A 2016 GOP Preview?: Roll Call: "Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio on Thursday offered the Republican Party a glimpse of alternate futures in dueling speeches that revved up two distinct groups of conservative activists. Speaking back to back to political activists attending the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Florida’s Rubio offered a broad vision more grounded in the three-legged coalition of social, national security and fiscal conservatives that has defined GOP governing since Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980. Kentucky’s Paul focused his remarks on constitutional liberty and social libertarianism, specifically calling on the Republican Party to change and evolve from the 'stale, moss-covered' party he said it has become into a movement that appeals to the younger 'Facebook generation' of voters that he claims questions the viability of Social Security and wants the government to leave them alone." Slate's Dave Weigel has tons more from CPAC over on his blog.
A Personality Problem, Not a Policy One: New York Times: "Speaker John A. Boehner suggested Thursday that candidates and personalities – not Republican proposals on Medicare and spending cuts – contributed to Republican losses in November, as he vowed to press forward with a House budget plan that renews the push to shrink the government. In short, Mr. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said in an interview, the election losses would not deter his party from pressing its vision of reducing the size of government and turning government health care programs largely over to the private sector."
Biden's Bad: Washington Post: "The office of the vice president has apologized to a University of Maryland student after a member of Joe Biden’s staff confronted the college reporter and forced him to delete photos of an event. Capital News Service reporter Jeremy Barr was covering Biden’s announcement of a new domestic violence initiative, he told Capital News Service, a student news service run by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He accidentally sat in a section of the audience not meant for the media. He had identified himself as a member of the press upon entry and been directed to that area. Barr took a few pictures of Biden at the podium. After the event, a staffer for Biden confronted him and demanded to watch as he deleted the pictures from his camera."
First Day on the Job: New York Times: "Displaying some of his signature distaste for the trappings of high office, Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, began the first full day of his papacy on Thursday with private prayers at a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, slipping quietly into the building by a side door and leaving some 30 minutes later to return to the Vatican. Without fanfare, he went on to the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, the priests’ residence where he was staying before the conclave that anointed him as pope, picked up his baggage and insisted on paying his bill to set an example of priestly behavior in what some Vatican observers took as a token of a new humility and frugality, offsetting the more familiar opulence of the Vatican. He showed the same spirit in private, according to the cardinals. Immediately after accepting the papacy and donning its white vestments, he spurned the throne on which a new pope sits and greets his fellow cardinals, preferring to remain standing."
Unum Pulmone: What’s life like for a one-lunged pope?
Wait, What?! Politico: "Matthew Keys, a deputy social media editor at Thomson Reuters, has been charged in an indictment for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacker group “Anonymous” to hack into a Tribune Company website, the Justice Department announced today. Keys, a former web producer for the Tribune Co-owned television station KTXL FOX 40, in Sacramento, Calif., was charged with providing members of the group with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to the Tribune Co., according to the DoJ's press release."
Oh My God (Particle): Associated Press: "In what could go down as one of the great Eureka! moments in physics — and win somebody the Nobel Prize — scientists said Thursday that after a half-century quest, they are confident they have found a Higgs boson, the elusive subatomic speck sometimes called the 'God particle.' The existence of the particle was theorized in 1964 by the British physicist Peter Higgs to explain why matter has mass. Scientists believe the particle acts like molasses or snow: When other tiny basic building blocks pass through it, they stick together, slow down and form atoms. Scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced in July that they had found something that looked like the Higgs boson, but they weren't certain, and they needed to go through the data and rule out the possibility it wasn't something else. On Thursday, they said they believe they got it right."
The Detroit Fixer: Wall Street Journal: "Michigan's governor on Thursday named a financial overseer of Detroit, who said his turnaround work could be completed in as little as six months if all of the stakeholders in the deeply troubled city work together. Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy attorney and partner at the law firm Jones Day in Washington, D.C., was named Detroit's emergency financial manager, a role that will give him sole, sweeping power to map the future of the city of roughly 700,000 residents. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced the selection at a news conference ahead of an official nomination by a state-appointed panel later in the day. Mr. Snyder said he picked Mr. Orr for his interpersonal skills, legal and financial acumen and a 30-year track record of work on complex corporate restructuring efforts, including the 2009 bankruptcy of Chrysler Group LLC."
Paying at the Pump: Reuters: "Tight state budgets and jammed roadways this year are prompting some state governments to make one of the most politically unpopular moves imaginable: raising gasoline taxes. Because they hit everyone, gas taxes are widely disliked and rarely increased. But after decades of underinvestment in roads, bridges and public transport, states face heavy infrastructure costs and lack the money to handle them. Wyoming was the first to make the leap this year, raising its tax to 24 cents per gallon from 14 cents on February 15. It was the first increase in the state's gasoline tax in 15 years. Governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vermont have proposed raising fuel taxes, and the New Hampshire legislature will hold a hearing on Thursday on a bill that would phase in a 15-cent-per-gallon increase."
RIP, Boston Phoenix: Boston Globe: "In a poignant signal of changing times in the media landscape, The Boston Phoenix sent out a tweet Thursday afternoon simply saying, 'Thank you Boston. Good night and good luck.' With that terse dispatch, the ground-breaking Boston weekly, which only six months ago had reinvented itself as a glossy magazine, put a final punctuation mark on its announcement that it will cease publication after its current issue, dated March 15.
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
The Slatest: Adventures in Local News, Putting the B in B-Roll
Politics: The First Presidential Press Conference
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