* New details on Mark Halperin’s suspension: An MSNBC source tells me that MSNBC preident Phil Griffin’s initial response to Halperin’s “dick” crack was that he should be suspended for two weeks, in keeping with Ed Schultz’s recent limited suspension. But the volume of emails flooding in demanding Halperin’s firing persuaded him the suspension should be indefinite, the source says. That’s what MSNBC announced this morning.

But the White House has been privately sending MSNBC a similar message to what David Axelrod said earlier today, the source says: That they view Halperin’s move as stupid and distasteful, but ultimately a mistake that should not be a defining one. That, plus the commentary today saying it was an overreaction, likely means that Halperin will be ultimately allowed back on the air at some point, the source says.

* Check this out: An NBC reporter pressed Mitt Romney today on his repetition of the debunked claim that Obama made the recession “worse,” and Romney backtracked, saying this:

I didn’t say that things are worse.

Uh, yes, you did.

* Dave Weigel does some good legwork and finds that the shuttered Pennsylvania metal works plant that Romney cited today as proof of Obama’s failings had actually been hoping for more stimulus spending to stay afloat.

That may be Obama’s fault, but it’s hardly a vindication of Romney’s ideas.

* Great coinage by Digby on Halperin’s suspension: “Village Virgins.”

* James Fallows on how the real problem is the mainstream media’s dickish political analysis.

* Phrase of the day, from Jason Linkins, who notes that Halperin has “long been permitted to suck steadily from the udder of conventional wisdom and expectorate the backwash all over the media landscape.”

* It seems some Republicans who are critizing Obama for attending a fundraiser with the default crisis approaching are themselves attending fundraisers.

* The Department of Justice is expanding its probe into CIA torture into full criminal investigations of the deaths of two detainees.

* Which prompts this sobering reality check from David Kurtz:

The President of the United States set up an officially authorized system of off-the-book, extralegal prisons and a regimen of government-sanctioned torture; and the consequences of this dark period will be — at most — two criminal prosecutions.

* The real tell as to whether we’re seeing a newly aggressive Obama will be whether he keeps hammering Republicans and doesn’t let up as the August 2nd debt ceiling deadline nears.

* White House chief of staff Bill Daley to Republicans: Stop whining about how Obama’s tough tone hurt your feelings and start thinking about how to save the country from default.

* Kansas may soon be the first state in the nation with no clinics or doctors offices performing abortions.

* Though it appears that one may be allowed to remain open.

* Chris Bowers sounds the fundraising alarm for the Wisconsin Dem recall candidates, urging folks to remember that these elections are right around the corner.

* Chuck Schumer again accuses the GOP of sabotaging the economy on purpose, and interestingly, Republicans don’t seem eager to respond.

* And some unintentional hilarity from Senator Jim Inhofe, who was supposed to keynote today’s big climate change-denial conference until he canceled because he’s “under the weather.”

What else is happening?