* Walter Hickey has a tough and comprehensive piece on how the Obama administration has fallen short on pot policy, despite today’s welcome push for War on Drugs reform.
* Dylan Matthews has some very sobering larger context explaining why the push for War on Drugs reform will only put a small dent in the U.S. prison population, and what would really need to be done to seriously reduce it.
* Today North Carolina’s governor signed one of the most sweeping package of voting restrictions in the nation, but as Ari Berman reports, opponents aren’t giving up, and the looming court fight will have broad implications.
* Sean Trende has the deepest dive yet into the demographics of the Kentucky Senate race, and he concludes Mitch McConnell still has a clear edge, though he allows a loss is certainly possible.
* McConnell is now assailing his Tea Party opponent Matt Bevin as “Bailout Bevin,” prompting this sharp response from the Bevin campaign:
“Mitch McConnell can make all the misleading Web videos in the world,” Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that he voted for amnesty three times, the Wall Street bailout, the Fannie and Freddie bailout, debt limit increases, massive tax increases, and pay raises for himself, and now, he’s refusing to defund ObamaCare.”
As if compromises to avert a government shutdown and default this fall weren’t already going to be difficult enough…
* The ongoing Bevin broadsides may help explain why McConnell today rolled out a new effort to delay Obamacare implementation by warning of security issues with the exchanges. But again: unless you’re willing to shut down the government to defund the law, your opposition is suspect.
* Chart of the day: Paul Krugman demonstrates that, far from turning into a runaway government program for years, stimulus spending is already back down nearly to pre-recession levels. More austerity right away!
* The news that a judge has ruled that New York’s “stop and frisk” program violates the constitutional rights of minorities is huge in its own right, and destroys any chance Ray Kelly will be nominated as Homeland Security chief, if there ever was any.
* Adam Serwer has a nice explanation of what the ruling accomplishes, and how it reveals the weakness of the arguments proponents of “stop and frisk” made in defense of its racial profiling.
* GOP Rep. Tom Cole patiently explains to conservative constituents that, no, Republicans will not win the political battle over a government shutdown to force the defunding of Obamacare that isn’t going to happen.