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Southern Exposure

A Carter Could Turn Georgia Blue

The Daily Beast

Dramatic population shifts put Georgia on the path to joining North Carolina and Virginia in the electoral toss-up column. Jason Carter, Jimmy’s grandson, wants to lead the way.

As Wendy Davis’s campaign for Texas governor flounders, Democrats in Washington have begun to cast their eyes elsewhere for a good news story in the solid-red South.  They believe they may have found that in Georgia, where a combination of demographic trends and a slate full of famous political names is giving Democrats in the state an unfamiliar feeling:  Hope.Topping the ticket (which Republicans have tagged as "Downton Abbey Democrats" for children seeking their ancestors' titles) is Jason Carter, the 38 year-old state senator and grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, who is challenging Republican Gov.

2014 Midterms

Now the Good News From Florida

Joe Raedle/Getty

Forget the conventional wisdom—the health-care issue actually helped Alex Sink a little. Democrats must learn from it.

Was it really Obamacare that sunk Sink? I mean of course Alex Sink, the Democratic Florida congressional candidate who lost to Republican David Jolly on Tuesday. After the results were announced, Washington’s conventional wisdom congealed immediately: This was all about Obamacare, and it’s going to doom the Democrats come November.Not so fast, says Geoff Garin, the pollster who did Sink’s polling in the race. Garin argues in a memo he released the day of the voting that “the issue ultimately provided more of a lift than a drag to her campaign.

Gun for Hire

Russia’s American Crimea Hero

The Daily Beast

John Paul Jones, the ‘Father of the American Navy,’ led Catherine the Great’s 18th-century occupiers, before a sex scandal chased him out of the empire.

The first time Russia conquered the Crimean Peninsula and fought a war so that its gains would be internationally recognized, it relied, in part, on an American hero.In 1788, John Paul Jones, “the Father of the American Navy” who captained the USS Bonhomme Richard in its famous victory over the HMS Serapis at Flamborough Head, fought the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Catherine the Great—as Kontradmiral Pavel Ivanovich Jones—and helped Russia maintain its control of the Crimea.

Up to a Point

Our Stupid Political Spring Break

Reuters

A make-or-break fight for a House seat for… eight months, the CPAC straw poll’s awesome predictive powers, and Eric Holder’s dizzying logic.

U.S. Political Outlook: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatheads…Spring arrives next Thursday, and with it the 2014 political season. Hearken to the bleating of newborn two-headed freak candidacy lambs. Watch the first tender green buds of poison ivy and deadly nightshade poke their heads through the composted manure of the nation’s electoral garden.Tuesday’s Special Election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District…May have been a harbinger of November contests… in pointlessness and cost.

Immunity

‘Stand Your Ground’ for Felons

The Daily Beast

Next week, Georgia’s legislators will decide if they want a really crazy bill, or one that’s full on Gary Busey.

You may have heard that the Georgia state house and senate—much like their brethren in legislatures throughout the land where representative democracy has become besotted with punch-drunk Tea—has in their wisdom decided to pass a Guns R Us bill. It’s not so much legislation as it is the good sense do everything in their power to expand gun violence  in their state, short of requiring babies to drink milk from a 100-round drum magazine.Guns in K-12 schools? Check! Eliminating state licenses for gun dealers? But of course! Limit the governor’s powers to regulate guns during a “state emergency?” Can you say UN-led supranational hit squad riding shotgun aboard a black helicopter piloted by President Obama specifically coming to your house to take your handgun?!It’s all in there folks, and then some.

Into the Light

CIA Lawyer: Release Torture Report

Reuters

One of the men who may have the most to lose by the release of a long-suppressed report on CIA secret prisons says it’s time to make the document public.

The CIA has been dueling with its Senate overseers for more than a year over a report on the agency’s secret prisons. The CIA has tried to edit the Senate’s classified report and delay its release. But this week many voices—including President Obama -- called for the report to be declassified. One of those voices is John Rizzo, the CIA’s former top lawyer – and one of the men who arguably have the most to lose by the document’s release.Rizzo is the legal architect of the Bush-era “black site” secret prison program and the rules for the brutal interrogations that happened inside of them.

GREATEST HITS

The Constitution Is 400 Years Old

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Democratic congresswoman could give the craziest Republican a run for his money with her history of wild statements.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas proclaimed this week that the Constitution is 400 years old. In other words, its writing would predate the Pilgrims. But while she may be spending her time avidly re-watching the Pocahontas in hopes of getting a glimpse of John Smith jotting down the phrase “We The People,” you can read some more of Jackson Lee’s greatest hits below:If You Believe They Put a Man on MarsIn 1997, while on a trip to the Mars Pathfinder operations center in California, Jackson Lee asked if the Pathfinder had succeeded in taking a picture of the flag planted on Mars by Neil Armstrong in 1969.

