TOP NEWS: Democracy: August 1, 2012
- A rare display of bipartisanship before a deadline
- The Truth About Fiscal Cliff Military Cuts
- Regulator Rebuffs Obama on Easing Housing Debt
- New Polls: Obama Has Edge in 3 Battleground States
- Tea Party Favorite Wins Texas Runoff
Excerpts and More Top Stories
BUDGET DEAL: A rare display of bipartisanship before a deadline
Manu Raju and Seung Min Kim, Politico – Something strange happened in Congress on Tuesday: Leaders of both parties cut a drama-free budget deal, won immediate bipartisan support and did this all two months before deadline. It may only be a six-month resolution to keep the government funded. But the fact that congressional leaders came together so quickly showed that neither party wanted to relive the pitched political battles over federal spending that have defined this divided Congress the past two years.
Jennifer Steinhauer, NY Times – The emerging legislation stands in sharp contrast to previous occasions when House Republicans used the leverage of a spending deadline to insist on deep spending cuts.
FISCAL CLIFF/DEFENSE CUTS: The Truth About Military Cuts
NY Times, Editorial – Republican lawmakers started a fire last year when they created a debt-ceiling crisis to force cuts in spending. Now that it is beginning to damage their most treasured military programs, they are blaming President Obama for not putting it out.
HOUSING DEBT: Regulator Rebuffs Obama on Plan to Ease Housing Debt
Binyamin Appelbaum, NY Times – The agency that administers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said it had concluded after months of study that the costs of debt forgiveness outweighed the potential benefits.
ELECTIONS 2012: POLL: New Polls Show Obama Has Edge in 3 Battleground States
Jeff Zeleny, Dalia Sussman, NY Times – The economy aids Mitt Romney, but personal appeal helps President Obama, according to Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
ELECTIONS 2012: Tea Party Favorite Wins Texas Runoff
Erik Eckholm, NY Times – Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst, the candidate favored by Gov. Rick Perry, in a vote for the Republican Senate nomination.
CYBERSECURITY: Cybersecurity at Risk
NY Times, Editorial – If a catastrophic cyberattack occurs in the United States, Americans will be justified in asking why their lawmakers failed to protect them.
VOTING SYSTEM: Partisan Rifts Hinder Efforts to Improve U.S. Voting System
Ethan Bronner, NY Times – Twelve years after a too-close-to-call presidential contest in Florida ended in a divisive Supreme Court ruling, the United States’ voting methods are as laden with problems as ever.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Three Rulings Against Women’s Rights
NY Times, Editorial: At a time when abortion rights and access to affordable contraception are threatened by political attacks, three federal judges failed to preserve constitutional protections for women.
POSTAL SERVICE: As Default Looms, Postal Service Sees Deeper Woes
Ron Nixon, NY Times – On the verge of its first default on Wednesday, the troubled agency faces a cash shortfall that could reach $1.2 billion by next year, documents show.
IMMIGRATION: America’s irrational immigration fear
Vivek Wadwha, Washington Post – One of the most contentious issues in the skilled-immigrant debate is the H-1B visa, which allows qualified immigrants to work for U.S. tech companies on a temporary basis. Proponents say the nation faces a dire shortage of engineering talent and needs more of these visas to stay competitive. Detractors insist that there is no engineer shortage and that America should close its doors to foreigners because they take jobs away from citizens.
GOP AGENDA: GOP majority stumbles into August recess
Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman, Politico – The gap between who Republicans want to be and who they are is profound, and it’s clear that another election — even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency — might not change their ability to put a truly conservative imprint on Washington.
William Booth, Washington Post – President Obama’s decision last year to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border may have been smart politics, but a growing number of skeptics say the deployment is an expensive and inefficient mission that has made little difference in homeland security.
BACHMANN LAWSUIT: Former Bachmann Campaign Adviser Files Suit
Ben Kesling, WSJ – A former Iowa staffer for Michele Bachmann’s abortive presidential campaign is suing the Minnesota congresswoman and almost a dozen others for allegedly stealing a private email list from the staffer’s computer and using it for campaign mailings last year.
Scott W. Atlas, Forbes, Opinion – President Obama’s 2010 health reform law has been heralded by its supporters as strongly beneficial for young Americans. After all, the ACA decrees that all health insurance plans that offer any dependent coverage must offer coverage to enrollees’ “adult children” (the terminology used in the law) until age 26, even if the adult child no longer lives with his or her parents, is not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, or is no longer a student … even if the adult child is married. And the uninsured rate for those between 19 and 26 has indeed decreased.
