* This is what passes for a “balanced ticket” in the current formulation of the Republican Party. At the top of the ticket is a white guy who once tweeted this:


From his running mate (another white guy), we get this bold statement:

“Well I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii,” Pence told reporters, as quoted by NBC News. “I accept his birthplace. I just don’t know where he’s coming from on foreign policy and on economics and on Obamacare.”

* The FBI released 30 Benghazi-related Clinton emails and Politico calls them “thin.” What do they mean by that? Except for one, they are all duplicates of emails that have already been released. But there was this bombshell from then-U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon:

Please extend to the Secretary my congratulations for her testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid and determined manner. I was especially impressed by her ability to turn aside the obvious efforts to politicize the events in Benghazi, reminding Americans of the tremendous sacrifice made by Chris Stevens and his colleagues but also insisting that our ability to play a positive role in the world and protect U.S. interests requires a willingness to take risks. I am thankful for her leadership, proud of her commitment to the Foreign Service, and honored to be part of her team.

It will be interesting to watch what the “merchants of doubt” do with that one.

What…you say that they’ll do nothing with it?

Yeah, I thought so.

* Anakwa Dwamena reports on another first in an administration of firsts.

Against a rising tide in anti-Muslim incidents, the president’s appointment of Abid Riaz Qureshi to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is a timely statement on America’s commitment to ensuring all its people are represented. If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, Qureshi would be the country’s first Muslim-American federal judge.

In addition to himself being the first black president in American history, Obama’s presidency has been filled with a number of other important firsts too: the first woman and first black librarian of Congress, the first Latina Supreme Court justice, the first transgender White House staffer, and the first black attorney general, among others.

* Jon Favreau has a must-read piece about the up-coming debates between Clinton and Trump. Here’s how he describes those who are helping Trump prepare:

It’s fitting that Trump…would prepare for the reality television episode of his life with the vast array of right-wing conspiracy theorists who first inspired his campaign…

These right-wing media stars don’t sell their audiences conservatism, nationalism, populism, or any “-isms” at all. They are entertainers. They sell conspiracy and innuendo. They sell outrage and grievance…If you have a problem in your life — if you’re scared or anxious or feel that you’ve been treated unfairly — people like Hannity and Drudge and outlets like Breitbart tell you where to direct your blame. They tell you who deserves your suspicion. And it’s always people who are different than you — either they’re richer, more powerful, and therefore corrupt, or they don’t look like you, pray like you, speak like you, or come from where you do.

While I am always hesitant to buy into the advice-giving phenomenon that pundits love so much, Favreau makes a great point about what Clinton should do in response.

…we should also remember that Trump is a media celebrity who’s been coached to tell a certain story about America, and the best way to counter that is with a story of our own. It’s the story that was told at the Democratic convention by Hillary Clinton, who laid out a bold, optimistic vision for a future where we rise together. It’s the story that was told by Barack and Michelle Obama, who spoke of a country that’s hopeful and generous; tolerant and kind — a place where we teach our children to treat one another with common decency and respect. It’s the story told by Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a family of Muslim immigrants who struggled and sacrificed to make a home in America, and raised a courageous son who gave his life for the country he loved. It’s a story that sometimes makes us roll our eyes because we’re hardened and cynical and we let ourselves believe that fear and anger are the only emotions that leaders can use to inspire anymore. But it’s a story that must be told, over and over again.

* To avoid falling down the Trump worm hole, this is the kind of information that we should actually be paying attention to.

As the U.S. crime rate collapsed over the past two decades, the arrest rate declined by almost a third. Because criminality peaks in young adulthood, population aging at first blush seems a likely cause of the welcome drop in arrests, such that police today have less work to do because the legions of graying, rule-respecting, baby boomers and Gen Xers outnumber millennial troublemakers. As logical as that hypothesis may sound, a recent analysis by the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that it could not be more wrong.

…surprisingly, the drop in the arrest rate over time is entirely accounted for by the current generation of young adults, who are busted 23 percent less frequently than prior generations were at their age. Remarkably, despite the national drop in overall crime and arrest rates, the arrest rate among older Americans is higher than it was 20 years ago.

* Finally, a super pac named Local Voices is launching a series of anti-Trump ads in battleground states that feature people from the communities in which they were filmed and will be aired. Here’s an example:

YouTube video

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!