Dzhokar's Friends "Idolized" Him: Mother Jones: "[A]n account from an acquaintance of the suspects—a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth who was once romantically involved with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself—helps shed light on the individuals now at the center of the investigation. The woman, who lived in the same dorm at UMass–Dartmouth as Tsarnaev during the 2011-12 academic year, told Mother Jones that she first met and had a 'fleeting fling' with the bombing suspect during the fall of 2011. Around the same time, she says, she met Tsarnaev's college buddies Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos, the men now accused of helping Tsarnaev dispose of evidence and lying to investigators after the bombing. ... Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, the woman said, were part of a group of about five Russian-speaking friends at the university whom Tsarnaev was never without. 'They all sort of idolized Jahar,' she said, using the name she and others knew Tsarnaev by. 'Dias was probably the one closest to him.' She said that of the friends, Tsarnaev was the most popular and in touch with campus social life. 'I cannot speak to the nature of their relationship because of the language barrier, however I did observe that Jahar was always the leader in his group.'
Happy Thursday and welcome back to the Slatest PM, follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest. A quick programming note: I'm traveling tomorrow afternoon, so there won't be a traditional PM post leading Friday's afternoon newsletter. But subscribers will still get the regular afternoon email with all of Slate's newsy-est blog posts, and the @slatest blog proper will remain up and running. Things will return to normal on Monday.
Houston Airport Scare: KHOU: "A man shot himself at Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston early Thursday afternoon, the Houston Police Department confirmed with KHOU 11 News. The suspect walked into the ticket area inside Terminal B around 1:35 p.m. and fired at least two shot into the air, according to witnesses. An HPD source said he had an AR-15 rifle, but an HPD spokesman would not confirm that in a later news conference. He said they are not commenting on the type of weapon used. ... A Homeland Security special agent heard the gunfire and confronted the suspect. He fired at the suspect at the same time the man shot himself in the head, according to HPD. ... A ground stop is in effect for arriving traffic at Bush IAH, according to the FAA website. That means several planes are stuck on the tarmac until the ground stop is lifted."
Making It Official: Associated Press: "Rhode Island is poised to join nine other states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Gov. Lincoln Chafee planned to sign gay marriage legislation into law Thursday evening, immediately following a final procedural vote in the state's General Assembly. The outcome of the vote is not in doubt. ... The other five New England states already have gay marriage, but bills that would have changed marriage laws in heavily Catholic Rhode Island sputtered for nearly 20 years until this year. More gay marriage supporters were elected to the legislature last fall, and advocates mounted an aggressive lobbying campaign to pressure undecided lawmakers."
Making It Official #2: Washington Post: "Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish capital punishment on Thursday when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a law repealing the death penalty. The bill was the first to get the governor’s signature during a bill-signing ceremony that included 265 other measures passed during an extraordinarily busy 90-day legislative session that ended last month. O’Malley also signed bills to combat “cyberbullying,” allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, expand early voting, reform"
The FBI's Most-Wanted Woman: NBC News: "The FBI put a woman on its list of most wanted terrorists for the first time Thursday — a 1970s black radical who authorities say shot a New Jersey trooper, made a daring daylight escape from prison and fled to Cuba. The agency and the state also doubled the bounty for her capture to $2 million. The announcement was the latest turn in the 40-year saga of Joanne Chesimard — also known as Assata Shakur — who was part of the Black Liberation Army and became one of the most notorious fugitives in New Jersey history. ... Chesimard was found guilty of murder in the killing of Trooper Werner Foerster, who was shot dead on May 2, 1973, after stopping her and two associates. The trooper was finished off with his own gun, and the FBI says Chesimard’s gun was found at his side. She was convicted in 1977 and sent to prison, but she broke out two years later with the help of accomplices from the BLA and the Weather Underground, a left-wing radical organization."
Kim Jong-Un's New Bargaining Chip: Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration lashed out at North Korea and called for the immediate release of an American citizen sentenced by Pyongyang this week to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly committing 'hostile acts' against the isolated communist country. The fate of Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old tour operator who lived in Washington state, emerged as the latest test for the U.S. in its efforts to deal with Pyongyang and its young leader, Kim Jong Eun. North Korea has initiated a string of provocative acts against the U.S. and its allies in recent months, including nuclear-weapons and long-range missile tests. U.S. and Asian officials believe the North's sentencing of Mr. Bae is its latest effort to draw Washington into direct talks aimed at extracting economic and diplomatic concessions, something President Barack Obama has so far been unwilling to do."
California Blaze: Los Angeles Times: "Part of Pacific Coast Highway has been closed as crews try to get a handle on a Ventura County wildfire that has scorched at least 6,500 acres in a matter of hours. California Highway Patrol announced about 12:45 p.m. Thursday that the coastal highway was closed in both directions between Yerba Buena and Las Posas roads because of the Springs fire, which flared along the Conejo Grade of the 101 Freeway in Camarillo. ... Hundreds of firefighters have made some progress on the flank of the wind-driven fire, Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Bill Nash said. But the blaze remained uncontained because crews have been unable to get in front of it, he said. ... Television footage showed numerous motor homes burning in a parking lot along with some type of agricultural building."
Kurtz Out at Daily Beast: Politico: "The Daily Beast is dropping Howard Kurtz, the veteran media critic who made headlines this week for his erroneous report about NBA star Jason Collins. “The Daily Beast and Howard Kurtz have parted company," Tina Brown, the site's editor in chief, said in a statement sent to Politico. The decision comes after Kurtz published a blog post that falsely asserted that Collins, who announced he was gay in an article for Sports Illustrated, had neglected to mention his previous engagement to a woman. In fact, Collins mentioned that engagement in the article and in a subsequent interview with ABC News. The Daily Beast retracted that post on Thursday morning."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate's Blogs—
- Moneybox: America's Pharmacies Are Death Traps Full Of Products That May Injure Our Vulnerable Teens
- Crime: Seattle Superheroes Grapple With Anarchist Clowns and Fend off Vicious Silly String Attack
- Future Tense: New Report Details Which Internet Companies You Can (and Can't) Trust With Your Personal Data
- Quora: Have Other U.S. Presidents Dealt With As Many Accusations That They Hate America as Obama Has?
- The Slatest: The Con Man Who SoldIncredibly Fake Bomb Detectors to the Iraqi Government
- XX Factor: New Lawsuits Shine a Light on Pregnancy Discrimination
- XX Factor: Sanford Supporters Go Weirder with Accusatory Push Poll About Colbert Busch
- Brow Beat: Did You See This?The Matrix Retold by Mom
See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.