Quick Takes

While the 2016 campaign sucks up all of the oxygen in the media, President Obama continues work on his Clemency Initiative. Today he commuted the sentences of an additional 42 individuals – bringing his total to 348. He has now surpassed the previous 7 presidents combined in the number of commutations. But, given that all of these people were sentenced for nonviolent crimes, here is an astounding figure:

Among the 42 people who received commutations on Friday, nearly half (20) were serving life sentences. Of his 348 career commutations, 130 were in prison for life.

* After Hillary Clinton’s speech on national security yesterday, this was an interesting interchange to follow:

In Crooked Hillary’s telepromter speech yesterday, she made up things that I said or believe but have no basis in fact. Not honest!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2016

You literally said all those things. https://t.co/6VX5AfR7gL https://t.co/U8LfWdPU7x

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 3, 2016

What you’ll find at the link Clinton provided:

Hillary Clinton just delivered a major national security address in which, among other things, she took aim at a wide-ranging catalogue of dangerous comments that Donald Trump has made. Some of the comments she referenced are so ignorant, incoherent or outrageous, it could be hard to believe they actually came out of the mouth of the GOP’s presidential nominee.

But they literally did. All of them. See for yourself — check out the lines from Clinton’s speech, and the Trump quotes behind them:

Every Trump policy and quote Clinton included in her speech…documented. Reminded me of this:

The May jobs report was released today and there wasn’t much good news. Here’s Jared Bernstein:

In an unexpectedly downbeat jobs report, employers added only 38,000 jobs last month, the worst month for job gains since employment started recovering in 2010. Downward revisions trimmed the employment gains for the prior two months by 59,000, and the labor force participation rate fell again in May, as it had in April. That drove the unemployment rate down to a recovery low of 4.7 percent, but for the wrong reason: not because of people getting jobs but because of people leaving the job market….

Fiscal policy is looking more and more like an essential, missing ingredient in labor demand, and with borrowing costs still as low as they are, a smart move by policy makers would be to quickly start up an infrastructure program, perhaps in the critically important areas of water safety or our long-ignored public school facilities.

Clearly, in the midst of both political dysfunction and a contentious election, this would be a heavy political lift. But it’s still the right thing to do.

Finally, it is probably the “recovering therapist” in me that got such a big laugh out of this one from the Onion: Scientists Slowly Reintroducing Small Group Of Normal, Well-Adjusted Humans Into Society.

According to officials at Cornell University, where for the past 18 years conservation researchers have operated an enclosed sanctuary for humans who are levelheaded and make it a habit to think before they speak, the endangered group is being cautiously reintegrated into select locations nationwide in hopes that they can reestablish permanent communities and one day thrive again…

“Our hope is that within a century or so, the traits for making sound long-term decisions and being able to tolerate people different from oneself will propagate and begin to reemerge within the species at large,” he continued.

Prior to the conservation efforts, it is believed that even-tempered people with sound judgment and the ability to put the needs of others before themselves had dwindled to less than 150 within the country’s borders, and had gone completely extinct in the nation’s businesses and civic institutions.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.