Rachel Swarns of the New York Times: "All four of Mrs. Obama’s grandparents had multiracial forebears." CW: Your History Lesson for Today is pretty compelling; read to the end. On Father's Day, it doesn't hurt to remember that there are fathers & there are fathers. Some of us have the kinds of fathers we buy ties & weed-eaters for; some of us don't.
Annie Gearan of the AP: "President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will use their meeting Monday, the first since Putin returned to Russia's top job, to claim leverage in a mutually dependent but volatile relationship."
Washington Post: "Leaders of the University of Virginia's governing board ousted President Teresa Sullivan last week largely because of her unwillingness to consider dramatic program cuts in the face of dwindling resources and for her perceived reluctance to approach the school with the bottom-line mentality of a corporate chief executive. Sullivan's resignation after less than two years has prompted an unprecedented backlash...: a flurry of no-confidence votes and protest letters from groups of faculty, administrators and students; a 2,000-signature petition; and a Facebook protest page with more than 3,000 members." CW: strange there's no byline on this story.
Frances Kissling & Peter Singer in a Washington Post op-ed: "Global climate leaders will have a lot of pressing challenges on the table at the Rio+20 conference. It's time to take the meat off their plates."
David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "The Environmental Protection Agency was spying on Midwestern farmers with the same aerial 'drones' used to kill terrorists overseas. This month, the idea has been repeated in TV segments, on multiple blogs and by at least four congressmen. The only trouble is, it isn’t true.... The EPA isn't using drone aircraft -- in the Midwest or anywhere else. The hubbub over nonexistent drones provides a look at something hard to capture in American politics: the vibrant, almost viral, life cycle of a falsehood." CW: Yeah, and like all these false stories, this one is a zombie that lives on -- especially thanks to Fox "News" & a few Republican MOC's like Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska.
GOP Croupier Extraordinaire. Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy casino owner, is committing to give at least an additional $10 million to conservative groups expected to play a major role in this year's presidential and Congressional elections, cementing his growing role as one of the country's leading political financiers."
He Can Still Pander Now. Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "Appearing via video at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual meeting Saturday morning, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) delivered a speech that hinged on social issues but also focused in on what remains the top issue in the presidential election -- the economy.... At times, he struck a note that bore similarities to the message former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) delivered on the campaign trail."
La-Di-Da! Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Jan Ebeling, Mrs. Romney's longtime riding tutor, and his horse Rafalca, co-owned by Mrs. Romney, earned a berth on the United States Olympic dressage team on Saturday.... While Mr. Romney was barnstorming on a bus tour of swing states, Mrs. Romney watched from a V.I.P. tent as Mr. Ebeling executed a smooth 'test' of flying changes, in which Rafalca seemed to skip down the arena, and piaffes, an in-place trot." CW: bit of a contrast between the Ann Romney & Michelle Obama stories in today's NYT. ...
... Stephen Colbert makes dressage his official sport of the summer:
The President's Weekly Address:
... The transcript is here. Mary Bruce of ABC News: "President Obama today blamed Republicans in Congress for the flailing economic recovery, saying 'every problem we face is within our power to solve. What's lacking is our politics.'"
Kyle Cheney of Politico: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg talks about the Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act -- and no, she does not reveal what it was. "Ginsburg noted that one ACA-related question the court must decide is whether the whole law must fall if the individual mandate is unconstitutional -- 'or may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of it?'"
Adam Sorensen of Time: "The president's circumvention of Congress on the issue of deporting young undocumented immigrants is sure to rile Republicans, but as a short-term political tactic it's a masterstroke." CW: since the President is acting by executive order, any president can rescind it by executive order -- which is one more reason not to vote for "self-deportin'" Romney. ...
... Glenn Greenwald: "Like LGBT activists, Latinos continuously pressured Obama, and now they have an important victory to show for it." ...
... What He Said. I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is, of course, a short-term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents. -- Mitt Romney ...
... What He Means. I'll send the kids back to Mexico on Day One of my presidency. -- Mitt Romney, in his DREAMS
... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Just hours after word leaked out that the Obama administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents, the issue is already causing headaches for the Republican Party.... The company line from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and prominent senators like Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Friday was a process argument, in which they decry the decision to make the move without Congress’s consent." ...
