Legislative pay, Obama's GOP targets, courting Jon Stewart and Ta-Nehisi Coates' explosive book

Good morning. How slow are things around the Capitol? A few fire trucks and some police tape on Cedar Street had the press corps outside excited about the possibility of news. Alas, in the words of MPR’s Tom Scheck, some construction workers at a construction site found some construction materials. “Suspicious package” turned out to be brick mortar and paper products.

Today, Senate Rules will meet at 1:30 to discuss legislative salaries, with the first sighting of Majority Leader Tom Bakk since the ugly special session. Gov. Mark Dayton will hold a news conference at 1 in the press briefing room to do some touting on savings from health care reform (cc: POTUS.) Let’s see if either veers off message.

Center of the American Experiment and special guest Mike McFadden at a BBQ celebrating the late Milton Friedman, at the Brookview Golf Course, Golden Valley, tonight at 6:30. Register here. Friedman’s ideas of a negative income tax led to the earned income tax credit.

Republicans want to allow National Guard and other active duty service members to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, Pat Condon reports.

Apartment boom now headed to the suburbs.

Jim Spencer reports Cargill signed up with a dozen other companies to combat climate change, if you believe in that sort of thing. (Clinton lays out climate change policy.)

Woman was a straw gun buyer for Minneapolis crime spree, cops say.

A judicial panel recommends three women to replace Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, Pat Condon and David Chanen report.

AP: August 1 will see $9 per hour minimum wage, tops in the region.

House and Senate on collision course on highway funding, with the Ex-Im Bank in the Senate bill. Congress can still be dysfunctional with one party control, especially when half the Senate is running for president.

But momentum in Congress to revise sentencing laws to reduce incarceration, coalescing around coalition of left and right.

Mike Huckabee once believed in engagement with Iran. This 2007 speech is very Obama-esque.

Powerful New York Magazine cover with many (though not all) of Bill Cosby’s rape accusers. And their website got hacked. 

D.J. Tice column on Tim Penny, one-time Democrat, likes Kasich.

Chairman Pat Garofalo will like this one. Automation is a good thing for all of us, in the long run, Yglesias at Vox argues. Good piece if you ever find yourself in an argument with Luddites. 

Every time Obama attacks a Republican candidate, that candidate’s profile is raised and his chances of nomination go up. So you have to wonder if Obama mentioning Cruz, Huckabee and Trump (and Walker a few weeks ago, as I noted in my story from La Crosse) is a signal about who the Obamans and Clintonistas want to run against. By the same token, if you hear him praising a Republican (I can imagine him praising the Bush family, the patriarch of which he likes and admires), that’s a signal they don’t want to run against that person.

Amazing: The White House cultivated Jon Stewart, including secret trips to the White House.

In case anyone forgot, the housing boom Jeb Bush keeps hailing from his Florida governorship turned into a total bust, the Washington Post reports.

Lots of chatter about Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose book Between the World and Me has received rapturous praise (Toni Morrison compared him to James Baldwin.) Here’s a sharply negative review from Rich Lowry. John McWhorter is a really interesting thinker with a compelling piece on antiracism as a religion of progressive America, for good and ill.

Nice photo feature on Saturday night in the Twin Cities.