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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Stories to Watch: 6/18/13

A House Intelligence Committee hearing today was an embarrassing spectacle. Titled, "How Disclosed N.S.A. Programs Protect Americans, and Why Disclosure Aids Our Adversaries" (presumably because "NSA: Great Agency or Greatest Agency Ever?" would've been too obvious) the whole thing was a complete waste of time, since the findings were already decided upon before any butts hit any chairs. And even in this overly friendly venue, the NSA was not able to make a convincing case. Kevin Drum notes that evidence of terrorist plots foiled by surveillance "have been pretty thin," while ThinkProgress' Hayes Brown reports that the testimony couldn't show a single instance of surveillance alone disrupting a crime.

Otherwise, it was a pretty slow news day, politics-wise. This is mostly because Republicans decided to waste a day with an abortion law that was dead before anyone ever voted on it. And they're probably not done yet. No wonder the party has lost the female vote. They don't seem very interested in getting it back. And the next time some GOP dope says that the party is focused on jobs, go ahead and wonder out loud, "Since when?"

About the women vote: John Boehner's whistling past the graveyard. One interesting bit in that story is that Boehner claims America is up in arms over Kermit Gosnell. I doubt he believes it, but the vote is being held to mollify the base, who apparently do believe it. What a strange, insular, fact-free world these people live in.

As I'm writing, the House passes their little abortion bill -- it now advances to oblivion.

While Nate Silvers' critique of Politico's editors is right on the money, Charlie Pierce's take is always worth a look.

The IRS controversy is looking pretty dead as a "White House scandal."

Finally, some time today I broke 1k followers on my tumblr, so I celebrated by having my last Maibock with dinner. Thanks to everyone.

[cartoon via USA Today]

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