By Tracy Bloom
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The White House’s reaction to the announcement Thursday that Russia had granted NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden asylum wasn’t a surprising one. “We see this as an unfortunate development, and we are extremely disappointed by it,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, adding that Russia had acted “despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and private.” Snowden faces espionage charges in the U.S. for leaking a trove of documents detailing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs. (Read more)
Shifting Blame: Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is blaming the city for the mounting sexual misconduct allegations against him, arguing that he never received any proper sexual harassment training that the municipal code requires. Filner’s attorney Harvey Berger says the city had a legal obligation to provide him with such training, but his planned session was subsequently canceled and never rescheduled. “This is not an excuse for any inappropriate behavior which may have occurred, but having conducted sexual harassment training scores of times over the years, I have learned that many ... people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law,” Berger wrote in a letter to the City’s Attorney Office. Filner also tried to get the city to pay for the legal costs of the lawsuit against him, but that request was rejected by the City Council. (Read more)
Pot Law: Illinois became the latest state to legalize medical marijuana as Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation Thursday. But you can’t go out and buy it for those health problems just yet because the law doesn’t go into effect until the beginning of next year. Medicinal pot supporters say the measure is the strictest in the country. Under the law, a person would be restricted to buying no more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis over a two-week period and the doctor who prescribes it must have a prior relationship with the person. (Read more)
Upset Brewing? A new Public Policy Polling poll conducted in the Kentucky Senate race is somewhat of a surprise as it shows Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 45-44 percent. However, the poll’s margin of error is 2.8 percent, meaning the contest is essentially still a tie. According to the survey, 51 percent are not happy with McConnell’s performance, while 40 percent think he’s doing a good job. It should be noted that the PPP poll was commissioned by two organizations that are opposed to the Republican incumbent’s re-election. And that’s exactly what McConnell’s campaign used to attack the survey. “George Soros and the Obama Allies are up to their same old tricks. They have concocted another fictitious poll that has no basis in reality,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said. (Read more)
Say What? E.W. Jackson, the Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee, reiterated previous remarks during a radio show appearance Monday that it’s impossible to be both a Christian and a Democrat, calling the party “anti-God.” Jackson made the comment when challenged by host Jack Gravely, who described himself as a Christian who usually votes for Democratic candidates. “You are saying for us, we’re all wrong, leave that party. And all I’m saying to you is, if you said it before, you still have to believe it, why did you say it?” Gravely asked. Responded Jackson: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party; I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party.” (Read more)
Beer Summit, Take 2: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might be ready to bury the hatchet with Chris Christie, but it seems as though the New Jersey governor isn’t ready to let the very public feud end just yet. Paul reached out to Christie on Wednesday afternoon, requesting him to come to Washington, D.C., for a beer where they could “kiss and make up.” That suggestion was dismissed by Christie on Thursday. “I’m running for re-election in New Jersey. I don’t really have time for that at the moment,” he said. “If I find myself down in Washington, I’ll certainly look him up, but I don’t suspect I’ll be there any time soon.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: If there’s any indicator that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid means business, it’s the following video that demonstrates how he handled the legislative body Thursday when it wouldn’t come to order. Reid was clearly blowing some steam while trying to get his colleagues to quiet down so Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, could discuss an appropriations bill.