... Entre la Espada y la Pared. Helene Cooper & Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "... the president's announcement put Mr. Romney, whose party is already split on the issue, in a tough spot, pressuring him to choose between further alienating Latino voters who chafed at the anti-illegal immigration stances he took in the primary season and alienating conservatives who reject policies resembling amnesty." ...
... Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon: "After repeatedly vowing to veto the DREAM Act, [Mitt Romney] suggests he has no problem with Obama's new policy." CW: what Romney finagled was endorsement by proxy. Since President Obama's executive order is very similar to the watered-down DREAM Act Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he was drafting (but never did), Rubio had to give Obama a limp thumbs-up (results good/process bad), so Romney sez "What Marco said." ...
... Romney Runs Aground. Steve Kornacki of Salon: Obama's move takes the wind out of Romney's likely course, which would be to tack to the middle & endorse Rubio's DREAM-y plan (which he had not yet done).
P. J. Crowley, a former assistant secretary of state under President Obama who quit under pressure after criticizing the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, writes a Washington Post op-ed about the utility of leaks. "The intelligence committees are suggesting that we should say less. But there is a strong argument that we must communicate more."
Gail Collins has her de Tocqueville moment: "Our biggest political division is the war between the empty places and the crowded places.... People who live in crowded places tend to appreciate government. It's the thing that sets boundaries on public behavior, protects them from burglars and cleans the streets.... The people who live in empty places don't see the point. If a burglar decides to break in, that's what they've got guns for. Other folks don't get in their way because their way is really, really remote. Who needs government?"
Grumpy McCain Goes Way Off-Message: "Corporations Are Not People." Josh Israel of Think Progress: "Though he has been one of Mitt Romney's most visible supporters, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took aim yesterday at both Romney's Super PAC and one of Romney's most controversial talking points.... McCain told Judy Woodruff that because casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson makes a huge portion of his profits from a casino in Macau, his massive spending in support of Mitt Romney and other right-wing candidates is a form of foreign money influencing American elections":
Steve Benen: "Rob Gray, a senior adviser on Romney's gubernatorial campaign who has no position in Romney's presidential campaign, says Republicans are "rooting against the economy" in hopes it will help their electoral prospects. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link:
(... Yo, Frank Bruni. Now, that is candor.)
Here's video of "reporter" Neil Munro of the conservative Daily Caller interrupting President Obama during his remarks yesterday. 99.9 percent of journalists know better. Video of the President's full remarks is in yesterday's News Ledes:
... Elizabeth Flock of US News: "In what may be a first for the White House Rose Garden, President Obama was heckled by a reporter during his speech on immigration Friday." Includes tweet from Tucker Carlson, who runs the Daily Caller: "We are very proud of Neil for doing his job." ...
... Brian Stelter of the New York Times has a comprehensive report, including reactions & background, including this: "Among Mr. Carlson's investors is Foster Friess, the financier who has donated millions to Republican candidates this year." ...
... "Frat-Boy Conservatism." Joan Walsh: "The right pretends to respect authority -- except when it's held by a Democrat.... It's unbelievable how wingnuts treat this man with such unprecedented and bullying disrespect: from Rep. Joe Wilson screaming 'You lie' ... to Speaker John Boehner denying him his choice of dates for another congressional address (for the first time in history) last fall, to Donald Trump's persistent, humiliating demands for the president to show him his papers (with no rebuke from ally Mitt Romney).... The Romney campaign has been glorying in this new form of frat-boy conservatism, first sending campaign supporters to heckle Obama adviser David Axelrod during a press conference, and yesterday sending its bus to circle and disrupt an Obama event, honking its horn."
... When You Need an Etiquette Lesson from Gawker..., You Don't Belong on the White House Lawn. Emma Carmichael of Gawker: "Press conferences have a very simple etiquette that is only heightened when the speaker in question is the leader of the free world. You listen to someone speak.... Munro, who was reportedly wearing 'temporary'" press badges today, now maintains that Obama was the rude party."
News Ledes, June 17
AP: "The Muslim Brotherhood declared early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election, even as the military handed themselves the lion's share of power over the new president.... With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals made themselves the country's lawmakers, gave themselves control over the budget and will determine who writes the permanent constitution that will define the country's future." Washington Post story here.
AP: "Drawing on memories of her childhood and early career, Michelle Obama told Oregon State University graduates Sunday to live life for themselves, not for anyone else. The first lady spoke at the invitation of her older brother, Craig Robinson, the head men's basketball coach at Oregon State."
