Afternoon Update:Patricia Zengerle of Reuters: "The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia's government for damages, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto. The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks, strongly object to the bill. They had said they might sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets in retaliation if it became law. Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a...co-sponsor, said the bill is overdue. Asked if Senate Democrats would back a veto, Schumer said he would vote against Obama. -- Akhilleus
Kate Linthicum of The Los Angeles Times: "Bernie Sanders and Democratic party leaders clashed Tuesday over violence that erupted over the weekend at the Nevada Democratic convention, which party official blamed on a disgruntled group of Sanders supporters. At issue in the escalating argument: Whether the fire that Sanders has lit among millions of supporters with his critiques of Wall Street greed and political corruption will burn the party this summer." -- Akhilleus
Erin Kelly of USA Today: "With the summer mosquito-season fast approaching, the Senate voted Tuesday to advance a bipartisan compromise that would provide $1.1 billion to help public health officials battle the Zika virus as it begins to threaten the continental United States...The Senate compromise provides $800 million less than the $1.9 billion that President Obama has been seeking since February. But it is far more than the House is proposing. Republican House leaders introduced legislation Monday that would provide $622 million in Zika funding." -- Akhilleus
And Speaking of Zika...Norman Ornstein in The Atlantic predicted that this congress, which he considers the worst ever, "...will slap together something on Zika and opioids, and declare victory. Most likely, it will be too little, too late, and taxpayers will foot larger bills in subsequent years, while too many people will suffer, and too many will die." Ornstein writes that it is "...no exaggeration to call the current, 114th Congress the worst ever at least edging out the infamous 112th."
Akhilleus: If anything, Ornstein is too generous in his assessment. He doesn't attempt to answer the question of "Why Johnny Can't Govern", but we all know why. Confederates hate government, don't care about governing, and couldn't do it if you paid them. Oh wait...
Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down an unusual order seeking more briefing in Zubik v. Burwell, a challenge to Obama administration regulations intended to expand access to birth control. Under the regulations at issue in Zubik, most employees must include contraceptive coverage in their employer-provided health plan...Tuesday's order suggests that the Court is willing to give an 80% victory to the Obama administration. Though their current rules might be struck down, the Court appears ready to greenlight a slight tweak to those rules that would still ensure that most women employed by religious objectors obtain birth control coverage." -- Akhilleus
Garrett Epps of The Atlantic: "The United States Supreme Court, whose Oz-like roar until recently terrified all who heard, is now short a justice and is slowly coming undone. Its voice from the bench, like HAL's [the ominous computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey], is slowing and blurring. The Court's per curiam 'decision' in Zubik v. Burwell, announced Monday, is the latest evidence of its slide toward paralysis." -- Akhilleus
Primary Day in Kentucky and Oregon: Eric Braden of CNN: "If Bernie Sanders is going to catch Hillary Clinton, he'll need to narrow the delegate gap -- significantly -- on Tuesday night. Two Democratic presidential primaries are taking place: Kentucky, with 61 delegates up for grabs, and Oregon, with 74 delegates. For Sanders, erasing Clinton's lead in pledged delegates (currently 1,722 to 1,424) will take winning about two-thirds of those that remain. That's to say nothing of Clinton's huge edge among superdelegates -- a project Sanders is saving for later." -- Akhilleus
Today in the Horse Race: NBC News: Hillary Clinton Holds Slight Lead Over Donald Trump. "Attention is now rapidly moving to the hypothetical match-up between the leading candidates with an emphasis on a Clinton and Trump contest. In this week's poll, Americans are nearly split between their choice of Trump or Clinton; her margin over Trump narrows from 5 points last week to 3 points this week to 48 percent to 45 percent." -- Akhilleus
If You Can Stand It: Dan McAdams, a psychologist, explores the mind of Donald Trump in The Atlantic: "Who, really, is Donald Trump? What's behind the actor's mask? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost. It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump, fighting to win, but never knowing why."
Akhilleus: Spelunking gear and disinfectant not included.
