* A lot of people were upset about a New York Times story on Brown, which asserted that because he had “dabbled in drugs and alcohol,” among other things, he was “no angel.” Matthew Yglesias had a response:
When I was Brown’s age I also dabbled in drugs and alcohol. Even used Swisher Sweets to roll blunts from time to time. For that matter, I also did some shoplifting. Got caught one time by a security guard at the K-Mart on Astor Place who confiscated the stuff I’d stolen and yelled at me a bunch. So I suppose that, when an undercover officer came upon me and two friends smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on a park bench that night, he could have shot us dead and then the Times could have reported that we were no angels. We weren’t.
But he didn’t shoot us. He wrote us citations for drinking alcohol in a New York City park. Some days later we showed up at some kind of express court…We…paid the fine, and went on with our lives. After college, one friend joined the Marines and the other joined a PhD program. Today they’re both in financial services. But fifteen years ago we were no angels.
I, too, was no angel as a teenager. On the other hand, I didn’t “take to rapping” as Michael Brown did, and as millions of other American kids of all races have, which the Times thought was also evidence of his non-angelic nature. That probably helps explain why I didn’t get shot.
* Remember the House Republicans’ lawsuit against President Obama? It’s still going forward, and they’ve hired a prominent Washington law firm to represent them, at a mere $500 an hour.
* Dem Bruce Braley opens a new front in the Iowa Senate race by hitting GOPer Joni Ernst for wanting to get the federal government out of the student loan business. And the effort to introduce Ernst’s positions to voters continues.
* Carl Hulse on how GOP Senate candidates are divided over whether to support the Export-Import Bank, which is a sign that in some cases at least, the Tea Party is getting its way even from the “establishment’s” picks.
* The media jumped all over the latest poll of the New Hampshire Senate race, which suddenly showed it a tie despite Scott Brown’s struggles. Harry Enten asks exactly the right question: Haven’t we learned anything about jumping to conclusions based on individual polls?
* Danny Vinik tells us about the latest iconic American company looking to pull a “tax inversion” to avoid US taxes: Burger King, which wants to do it by buying Tim Horton’s (which is basically the Dunkin’ Donuts of Canada), and then declaring itself a Canadian company.
The arms race between police departments and lawbreakers created an atmosphere of spectacularly lethal violence (even as violent crime rates actually went down) that made it easy for the gun lobby and its paymasters to argue that every single citizen needed to become his or her own police force, as heavily armed as the cops and robbers. “Army of One” indeed.
We aren’t just witnessing the consequences of the “militarization of the police.” It’s the militarization of America, which happens when you deliberately destroy the state monopoly on means of lethal violence. But again, the Second Amendment fanatics of libertarianism, for whom the only violence worth deploring is state violence, just won’t go there.
It’s a neat gun lobby trick: they tell you to be terrified of all the guns out there, so you should buy more guns, and become more afraid because everyone has a gun, which leads to the buying of yet more guns…
* Speaking of that lobby, the NRA is coming to the aid of Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie. But as Jenna Portnoy reports, the NRA’s endorsement could hurt Gillespie more than it helps him, which shows how much Virginia is changing.
* Paul Krugman punctures Rick Perry’s effort to elevate Texas into a paradise borne of successful conservative governance, which will likely be a launching pad for another presidential run.
* Meanwhile, Brian Beutler on how Rick Perry is atoning for his past failures as a presidential candidate by adopting a position on immigration that is further to the right than in 2012 — another sign of the degree to which the overall GOP is getting yanked rightward on the issue.
* This poll of Massachusetts Democrats shows that when they’re offered a bunch of choices for president in 2016, 55 percent picked Hillary Clinton, while only 17 percent picked Elizabeth Warren. Results like that are why Clinton probably isn’t too worried about a Dem primary challenger.
* And at the American Prospect, I told liberals to buck up about 2014, because 2016 is going to be a great year for Democrats in Senate races. I even made a graph to show why.