Slatest PM: Obama Says He's Done Playing "Games"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 4 2013 6:01 PM

Slatest PM: Obama Says He's Done Playing "Games"

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President Barack Obama speaks as he meets with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in the Oval Office of the White House on June 4 , 2013

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Ready for Battle: Washington Post: "President Obama on Tuesday called on the Senate to swiftly confirm three new nominees to the influential and understaffed U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Obama staged a rare formal ceremony in the Rose Garden to nominate three lawyers to the appeals court. Visibly exasperated after years of delays on votes on many of his earlier nominations, Obama upbraided Senate Republicans for blocking past nominees and warned them to stop playing 'games.' ... It is rare for the president to nominate a trio of judges together, but Obama is trying to force the Senate to take up his nominations in quick succession. The president wants to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, the country’s second-most influential court, where four of the 11 seats have been empty through much of his presidency."

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Christie Sets Special Election: New York Times: "Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, in a decision fraught with political implications, announced on Tuesday that he would schedule a special election in October for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Frank R. Lautenberg. The decision to set the vote for Oct. 16, a Wednesday, was immediately attacked by Democrats in the state, who said the move by Mr. Christie, a Republican, amounted to squandering taxpayer money to protect his own political ambitions. ... He repeatedly denied that political calculations were at play. But Republican insiders privately conceded that adding the Senate contest to the Nov. 5 general election, when Mr. Christie is seeking a second term, would risk energizing Democrats, who outnumber Republicans by 700,000 registered voters in New Jersey."

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

Military Talks Sex Assault: CBS News: "Military leaders said Tuesday that sexual assault in the ranks is 'like a cancer' that could destroy the force, but they expressed serious concerns about far-reaching congressional efforts to strip commanders of some authority in meting out justice. In an unusual joint appearance, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the head of each branch of the military testified on what is widely viewed as an epidemic of sexual assault plaguing the services."

Holmes Pleads Insanity:  ABC News: "A Colorado judge has accepted accused theater shooter James Holmes' plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, a move that could spare him from the death penalty. The decision sets in motion a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Holmes, a process that could take months. ... He faces a total of 166 counts, including murder and attempted murder. Holmes, 25, could face the death penalty if tried and convicted. The insanity plea could help him avoid execution, if convicted."

Hacker Takes the Stand: Associated Press: "A one-time computer hacker who told authorities Pfc. Bradley Manning was giving information to WikiLeaks testified Tuesday the soldier never said he wanted to help the enemy during their online chats. Manning is on trial for giving hundreds of thousands of documents to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks. He pleaded guilty to charges that could bring 20 years behind bars, but the military has pressed ahead with a court-martial on more serious charges, including aiding the enemy. That charge carries a potential life sentence."

Let's Not Forget Syria: Reuters: "France's foreign minister said on Tuesday that there was no doubt the Syrian government had used nerve agent sarin against rebels, and that all options, including military action, were under consideration. Increasing reports from the battlefield of the use of chemical weapons have lent urgency to a new diplomatic push to end the war and fuelled some calls for Western intervention in the conflict."

This Won't Help the IRS's Image: NBC News: "A new investigative report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reveals charges of 'excessive spending' by the Internal Revenue Service related to a 2010 conference held in Anaheim, Calif. The report, released Tuesday afternoon, details the $4.1 million spent on that conference, including what TIGTA calls "questionable expenses" for planning trips, outside speakers, video productions and promotional items and gifts for IRS employees. The report looked at IRS travel spending more broadly between 2010-12, but focused on the Anaheim conference because it was the most expensive and TIGTA received requests from Congress to investigate it. Overall, TIGTA found the IRS held 225 conferences in that two-year period for a total estimated cost of $49 million."

O-H, I-O: USA Today: "Ohio State University President Gordon Gee is calling it quits. Following the revelation of recorded remarks in which he criticized Notre Dame, Roman Catholics and the Southeastern Conference, Gee announced his retirement Tuesday through the university. ... Trustees labeled Gee's joking remarks — made in December during an update on the Big Ten expansion — unacceptable and placed him on a remediation plan. The recorded comments were obtained by the Associated Press last week. Gee's success as a college president has often been overshadowed by verbal gaffes. During the meeting in December, he referred to 'those damn Catholics' and joked that priests at Notre Dame are holy on Sunday but 'holy hell' the rest of the week. Additionally, he once called Ohio's governor a 'dummy' and likened the job of running a university to the Polish Army."

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