Maureen Dowd on Hillary Clinton's run for president in 2016. ...
... MEANWHILE, Not-Hillary Bobby Jindal is faltering. Kristen Lee of the New York Daily News: "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 Republican White House contender, is struggling in his conservative home state, where his approval rating has fallen even below that of President Obama. The Republican governor's approval rating stands at 38% in the new Southern Media Opinion & Research survey, slightly lower than Obama's 43% approval....The pollsters said unhappiness about state cuts to higher education and health care contributed to Jindal's declining popularity. Also, 63% of respondents oppose Jindal's plan to eliminate state income taxes and raise sales taxes."
Bryon Tau of Politico: "President Obama's labor allies are unhappy about cuts to entitlements and benefits that are expected to be proposed by the administration in its forthcoming budget. In an email entitled 'Obama's really bad idea,' the AFL-CIO's policy director Damon Silvers blasted the leaked details of cuts to Social Security asking labor activists to 'make some noise about it.'"
Neil Irwin of the Washington Post: "On both sides of the Atlantic, democratically elected institutions have been helpless, slow or unable to act on the scale needed to protect the leading Western economies. And time and again, the central bankers -- a group of secretive, unelected technocrats -- have stood up while presidents and parliaments dithered." Adapted from his book.
Science News: "Residents of states with the highest rates of gun ownership and political conservatism are at greater risk of suicide than those in states with less gun ownership and less politically conservative leanings, according to a study by University of California, Riverside sociology professor Augustine J. Kposowa." Thanks to contributor James S. for the link. ...
... So Let's Give Guns to Sexually-Frustrated, Emotionally-Volatile Kids! Steve Benen on Liberty University, where everything is banned except guns: "At Liberty University, students are far more likely to see someone carrying a semi-automatic than carrying a bottle of beer. Mini-skirts have been deemed inappropriate, but loaded handguns have been deemed entirely appropriate. Students can see an extended magazine, but they can't see 'Django Unchained.'" ...
... Oh, Hell, Let's Give Guns to Everybody! Jonathan Allen of Politico: "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's threat to filibuster any new gun restrictions is gathering steam, as a dozen of his Republican colleagues have now signed onto his plan." ...
... Frank Bruni goes hunting for pheasant & partridge -- on an ironically-named "bird preserve." At least he plans to eat his prey. ...
... Scott Malone of Reuters: "The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said on Friday it had revoked the federal license of a Connecticut gun retailer that sold a weapon to the mother of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at an elementary school in December."
If the Republicans in the Senate don't start approving some judges and don't start helping get some of these nominations done, then we're going to have to take more action. -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, threatening to change the filibuster rules
"The Manchurian Speaker." Ezra Klein: "As badly as Obama wants a budget deal, Boehner seems just as determined to keep him from reaching one. For liberals, this is close to an ideal situation. The Republican Party's brand continues to worsen. The Democratic president manages to look reasonable without ever actually signing a painful compromise into law. And Medicare and Social Security remain safe."
Manu Raju & John Bresnahan of Politico: "New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg will not return to Capitol Hill next week, and now it's unclear when -- or even if -- the veteran lawmaker will be back.... If Lautenberg were to give up his seat, under New Jersey law, Gov. Chris Christie (R) would have the power to name an interim replacement -- most likely a fellow Republican -- before a special election would be held to fill out the remainder of Lautenberg's term, which expires January 2015. But the timing of any potential Lautenberg retirement is critical."
Larry Henry of KFSM, Fort Smith, Arkansas: "U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., on Saturday (April 6) clarified his view on same-sex issues, saying he is opposed to same-sex marriage." CW: Pryor's term ends in 2015; presumably he's planning to run for re-election.
Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times: A "back-room bargain [between Pakistani & CIA officials], described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate.... The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike.... [Pakistan] became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war." Mazzetti adapted the article from a book he has written.
Steve Eder of the New York Times: Rutgers athletic director Tim "Pernetti is hardly the only person who watched the edited video [of men's basketball coach Mike Rice abusing team players] and still approved of keeping Mr. Rice on staff until last week. The athletic department's human resources and chief financial officer saw the video, as did the university's outside legal counsel. At least one member of the board of governors saw it. Robert L. Barchi, the university president, has said he did not see it before last week, although at least one of his senior directors asked him to watch it. Interviews ... show that when the most senior Rutgers officials were confronted with explicit details about Mr. Rice's behavior toward his players and his staff, they ignored them or issued relatively light penalties." Here's the report.
... Peter Moskowitz of Gawker: "Republican [New York] City Councilman Dan Halloran ... was best known for making false claims about city snow plow drivers purposely slowing down their work. Fortunately his reputation as a liar was recently superseded by revelations that he accepted bribes in an effort to get Democratic State Senator Malcom Smith on the Republican ticket for Mayor. But now he can be best remembered for something else: Halloran was voluntarily tied to a tree and flogged 11 times with a leather belt by the leaders of his pagan sect as punishment for an 'undisclosed act' against a female 'thrall' (probationary servant, in non-pagan-Religion-terms).... In addition to being flogged as punishment, the Post reveals that Halloran once tried to start his own sect of Theodism and attract followers away from the main group. In order to do that, he had to battle another member of the group, which involved throwing 7-foot-long tree spears at each other."
New York Times: "Lilly Pulitzer, the Palm Beach princess of prints who created an enduring fashion uniform for wealthy socialites and jet setters almost by accident, died on Sunday at her home in Florida. She was 81."
Reuters: "Members of the U.S. military whose homes were unlawfully foreclosed upon between 2006 and 2010 will receive about $39 million from subsidiaries of Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday."
Los Angeles Times: "Coroner's officials plan to conduct an autopsy on the youngest son of Orange County Pastor Rick Warren next week to determine an official cause of death, a routine event in cases where suicide is suspected, authorities said Saturday afternoon. Matthew Warren's death at his home on Pradera Drive in Mission Viejo was reported to Orange County sheriff's officials at about 5:25 p.m. Friday, said Supervising Deputy Coroner Dan Aikin. Aikin said he could not confirm an earlier report by coroner's officials to City News Service that Warren, 27, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound."