Just when the Tea Party showed signs of life, six-term GOP Sen. Thad Cochran found a way to stifle the insurgent conservatives.NY Times:
Cochran on Tuesday night narrowly defeated rival Chris McDaniel in Mississippi's closely watched Republican runoff by making a last-minute appeal to blacks and Democrats. The veteran senator is now the favorite to win a seventh term in November against Democrat Travis Childers, a former congressman.
A onetime Methodist pastor who was stripped of his clerical credentials because he presided at the wedding of his gay son is being reinstated, a startling reversal for a large Protestant denomination that, like many, is riven by divisions over same-sex relationships.Huffington Post:
A United Methodist Church appeals committee — a nine-member panel made up of laypeople and clergy — said Tuesday that it had decided to overturn the punishment of Frank Schaefer, who with three gay children and a determination to celebrate their relationships has become an unexpected champion of gays and lesbians in church life. The panel deemed the punishment too harsh.
States with weak gun-control laws and higher rates of gun ownership tend to have higher rates of gun deaths, while states with stronger policies and fewer gun owners have significantly lower rates of gun-related deaths, according to a Violence Policy Center study published Wednesday.That would be Southern and Western states. More politics and policy below the fold.
Turnout hadn’t increased in a Senate runoff primary election in 30 years until Tuesday night, when a momentous surge of voters allowed Senator Thad Cochran to defeat Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party-backed state senator, in Mississippi’s Republican Senate runoff.NBC News:
Overall turnout has surpassed that from the initial primary by 14 percent, or 45,465 votes, so far. In that contest, Mr. McDaniel edged Mr. Cochran but fell short of the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff. Turnout increased by 15.9 percent in the counties that reported 100 percent of their precincts.
The increase in turnout was generally to the benefit of Mr. Cochran. Turnout increased by 34 percent in the counties where Mr. Cochran was strongest and won at least 62 percent of the vote. But turnout also increased by 18 percent in counties where Mr. McDaniel was strong.
A divided nation finally agrees on something overwhelmingly: the war in Iraq was simply not worth fighting.Turnout, eh? Can we harness a piece of that?
Seventy-one percent of Americans now say that the war in Iraq “wasn’t worth it,” a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll shows, with skepticism about the lengthy war effort up substantially even in the last 18 months.
Just 22 percent now believe the 2003 war effort was worthwhile.
Mormon women's rights activist Kate Kelly was excommunicated by the church Monday.Kevin Drum:
Kelly founded the group Ordain Women and has been active in leading marches and protests as she argues for a broader role for women in the Mormon church, including ordination as priests.
The decision to excommunicate her was made by three male church officials in Oakton, Virginia.
This is probably already a lot more than ever wanted to know about the Export-Import Bank, so I'll stop. As for whether we keep it or kill it, it's hard to make much of a case for keeping it except (a) as Krugman points out, it doesn't cost us anything at the moment, and (b) every other country does it too. You may decide for yourself whether you find those reasons persuasive.CNN:
Oh, and the tea party hates it, for the usual obscure reasons that the tea party hates things you've never heard of. Perhaps that will sway you too.
He's new to the top job since the targeting revelations rocked the agency last year, and triggered congressional inquiries.From JAMA, a poll on mandated contraception:
But [IRS commissioner John] Koskinen, 74, a government veteran, is taking the brunt of congressional pressure now after the agency admitted it lost thousands of emails wanted by lawmakers investigating the scandal
Rep. Paul Ryan flat out questioned whether he was being truthful with Congress, and Darrell Issa, the Oversight chairman, called him out for being evasive.
"All the emails we have will be provided. I did not say I would provide you emails that disappeared. If you have a magical way for me to do that, I'd be happy to know about it," he said.
That answer raised eyebrows in an environment where committee chairman are rarely crossed.
Mixing it up
But it looks like Koskinen likes to mix it up, and from all appearances, it looks as if he likes to take the field when the chips are down.