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Boys Scouts Could Drop Ban on Gay Members: NBC News: "The Boy Scouts of America ... is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions. If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial—one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts."
Opting In/Out: Reuters: "The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue," [a Boy Scouts] spokesman said. The organization, which had more than 2.6 million youth members and more than 1 million adult members at the end of 2012, 'would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents,' [spokesman Deron] Smith said."
When and Why: An official announcement could come as soon as next week, after a previously scheduled meeting of the national board. If the group goes through with the change, it would mark a rather stunning reversal in a relatively short period of time. It was only last July that national Boy Scouts officials affirmed the ban, calling it "the best policy for the organization." Since then, however, the push to allow gays into the fold has picked up steam, at both the local level and from deep-pocketed donors. AT&T chief exec Randall Stephenson, for one, had suggested he'd work to end the ban. Stephenson currently sits on the Boy Scouts board and is next in line to be its chairman.
Hospital Performs Rare, Double Arm Tranplant on Soldier: Washington Post: "A former U.S. Army soldier who became a quadruple amputee after surviving an explosion in Iraq three years ago has undergone a rare double arm transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, the hospital is expected to announce Tuesday. Brendan Marrocco, 26, of Staten Island, N.Y., who underwent the marathon surgery last month, was the first service member from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive the loss of four limbs, officials have said. ... He is the first such service member to receive a double arm transplant, and the hospital says he is one of only seven people in the United States who have undergone successful double arm transplants."
Immigration Breakthrough: Washington Post: "A bipartisan group of senators outlined a sweeping proposal Monday to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws .... In a joint news conference, five of the eight senators introducing the plan portrayed it as an effort to resolve not only the plight of millions of illegal immigrants living in the shadows of society but to modernize and streamline the legal immigration system. ... The statement of principles unveiled by the group ... includes a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally, ramped-up border security and a reformed legal immigration system. Despite being authored by lawmakers of both parties, the set of principles could face sharp opposition on Capitol Hill, where the last proposal for a comprehensive immigration overhaul sank in 2007."
The Eight Senators: The Ds: Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) Richard Durbin (Ill.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Michael Bennet (Colo.); The Rs: John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.).
Instant Analysis: Weigel: Two Big Questions About the Durbin-Rubio-Et Al Immigration Reform; Moneybox: Bipartisan Immigration Reform Proposal Would Create a Narrow but Real Path to Citizenship; Salon: 3 Reasons To Be Skeptical That Immigration Reform Will Pass.
Treasury OKed Bonuses for Bailed-Out Execs: Associated Press: "A report Monday criticized the U.S. Treasury Department for approving excessive salaries and raises at firms that received taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis. The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury approved all 18 requests it received last year to raise pay for executives at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more; the largest raise was $1 million."
Paying Palin By The Word: Smart Politics: "With the three-year contract now expired between FOX News and Sarah Palin, there is a wealth of commentary made by the former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice-Presidential nominee to dissect. Palin ... may not have made quite the splash her employers had hoped during this three-year period, and would, on occasion go weeks between appearances. So, did the network get their money's worth? ... Overall, with reported payments of $3 million across her three-year tenure at FOX, that means Palin was paid an average of $15.85 for the 189,221 words of analysis she provided the network."
The Senate and Sandy, Three Months Later: Associated Press: "Three months after Superstorm Sandy devastated coastal areas in much of the Northeast, the Senate moved Monday toward passing a $50.5 billion emergency package of relief and recovery aid after House Republicans stripped it of spending unrelated to disasters. Despite opposition from conservatives concerned about adding billions of dollars more to the nation's debt, Northeast lawmakers were optimistic about having the 60 votes needed to win Senate approval and send the long-delayed package to President Barack Obama, who has said he would sign it. The House passed the bill two weeks ago."
Gunmakers Stand Ground In Conn.: Wall Street Journal: "Connecticut-based gun manufacturers called into question proposed weapons restrictions and taxes at a legislative hearing Monday, the local industry’s most robust public statements since the shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. ... State lawmakers have already considered an array of gun-related legislation in the wake of the shooting, including proposals to enact a 50% tax on ammunition, prohibit large-capacity magazines and expand the state’s assault-weapons ban. ... Representatives from the gun industry expressed a willingness to take part in the dialogue on gun-control, but they argued against new taxes or broad measures that would restrict access to guns. Those changes, they warned, would hurt their businesses and threaten thousands of jobs across the state."
In Royal News We Care About But Probably Shouldn't: Associated Press: "Dutch Queen Beatrix announced Monday that she will abdicate on April 30 after 33 years as head of state, clearing the way for her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, to become the nation's first king in more than a century. The announcement ... signaled an end to the reign of one of Europe's longest-serving monarchs."
Update From Mali: Associated Press: "Backed by French helicopters and paratroopers, Malian soldiers entered the fabled city of Timbuktu on Monday after al-Qaida-linked militants who ruled the outpost by fear for nearly 10 months fled into the desert, setting fire to a library that held thousands of manuscripts dating to the Middle Ages. French Col. Thierry Burkhard ... said that there had been no combat with the Islamists but that the French and Malian forces did not yet control the town."
Update From Cairo: Reuters: "A man was shot dead on Monday in a fifth day of violence that has killed 50 Egyptians and prompted the Islamist president to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the biggest Arab nation. Emergency rule announced by President Mohamed Mursi on Sunday covers the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. The army has already been deployed in two of those cities and ministers agreed a measure to let soldiers arrest civilians."
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