The text for Donald Trump's speech tonight has just been released by Politico (though of course the Donald may go off script). It's dark. Trump's message is basically that America has turned into the bleakest bits of a "Mad Max" movie and only Trump can save us.
Paul Krugman in this morning's New York Times argues that "the choice in 2016 is starker than ever before." Okay, people say that every year, but Krugman argues that the chasm between the parties on climate change — and the potential for the next president to determine whether "the ongoing revolution in renewable energy" continues — means that the stakes for the planet in the 2016 election are "deadly serious."
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the seat will likely remain vacant for at least a year. President Barack Obama will nominate a replacement but Republicans in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have pledged to block anyone Obama appoints, regardless of qualifications. As the New York Times noted, "Mr. McConnell’s threat to block a confirmation could complicate the re-election chances of Republican senators in swing states."
Prior to the appearance of Donald Trump last night in Little Rock after a nearly two-hour delay, Barton Coliseum general manager Ralph Shoptaw came before the crowd to say that attendance for the Trump event, at 11,500, had broken a record at Barton set all the way back in 1974 during a show by the blues-rock band ZZ Top. Trump would later brag on the turnout from the stage, bumping the number up to 12,000 while saying he'd been setting similar records all over the country. Photos and video from the event, however, would seem to tell a different story.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, President Barack Obama outlined a series of executive actions to reform the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons, including banning the use of the practice for juvenile offenders and as a punishment for prisoners who commit "low-level infractions."
Charles Pierce attacks the "the bobble-throated Arkansas warbler." Nobody will get to the ambitious Tom Cotton's right, which only makes the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill a heavier lift in the Senate.
After the South Carolina House voted 103-10 earlier today to debate removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, the Senate followed this afternoon by approving the amendment to debate with a voice vote.
The measure enabling debate required two-thirds approval; now the General Assembly will take up the question later this summer of whether to take down the flag.
Big-money right-wing advocacy groups are prepping for a verdict in King v. Burwell, ready to fight any extension of subsidies in state legislatures, Congress, and in the national presidential campaign.
Local blogs and news outlets in South Carolina are reporting that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will call on the legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, according to "sources familiar with her plans."
The Washington Post Wonkblog points out this morning that there's a reason that Republicans might be squeamish about taking on the Confederate flag. Republicans are twice as likely to have positive reactions to the flag (and half as likely to have a negative reaction).
Mother Jones points out this morning, as Max did earlier this month, that Mike Huckabee probably isn't the one to be lecturing Hillary Clinton on government transparency, recounting a saga familiar to longtime readers.
We mentioned earlier today that Talking Point Memo's Sahil Kapur pointed out that Hillary Clinton critics have taken to a new conspiracy theory, which Kapur dubbed "shoe truthers." Remember the recent incident in which an audience member threw a shoe at Clinton while she was giving a speech in Las Vegas? Maybe it was staged! Shoe-ghazi!! Of course, if there was going to be a bananas theory, Herman Cain was going to show up.
Most reading this watched last night’s final night of the Democratic National Convention and have watched many more hours of analysis of Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech and the other events of the evening, so I will avoid too many more words on what was a crisply delivered speech.