Quick Takes

* Donald Trump has announced that he will not release his tax returns prior to the election in November. That led to Sam Stein winning the award for Tweet of the Day.

* The Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice has been busy lately. Not only have they filed a federal law suit against North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law, today they announced this:

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and U. S. Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina announced today that a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging former North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department (NCPD) Officer Michael Slager with federal offenses related to his fatal shooting of Walter Scott on April 4, 2015. The indictment includes charges for a federal civil rights offense, using a firearm during the commission of the civil rights offense and obstruction of justice.

A quick reminder: this is the Division that was gutted and politicized during the Bush/Cheney administration. Elections matter!

* Beyond less pain to your pocketbook at the gas station, here is another advantage to low crude oil prices.

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery.

The pullout comes as crude oil prices have plummeted to less than half their June 2014 levels, forcing oil companies to cut spending.

* Perhaps it is the recovering therapist in me, but I think this exchange Donald Trump had with Don Imus tells us a lot about him. Trump was asked whether or not he regretted saying that John McCain is not a war hero. First of all, he suggests he was wrong and says this:

You know frankly, I like John McCain, and John McCain is a hero. Also, heroes are people that are, you know, whether they get caught or don’t get caught — they’re all heroes as far as I’m concerned. And that’s the way it should be.

When asked again whether he regretted what he said, here is his response:

“I don’t, you know — I like not to regret anything,” Trump said. “You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. There are many people that like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points.”

Analyze that!

* Kevin Drum is bullish on the economy. I’ll let you go look at the charts he put together, but here’s his conclusion.

This is an unusual situation. Usually one party wants to badmouth the economy and the other wants to celebrate it. This year, both parties are insisting that the economy is listless and stagnant, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. The truth is that for the past year the economy has been in pretty good shape. We’re all just afraid to say so.

* Finally, true confession: At the end of last week I was feeling pretty grumpy about the state of our politics. The antidote for me was binge-watching season 2 of Grace and Frankie on Netflix over the weekend. I happen to think that it is the best comedy series that has been produced in the last decade. But then I’m a 60-something year-old woman, so perhaps I’m biased.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .