad to protect US troops who recently arrived to assess Iraq's deteriorating security. The military for more than a week has been flying manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq, averaging a few dozen sorties daily for reconnaissance, according to the Pentagon."

New York Times: "In one of the most significant coordinated assaults on the government in years, the Taliban have attacked police outposts and government facilities across several districts in northern Helmand Province, sending police and military officials scrambling to shore up defenses and heralding a troubling new chapter as coalition forces prepare to depart." ...

     ... AFP Update: "Afghan security forces on Saturday claimed victory against a Taliban offensive in the country's volatile Helmand province after days of fighting seen as a test for the country's security forces as NATO-led troops pull out."

Thursday
Jun262014

The Commentariat -- June 27, 2014

NEW. Josh Lederman of the AP: "Blasting the GOP as wilfully indifferent to American struggles, President Barack Obama issued a rebuke Friday to Republican attempts to thwart his economic agenda, offering a stark contrast that Democrats hope will yield electoral success in November. Obama's remarks at a picturesque lake in Minneapolis were billed by the White House as a speech on the economy. But as Obama ripped into his political foes before 3,500 cheering supporters, the political undertones were less than subtle":

Adam Liptak, et al., of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court issued a unambiguous rebuke to President Obama on Thursday, saying he had overreached in issuing recess appointments during brief breaks in the Senate's work. The court was unanimous in saying that Mr. Obama had violated the Constitution in 2012 by appointing officials to the National Labor Relations Board during a break in the Senate's work when the chamber was convening every three days in short pro forma sessions in which no business was conducted. Those breaks were too short, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in a majority opinion joined by the court's four other more liberal members. At the same time, the court largely reinstated an uneasy, centuries-long accommodation between the executive branch and the Senate, in which recess appointments were allowed during more substantial breaks. Justice Breyer said such appointments generally remained permissible so long as they were made during a break of 10 or more days." The ruling is here. ...

... Amy Howe of ScotusBlog explains the decision "in plain English." ...

... Lyle Denniston of ScotusBlog: "Leaning heavily upon a long history of Congress and presidents finding ways -- sometimes clumsy -- to make the federal government work, and perhaps silently wishing for a day when they might do so again, a sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday embraced a practical constitutional solution to filling temporary vacancies in U.S. government posts. Refusing to strip presidents of nearly all power to make such appointments, as four dissenters would have, the majority set some limits but still kept that authority mostly intact." ...

... David Atkins of Hullabaloo: "Honestly, recess appointments are antiquated holdover from the days before telecommunications and air travel. Allowing appointments during recess that cannot be accomplished during regular business should probably go the way of the telegraph. That said, an obstructionist Congress will now have an even easier time not only derailing a president's choice and agenda, but of hamstringing entire departments of government by simply not allowing appointments to be made at all. Which means that control of Congress is now an even bigger deal than it was before."

Adam Liptak: "The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics. The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994. The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives to abortion. The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote a relatively narrow majority opinion. He was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He suggested that the state could pursue other alternatives. Justice Antonin Scalia, in a concurrence joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, said the majority's approach was too tentative. The law, he said, is 'unconstitutional root and branch.' Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. filed a separate concurrence." Roberts' decision & other opinions are here. ...

... Lyle Denniston: "The lead opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in McCullen v. Coakley went to considerable lengths to suggest ways that cities or states could pass new laws to protect patient' access to abortion facilities. But all of those approaches, it appeared, would be to thwart actual obstruction, physical intrusion, or actual intimidation of patients, not the kind of 'counseling' that the Court found threatened by the Massachusetts law." ...

... Federal Appellate Judge Richard Posner (a conservative), on this & other recent cases: ".. .the opinion fetishizes First Amendment rights.... Who wants to be buttonholed on the sidewalk by 'uncomfortable message[s],' usually delivered by nuts? Lecturing strangers on a sidewalk is not a means by which information and opinion are disseminated in our society.... (Has Chief Justice John Roberts, the author of the opinion, ever done such a thing?) The assertion that abortion protesters 'wish to converse' with women outside an abortion clinic is naive. They wish to prevent the women from entering the clinic, whether by showing them gruesome photos of aborted fetuses or calling down the wrath of God on them. This is harassment of people who are in a very uncomfortable position; the last thing a woman about to have an abortion needs is to be screamed at by the godly."

