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Putin Sounds Like Obama on Spying

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Russian president uses similar logic and words that the American president does when justifying mass surveillance.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program.”Who said it, Vladimir Putin or Barack Obama?Obama did, of course, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was Putin. On Thursday, Putin told his guest Edward Snowden that Russia does not spy on all its citizens—only individuals after a court order.Putin: “Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.

Long Program

Ms. Kwan Hits the Campaign Trail

Once tasked with nailing triple Lutzes and Salchows, Michelle Kwan may soon be Rhode Island's first lady. The story behind her political rise (and that infamous Prius).

“Kwan for President,” reads the button, its size extra large and its design dull, with a white background and black type letters that seem to leap off the shirt of Dell Pellegrini. She glances down at the button when I mention it.“Oh, this is from 2005,” says Dell, a self-described Michelle Kwan “uber-fan” who lives in Yonkers. “Some fans had them printed for nationals.”Pelligrini is just one of Kwan’s many “MKFers,” what the skater calls those who participate in the Michelle Kwan Forum.

Mississippi Prefers Pork to Tea

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

In an attempt to slip into a Senate seat, Republican candidate Chris McDaniel has abandoned home state issues to focus on national matters—and state voters don’t like the taste of it.

Mississippi is different.In many states, a seat in the Senate is simply a political office. Politicians come, and politicians go. But in Mississippi, becoming a U.S. senator is a lifetime appointment that politicians generally leave only upon death or disgrace. The Magnolia State has always been poor and relies on politicians in Washington to gain seniority and then use their clout to push federal money back to help its state, which regularly ranks at the bottom of just about every possible index of wealth and well-being.

About Time

GOP: Getting Hip to Gay Marriage?

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Just as the Nevada GOP drops its opposition to same-sex marriage, a group of young conservatives is launching a campaign to change anti-gay language in the national party platform.

Conventioneers at the Nevada Republican Party just did a remarkable thing. They decided Republicans should be consistent with their philosophy of more freedom and less government—so they eliminated opposition to gay marriage from their party platform.And now there is a move to change anti-gay language in the national GOP platform. A group called Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which includes Margaret Hoover (who is married to Daily Beast editor in chief John Avlon), Abby Huntsman, Meghan McCain, and Tyler Deaton, announced Wednesday that they are launching a $1 million campaign to eliminate harsh language and replace it with unifying framing, while still respecting differing views on marriage within the party.

NOT RACIST

White Folks Can Talk About Race

FOX

Brit Hume is wrong. Of course white people can talk about race without being called racist. They just need to be smarter about it.

Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume went on Bill O’Reilly Monday night to seek comfort and reassurance that he is not a racist. Forgive me if I don’t shed any tears.Hume was perturbed by a few accusations hurled at him on Twitter—like that doesn’t happen all the time—that he was racist for comments he made on Fox News Sunday. The panel was discussing Attorney General Eric Holder’s complaints about mistreatment at the hands of Republicans in DC.

New Numbers

The Obamacare Win That Wasn’t?

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The health-care law will cost the country $100 billion less than predicted, which sounds like a good thing—but you won’t hear Republican detractors say so.

While news that the Affordable Care Act will cost less than was projected just a few months ago is undoubtably good for the country, it does not seem to have punctured the partisan bubble on the right. In February, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the cost of Obamacare’s coverage provisions would be $1.4 trillion over 10 years. This week the CBO reduced that prediction by $100 billion, to $1.3 trillion. When the CBO said in February that the law would lead to a decrease in the number of hours Americans work by up to 2 percent over the next decade, Fox News declared the “cost of Obamacare: 2.

Revolutionary

How to Win the War on Inequality

Drew Angerer

If only Ted Cruz and Rand Paul would pick up Thomas Piketty’s book. Failing that, Hillary Clinton should heed his findings about wealth and inequality—and take on the crisis head on.

So Republicans are going populist, or at least two of them are, reports The Daily Beast’s Patricia Murphy. And perhaps it’s only in the sense that unlike Mitt Romney and many in the House GOP, they’re not speaking of working people with contempt. Well, it’s a start. But I wish they’d pick up copies of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Oh, of course Ted Cruz and Rand Paul would find ways to pooh-pooh the book’s findings and conclusions, but it’s nice to think of them merely having to immerse themselves in empirical reality for a few hours instead of the magical economic fairy tales that undoubtedly constitute their usual diet.

Voting Rights

The ID Whose Time Has Come

Time Life Pictures/Getty

Citing nonexistent ‘voter fraud,’ Republicans are rolling back the right to vote nationwide. But Obama could fight back before November by putting picture IDs on Social Security cards.

In the middle of President Clinton’s speech at the LBJ summit in Austin, Texas, he departed from his prepared text to endorse an old idea gaining new currency—picture IDs on Social Security cards. In the 50 years since President Johnson’s signature achievement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, lawmakers have worked to extend the franchise, Clinton noted, but now a spate of state laws introduced after the 2012 election is scaling back the right to vote in a way that many Democrats see as discriminatory.

