How Obama is Preparing for Wednesday – Over the weekend, President Obama convened a debate camp with top advisers at a lakeside resort near Las Vegas, a three-day crash course on his challenger Mitt Romney ahead of the first presidential debate on Wednesday. Obama aides had been pouring over hours of old videotape of Romney and other past Republican candidates to glean insight for Obama. Obama's coaches include David Axelrod, pollster Joel Benenson, Democratic strategists Anita Dunn and Ron Klain, and Sen. John Kerry, who is playing Romney in the mock debate sessions. (via ABC News) "They are expected to help Obama hone his stylistic presentation on stage — cultivating an image of a strong and forceful, not passive, candidate while avoiding the appearance of irritation or impatience, which has been a pitfall in the past. ... Aides said the president will also be working on speaking more concisely, curbing his tendency to be long-winded. But they noted he would not be explicitly developing “zingers and special lines,” which Romney was said to be practicing, according to the New York Times."
Aurora Victim Demands a Plan – A victim of the Aurora movie theater shooting appears in a new ad that will air in the days leading up to the presidential debate in Denver asking voters to "demand a plan" from Obama and Romney on gun control. 22-year-old Stephen Barton is hoping the ad will revive the conversation about gun violence at the debate, which will be held at the University of Denver, just 15 miles from the site of the shooting. "This past summer in a movie theater in Colorado, I was shot. Shot in the face and neck. But I was lucky. In the next four years, 48,000 Americans won’t be so lucky, because they’ll be murdered with guns in the next president’s term, enough to fill over 200 theaters. So when you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself, ‘Who has a plan to stop gun violence?" Watch it here.
The Other Big Debate, From Massachusetts – Elizabeth Warren and Senator Scott Brown square off in their second debate tonight for an hour before a crowd of 5,700 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Tsongas Center. David Gregory, host of NBC's “Meet the Press." The debate begins at 7 p.m. and PolicyMic will be live blogging, so stay tuned for our coverage. Ahead of the debate, a new poll shows Warren leading Brown by 2 percentage points — 46 percent to 44 percent, with 9 percent undecided in the hotly contested race.
SCOTUS is Back – The Supreme Court returns for a new term on Monday, with major rulings expected on affirmative action, gay marriage, and voting rights. Two cases loom large for civil rights advocates, one regarding the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and another about affirmative action at the University of Texas. (via LA Times) "Like the challenge to the constitutionality of President Obama's healthcare law, these cases will test the commitment of the court's conservatives, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in particular, to judicial restraint. Legal conservatives abhorred "Obamacare," and they are equally critical of both affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act's requirement that states with a history of racial discrimination in voting "pre-clear" their election procedures with the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington. Such extraordinary measures to protect African Americans and other minorities may have been necessary in the past, the argument goes, but racial progress (symbolized for some by the election four years ago of a black president) requires an end to such initiatives and a reaffirmation of the ideal of a "colorblind" Constitution."
A Golden State Experiment – California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a proposal to create a website that will allow students to download digital versions of popular textbooks for free. The law will accomplish two objectives: 1) The state will fund 50 open-source digital textbooks, targeted to lower-division courses, which will be produced by California's universities. Students will be able to download these books for free or pay $20 for hard copies; and 2) The law will create a California Digital Open Source Library to host those books.
Child Abuse Injuries on the Rise – According to a new study, more kids were hospitalized for serious injuries resulting from child abuse in 2009 than in 1997. The findings, based on records from 2,500 or more U.S. hospitals, found that while the number of injured kids and teenagers remained steady, the number of babies under a year old being hospitalized has risen. The number of infants under one year old with a serious abuse-related injury increased from 56.2 to 62.3 per 100,000 each year. More here.
Top PolicyMic Stories – Conservative Supreme Court May Rule Affirmative Action is a Thing of the Past (Mark Kogan) – Gay marriage, voting rights and affirmative actions are just some of the issues the SCOTUS could tackle this fall effectively shaking up the race between Romney and Obama.
Jerry Brown Rightfully Eliminates "Pray the Gay Away" Therapies in California (Danielle Gram) – California has become the first state to outlaw efforts to “pray the gay away,” and other states should follow suit.
Hugo Chavez Endorses President Barack Obama for Reelection (Robinson O'Brien-Bours) – The Venezuelan strongman also said that if Obama were Venezuelan he'd vote to prolong Chavez's 14-year old rule against pro-business challenger Henrique Capriles.
5 Critical Things to Watch for On the Oct. 3 Presidential Debate (Robert Lee) – A memo this weak sought to lower Romney's debate expectations, but what do the candidates really face in this first battle royale?
What We’re Reading – Meet the Ohio voters responsible for killing Mitt's campaign (The Atlantic); Obamanomics: A counterhistory (NY Times); Fixing America's capitalist machine (The Economist); Al Jazeera's political independence questioned (The Guardian); The myth of male decline (NY Times); Octoberfest 2012 in photos (Boston.com).