Unstable People. Both the Washington Post, here, and the New York Times, here, have long pieces examining the lives of the Tsarnaevs. Bottom line: things weren't working out all that well for them, even though they got a lot of public help, so they decided to bomb the place. I'm liking the crazy mother as a co-conspirator.
C-SPAN has live coverage of the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night, beginning at 6:15 pm ET, at which time everyone has the opportunity to see Mr. & Mrs. David Gregory waltz down the red carpet. Sadly, Tom & Mrs. Tom Brokaw will be no-shows. ...
... Update. President Obama's full remarks:
... If you don't watch Obama's entire remarks, at least watch this behind-the-scenes trailer for "Obama," the movie, wherein Steven Spielberg proves the old adage that a good director can get a fine performance out of any actor:
... Joel Achenbach & Amy Argetsinger of the Washington Post: "Washington, New York and Hollywood held their annual schmoozefest Saturday night, and the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (#nerdprom on Twitter) showed new evidence of being completely overrun by red-carpet-posing actors, singers, sports superstars, models and other outsiders who couldn't possibly name the ranking Democrat of the House Ways and Means Committee, much less its chairman." *
Paul Krugman on why George W. Bush was a terrible president: he uses words like "lies," "fraud" and "con man." CW: I suspect he'd find worse words if he weren't writing in the New York Times. ...
... Wherein Maureen Dowd accidentally says something nice about President Obama: "For the first time, [Barbara Bush,] the 87-year-old former first lady acknowledged, in essence, that W. had worn out the family's welcome in the White House. W. and other Bush officials continue to say they could not possibly have known that Saddam had no W.M.D. But I'm now told that Saddam sent word through the Saudis to the Bushies over and over that he had no W.M.D. and was only blustering to keep his nemesis in the neighborhood, Iran, at bay. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld weren't looking for the truth, and they weren't hitting the pause button the way President Obama is with Syria right now, sensitive to the quicksand nature of the region.
Prof. Gary May in a Washington Post op-ed: Antonin "Scalia is woefully ignorant of the [1965 Voting Rights Act]'s history.... The act protects all voters, especially in the states and districts covered by Section 5, from any obstacles that might be put in their way. That was true in 1966 and remains true today as efforts to suppress the minority vote continue. Scalia needs to do his homework before the court determines the act’s future."
Will Weissert of the AP: "Gov. Rick Perry is expressing 'disgust and disappointment' at a cartoon in a California newspaper that depicts him boasting about business booming in Texas just before a major explosion.... In a letter to the Bee's editor Friday, Perry said he wouldn't stand for 'someone mocking this tragedy.' He demanded an immediate apology for the newspaper's 'detestable attempt at satire.'" See yesterday's Commentariat for context. I stand with the cartoonist Jack Ohman. Ohman wasn't "mocking the tragedy"; he was mocking a clueless governor who has been lobbying on the very laissez-faire policies that allowed the owner of the fertilizer plant to operate in a highly-unsafe and careless manner. ...
... Here's Perry's letter, published in the Bee, and an apt response from editorial page editor Stuart Leavenworth.
Sometimes even Paul Ryan is right -- as when he blamed the Romney-Ryan loss on "the urban vote." Hope Yen of the AP: "America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time.... Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press." Thank you, urban people. Keep up the good work. The vote suppressors, busy as they were in 2012, will try harder next time.
* Sander Levin (D-Mich.); Dave Camp (R-Mich.) CW: yeah, I hadda look it up.
Kim Severson of the New York Times tries to get past the sleaze & find the candidates' positions on the issues in South Carolina's special Congressional race between Mark Sanford & Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Right Wing World *
John Avlon of Newsweek: "... conservative state legislators and even congressmen [are] entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials.... [Last week] Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jason Chaffetz of Utah held a hearing 'to examine the procurement of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.' Despite the innocuous language, the hearing represented a capitulation, if not an outright endorsement, of conspiracy theories ... that the Homeland Security Department is stockpiling ammunition to use against Americans in a massive imposition of martial law.... Perhaps the highest profile impact of conspiracy theories to date on national policy was the defeat of the universal background check bill -- specifically the widespread claims threat that closing existing loopholes would be a first step toward a national gun registry that would in turn bring Hitler-style confiscation to America." ...
... Tyler Hansen of Media Matters: "The [Jordan-Chaffetz] hearing ... inspired new legislation that's now before Congress. On April 26, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced bills in both chambers of Congress in order to limit federal agencies from stockpiling ammunition."
* The only thing we have is fear itself.
Reuters: "Gunmen surrounded Libya's foreign ministry on Sunday to push demands that officials who had worked for deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime be banned from senior positions in the new administration. At least 20 pick-up trucks loaded with anti-aircraft guns blocked the roads while men armed with AK-47 and sniper rifles directed the traffic away from the building, witnesses said." Al Jazeera story here.
Reuters: "The owner of a factory building that collapsed in Bangladesh killing hundreds of garment workers was arrested on Sunday trying to flee to India, police said, as fears grew that the death toll could rise sharply with as many as 900 still missing. Mohammed Sohel Rana, a leader of the ruling Awami League's youth front, was arrested ... in the Bangladesh border town of Benapole...."
Al Jazeera: "The Taliban has claimed re[s]ponsibility for two bomb blasts have killed nine supporters of two Pakistani politicians at their campaign offices in the country's northwest, the latest violence ahead of polls next month. Violence has marred the campaign for the landmark May 11 general election, with more than 50 people dead in blasts and suicide attacks since April 11, according to a tally by the AFP press agency, including more than 20 in the past three days."
The New York Times has more on the 2011 phone calls between Tamerlan & Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, which the Russians intercepted. (The original AP story is linked in yesterday's Ledes.) ...
... Boston Globe: "U.S. officials say investigators have found no evidence that a conservative Muslim friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev ... known to the family as Misha ... had any connection to the Boston Marathon bombing.... Two U.S. officials close to the investigation say the FBI has identified an individual believed to be Misha. The officials would not say whether the FBI has spoken to him but say they've found no ties to the attack or terrorism in general." ...
... AP: " The father of the two Boston bombing suspects says he is postponing a trip to the United States because of poor health. Anzor Tsarnaev told The Associated Press on Sunday that he is 'really sick' and his blood pressure had spiked."