... In-Your-Face. Tara Culp-Ressler of Think Progress: "Protesters will be allowed to crowd the sidewalks around the clinic and speak directly to patients -- something that can make people feel uncomfortable enough to avoid the clinic and skip out on the health services they need."

Laurence Tribe in Slate: "Even when the court agrees 9–0 over a case's holding, it can divide, sometimes sharply, over the reasoning and rule to be applied. And it is precisely this sort of division that we see in both Noel Canning and McCullen. A look at the two cases together illustrates the need to dig deeper to understand what this week's unanimous decisions are really all about." Justice Scalia's "concurrences," one of which he read from the bench, are really dissents.

Kate Nocera of BuzzFeed: "One year after the Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Congress is nowhere near close to moving forward with restoring a federal approval requirement for certain voting process changes. While Democratic leaders rallied this week to urge Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) -- a law to rewrite the section 4 formula -- a top House Republican [-- Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) --] said Thursday the bill wasn't going to move quickly, if at all."

The suit is a stunt. -- President Obama, on Boehner's lawsuit

... Benjamin Bell of ABC News: "Despite Republican House Speaker John Boehner's threat this week to sue President Obama over his use of executive orders, the president refused to apologize for his actions during an exclusive interview with ABC News and took the Republican Party to task for what he described as its attempt to interfere with the basic functions of government.... 'I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing,' the president added later." ...

     ... Update: Here's the interview, as broadcast this morning:

... ** Steve M.: "Why do you think Boehner got through primary season without a scratch this year, while Eric Cantor lost his job and Thad Cochran nearly did? It's because Boehner knows how toss the ravenous rubes large chunks of red meat." Also, Boehner's lawsuit against Obama, besides being made of red meat, "could be taken very, very seriously in the federal courts." Steve provides a history lesson on why. ...

... Paul Waldman, in the American Prospect, is not as impressed with Boehner's suit as are Jonathan Capehart of the WashPo (see links in yesterday's Commentariat) & Steve M.: "... it'll be an intensely partisan document whose purpose is to shake a fist at the president Republicans so despise, and it'll get tossed out of court and thrown in the dustbin where it belongs, one more futile, angry gesture from an opposition that has lost the ability to offer anything else."

Elias Isquith of Salon: "Speaking with NBC's David Gregory during an interview that will run in full during this Sunday's edition of 'Meet the Press,' former President Bill Clinton argued that there is something 'unseemly' about former Vice President Dick Cheney's willingness to criticize President Obama for the chaos and dysfunction that's still plaguing Iraq.... Clinton emphatically rejected the question's premise, saying, 'If [the second Bush administration] hadn't gone to war in Iraq none of this would be happening'":

... Philip Rucker, et al., of the Washington Post: "How the Clintons went from 'dead broke' to rich: Bill earned $104.9 million for speeches. Bill "Clinton has leveraged his global popularity into a personal fortune. Starting just two weeks after exiting the Oval Office, Clinton has delivered hundreds of paid speeches, lifting a family that was 'dead broke,' as wife Hillary Rodham Clinton phrased it earlier this month, to a point of such extraordinary wealth that it is now seen as a potential political liability if she runs for president in 2016." ...

... "Out of Context"/Out of a Job. Jon Herskovitz of Reuters: "Johnny Rhoda, who was chairman of the Republican Party in the Second Congressional District in Arkansas ... has resigned after telling a magazine former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would 'probably get shot' if she returned to the state where she was a lawyer and served as first lady, officials said on Thursday.... U.S. Representative Tim Griffin, a Republican who represents the district, labeled Rhoda's comments offensive and inappropriate and called for his resignation."

