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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stories to Watch: 7/31/13

The timing just couldn't be worse. The administration "made public a previously classified order that directed a company identified by U.S. officials as Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records" today, in a bid to give the issue a little more transparency. Unfortunately, that order came the on same day we learned that domestic surveillance was much worse than we knew. The Verizon order now looks trivial in the grand scheme of things. To make matters worse, tomorrow he meets with lawmakers critical of the program.

A new Pew poll shows that the majority of Republican voters think their party hasn't been insane enough lately. 54% think the party needs to move in a "more conservative direction," while a plurality believe they've "compromised too much." Writes Steve Benen, "It's not uncommon for political observers to wonder aloud why GOP officials can't move towards the mainstream, rebrand into a more sensible and pragmatic political party, and reclaim their lost legacy as a party interested in governing. The answer, apparently, is that their own voters don't want this to happen at all."

Related: Sen. Ted Cruz is using that dissatisfaction to become one of the top generals in the GOP Civil War. One of their most consistent demagogues is now turning that demagoguery against the realist wing of the Republican Party that doesn't want to shut down government over Obamacare. He's raising money hand over fist, but most of it's going to repay himself for loans he made to his own campaign. So, while he says the money will help him "defund Obamacare," the truth is that it goes to pay for the Senate seat he's already bought.

Paul Ryan runs up the white flag on immigration reform, saying that Boehner should bring the issue up for a vote, even though most Republicans oppose it. What he doesn't say is that it would likely pass on mostly Democratic votes, which is why Boehner doesn't want to do it.

Wisconsin's Scott Walker is America's least truthful governor.

George Zimmerman was stopped for speeding recently -- which wouldn't be news if the report didn't include the fact that he had a gun in his glove compartment. The guy's infamously trigger happy, so his continued gun-toting may not end well.

A GDP report shows the economy grew at a faster than expected rate, but also that the sequester continues to hold more robust recovery back.

It's looking more and more like Larry Summers is the president's choice to head up the fed. Other Democrats are far less enthusiastic about him.

I can't improve on the the description of this story given by its headline: "Fewer Than Ten People Show Up For Ex-Gay Pride Event That Expected to Draw 'Thousands'." The photos are almost sad -- until you remember that these nutjobs ruin people's lives. Then it's not sad at all.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will finally get a director.

Finally, a note to the NRA: this is what a responsible gun owner looks like -- emphasis on "responsible."

[cartoon via Truthdig]

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