David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

For my part, Scott Walker's attempted walk back of his comments about the Boy Scouts' ban on gay leaders as having "protected children" is ridiculous on its face. He now claims what he meant was that it protected children from "the political and media discussion about it." Um. Okay.

I'm confident our readers are sophisticated enough to see that for what it is, part of the broader softening of rhetoric over gay rights from Walker and other elected conservatives, but a softening that is opportunistic, inconsistently applied, disingenuous, and which, in this case, Walker bumbled.

But TPM Reader KR emails to say we're enabling Walker by not calling him out more forcefully. I yield the floor:

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Few if any other Confederate memorials stand out like Stone Mountain, Georgia. The modern Ku Klux Klan was founded there in 1915. In the 1920s, under the auspices of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an enormous sculpture of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson was carved into the rock face of the mountain by Gutzon Borglum before he began Mount Rushmore. Now the president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP says the sculpture should be "sandblasted" off the face of the mountain.

This is my candidate for most inappropriate way to show your resistance to the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same sex marriage: The county commission in Dent County, Missouri voted unanimously yesterday to lower the flags at the county courthouse periodically for the next year to officially mourn traditional marriage. Late reports are it will now reverse that decision, out of respect to veterans. Oops. More soon.

Catherine Thompson with two great pieces on the Jade Helm military exercise, which gets underway this week and has spawned more conspiracy theories than your tinfoil hat can count. She has the full rundown of the latest conspiracy mongering (come on, Russia helping Mexico reclaim Aztlan is the BEST!).

But there was also news over the weekend that a self-appointed group of volunteers have taken it upon themselves to monitor the military during the exercise, especially as the anticipated takeover of Texas unfolds.

"If a team member sees two Humvees full of soldiers driving through town, they're going to follow them," a leader of the volunteer effort said. "And they're going to radio back their ultimate location."

What could possibly go wrong?

Some great reporting from Roll Call's Emma Dumain that sheds new light on the Confederate flag fiasco the House GOP brought on itself Wednesday night, more or less under cover of darkness.

We have some of the highlights, but the gist is that the move was carried out by the highest levels of House GOP leadership and that many of the rank-and-file members, including some who would normally be in the loop, were caught completely off guard.

Key line about what happened on the floor that night: "The real red flag was the sudden appearance of leadership staff, namely senior aides for Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio."

So it's a little rich that Boehner went before reporters for his weekly press conference less than 24 hours later and commenting on the Confederate flag said, "I do not want this to become some political football."

This thing going on in Maine is wild, as so many things tend to be with the marvelously unhinged Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

As you may have seen earlier in the week, LePage seemed by all accounts except his own to have catastrophically botched vetoing nearly 20 bills the legislature had already passed, many or all of which he vehemently opposed.

In LePage's telling, this was all part of his plan, not a botched veto, but a particular interpretation of the Maine constitution that should be obvious to anyone. Except it wasn't obvious, and hasn't been the custom or practice in the state. His interpretation smelled very much like an after-the-fact legal rationale to try escape the bind he put himself in.

But now LePage is going one step further.

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