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Monday, August 05, 2013

Stories to Watch: 8/5/13

About all the supposed congressional oversight: turns out most congress critters are finding out about NSA surveillance programs the same way everyone else is -- by watching the news.

Mitch McConnell got a $100k donation from beyond the grave. And a case making it's way through the system would remove any limits on deceased donors. Call it "Deceased Citizens United." Ex-people are people, my friend.

Are you a terrorist or a felon who needs a gun? Well, here's some good news: "The marketplace for firearms on the Internet, where buyers are not required to undergo background checks, is so vast that advocates for stricter regulations now consider online sales a greater threat than the gun show loophole." Laws regulating the sales of firearms are really just theoretical at this point.

Apropos of pretty much nothing at all, 76 Senators sign a letter demanding the White House take a harder line against Iran.

A GOP pollster says that Republican primary voters want to see immigration reform -- including the dreaded "path to citizenship." So the donors want it, the base wants it, the general election voters want it -- who exactly are House Republicans kissing up to here? Are they only against it because Obama's for it?

Cops are becoming little more than muggers.

Gallup reports that since 1992, the percentage of drinkers with a self-described beer preference have dropped 11%, with young drinkers showing the biggest drop. That may be bad news for brewers, but it could turn out to be good news for beer drinkers, since the principle of supply and demand would have companies competing for a shrinking customer base. Although, if I had to guess, I'd say that the craft brewing movement brought a wave of excitement with it that resulted in a ton of microbreweries in the nineties. So the numbers are just settling down to where they were before a bump. Beer's been around for centuries; it's not going anywhere.

Washington Post's Andrea Peterson is bullish on her new boss.

File under "Things not to get too excited about": RNC chair Reince Priebus threatens to boycott NBC for GOP primary debates if the network goes ahead with a miniseries about Hillary Clinton. 1) Republican candidates need all the attention they can get, so this is a bluff, 2) primary debates aren't exactly must-see TV, so if a network can skip a couple, they'd probably be happy about it, and 3), according to Greg Sargent, "this is simply about working the refs. Start complaining long and hard about bias in the unaffiliated press, and maybe you can get better coverage for your team and worse for the opposition."

The NRA decides the San Diego Zoo is an enemy of liberty.

A federal judge orders a third injunction against the implementation of Wisconsin's new abortion law, calling a business-killing regulation imposed on clinics a "solution in search of a problem." Now we start throwing money at a doomed fight to defend a clearly unconstitutional law, because Scott Walker's such a fiscally conservative genius.

The world's first "test tube burger." Yum!

Finally, Milwaukee was infested by Republican governors this weekend and the press saw it as a chance to highlight GOP presidential hopefuls. Wisconsin's own Scott Walker was mentioned as "high profile" and the AP said his antics in Wisconsin have drawn him a "national following." How strong is that national following? Well, Scooter ran off to Iowa recently to test the waters there and was featured in a presidential poll. So what has reducing the Badger State to the smoking wreck that it is now earned him? 2.1% -- dead last. Feel the excitement!

[cartoon via McClathy Newspapers]

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