New York Times: "In a slow, somber procession, several thousand demonstrators conducted a silent march on Sunday down Fifth Avenue to protest the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policies, which the organizers say single out minority groups and create an atmosphere of martial law for the city’s black and Latino residents." The Daily News story puts the number at "tens of thousands."
New York Times: "Rodney G. King, whose 1991 videotaped beating by the Los Angeles police became a symbol of the nation's continuing racial tensions and subsequently led to a week of deadly race riots after the officers were acquitted, was found dead Sunday in a swimming pool at the home he shared with his fiancée in Rialto, Calif. He was 47." Los Angeles Times story here.
New York: "Just days after seven Republican senators on the Foreign Relations Committee urged President Obama to pick a new nominee for the ambassadorship to Iraq, the White House is doubling down on Brett McGurk."
New York Times: "The Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination born in 1845 in defense of slavery and a spiritual home to white supremacists for much of the 20th century, is poised to elect its first African-American president. The Rev. Fred Luter Jr., 55, a New Orleans pastor who got his start preaching on the streets of the Lower Ninth Ward, is expected to be the only candidate for office on Tuesday when Southern Baptists gather [in New Orleans] for their annual meeting."
New York Times: "President François Hollande's Socialists and their allies won an absolute majority in runoff parliamentary elections on Sunday, strengthening the hand of Mr. Hollande both at home and in Europe, where he is pressing for less austerity and more growth in the face of a deepening recession."
New York Times: "Greeks turned out on Sunday to vote in elections that once again are being seen as a referendum on the country's membership in the euro." ...
... Update: "Greek voters on Sunday gave a narrow victory in parliamentary elections to a party that had supported a bailout for the country's failed economy. The vote was widely seen as a last chance for Greece to remain in the euro zone, and the results had an early rallying effect on world markets."
New York Times: "Egyptians turned out at the polls in lower-than-expected numbers again Sunday for the second day of the runoff to choose their first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, a sign of a low morale and lack of enthusiasm as military rulers tightened their grip on the government." ...
... Haaretz: "Israeli security officials say that the rockets that landed on Friday in the area near Ovda and Mitzpeh Ramon, were launched after a request by senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt."
New York Times: "The was suspending its observer mission in Syria because of the escalating violence, the most severe blow yet to months of international efforts to negotiate a peace plan and prevent Syria's descent into civil war."said Saturday that it
Washington Post: "A June 1 attack on a U.S. outpost near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was much worse than originally disclosed by the military as insurgents pounded the base with a truck bomb, killing two Americans and seriously wounding about three dozen troops, officials acknowledged Saturday. The blast flattened the dining hall and post exchange at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province, a frequent target of insurgents in the past. Five Afghan civilians were killed and more than 100 other U.S. troops were treated for minor injuries. U.S. officials estimated that the truck was carrying 1,500 pounds of explosives."
News Ledes, June 16
New York Times: "Polls opened on Saturday as Egyptians began two days of voting in the country's presidential runoff election, choosing between ousted former President Hosni Mubarak's former prime minister and an Islamist candidate."
AP: "China launched its most ambitious space mission yet on Saturday, carrying its first female astronaut and two male colleagues in an attempt to dock with an orbiting module and work on board for more than a week."
AP: "Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Saturday ordered the restart of two nuclear reactors, a move that returns Japan to atomic power but also counters public concern about its dangers."
Washington Post: "A Secret Service employee implicated in the agency's prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, this year was a supervisor with security information about President Obama's visit there. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan ... delayed two weeks before disclosing that information to congressional oversight committees in the wake of the public revelations about the scandal...."
AP: "Sharpening an election-year confrontation over religious freedom and government health insurance rules, the nation's Catholic hospitals on Friday rejected President Barack Obama's compromise for providing birth control coverage to their women employees."
AP: "Crown Prince Nayef, the hardline interior minister who spearheaded Saudi Arabia's fierce crackdown crushing al-Qaida's branch in the country after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and then rose to become next in line to the throne, has died. He was in his late 70s."
AP: "There was 'wind coming from every which way,' mist so powerful it clouded his vision and an unfamiliar wire beneath him, but daredevil Nik Wallenda didn't let that stop him from becoming the first person to walk on a tightrope across the Niagara Falls."