Four years ago today: President Obama hugs Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient actor Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony in the East Room of the White House, August 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
The Grio: Holder to call for major reform of mandatory minimum sentencing
Attorney General Eric Holder will announce in a speech today that the Department of Justice will no longer charge low-level, non-violent drug offenders with crimes that trigger mandatory minimum sentences, a major shift in American drug policy and an indication that President Obama wants to reduce the number of Americans who serve long prison sentences over drug crimes and rethink American laws that have existed for decades.
“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” Holder is expected to say Monday at a meeting in San Francisco of the American Bar Association, according to excerpts of his remarks provided to theGrio….
In effect, Holder is calling for prosecutors to charge defendants for lesser crimes than they may have actually committed, thereby allowing juries and judges more latitude in imposing sentences, instead of following mandatory minimums created by Congress that many in both parties say are now outdated.
1:0 EST: AG Eric Holder Address the American Bar Association
— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) August 12, 2013
— Dudette (@Dudette9t9) August 12, 2013
Michael Tomasky: Obama Is Giving Up Some Executive Power, and He’ll Still Get No Credit
Predictably, everyone is unimpressed by the measures Barack Obama has announced to bring a little ray of transparency to America’s surveillance programs …. I think it’s pretty remarkable that a president, any president, announced, without absolutely being forced to, a series of steps that relinquish some degree of executive power. Of course he’ll get no credit for that, because civil libertarians tend to be absolutists and other liberals tend to be afraid or even terrified of their wrath…
…. Obama was headed down this course before the Snowden leaks. Those began on June 5. But on May 23, he gave a speech at the National Defense University in which he foreshadowed the moves he just announced. Combine all this with John Kerry’s recent announcement that we have a plan for ending drone strikes in Pakistan, and you might have thought liberals would be cheering.
I suppose some liberals are. I am. But not civil libertarians. With them, it’s all or nothing. If you’re not signed on to the whole program, you might as well be Joe McCarthy….
…. Obama has public opinion to think about. And of course he has keeping the country safe to worry about, and no one at the ACLU is sitting in on those intel briefings and learning the things the president is learning every day about threats to the nation, and no one at the ACLU will be responsible if our wall of security is breached. Obama is responsible, and I think mere willingness of the man in that position to have this conversation, let alone take some concrete steps, does him enormous credit.
Full post here
Truly, these people are deranged:
The question is not whether Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Prize-he does. The question is, does the Nobel Prize deserve Bradley Manning?
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 11, 2013
Next tweet will probably be: ‘Ask not what the Nobel Prize can do for Bradley Manning, ask what Bradley Manning can do for the Nobel Prize’
Andrew Liepman (LA Times): What did Edward Snowden get wrong? Everything
Edward Snowden is now out of his limbo at Moscow’s airport, presumably ensconced in some Russian dacha, wondering what the next phase of his young life will bring. Having spent 30 years in the intelligence business, I fervently hope the food is lousy, the winter is cold, and the Internet access is awful. But I worry less about what happens to this one man and more about the damage Snowden has done — and could still do — to America’s long-term ability to strike the right balance between privacy and security.
FROM THE BLOG STAFF: The Guardian Publishes Another Deliberately Shocking Yet Self-Debunking NSA Article http://t.co/Eqy7QSzUI1
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) August 12, 2013
LittleGreenFootballs: Sen. Al Franken: “I Assure You This Isn’t About Spying on the American People”
“I have a high level of confidence that it is used to protect us”
Noted far right nutjob (do I need a snark tag on that?) Sen. Al Franken says he was not surprised by the Greenwald/Snowden NSA revelations…..
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) August 11, 2013
Steve Benen: Steve King just can’t help himself
Democrats and other proponents of immigration reform caught another lucky break over the weekend: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday, and just kept talking. If the progressive goal is to see reform opponents discredit themselves on the national stage, the right-wing Iowan has become the left’s most reliable ally.
Indeed, who do you think was happier to see King on the air, the DNC or the RNC?
Vote in midterms. That’s the lesson. Vote in LOCAL elections (your judges, state reps, state senate, school board) That’s what righties do.
— Joy Reid (@TheReidReport) August 11, 2013
The Root: Politics Gets Its Own Cheerios Ad – The black son of a white candidate tackles stop and frisk in a campaign ad.
Earlier this year, Cheerios generated extensive media attention — and countless racist comments online — for becoming the first major American brand to feature a mixed-race family in a television advertisement. Now, an ad for a political campaign is poised to be just as groundbreaking, and potentially controversial.
This weekend television advertisements began airing starring the teenage son of New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. De Blasio is white, his wife, Chirlane McCray, is black, and their son, Dante, sports a sizable Afro in the ad, in which he makes the case for why he believes his father is the best candidate for mayor.
While he touches upon a number of issues, including affordable housing, the ad’s most powerful moment comes when he talks about his father’s position on stop and frisk….
Republicans, Jesus said to pray for those in need, not prey on them.
— Grand Old Parody (@GrandOldParody1) August 11, 2013
That pic again, but a bigger, shinier, lovelier version:
On this day:
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009 (Pete Souza)
President Obama and Justice Sonia Sotomayor meet in the Oval Office prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama greet guests at a reception for Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and their families, Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Blue Room of the White House before the start of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Neighbors sing Happy Birthday to President Obama during a walk in the Hyde Park/Kenwood section of Chicago, Ill., Aug. 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)