Tim Egan: Land of the free. Where a Washington state family & friend (the husband is 70) may go to jail for 10 years under mandatory sentencing laws for growing pot for medicinal purposes -- in a state where growing pot is legal.

David Stout of the New York Times: "Howard H. Baker Jr., a soft-spoken Tennessee lawyer who served three terms in the Senate and became known as 'the great conciliator' in his eight years as the chamber's Republican leader, died on Thursday at his home in Huntsville, Tenn. He was 88." ...

... The Washington Post obituary, by James Gerstenzang, is here. ...

Matt Lauer of NBC News demonstrates how to ask a successful woman a series of sexist questions. Lesson 1: Begin with "Some people say...." See, it's not your fault. Hell, you hadda ask. People are talking. Lesson 2: Imply you're not a raving chauvinist. Say something like, "I want to tread lightly here," before asking the next blatantly sexist question. Lesson 3: After the fact, think up a lame defense for this shit & post it on Facebook. Pretend you "relate." ...

... And Matt, sweetie-pie, never you mind that digby awards you Moron o' the Day status & labels your lame defense bullshit. It's just outrageous the way powerful women like digby pick on men who are only trying to "relate."

Right Wing World

The Boundless Intellectual Dishonesty of Right Wing World. Brian Beutler of the New Republic: Whether or not those missing Lois Lerner e-mails are retrieved, & no matter what is in them, the right will cry Scandal! Coverup! "Heads I win, tails you lose." Beutler calls this "maddening illogic." ...

... Boundless Intellectual Dishonesty, Ctd. Jonathan Chait: "A couple months ago, conservatives had an aha! moment when an initial report suggested that health-care spending had spiked in the first quarter of 2014. A one-time jump in health-care spending had been expected all along, but its arrival brought a chorus of triumphant cries from the right.... But the ... revised data shows that health-care spending actually shrank in the first quarter." So now right-wing pundits -- including the Wall Street Journal editors -- are screaming that the reduction in healthcare costs are ruining the economy. No matter what the facts are, ObamaCare is destroying America! ...

... Paul Krugman: "The Affordable Care Act has receded from the front page, but information about how it's going keeps coming in -- and almost all the news is good.... What's interesting about this success story is that it has been accompanied at every step by cries of impending disaster.... While it has been funny watching the right-wing cling to its delusions about health reform, it's also scary. After all, these people retain considerable ability to engage in policy mischief, and one of these days they may regain the White House. And you really, really don't want people who reject facts they don't like in that position. I mean, they might do unthinkable things, like starting a war for no good reason. Oh, wait." ...

... CW: In fairness to right-wing loons, I should add that, to a much lesser extent, this illogical, conspiracy-laden mindset exists on the left, too. The other day I was directed to a blogpost that asserted that President Obama was secretly the brains behind the recent media rollout of Iraq War hawks because he figured they would make a good case for getting the U.S. involved in military ops in Iraq again, which is what he really, really wants. Uh-huh. Maybe Obama is also the brains behind the reputed Armenian who hacked my Google account because he wants to rile up Americans to support an American-military-led Armenian coup.

CW: Ha! In a comment in yesterday's Commentariat, Kate M. wrote that as a boy, Ken Cuccinelli was a lousy soccer player. I replied, "Well, soccer is kind of a sissy European-y sport, anyway. These days, Cooch [i.e., Ken Cuccinelli] is more into manly GOP pursuits; like shooting doves at one of those phony Cheney-type hunting farms." ...

... Sure, enough, comes now the lovely Ann Coulter to back me up. And then some. Elias Isquith: "In her latest syndicated column right-wing troll and pundit Ann Coulter rails against the growing popularity of soccer in the U.S., which she blames on a pro-soccer liberal media and America's millions of immigrants. 'Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay,' Coulter writes before listing all of the reasons why she thinks soccer sucks.

... CW: I am getting way too good at channeling crazy bigots. ...

     ... Update. Well, not as smart as I thought. Apparently one can become a Doctor of Conspiracy, which trumps me. Dr. Keith Ablow (no idea what kinda doctor he actually is) said on a Fox "News" show that he suspected the purpose of all the hoo-hah over the World Cup matches was to district Americans from paying attention to all of President Obama's problems.