HEALTHCARE: More Treatment, More Mistakes
Sanjay Gupta, NY Times – Medical mistakes now kill around 200,000 Americans every year. That would make them one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Why have these mistakes been so hard to prevent?
NASA/MARS EXPLORATION: With Mars mission and rover Curiosity, NASA hunts building blocks of life
Marc Kaufman, Washington Post – The last time the United States landed a mission on Mars to look for extraterrestrial life or its building blocks, Gerald Ford was president and the nation had just finished celebrating its 1976 bicentennial. Next week, the long-delayed second attempt will try to deposit a rover on the planet’s surface.
OBITUARY/ GORE VIDAL: Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer
Charles McGrath, NY Times – GORE VIDAL, 1925-2012 – Mr. Vidal was an elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: Season begins with launch of 2012-13 Common Application
Valerie Strauss, Washington Post - Rising high school seniors who want to get a jump on their college applications should know that the Common Application used by more than 450 colleges and universities has just gone live for the 2012-13 admissions season.
CIVIL DIALOGUE: Four Pinocchios: Giuliani’s anti-Obama remarks in Florida
Josh Hicks, Washington Post – Giuliani mischaracterized the 2008 exchange between Obama and Joe the Plumber. The topic of capital gains taxes never came up during that discussion, nor did the issue of whether higher taxes ultimately lead to lower revenue. Obama did talk about tax fairness with Wurzelbacher, but, again, not in the context of tax hikes reducing revenue.
Swimmer Michael Phelps made history when he anchored the United States team to a three-second victory over France in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay passing the Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. Phelps has 19 medals, including 15 golds, with three races remaining.
Ken Belson, NY Times - Four pairs of women — from South Korea, China and Indonesia — were tossed for losing on purpose, presumably to avoid a tough opponent sooner than necessary.
MORE ELECTIONS 2012:
ELECTIONS 2012/ROMNEY ABROAD: A Different Continent, a Different Tune
Ashley Parker, NY Times – Mitt Romney was less likely on his overseas trip to offer criticisms about “European entitlement society” than conciliatory words.
ELECTIONS 2012/ROMNEY ABROAD: Obama Campaign Calls Romney Trip ‘Disaster’
Laura Meckler, Washington Post – President Barack Obama’s campaign ripped into opponent Mitt Romney’s just-completed foreign trip, calling it “an embarrassing disaster” and a failed test for a potential commander in chief.
ELECTIONS 2012/OBAMA STRATEGY: Jenkins: Is Obama Beating Himself?
Holman W. Jenkins Jr., WSJ, Opinion – “You didn’t build that,” Mr. Obama explained to the nation’s entrepreneurs, and has been explaining ever since. He only meant to say we need government as well as private initiative, and who could disagree? This argument is anodyne, dispositive of nothing that is in dispute.
ELECTIONS 2012/ROMNEY WEALTH: Does Mitt Romney Have a Problem Being Wealthy?
Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg, Opinion - Having money, on balance, is a net positive in life, but in Mitt Romney’s campaign for president, his personal fortune has proved to be a tender subject as well as the source material for many of his worst gaffes.
ELECTIONS 2012/ROMNEY ABROAD: Mitt Romney wraps up tumultuous overseas tour
Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, Washington Post - Mitt Romney’s tumultuous overseas visit was intended to show voters in the United States that the former Massachusetts governor can be a statesman, but ended up underscoring doubts about whether he and his campaign are ready for the next three months.
ELECTIONS 2012/TV ADS: Obama allies turn to targeted TV ads to shore up niche voters
T. W. Farnam, Washington Post – Loyal viewers of daytime television are seeing a new pitch: Support President Obama. “Judge Judy,” in fact, has become one of the favorite venues for the Obama campaign and its allies to reach sympathetic voters.
ELECTIONS 2012/ ROMNEY TAXES: Harry Reid’s sharp tongue has struck before
Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post - Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) raised eyebrows Tuesday when he said he was told that Mitt Romney is withholding more tax returns because he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years. Whether or not this is true, it adds to a long list of interesting Reid statements in recent years that Republicans have called “foot-in-mouth moments.”
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