CAMPAIGN CASH

Dem Brings in Country ‘Cash’

YouTube

Wannabe senator Rick Weiland of South Dakota channels The Man in Black in a new campaign video.

If you are going to pay homage to Johnny Cash on the campaign trail, you could dress in all black, dabble with drugs, and challenge your opponent to a barroom brawl.Or you could just stick with the music, which appears to be what Rick Weiland has done.In a new video released by the campaign, Weiland, a Democrat, celebrates having visited every single incorporated town in South Dakota in his U.S. Senate campaign by paying homage to The Man In Black’s “I’ve Been Everywhere.

Behind the Scenes

Inside CIA Chief’s Mission to Kiev

The Daily Beast

The head of the CIA just made a secretive journey to Ukraine—to do what, he won’t say. But the answer could change the power equation in the hottest of geopolitical hotspots.

The Obama administration is now considering a new policy to share more real-time intelligence with the interim government in Kiev after pressure from some in the U.S. military, Congress and U.S. allies in Ukraine.Over the weekend, CIA Director John Brennan met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities, according to U.

Yo Momma

Bill O’Reilly Goes Black-Bashing

Fox

The Fox News host went on another racially charged rant and tried to get John Calipari to help, but even that was too much for this ethically challenged coach.

Hey Fox News, what sterling addition to the public discourse did you offer last night? Not much, just one of college basketball’s most corrupt coaches and cable’s most notorious race-baiters, chillin’ and waxin’ poetic about hip-hop.You guessed it. It’s Bill O’Reilly, raging against the Devil’s music. And if this tune sounds familiar, it’s probably because he has routinely pointed a crooked finger at “gangsta rap” and bellowed, “J’accuse!”.Sometimes he even drops the pretense of being anything but a shameless bigot, like in 2007, when O’Reilly was chatting on his radio show about his David Livingstone-esque journey into the deepest, darkest reaches of uptown Manhattan at Sylvia’s Soul Food with the Rev.

GOP Works Blue

Boehner’s ‘Electile Dysfunction?’

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

A longshot challenger to Speaker of the House John Boehner is trying to use penis jokes to win election.

Does Speaker of the House John Boehner suffer from “electile dysfunction”? One of his primary challengers thinks so in a slightly racy Internet video that he has posted on his website.J.D. Winteregg, an adjunct French teacher at Cedarville University running against Boehner, who has created a spoof Cialis commercial which aims squarely at 12-term incumbent.“If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention,” the ad’s narrator advises.

I.R.B.S.

Filing My Taxes and Drinking

Andrew Rich/Getty

Come with me through 117 pages of euphemisms, bureaucracy, and mayhem.

Oops, April 15th…Why do they call it a tax “return”? The cable company doesn’t call its bill a “waste-of-time return.” Or is the IRS saying that, since government prints the money, we’re supposed to return it to where it came from?Anyway…Got up bright and early this morning—by freelance-writer standards—around 10:30 AM.  Went straight to work “filing” my tax “return” with the Internal Revenue “Service.”Freelance Writer, Let Me Point Out Some Further IRS Abuses of the English Language…I have a file cabinet.

WING NUTS

Florida Islamophobes Censor Books

Phil Sears

A state senator who says Muslims threaten America and gays deserve to die of AIDS wants to give more control to local school boards after a hate group asked students to tear out one book’s chapter on Islam.

Could a seemingly innocent education bill championed by Republicans actually be a way for them to censor school textbooks and prevent students from learning about certain cultures and religions?  In the words of Sarah Palin: “You betcha.”On Friday, the Florida State Senate passed a bill drafted by Republican Senator Alan Hays that would change the way textbooks are chosen in the Sunshine State. This measure, which was opposed by every Democratic Senator, would alter a process that had been created to “avoid religious and political bias” and empower the local school districts to choose their own textbooks without the approval of the Florida Department of Education.

TOO FAR?

Tennessee to Criminalize Pregnancy

Peter Bauer/Daytona Beach News-Journal, via AP

The state legislature has passed a bill that would allow police to investigate drug-taking mothers if their unborn children are harmed by their addiction.

Tennessee may become the first state with a law that could criminally prosecute pregnant women if they harm their unborn children by taking illegal drugs. Miscarriages, stillbirths, and infants born with birth defects would be grounds for police investigation and charges that could put the mother behind bars for up to 15 years.Last week, the proposed legislation to allow for criminal assault charges to be brought against drug-addicted pregnant women overwhelmingly passed the Tennessee Senate with bipartisan support after already sailing through the House.

'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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More in Politics

 Putin Sounds Like Obama on Spying

Putin Sounds Like Obama on Spying

The Russian president uses similar logic and words that the American president does when justifying mass surveillance.

Long Program

Ms. Kwan Hits the Campaign Trail

Mississippi Prefers Pork to Tea

About Time

GOP: Getting Hip to Gay Marriage?

NOT RACIST

White Folks Can Talk About Race

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