Beyond the Beltway

James Hohmann of Politico: "A Wisconsin special prosecutor clarified Thursday that GOP Gov. Scott Walker was not the target of his investigation into what he described in earlier court papers as a 'criminal scheme.'"

Eric Russell of the Portland Press-Herald: Maine Gov. Paul LePage (RTP), unhappy because federal stats show Maine had the worst income-growth rate in New England & one of the worst in the nation, largely because Maine refuses to accept the ACA Medicaid expansion, simply eliminated federal payments from the stats -- payments from Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc., called them all "welfare, pure and simple," then recalculated the income figures -- a "welfare-free" recalculation that made Maine appear to be in line with other New England states. CW: I wonder if LePage's old fart Tea Party backers will be upset to find out he considers them welfare moochers. His opponents hope s & are milking his remarks.

Legal Corruption/Business as Usual in New Jersey. Jon Swaine of the Guardian: "Corporations that contributed millions of dollars to the Chris Christie-led Republican Governors Association and other GOP campaigns have received public funding deals worth almost $1.25bn from his New Jersey administration in less than two years. A review of the 30 biggest corporate subsidies awarded by the state of New Jersey since Christie appointed one of his closest allies as head of the state's 'bank for business' found that 21 went to ventures involving firms that made significant donations to Republicans, or had senior executives who did.... The Guardian's findings prompted calls from Democratic state legislators and watchdog groups for reforms to the New Jersey economic development authority (EDA), which awards the subsidies and is led by Michele Brown, a close friend and veteran aide to Christie."

Monica Davey of the New York Times: "In a city that desperately needs to hold onto residents, there is a virtual pipeline out [of Detroit]. At least 70,000 foreclosures have taken place since 2009 because of delinquent property taxes. And more than 43,000 properties -- more than one in 10 in this city -- were subject to foreclosure this year, some of them headed for a public auction where prices can start as low as $500.... Several factors have brought the city to the point that crucial revenues are not being collected and thousands of houses are being taken away each year -- not by banks..., but by the government, for failure to pay taxes. Contributing are soaring rates of poverty, high taxes despite painfully diminished city services and a long pattern of lackadaisical tax collection by the city." ...

... Liz Dwyer of Take Part: "Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department has begun turning off the taps of 150,000 residents who are at least two months behind on payments. People are being left without a drop to drink and no ability to bathe or use the toilet. Now a coalition of water and human rights activists has banded together to ask the United Nations to step in and end the disconnections."

News Ledes

Detroit Free Press: "General Motors late Friday said it will recall 446,066 four-wheel drive pickups and SUVs to prevent them from rolling away when the transfer case accidentally shifts into neutral. These are among the company's best-selling and most profitable vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs from the 2014 and 2015 model years. It's the 48th recall for the company so far this year, covering more than 20 million vehicles, a record." CW: None of this would have happened if GM CEO Mary Barra were a better mother.

New York Times: "Iraq's top Shiite cleric on Friday urged the country's divided political factions to select a prime minister by early next week in a public call for a political solution that increases the pressure on the embattled prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Speaking from the holy city of Karbala, Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalaie, a cleric representing Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on Iraq's political blocs to select a new leader before the recently elected Parliament sits on Monday."

AP: "President Barack Obama is seeking to bolster U.S. efforts to train and arm select members of the Syrian opposition, a move that comes amid increased U.S. concern that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are becoming an intertwined fight against the same Sunni extremist group. Obama sent Congress a $500 million request Thursday for a Pentagon-run program that would significantly expand previous covert efforts to arm rebels fighting both the Sunni extremists and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad."

AP: "Ukraine's new president signed a trade and economic pact with the European Union on Friday, pushing his troubled country closer into a European orbit and angering Russia, which warned of unspecified consequences."

