August 13

* The latest on the Michael Brown shooting and its aftermath:

St. Louis County police have so far interviewed 12 people from the Ferguson, Mo. community for information about the shooting death of Michael Brown, not counting officers, a police spokesman said Wednesday afternoon.

Several officers have also been interviewed by authorities, the spokesman said.

News of the investigation’s progress comes as frustration mounts nationwide about the lack of a clear account from police of how the unarmed 18-year-old ended up being shot multiple times and killed by a Ferguson police officer Saturday afternoon. According to witnesses, Brown was shot without threatening the officer in any way; in the police account, Brown struggled with an officer over his weapon and in his car.

It’ll be interesting to see whether in the face of those eyewitnesses the cop’s story ends up changing.

* The ACLU has filed a request to learn the name of the officer who shot Brown.

* So much for Republican “outreach” to Hispanic voters:

In a dramatic departure from their determination only months ago to win a second look from that rapidly-growing community, national Republicans have embarked on a sustained campaign to make the immigration crisis a central issue in 2014 and exhort voters to punish the White House for failing to lock down the U.S.-Mexico border…

Public and private polling shows border control creeping up the list of concerns among conservative voters and independents, and the GOP is responding accordingly. Republican candidates are lacing into the Obama administration and its congressional allies for supporting “amnesty” and casting them as unable to secure the southern border.

Three major Republican Senate hopefuls – Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Scott Brown of New Hampshire and Terri Lynn Land of Michigan – are airing commercials blasting their Democratic opponents for supporting “amnesty” and attacking “lawlessness” and “chaos” on the border. Other candidates are expected to join them.

The logic at work here isn’t completely crazy. This is an issue that will help motivate the Republican base into election day, making big Republican gains more likely. The only problem is that the GOP’s rightward lurch on the issue will make winning the White House in 2016 — or any time soon after that — much less likely. Which is why many Republicans paying attention to long term demographic trends are watching this development with horror.

* Brian Beutler has a nice find: A 1996 letter showing Republicans demanding that the executive branch use prosecutorial discretion not to deport certain immigrants, which complicates the argument that Obama’s action will trample on Congress:

In today’s parlance, these Republicans were asking Janet Reno to channel Caesar, don her laurel wreath, and make haste across the Rubicon.

Obviously the debate today is over using discretion on a much larger scale. And one could argue that the norm being tested isn’t the propriety of using discretion to create policy when Congress won’t act per se, but of using it so broadly. But then you’ve trespassed into substance. If a program for 50,000 is normal, why not 500,000? Or 5,000,000. Where along the continuum do we start to stretch the boundaries, and based on what criteria?

* The DSCC has put $9 million behind this ad hitting GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis in North Carolina over education and the legislature’s hard right turn, setting the stage for the Dem onslaught now that the legislative session is ending, triggering the race’s final push.

* The North Carolina Senate race has its roots in 2010, when Republicans took over the legislature and went hog-wild enacting every item on the right’s wish-list. Matea Gold explains has a good piece laying out how the backlash over those moves is shaping this year’s Senate race.

* Mitch McConnell wants the women of Kentucky, who will be central to the Senate race outcome, to know that he’s on their side. Steven Benen runs through all the reasosns McConnell is having such a tough time convincing them.

* Could Sen. Pat Roberts actually lose in deep red Kansas? Nate Cohn explains why it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Admittedly, it’s a long shot, but if such a thing were to happen, the Democrats’ odds of holding the Senate would be substantially better.

* Some members of Congress want Obama to get approval for the air campaign in Iraq. But Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen insists that as long as we don’t escalate beyond what we’re doing now, he doesn’t need to go to Congress, which suggests Dems may hold off on this front (for now, anyway).

* Many Obama critics have argued that if we’d armed Syrian rebels, it would have arrested the rise of the Islamic State. Middle East expert Marc Lynch examines the question, and concludes that the only thing it would have accomplished is sucking the U.S. into the Syrian civil war.

* Conor Friedersdorf looks at life in Colorado after the end of marijuana prohibition.

* And at the American Prospect, I explain why criticizing the president for going on vacation when there are things happening in the world is silly, no matter which party is doing the complaining.