HARSH TRUTHS

Ryan’s No Dog-Whistling Racist

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

When Congressman Paul Ryan talked about a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities…of men not working,” he was accused—wrongly, says our columnist—of racism. We must address difficult questions around race and poverty.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is not racist nor did he blow a “dog whistle” to launch a thinly veiled racist attack against black people. I offer this from the perspective of someone who has known Paul for more than 20 years: there is not a racist bone in his body.Earlier this week, Ryan appeared on conservative talk show host William Bennett’s radio program to discuss his efforts to eradicate poverty in America.  In the course of his remarks the Chairman of the House Budget Committee blamed: “[A] tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work.

Fringe Factor

Ex- General’s Jewish Problem

Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post, via Getty

Jerry Boykin, a retired Lieutenant General and rightwinger, spouted anti-Semitic “jokes” and accused Obama of supporting al-Qaeda at a conservative Christian conference.

The Internet—or at least the part of the Internet that indulges in these types of things—is abuzz over outrageous and offensive comments made by the vice president of a very conservative Christian organization at a very conservative conference last week.According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s now-highly circulated report, Retired Lt. General and Family Research Council Vice President Jerry Boykin was caught on a “hot mic”—following a panel on “Benghazigate: The Ugly Truth and the Cover-up” at the National Security Action Summit—claiming that President Obama uses “subliminal messages” to communicate his support for al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Funny Not Funny

Why the GOP Can’t Take a Joke

Fox

Conservatives’ inability to offer up a little LOL proves they’re still the same rigid right they’ve always been— and they’re afraid at being laughed at themselves.

“Tragic,” “Gross,” “Dreadful,” “Unbearable.”These were just a few of the words uttered in horror by conservatives on Tuesday. What caused them to collectively freak out? Comedy. Or, more specifically, President Obama appearing on the humorous Zach Galifianakis web series, “Between Two Ferns.” It’s truly mind boggling that something so funny could make so many on the right so angry. Republican Congressman Randy Weber tweeted: “Instead of wasting time with a parody interview, he should be focusing on finding answers re: #Benghazi.

Classy Gas

Fracking King’s Double-Cross

Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica

Thanks to a series of shady deals with former subsidiaries—and massive cuts in royalties to unsuspecting landowners—the controversial shale gas firm is now awash in cash.

At the end of 2011, Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies, was teetering on the brink of failure.Its legendary chief executive officer, Aubrey McClendon, was being pilloried for questionable deals, its stock price was getting hammered and the company needed to raise billions of dollars quickly.The money could be borrowed, but only on onerous terms. Chesapeake, which had burned money on a lavish steel-and-glass office complex in Oklahoma City even while the selling price for its gas plummeted, already had too much debt.

Sharks Circle Around Hillary

Mark Peterson/Redux

Dems are on the defensive again in response to allegations that a Clinton comrade was involved in questionable campaign funding. Oh yes, it's feeding time, aka ‘silly' season, again.

The political world is on tenterhooks waiting for Hillary Clinton, and when there’s even a hint of chum in the water, the sharks come circling.“Clinton’s Minyon In A Mess,” declared the Republican National Committee. “Another Scandal Emerges From Clinton Land.”Minyon refers to Minyon Moore, a longtime Democratic activist with ties to the Clintons, who also has alleged ties to Washington businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who just ratted out Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray for allegedly asking him to fund an illegal shadow campaign to help elect Gray.

Backtracking

GOP Mum on Spying Investigation

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Senate Intel Committee's top Republican says investigators have yet to dig into the CIA’s alleged search of Senate computers.

Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on a warpath against the CIA over the agency’s alleged spying on her staffers. Her Republican counterpart? Not so much.In a short speech Wednesday on the Senate floor, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the vice chairman and highest ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said committee investigators had yet to do forensics on the computers the CIA searched.

PAST GLORIES

Clinton’s Iowa Plan: Use Obama

Astrid Riecken/MCT, via Getty

The ‘Ready For Hillary’ group is wooing as many former active Obama supporters as possible in Iowa, and using a wealth of information generated more than six years ago to do so.

Ready For Hillary, the pro-Hillary Clinton PAC, appears to be using internal information from Barack Obama’s 2008 caucus campaign to organize in Iowa.Last week, Ready For Hillary tried to organize a presence in all 99 counties in advance of the Iowa Democratic Party’s county conventions. A field coordinator for the PAC sent an email to two former Obama interns in Iowa from 2007, asking them to volunteer. The twist is those ex-Obama interns never gave their email addresses to Ready for Hillary or any other pro-Clinton group, they say.

What Paul Ryan Gets Wrong

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

If there's deep poverty in our urban centers, it's not because of culture, it's because of racism and public policy.

It was late last year when Paul Ryan couldn’t stop talking about poverty. “I want to figure out a way for conservatives to come up with solutions to poverty,” he said, as reported in a Buzzfeed feature on his political evolution, “I have to do this.”Since then, he has announced his plan to take a “new direction in the war on poverty.” He has attacked Obamacare and other programs as “poverty traps”, endorsed proposals from other Republicans like Utah Senator Mike Lee and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and released a report (criticized as misleading) that outlines the problems with existing federal anti-poverty programs.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

  1. President Obama, Guided by Faith Play

    President Obama, Guided by Faith

  2. Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt Play

    Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt

  3. Obamacare's Full Court Press Play

    Obamacare's Full Court Press

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 Putin Sounds Like Obama on Spying

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