Wednesday
Jun252014

The Commentariat -- June 26, 2014

Since you suspicious lot are not buying the scam financial & dietary products I've been hawking here, I have tried yet another stunt to lose my Armenian "business partner." I'll give it a day to see if Stunt 2 works. -- Marie of Armenia

Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday that he intended to initiate a federal lawsuit seeking to declare President Obama’s executive orders as an unconstitutional power grab by one branch of the government." ...

... Dana Milbank: "To sue the president, Republicans are tying themselves in ideological knots. After howling about excessive lawsuits, they are embracing long-shot litigation. After lamenting activist judges, they are now insisting that judges be more activist and shed their long-standing reluctance to adjudicate disputes between the elected branches.... But the real problem with the lawsuit approach is that it misunderstands the cause of the problem: congressional dysfunction." ...

... Jonathan Capehart has a terrific post on the GOP's history of moves to obstruct President Obama (and government in general, of course), of which this latest is only one. And, yeah, crazy ol' George Will is still in the loop; his advocacy last weekend for just such a move certainly did not spring from the head of Zeus George. ...

... Capehart has a follow-up post which features this chart from the Brookings Institution:

CLICK ON THE CHART TO SEE A LARGER IMAGE.     ... Capehart, citing Brookings: "Republicans are right: President Obama is absolutely unique … in how infrequently he issues them! The last president to issue executive orders at such a slow rate was Grover Cleveland who served from 1885-1889 & 1893-1897. What’s more, Republican complaints about President Obama’s use of such powers is a bit ironic, given historically Republican presidents use executive orders more frequently." As for Capehart, he call Boehner's lawsuit "a dress rehearsal for Obama’s impeachment." ...

    ... CW: Worth Noting: there are executive orders & executive orders. While I suspect the chart is a more-or-less accurate reflection of presidential assertion, if, for instance, FDR had limited his orders to fixing the date of Thanksgiving Day (he didn't) while Dubya had used them solely for starting wars (he didn't), then the chart would be meaningless. A chart of "meaningful" or "substantive" orders would be highly subjective. One might be able to put a dollar value to each order -- though again conclusions would be nebulous -- but even then, does an order that saves $1BB cancel out one that costs $1BB, or is the total there $2BB? 

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest. While the decision will offer protection to the 12 million people arrested every year, many for minor crimes, its impact will most likely be much broader. The ruling almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies." The opinion, by Chief Justice Roberts, is here. ...

... Amy Howe of ScotusBlog explains the ruling "in plain English." ...

... In Salon, Marcy Wheeler links the decision with the Snowden disclosures (and to an earlier Sotomayor opinion). CW: I'm surprised others have not remarked on the Snowden connection. As for this being a liberal opinion, I'm not so sure. I think conservatives have always been attuned to privacy rights, though it's tough for them because they love the police state law-and-order so much.

... CW: In a column titled "The Supreme Court Justices Have Cellphones, Too," Linda Greenhouse amplifies what I wrote a few days ago about conservatives lacking empathy: "I had planned to conclude my discussion of the court and the search cases with a mention of 'empathy,' the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes, so often missing from the Supreme Court’s criminal law decisions but perhaps on display here. But on reflection, it’s not really empathy. The justices are walking in their own shoes. The ringing cellphone could be theirs — or ours."

Adam Liptak & Emily Steel of the New York Times: "In a case with far-reaching implications for the television industry, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Aereo, a start-up streaming service, had violated copyright laws by capturing broadcast signals on miniature antennas and delivering them to subscribers for a fee. The 6-3 decision was a victory for the major television networks, which had argued that Aereo’s business model amounted to a theft of their programming. The judges’ ruling leaves the current broadcast model intact while imperiling Aereo’s viability as a business after just over two years in existence.... In a dissent that expressed distaste for Aereo’s business model, Justice Antonin Scalia said the service had identified a loophole in the law. “It is not the role of this court to identify and plug loopholes,” he wrote.Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the dissent." The opinion, written by Justice Breyer, is here. ...

... Lyle Denniston of ScotusBlog analyzes the opinion.

