In it, but not of it. TPM DC

As the backlash continues against police violence in the aftermath of multiple African-Americans being killed by officers, one wrinkle in the ongoing debate has been the aggressive reaction of law enforcement itself to the public criticism and protest.

Among the recent examples, a New York City police union has urged members to ban Mayor Bill de Blasio from their funerals if they die in the line of duty, saying it would be "an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice" after the mayor's handling of Eric Garner's death at the hand of an NYPD officer. A St. Louis police association demanded that the NFL and St. Louis Rams discipline players who walked onto the field before a game making the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture associated with the Michael Brown shooting. A police union in Cleveland called a Browns player's T-shirt protesting the Tamir Rice and John Crawford shootings there "pretty pathetic."

It isn't unusual for police unions to urge public calm and defend their members' constitutional rights to due process in the event of an officer-involved shooting. What is different in these cases, experts say, is the kind of rhetoric that unions are deploying to counter critics of the police.

Read More →

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is calling all hands on deck to fix his state's huge self-imposed budget crisis, which nearly cost him re-election this year, and the staunch conservative is now receiving an assist from an unlikely source: Obamacare.

The state's well-documented budget troubles came after Brownback's dramatic reductions in taxes since taking office in 2011. With its revenue drying up and cash reserves depleted, Kansas is staring at a $280 million hole in its $6.4 billion FY 2015 budget, which ends in June.

Brownback offered his proposal for closing that hole last week, a mixture of spending cuts and transferring funds from other parts of the budget to fill it. And second biggest of those transfers is $55 million in revenue from a Medicaid drug rebate program that was bolstered under the Affordable Care Act.

The short version then is this: Obamacare is helping Kansas address its fiscal crisis -- even if Brownback's administration seems loath to admit it.

Read More →

While Republican senators were fuming at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) for holding up a $1.1 trillion spending bill aimed at preventing a government shutdown, Democrats saw a silver lining: the move by Cruz and Lee gave Democrats an opening to move a number of President Barack Obama's nominees for federal judgeships and the executive branch.

Read More →

LiveWire