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Monday, June 24, 2013

Stories to Watch: 6/24/13

Eric Snowden, international man of intrigue and media hoodwinker.

And no, the kind of data collection that Snowden revealed is not very good at stopping terrorists. Leonid Bershidsky writes that Prism's data collection techniques "may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists." The real dangerous guys hide their data, because -- as I and so many others have pointed out so often -- criminals are kind of secretive.

The IRS "scandal" fizzles as AP reports that the agency investigated progressive groups as well as conservative ones. In addition to scrutinizing groups with "tea party" in the name, "Israel," "Occupy," and "Progressive" also raised red flags, as did any reference to medical marijuana. And these things should. This is all so freakin' obvious. Tax exempt status is reserved for non-profits that don't do political work. The real scandal here is that the IRS let -- and is letting -- so many of these sham charities get away with ripping off the US taxpayer with a free ride. Tea Partiers complaining that they had to work too hard to trick the IRS shouldn't be testifying before congress, they should be defendants before a judge in a criminal court.

The Hill reports that support has "snowballed" in the Senate for immigration reform. Of course, the House of Representatives is another story entirely. Of course, the base hates immigration reform, so the pressure from them could convince the party to commit electoral suicide. One sign that this might happen: Marco Rubio's approvals are crashing with Republican voters nationwide.

Rusty the red panda is back at home at the National Zoo.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gets seven years for paying for sex with a minor, then using the power of his office to cover it up. Of course, he'll appeal.

Paul Ryan pretends to be the savior of the poor -- which means the poor should watch their back.

Apparently, someone put Rick Santorum in charge of making horrible, boring movies no one will ever see.

A Republican learns that it's not quite as easy to live on food stamps as he might've thought.

Finally and somewhat related: 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, "with little to no emergency savings." A highwire act without a net.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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