There are some fairly big developments today in the Trayvon Martin case -- starting with Bill Lee, the Sanford, Florida police chief who has been on administrative leave. We noted back in April that Lee tried to quit, unsuccessfully; his resignation was rejected by the city commission and the mayor until a full investigation of his conduct in the Martin investigation could be completed. Seems that's over and done with, since he's now been fired:
In a news release, City Manager Norton N. Bonaparte Jr. announced that Mr. Lee was immediately relieved of his duties. “We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support,” Mr. Bonaparte said.
There is much more to come here on the blog today about the case. Check back soon for updates.
It seems as though the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act will be drawn out until its last day: Monday. Today, they vacated a lower court's indecency ruling against the FCC, but folks are waiting on edge in the political world to see what affects the decision on the ACA will have broadly, and specifically on the presidential race. MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein's piece in this week's edition of The New Yorker, in which he traces the history of the ACA's individual mandate, may led one to wonder why Republicans are running so far away from this -- after all, it was their idea:
The mandate made its political début in a 1989 Heritage Foundation brief titled “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans,” as a counterpoint to the single-payer system and the employer mandate, which were favored in Democratic circles. In the brief, Stuart Butler, the foundation’s health-care expert, argued, “Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seat-belts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement.”
The whole thing is worth a careful read, and sharing with any friends or relatives under the impression that the President is some kind of totalitarian despot, as some insist his pivot on immigration policy also signifies. Republican Congressman Ben Quayle called it an "unconstitutional power grab." For his part, Michael Reagan, a frequent contributor to the That Network Across Sixth Avenue, likened the President's new policy for young undocumented immigrants to accused Penn State child molestor Jerry Sandusky.
(On that note, the verdict in the Sandusky trial could come at any time, as the defense issued its closing argument today. Check out tonight's Rock Center with Brian Williams, where one of Sandusky's accusers will be interviewed.)
A National Journal meditation on the President's power is one of the many other reads which caught our eye this morning. I also wanted to highlight previous "MHP" guest Daniel Denvir's new investigation warning of serious problems in Philadelphia's public transportation system, SEPTA:
Yet on a typical day, the long-underfunded system performs a small miracle: getting thousands of people where they need to go. Last year, SEPTA’s subways, trolleys, commuter rails and buses supplied nearly 334 million rides — its highest ridership in 22 years.
However, the nation’s sixth-largest transit system is not contemplating expanding services to meet the growing demand. Instead, Republican hostility in Washington and Harrisburg is pushing SEPTA and other public-transit agencies nationwide to the brink of fiscal — and physical — ruin.
Let us know what you're reading out there, #nerdland.