Posted Thursday, March 7, 2013, at 5:05 PM
Dianne Feinstein's proposed ban on assault weapons is unlikely to garner the necessary support for passage
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
Senate Confirms Brennan: Washington Post: "John O. Brennan was confirmed as CIA director on Thursday afternoon, after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed satisfaction with the response he had received to his questions about the Obama administration’s drone program. Paul engaged in a nearly 13-hour talking filibuster against Brennan’s nomination on Wednesday, ending after midnight on Thursday morning. Throughout the filibuster, Paul said he simply wanted the White House to clarify that it would not use unmanned aerial drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil — a point he felt the White House hadn’t been clear enough on."
Not All of His GOP Colleagues Approved: The Hill: "Two senior GOP Senate defense hawks say Sen. Rand Paul 'cheapened' the debate over drone policy by making 'ridiculous' arguments in a talking filibuster. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sternly criticized the statements that Paul made on Wednesday in his attention-grabbing filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennan, which lasted for more than 12 hours. ... McCain said Paul's argument that the administration might use a drone to kill an outspoken opponent — someone like Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War — was 'ridiculous.'"
Senate Gets to Work on Guns: Associated Press: "In Congress' first gun votes since the Newtown, Conn., nightmare, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to toughen federal penalties against illegal firearms purchases, even as senators signaled that a deep partisan divide remained over gun curbs. The Democratic-led panel voted 11-7 to impose penalties of up to 25 years for people who legally buy firearms but give them to someone else for use in a crime or to people legally barred from acquiring weapons. The panel's top Republican, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, cast the only GOP vote for the measure."
Also (Technically) on the Table: Washington Post: "In addition to the gun trafficking bills, senators began debating a proposed ban on military-style assault weapons, which faces strong opposition from moderate Senate Democrats and all Republicans. The bill was written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who earned praise from members of both parties for her years-long push to ban the weapons. But her bill also faced criticism for specifically targeting hundreds of weapons and features."
Why So Quiet?: Politico: "The White House knew its post-Newtown effort would require bringing key gun control groups into the fold. So the White House offered a simple arrangement: the groups could have access and involvement, but they’d have to offer silence and support in exchange. The implied rules, according to conversations with many of those involved: No infighting. No second-guessing in the press. Support whatever the president and Vice President Joe Biden propose. And most of all, don’t make waves or get ahead of the White House."
Obama Signs VAWA: Reuters: "President Barack Obama on Thursday reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, the landmark 1994 law designed to curb domestic abuse in the United States. At a packed signing ceremony at the Interior Department—the White House couldn't accommodate all the advocates who supported the measure, the president said—Obama signed an expanded version of the law that extends protection to gays, immigrants, Native Americans and sex-trafficking victims."
More Sanctions for North Korea: New York Times: "The United Nations Security Council approved a new regimen of sanctions on Thursday against North Korea for its underground nuclear test last month in a unanimous vote that came just hours after North Korea threatened for the first time to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea. The North Korean leadership, which had warned the Security Council not to approve the sanctions, said it was responding to threats already made against it, citing the American-South Korean military exercises currently under way as evidence the allies were preparing for “a nuclear war aimed to mount a pre-emptive strike” on North Korea."
The Slatest: Kim Jong-Un Needs a New Catchphrase
Chavez's Glass Casket: CBS News:"Venezuela's acting president says Hugo Chavez's embalmed body will be permanently displayed in a glass casket so that 'his people will always have him.' Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the remains will be put on permanent display at the Museum of the Revolution, close to the presidential palace where Chavez ruled for 14 years. Maduro says the president will lie in state first for at least another seven days."
Moneybox: The AP Makes the Case for Chavismo
Obama's Lunch Date: USA Today: "Another day, more Republican outreach for President Obama. The president lunched Thursday with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee. The meeting came the day after a high-profile dinner with a dozen Republican senators. Ryan thanked the president for lunch, and said in a statement that "everyone needs to be a part of this conversation. We need an open debate about how best to balance the budget and expand opportunity."
Bin Laden's Son-in-Law Captured: NBC News: "Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who acted as a spokesman for al-Qaida, was captured in Jordan, and has been transported to New York where he will appear in court as early as Friday to face terror-related charges, several U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who appeared alongside bin Laden in a 2001 video in which they took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, will be charged under an indictment that is still under seal."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
Bad Astronomy: Antiscience “Academic Freedom” Bill Dies in Kansas
Brow Beat: The Many White Men of Late Night
See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.