Briefing: Dubya Recalls Katrina, Ben Carson in The Donald’s Wake and Democrats Being Democrats

Today in 10 seconds: Former President George W. Bush returns to New Orleans to mark the Katrina anniversary – and the nadir of his term. The on-air murders in Virginia reignites the push for gun control. Democrats meeting in Minneapolis hear from their presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Some #BlackLivesMatter activists don’t like the Washington, D.C.’s mayor’s plan to reduce the city’s spiking murder rate; others demand Hillary Clinton acknowledge the murders of transgendered women.

No One Knows How Many People Died in Katrina

Paging Dr. Carson: It might be the Summer of Trump, but another unlikely Republican presidential candidate is surfing in The Donald’s wake. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, another political novice, is the GOP’s No. 2 man at 10.8 percent is leading the rest of the party’s 2016 also-rans, including former establishment darling Jeb Bush (remember him?). While Carson was thought to be the evangelicals’ dream candidate – a fervently Christian anti-Obama with an up-from-poverty backstory – his rookie status and, shall we say, unconventional views puts him squarely in the middle of the grassroots backlash against the powers that be. All of which is to say, should Trump falter or lose a primary or two, Carson’s in the catbird seat as a second choice.

Dismissed: Carson says the embattled Department of Veterans’ affairs, which is charged with looking after former service members but is battling through a scandalously huge backlog of vets waiting for care, is obsolete and needs to be eliminated. It should be replaced, Carson says, with individual caseworkers assigned to military personnel the moment they enlist. Nice idea, but Carson’s proposal kid of walks past the millions of vets in the system — and the anticipated bulge of former men and women in uniform who fought in the dual overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who need health care and other services.

Onward, Anti-Abortion Soldiers: As an evangelical Christian, Carson is staunchly against abortion, but rejects the “war on women” label that the left uses to describe such opposition, attempts to shut down women’s health clinics notwithstanding. He describes it as a presumably more nuanced “war on what’s inside of women.” The good doctor didn’t elaborate, but the distinction has some scratching their heads: is it a war on women’s feelings? Their heart, lungs and livers? Or, more likely, another place that’s difficult to see but we all know is there: that place that holds fetuses, and evangelicals’ pledges to defend the unborn. The semantics are interesting, particularly since Carson found himself in an uncomfortable place on the issue, when it was revealed he used fetal tissue for medical research back when he was a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Stat of the Day: Confirmed number of Americans aged 112 or older: 10. Number that age listed as alive on Social Security rolls: 4,700,000 (courtesy of Harper’s Index).

Duly Noted: On this date in 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was abducted from his uncle’s home in Money, Mississippi, by two white men after he had supposedly whistled at a white woman; he was found brutally slain three days later. In 1963, more than 200,000 people listened as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Happy Birthday, Virgos: Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen (75), actor David Soul of ‘70s TV action series, “Starsky and Hutch” (72), actor Jack Black (46), actress Quvenzhane Wallis, star of the movie, “Beast of the Southern Wild” (12), reality TV star Alana Thompson, AKA “Honey Boo Boo” (10).


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