Hannah Fairfield & Adam Liptak of the New York Times on the liberal views of individual justices, based on their 2013 opinions:

CW: Sam Alito & Clarence Thomas are liberal 40 percent of the time. Really? This would get the right wing a-squawkin' -- if they only read the Times.

Jessica Miller, et al., of the Salt Lake Tribune: "A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that states outlawing same-sex marriage are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. By upholding a Utah judge’s decision, a three-member panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver became the first appeals court in the nation to rule on the issue, setting a historic precedent that voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same-sex couples to equal protection and due process. But the court immediately stayed the implementation of its decision, pending an anticipated appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Utah attorney general’s office said Wednesday it will initiate that appeal."

Steve Benen: "This was the worst quarter for economic growth since the first quarter of 2009 – when the economy was facing a massive crisis. So, is this GDP report cause for alarm? It’s certainly not good news, but for a few reasons, it’s probably best to keep the handwringing in check. For one thing, most economists and financial-industry analysts expect the economy to bounce back in the second quarter, which ends next week." Also, unlike in 2009, the economy is adding jobs, not hemorrhaging them.

Eric Lipton of the New York Times: "The Office of Congressional Ethics, in a preliminary review, unanimously concluded in March that there was 'substantial reason to believe that Representative [Michael] Grimm [R-N.Y.] threatened a reporter with bodily harm and engaged in a threatening or menacing act that created a fear of immediate injury,' which would violate local law in the District of Columbia as well as House ethics rules. The investigation took place after Mr. Grimm, a second-term Republican from Staten Island and a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, threatened to 'break' a NY1 reporter and throw him off a House office building balcony at the end of a television interview with the reporter. Any further investigation of the threats against the NY1 reporter, Michael Scotto, is being put off at the request of federal criminal investigators. They separately charged Mr. Grimm with fraud in April...." ...

... CW: It's reassuring to know, isn't it, that members of Congress find this kind of behavior unethical? --

Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times: "More than four dozen Iraqi citizens are scheduled to travel to Washington to testify in court against the former Blackwater guards who they say fired wildly on unarmed citizens, leaving 17 Iraqis dead."

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times: "The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a 'slippery slope' into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits."

Maya Rhodan of Time: "The Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday that two senior officials are stepping down next week as the agency looks to rebound from a scandal over concealing long wait times for veterans to get care. The VA said the resignation of Will A. Gunn, the current General Counsel, and the replacement of Dr. Robert Jesse, the acting Under Secretary for Health, are 'aimed at accelerating Veterans’ access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America’s Veterans.'”

Oboy. Another Issa-generated scandal: the EPA can't retrieve some 2009 e-mails Darrell Issa says he has to have. This Lost E-Mails thing is a bonanza for him. He can just keep asking agencies for more e-mails. Not infrequently, he'll find out their antiquated archival system crashed. Then he calls a presser & yells SCANDAL!!! COVER-UP!!! Why, Issa hard has to do any work at all. ...

... Dave Weigel: "New IRS Scandal: Lois Lerner Thought About Doing Something, Then Didn’t Do It."

Ari Rabin-Havt, in Salon: WalMart "fact-checks" Tim Egan's last column -- with anecdotes. Or less.

Senate Race

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: In helping Republican Sen. Thad Cochran win the GOP primary against Tea party challenger Chris McDaniel, Mississippi's black voters remember the martyred Rev. George Lee of Belzoni, who fought for black voting rights in the 1950s. “'I’m sure that George Lee would be smiling at the impact that black voters have had in trying to determine the next senator for the state of Mississippi, 50 years after the Freedom Summer, and the passage of the civil rights bill,” []Wardell] Walton, who served as mayor [of Belzoni] from 2005 to 2013, said in a telephone interview after the polls closed. 'His life and death was not in vain.'” ...

... Harry Enten of Five-Thirty-Eight: "... we have county-level results to go on, and that data [sic.] suggests that traditionally Democratic voters provided Cochran with his margin of victory." ...

... Here's Another Way to Put It. Daniel Strauss of TPM: "Conservative Freakout Blames 'Uncle Tom' And Voter Fraud For McDaniel Loss." ...

