LIGHTNING ROUND: PLAYING WITH FIRE.

  • David Brooks has an eminently reasonable New York Times column today that concludes that while Sonia Sotomayor was certainly a product of the multiculturalism of the 1970s, such ties have absolutely no bearing on her jurisprudence, adding that she embodies judicial "restraint" and earning Brooks' endorsement. Good to know that some conservatives are capable of not obsessing over race. Confirmation hearings for Sotomayor are set to begin July 13.
  • Yesterday, New York Republicans pulled off something of a coup, regaining control of the state Senate after two Democrats switched sides in a backroom power-sharing agreement. And while this does not bode well for beleaguered Governor David Paterson's admirable push for same-sex marriage rights in the Empire State, it doesn't represent any national trend in party-switching, either.
  • Either the Moonie-funded Washington Times considers Frank Gaffney to be a voice worth publishing or they're just hungry for site traffic, for in his column, the "defense analyst" who is obsessed with anything and everything Muslims are up to, cites the "mounting evidence" that Barack Obama "not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself." For those of you not familiar with Gaffney's oeuvre, Steve Benen lists a few of his greatest hits.
  • It's stunning that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) would deliberately tell the Chinese that they shouldn't have confidence in the Obama administration's budget numbers. Even more so because he believes that this will "build trust and confidence in our number one creditor." Like it or not, the Chinese need us as much as we need them, and the fact that someone would try to undermine that relationship for political gain is reprehensible.
  • Remainders: The 2008 presidential election cost $1.8 billion; the private military firm Xe (formerly Blackwater) gets sued for war crimes; and does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have a marriage problem?

--Mori Dinauer

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