An Image None of Us Needs: "Last Week Tonight host John Oliver gave perhaps the best description so far of Donald Trump's tenuous relationship with the Republican establishment. 'Trump and the Republican establishment are like a teenage Christian couple who've made an abstinence pledge,' Oliver said. 'They are going to have sex. It is just a matter of time. But they still need to make a big show of resisting it for anyone who might be paying attention.'" -- Akhilleus
Another Minority Group Insulted. Emily Crockett on Vox: "In a Friday interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump mocked Elizabeth Warren by referring to her as 'Pocahontas'...'Trump’s inability to discern the difference between Sen. Warren and Pocahontas is no accident,' Cherokee Nation citizen Mary Kathryn Nagle told MSNBC's Adam Howard on Monday. 'Instead, his attack on her native identity reflects a dominant American culture that has made every effort to diminish native women to nothing other than a fantastical, oversexualized, Disney character.'" -- Akhilleus
Beyond the Media
It's All So Unfair! Charlie Pierce in Esquire: Noted Genius Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Forced to Meet Glenn Beck [and other outraged Confederate "intellectuals"]. You may recall that, last week, there was another outbreak of conservative hemorrhagic outrage when a former Facebook contractor charged that people working at the social media behemoth were downplaying conservative entries in Facebook's "trending topics" feature...What's the point of having fck-you money if you can't say fck you to Glenn Beck? ...
... Akhilleus: What I'd like to know is whatever happened to that bullshit about freeeedom to run your own business as you see fit? Rand Paul wants nothing more than to toss black people out of his eye poking shop because freeeedom. Is anyone suggesting that Fox News live up to its "Fair and Balanced" lies? Certainly not. I guess that freedom business only applies to wingnut cranks and Confederate oligarchs.
Beyond the Beltway
Old Times There Are Not Forgotten. Emma Brown of the Washington Post: 62 Years after Brown v Board of Education, "A federal judge has ordered a school district in the Mississippi Delta to desegregate its middle and high schools, capping a legal battle that has dragged on for more than five decades...The order, written by Judge Debra M. Brown and released late Friday, comes 62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education. And it comes a half-century after Cleveland families first sued the district for continuing to operate racially segregated schools. 'The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally-guaranteed right of an integrated education,' Brown wrote. 'Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.'"
Akhilleus: Hey, they were gettin' to it. Any decade now them darkies would have been allowed to sit in a classroom with the white kids.
Scott Walker's Voter ID Law on Trial: Jesse Opoien of the Cap Times in Madison, WI: "Attorneys challenging a series of Wisconsin voting laws implemented over the last five years argued Monday that lawmakers intended to discriminate against non-white voters by passing them. The trial began with a former Republican legislative staffer testifying that not only was that the intent, but some state senators were "giddy" to do so. 'Restricting access to the ballot box was not simply a consequence, but the very purpose of these laws,' lawyer Josh Kaul told the court, asking not only to have the laws struck down, but for a judge to find they were passed with discriminatory intent." -- Akhilleus
Way Beyond the Beltway
The Bush-Cheney Debacle Continues to Pay Dividends. Krishnadev Kalamur in The Atlantic: "Two separate sets of attacks in Shia-dominated parts of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, have killed dozens and wounded several others, Iraqi officials said. ISIS claimed responsibility for two car-bomb attacks in Shaab, in northeastern Baghdad, killing at least 28 people. A third blast then hit Sadr City, killing at least 14 people. Those numbers came from the Associated Press. Al Arabiya, the Arabic-language broadcaster, has a higher death toll." -- Akhilleus
On Another Planet
Tea Party Not Far Enough to the Right. Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review (Idaho): "In Idaho's northernmost legislative district, Republican Party politics has been pulled farther to the right in recent years with the rise of the tea party. But now a new element is pushing the party farther still: the arrival of conservative Christian 'preppers' fleeing more populated states, who see the region as a 'redoubt' -- a place to settle and defend themselves when the whole country goes bad.
Akhilleus: These people seem genuinely unhinged. In addition to Idaho, they're targeting Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. This is like whole towns taken over by Bundy type, government hating, evangelical law unto themselves types. They even have their own real estate operations alerting like minded loons to move there to help with the takeover. A longtime resident of the area and staunch, lifelong right-wing Republican is being attacked by the insurgents as a 'liberal authoritarian progressive' [who] accused her of 'gun grabbing' and wanting to 'tax more so she can spend more on her socialists [sic], pro-homosexual union allies working in governmental schools.'" Wow.