National Security Shakeup: Reuters: "President Barack Obama chose close confidante Susan Rice as his new national security adviser on Wednesday, increasing White House control over foreign policy and defying Republican critics of her handling of last year's deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Libya. The hard-charging Rice, selected to replace low-key Tom Donilon in the post, is expected to play a high-profile role in defending Obama's foreign policy, particularly on the civil war in Syria."
Instant Analysis: Washington Post: "President Obama’s shuffle of his national security team Wednesday ushers out a consummate, cautious Washington insider and elevates two long-time proponents of a larger American role in preventing humanitarian crises and protecting human rights around the world. The ideological shift signaled in the personnel choices highlights the central dilemma for Obama as he seeks to make a mark on the world at a time of austerity — and war weariness — at home. How ambitious Obama intends to be abroad at a time of stiff challenges on the domestic front has remained an open question months into his second term."
Speaking of Syria: New York Times: "Syrian government forces and their allies in Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, seized most of the strategic crossroads town of Qusayr early on Wednesday, a painful defeat for outgunned Syria rebels and an advance for President Bashar al-Assad. If it sticks, the military gain could infuse his forces with momentum and embolden him to push for military victory just as Russia and the United States are pressing the combatants to negotiate. The government’s triumphal advance into Qusayr also suggested that the intervention on Mr. Assad’s side by Hezbollah had proved decisive as its fighters besieged, then stormed, a rebel stronghold that the Syrian military had bombarded in vain for months."
The Pursuit of Happiness Ends in a Double Suicide: New York Daily News: "A Brooklyn couple who hosted a radio show called The Pursuit of Happiness committed suicide together by putting plastic bags over their heads and inhaling helium. Lynne Rosen and John Littig, who were found dead on a couch in the living room of their Park Slope apartment, left behind two notes, police said Wednesday. 'We’re going to do this together,' was the gist of Littig’s note, sources said. ... Until their decomposing bodies were found Monday, the couple had been best known as the hosts of a self-help radio show on WBAI-FM. Rosen, 46, was a psychotherapist. Littig, 48, was a motivational speaker and a musician. And for an hour every month, they took to the airwaves and doled out advice on how to be your best self.
Video From The Show:
"No Good Reason In the World": USA Today: "Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty Wednesday to the slaying of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012. Bales, 39, entered the plea in a military courtroom to multiple counts of premeditated murder and other charges. By agreeing to plead guilty, he will avoid the death penalty. ... Bales, dressed in full uniform, was alert and spoke in a confident voice as he answered the judge's questions, surrounded by a group of six friends and family. As for the motivation behind the horrific slayings, Bales told the judge, 'Sir, as far as why: I've asked that question a million times since then. There's not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things I did.'"
TSA Reversal: CBS News: "The head of the Transportation Security Administration says he's dropping a proposal that would have let airline passengers carry small knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes. After an outcry from several groups, most notably flight attendants unions, as well as a number of members of Congress, the agency announced in March that it was temporarily delaying implementation of the changes and would study the issue more."
The Slatest: The Quiet Return of John Edwards
Philadelphia Building Collapse: Wall Street Journal: "A four-story building that was being demolished collapsed onto an adjacent thrift shop Wednesday morning and rescue workers pulled at least 13 people from the rubble, officials said. The injured were taken to hospitals with apparently minor injuries, said Mark McDonald, spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter. Firefighters continued to clear the rubble and shore up what remained of the one-story Salvation Army thrift shop next door. City officials declined to comment on reports of a 14th person still trapped. ... The building was on a several block stretch of Market Street that once housed a porn theater and adult shops. It is mostly surrounded by newer high-rise office buildings and close to the Schuylkill River. ... City officials said they didn't know what was being planned for the site and hadn't received any application for a building permit."
The Slatest: Florida Police Are in Hot Pursuit of a Monkey
Jackpot: Associated Press: "The winner of last month's $590 million Powerball jackpot is an 84-year-old woman from Zephyrhills, Fla. Florida Lottery officials made the announcement Wednesday after Gloria C. Mackenzie came forward to claim the prize. They say Mackenzie took the single lump-sum payment of about $370.9 million before taxes. Officials say she is the largest sole lottery winner in U.S. history."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate's Blogs—
Brow Beat: The Weird Noises of Will Smith
Bad Astronomy: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Anti-Vaxxer
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As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.