Shorter Question Everything
• Government by tantrum: “This is the presidential moment. If you submit to government by extortion, government by tantrum, what’s to stop these guys from doing it again in two months?” Axelrod said. “This is not the way to govern.” Axelrod said President Obama must continue to hold a hard line to prevent Republicans from holding the government hostage again. “It would be a terrible precedent to say every time you want to get something done in the Congress you shut down the government, default on the federal debt and what’s the president to do? Say, ‘Take my arm this time,’ in two months when [House temporary funding bill] runs out, say, ‘Take my leg?’” Axelrod said.
• Another predictable demand has been added to the GOP’s ransom note: House Republicans have added a measure aimed at limiting contraceptive coverage to the spending bill coming up for a vote Saturday night, a spokesman for Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, told CNN. A senior House leadership aide confirmed that development. The so-called “conscience clause” would allow employers and insurers to opt out of preventative care for women which they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. That prominently includes birth control, which most insurers are required to provide for free under current Obamacare rules.
• Spiteful: Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” former President Bill Clinton had strong words for the GOP (and no words on his wife’s 2016 campaign). Commenting on the party’s fierce push for cuts and obsession with fighting Obamacare, Clinton noted, “”I’ve never seen a time– can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just sitting around, begging for America to fail?” Clinton of triangulation fame also advised President Obama against negotiating with the GOP, describing Republican budget hawks as “spiteful”: “If I were the president, I wouldn’t negotiate over these draconian cuts that are gonna take food off the table of low-income working people, while they leave all the agricultural subsidies in for high-income farmers and everything else,” he said. “It’s chilling to me. The entitlement spending is going down as the unemployment rate drops and the economy grows. Half of the deficit’s already disappeared. The rest of it just seems almost spiteful.”
• Justice Dept to sue North Carolina over voter law: The Justice Department will sue the state of North Carolina for alleged racial discrimination over tough new voting rules, the latest effort by the Obama administration to fight back against a Supreme Court decision that struck down the most powerful part of the landmark Voting Rights Act and freed southern states from strict federal oversight of their elections. North Carolina has a new law scaling back the period for early voting and imposing stringent voter identification requirements. It is among at least five Southern states adopting stricter voter ID and other election laws. The Justice Department on Aug. 22 sued Texas over the state’s voter ID law and is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit over redistricting laws in Texas that minority groups consider to be discriminatory.
• Florida Lawmaker Revives GOP Plan To Rig The Electoral College For Republicans: A Republican plan to place an enormous thumb on the electoral scale in favor of Republican presidential candidates is back, and if one Florida lawmaker has his way, it will be law by 2016. In the last couple of years, several top Republicans rallied behind a plan to rig the Electoral College by ensuring that many of the electoral votes that went to President Obama in the last two elections would instead be awarded to the Republican candidate. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) proposed rigging presidential elections as early as 2011. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called for one set of rules in red states — to ensure that Republicans get all of the electoral votes in those states — and another set of rules in blue states to ensure that GOP candidates get some of those votes as well. In Priebus’ words, the election rigging plan is “something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at.” And now, Florida state Rep. Ray Pilon (R) introduced a bill to bring this election rigging plan to Florida. If Pilon’s bill had been law in 2012, Romney would have won 15 of Florida’s 29 electoral votes, despite the fact that President Obama won the popular vote in the state.
In other news
• No. 2 U.S. nuke commander suspended: The No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces has been suspended and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Command for issues related to gambling, officials said Saturday. The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at U.S. Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced. Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, suspended the deputy commander, Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, from his duties on Sept. 3, according to the command’s top spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze. Giardina is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, she said.
• Freemen: Calgary Police say they’ve arrested a man from a Parkdale home on outstanding warrants from Quebec, and they are not anticipating additional criminal charges against Andrea Pirelli at this point. A second person was arrested outside of the duplex Friday evening. Pirelli, also known as Mario Antonacci in Quebec, was arrested by police early Friday morning. He was arrested on as many as nine outstanding warrants issued by courts in Quebec and according to Calgary Police, he’ll stay in custody for at least six days before he is transported to that province. District 2 inspector Terry Larson says that the warrants, initially made in Montreal, were extended to Canada-wide warrants. Following Pirelli’s arrest, several unidentified people remained within the Parkdale duplex.
• US was warned about Kenya mall attack: U.S. intelligence received reports of a serious threat in Kenya before last week’s terrorist attack at a Nairobi mall that left 62 dead and more than 150 injured, NBC News reported. Officials said that NSA reviewed intelligence of a “credible” threat. Kenyan police arrested nine suspects tied to the attack. Al Shabaab, a Somali terror group tied to al Qaeda, had claimed credit for the attack.
• NBC cans hunting show after lobbyist star compares critics to Hitler: NBC Sports Network pulled the new show Under Wild Skies from broadcast Saturday after its star — National Rifle Association lobbyist Tony Makris — defended shooting an elephant in the face by comparing his critics to Hitler on an NRA news show. Makris came under fire, metaphorically, after the premiere episode of the hunting show captured Makris in Botswana shooting an elephant from concealment twice, chasing it down and then killing it with a bullet in its face, followed by a champagne celebration. Elephant hunting in Botswana will be completely illegal in 2014. Responding to comments about the brutality and inappropriateness of his actions, Makris said that condoning one kind of hunting while opposing another is “committing a very unique form of animal racism,” and that “they said but they’re so big and special and they’re smarter. And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.”