... New York Times Editors: "Now it’s time for Mr. Cochran to return the favor by supporting a stronger Voting Rights Act and actively working to reduce his party’s extreme antigovernment policies." ...

     ... Update: Sam Levine of the Huffington Post: "In an interview with HuffPost Live, Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, said that Cochran could thank black voters by supporting efforts to re-establish protections in the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down last year." As Johnson points out, Cochran would have lost if not for the civil rights movement's efforts to restore voting rights to black Southerners.

Anna Palmer of Politico: "On Wednesday afternoon, [McDaniel's] campaign released a statement saying they would look into 'irregularities' before deciding whether to challenge his loss." ...

Ken Cuccinelli, dove hunting in King George's County, Va., during his losing campaign for governor.... CW: My favorite part of Palmer's report: "Senate Conservatives Fund’s Ken Cuccinelli hung up on a POLITICO reporter when asked if they would consider challenging the result in court." Emphasis added. I recall Kate Madison's saying that Little Kenny had obnoxiously good manners. Apparently he got over that. ...

... Ed Kilgore: "... what these birds are really complaining about is black participation in a 'white primary.' This is certainly not an argument consistent with broadening the appeal of the GOP or the conservative movement."

Yo, Chris. The GOP Presidential Primaries Are for Losers, Too. Steve M. thinks McDaniel is setting his sights way too low: "He should declare himself a Republican candidate for president. He should say he's taking on the entire party establishment.... Could he actually win it? Maybe not -- but just being a contender would open up a much more elevated level of right-wing grift to him. Go for it, Chris. Visit Iowa and New Hampshire soon."

Dave Weigel of Slate: Actually, the Tea party has had a pretty bad primary season all around, Eric Cantor's defeat notwithstanding. ...

... Molly Ball of the Atlantic. "The Tea party blew it.... Tuesday's Republican primaries were the Tea Party's last chance. And the Tea Party struck out. In Mississippi, challenger Chris McDaniel failed to dethrone six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the second round of their hard-fought contest. In Oklahoma, Representative James Lankford won by a massive margin over conservative favorite T.W. Shannon. The Tea Party industrial complex — groups like the Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks, figures like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz — invested heavily in both races and came up short. Now both of these red states will almost assuredly send Republican senators to Washington who owe the national Tea Party nothing, and quite likely wish it ill.... In state after state this Republican primary season—particularly in Senate races—candidates acceptable to the party's business wing have defeated, co-opted, or marginalized right-wing populists." ...

... Palin, of course, remains the gracious, articulate loser she always was. ...

     ... CW: Funny thing is, it sounds to me as if the towns of the Mississippi Delta where people came out to vote for Cochran are precisely the sort of places Palin had in mind when she described "real America":

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. -- Sarah Palin, in Greensboro, North Carolina, October 2008

Whatevah could be the difference?

OR, Maybe Gail Collins Gets It Right: "Nobody came straight out and said: 'Look, Mississippi gets three bucks back from the federal government for every dollar we send in. Don’t kill the golden goose.' But the message was pretty clear, and in some ways a little revolutionary. Like voters in many poor, conservative states, Mississippians have spent decades happily deluding themselves that they’re victims of Washington rather than its top beneficiaries. You could argue that Thad Cochran staged an intervention for his state’s residents, in which he pierced, at least temporarily, their veil of denial."

Congressional Race

Kate Taylor of the New York Times: "Representative Charles B. Rangel, the Harlem Democrat who said he wanted to be able to decide on his own when to retire from a career in Congress that began in 1971, held off a determined challenge by State Senator Adriano D. Espaillat to win the primary for a run for a 23rd term. Mr. Rangel’s lead of about 1,800 votes in the primary held on Tuesday was enough to overcome any gains Mr. Espaillat could make in the counting of absentee and affidavit ballots filled out by voters at the polls, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday afternoon, citing new information from the New York City Board of Elections. Mr. Rangel had 47.4 percent of the vote; Mr. Espaillat, 43.6 percent."