Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Rev. Al Sharpton links arms with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), as they are joined by other civil rights activists and politicians to march during the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks at a rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Sabrina Fulton, mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, speaks at the podium in front of the Lincoln Memorial
Hamil Harris: William Allison, 92, came to today’s march with same sign he marched with in ’63
Going into this morning, expectations for economic growth in the second quarter — April, May, and June of this year — were quite poor, making the actual GDP report a little more encouraging.
The U.S. economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter, buoyed by a solid gain in consumer spending and a sharp increase in business investment, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected growth to total 1.0%.
To be sure, 1.7% GDP growth is not, by any fair measure, good news. It tells us the economy is growing, but the recovery is at best sluggish. But given the news we were expecting, 1.7% is a relatively pleasant surprise, especially since the previous quarter’s growth was revised down to 1.1%.
Bloomberg: Economy in U.S. Expands More Than Forecast on Inventories
The economy in the U.S. grew more than projected in the second quarter, reflecting an unexpected pickup in inventory building as consumer spending cooled. Growth in the previous three months was revised down.
Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 1.7 percent annualized rate, after a 1.1 percent gain the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1 percent advance for last quarter. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, climbed 1.8 percent after increasing 2.3 percent.
Job gains and rising home prices are shoring up Americans’ confidence and lifting automobile sales and production, making it likely the U.S. will pick up once government spending cuts and tax increases pose less of a restraint. The report also showed inflation is falling further below the Federal Reserve’s goal….
Steve Benen: Reality gets in the way of far-right shutdown scheme
As a large group of Republicans push for a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, Norm Ornstein offered some compelling context. “You could say it’s a do-nothing Congress but that doesn’t do justice to it,” he said. “These guys are doing something, which is to destroy the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare.”
That’s plainly true, though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), arguably the main ringleader of the scheme, apparently believes destroying the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare is a fine idea. As Sarah Kliff reported, however, there is a flaw in the right-wing premise…..
Steve Benen: ATF finally poised to move forward with real leadership
Ask conservative opponents of gun reforms what they’d like to see from law enforcement, and you’ll probably get a predictable answer: we should enforce the gun laws we already have, not approve new ones. For the last several years, however, that’s been easier said than done.
Enforcement of existing gun laws generally falls under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which has lacked a permanent, Senate-confirmed leader for the last seven years, thanks to opposition from Republicans and the National Rifle Association, both of which have reflexively balked at the very idea of an ATF chief.
With this in mind, we may be poised for a breakthrough this week….
ThinkProgress: Texas Lawmakers Are Too Busy Focusing On Abortion Restrictions To Get Anything Else Done
Just over an hour after Texas legislators concluded their second special session — an extra lawmaking session they used to enact sweeping abortion restrictions — Gov. Rick Perry (R) called them back for a third one. An outstanding highway funding bill is the only item on the agenda. “When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher,” the governor noted in a statement.
Perry cited that same transportation measure as one of the reasons he believed it was necessary to call the first special legislative session at the beginning of June. But instead of focusing on getting that done, the governor demonstrated a different set of priorities — adding a slew of anti-abortion provisions that were unable to advance during the state’s regular session to the docket.
Bob Cesca: Bradley Manning Lives in a Nation of Laws, and, Hero or Not, He Broke 16 of Those Laws
While fleeing from the law in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden encouraged a return to “the rule of law rather than men.” In spite of his politically incorrect usage of “men” instead of “men and women,” he’s right. Generally speaking, individual citizens shouldn’t be held above the law — least of all a soldier named Pfc. Bradley Manning who stole 720,000 classified documents and handed them over to be be indiscriminately posted for public consumption by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shake hands in the Oval Office following a phone call with House Speaker John Boehner securing a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default, Sunday, July 31, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama speaks with White House Counsel Gregory Craig in the Oval Office, June 11 2009. (White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sara Kliff: The Obama administration will comply with a court order to allow over-the-counter emergency contraceptive sales to women and girls of all ages, according to documents filed late Monday.
While the Department of Justice initially appealed this policy, it has now asked a judge with the Eastern District Court of New York to withdraw that challenge, provided he approves the federal government’s plan for compliance.
The reversal means that emergency contraceptives, a heated policy area that has vexed two presidential administrations, will soon be available to young women off of the pharmacy shelf.
John Stanton: House Democratic Assistant Leader James Clyburn charged Monday that a series of high-profile leaks about secret domestic spying programs are part of a broader effort by opponents of President Barack Obama to damage the administration politically. “There is an attempt by several people to do political harm to this president. I just think this is part of that,” Clyburn told BuzzFeed.
Clyburn, one of the top Democrats in the House, said he “absolutely” believes Snowden, who is currently in Hong Kong, should be extradited back to the United States to face charges.
Brad Plumer: On Monday evening, the Senate voted 66 to 27 to approve a massive farm bill that will set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade. The old farm bill expired last year, and its replacement is 1,150 pages long, costing some $955 billion over 10 years. So what’s actually in it?
Food stamps and nutrition, $760.5 billion over 10 years. This is by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food. The Senate bill tweaks some of the rules governing eligibility and cut spending slightly by $3.9 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept. (There’s also a controversial amendment by David Vitter to ban anyone convicted of a violent crime from food stamps for life.)