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That Was Easy

Congress: Hail Our Media Overlords

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Those expecting Comcast to be on the ropes at a Senate hearing Wednesday into its multibillion-dollar merger with Time Warner Cable were in for a surprise. The company batted off concerns over rising prices and the detrimental effects on competition and consumer choice.

For much of Wednesday’s Senate hearing into the proposed $45.2 billion merger of the nation’s two biggest cable television and Internet service providers, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, David Cohen wore a tiny smile.The round, open face of Comcast’s top lobbyist and spin doctor—framed by non-threatening wire-rimmed specs—formed itself into a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin, even as various senators, both Democrats and Republicans, raised questions about the troubling impact such a corporate fusion will have on competition and consumer choices, along with rising prices.

HORROR

‘He Was Just Stabbing Everybody’

Keith Srakocic/AP

At least 20 were injured, several seriously, by a teenage suspect who attacked this morning. A security guard and principal stopped him.

At 7:13 a.m. Wednesday at the Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, twenty students were injured in a mass stabbing as they headed to class. According to officials, the 16-year-old male suspect, went to the school armed with two knives.Nate Moore, 15, was slashed in the face and required 11 inches. Moore described the attack as "really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face.

SINK OR SWIM

PBS vs. Creationists

Lynn Johnson/National Geographic/Getty

A PBS series aims to show how humans evolved from creatures of the deep. But creationists have denounced it as an attempt to ‘package unconditional blind faith in evolution as scientific literacy in an effort to create interest in science.’

If you think Neil deGrasse Tyson’s discussion of the Big Bang, the origins of life, and scientific method in Fox’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has pissed off creationists, just wait for the inevitable uproar over a taxpayer-funded documentary miniseries that asks viewers to contemplate their own evolution.Your Inner Fish, based on the eponymous bestselling book by paleontologist and anatomy professor Neil Shubin, aims to answer one question: Why do we look the way we do? Shubin, who also narrates the series, is the discoverer of the Tiktaalik, a 375-million-year-old “fish with hands” that many paleontologists cite as a crucial snapshot of Earth evolution.

American Hustle

Al Sharpton: I’m No Snitch

Najlah Feanny/Corbis

The reverend tells The Daily Beast he never ratted out the Mafia to the FBI, but The Smoking Gun, which made the charges, is sticking to its story.

“If I brought down the Mob,” the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded on Monday, “I want my ticker tape parade.”The civil rights activist and MSNBC host was referring, facetiously, to TheSmokingGun.com’s meticulously detailed, epic account, rife with court documents and law enforcement sourcing, of Sharpton’s apparent four-year career in the 1980s as one of the FBI’s more valuable mafia informants—a narrative that can best be described as The Sopranos meets American Hustle.

Breaking: Trend Stories Are B.S.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times, via Redux

When a phrase like ‘The Knockout Game,’ ‘Crack Babies,’ or ‘Super Predators’ is dubbed in the media, the story takes on a life of its own, with the name itself in the starring role.

In a matter of weeks last fall, several Brooklyn residents—from a 78-year-old woman to a 19-year-old man—were attacked in the street with a swift “knock out” blow to the head. The randomness and regularity of the crimes immediately sparked speculation that it was part of “The Knockout Game,” a phrase initially coined more than 20 years ago when a Norwegian MIT student was walking with a friend when three teenage assailants punched both of them, and then fatally stabbed one.

Divine Bodies

Hey, Dude, Where’s My Planet?

Jim Urquhart/Reuters

While the church got headlines for dropping its much-mocked ‘Mormons get their own planets’ doctrine, it quietly reaffirmed a far more important, and more radical, tenet of the faith.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently backpedaled on a key tenet of Mormon theology: that after death, righteous Mormons will become gods, with the capacity to create planets of their own. But while press coverage of the walk-back has focused on the “Mormons get their own planets” doctrine, already ridiculed on Broadway and TV, what’s remarkable is what the LDS church left in.Indeed, the church doubled down on the core Mormon teaching that God had a physical/human body, and that, in turn, we will have spiritual/divine ones.

Delayed Recall

The Old GM Is Back

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The automaker was supposed to get rid of its unresponsive culture in exchange for taxpayer salvation. Instead, it dithered as faulty ignition switches killed customers.

In a room crowded with lawyers, cameras, journalists, and the families of car crash victims, the Transportation Secretary gazed steely eyed at the member of Congress grilling him about a government investigation.“Do you honestly believe that Toyota is being held to exactly the same standard as General Motors and everybody else?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz asked Raymond L. LaHood.“Absolutely, 100 percent,” the secretary snapped.That February 2010 exchange came to mind last week, when, in another crowded hearing room, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra faced her own barrage of questions.

Final Four

The Myth of the ‘Clutch Gene’

Chris Steppig/AP

The Kentucky freshman sunk his third game-winning three-pointer in a row, launching fresh claims about his ‘clutch gene.’ Should we care that there’s no such thing?

On Saturday night, a thrilling, back-and-forth heavyweight brawl ended with the Kentucky Wildcats prevailing over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four by a score of 74-73. Freshman sensation Aaron Harrison stared down the defense as the clock wound down before canning an NBA-range three-pointer with Kentucky down two and a mere 5.2 seconds to go.And if it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because on March 30th, he rattled in equally pressure-filled deep trey with only 2.

Perpective

You’re Safer on an Army Base

Puerto Rico National Guard/Reuters

On average, military bases are safer than similarly sized American cities. The violence at Fort Hood may best be explained as a workplace shooting, not a uniquely military tragedy.

When we talk about the Fort Hood shooting, where Army Spc. Ivan Lopez turned on his co-workers in a senseless killing spree last Wednesday, we need to understand that it happened in an American city.You wouldn’t know this from watching the news lately, but military bases are actually, on average, safer than comparably sized American cities. And mass shootings aren’t some unique monstrosity the military has unleashed, they’re an American problem.

Doom

What We Need to Fix Climate Change

Andres Forza/Reuters

We keep learning more about the catastrophe in front of us, but it isn’t helping us solve the problem.

It’s starting to feel like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could keep issuing its reports from here to eternity. The Fifth Assessment Report, released just in time to avoid April Fool’s Day, continues a steady trend: our knowledge is increasing, just about everything that matters is getting worse, and all we can realistically hope to do is soften the edges of a slow-moving catastrophe.This pessimism may be the most realistic view of the climate crisis.

Who Is Frazier Glenn Miller?

Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon dissects the story of Miller, a 'nightmare image' of 'hate groups nestled in the heartland' who went on a Kansas killing spree on Sunday.

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