Opening Act: Misha

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 29 2013 8:11 AM

Opening Act: Misha

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An exterior view of the Islamic Society of Boston Mosque is seen April 26, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The mosque was attended by the alleged Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

Christian Caryl cracks the mystery of "Misha," the Islamist credited with molding a disappointed and confused Tamerlan Tsarnaev into a successful terrorist. His name is Mikhail Allakhverdov, and he says he's innocent.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said.

Frank Lautenberg's lesson: It's tougher to ride out a Senate career while ailing when you're from a major media market. (Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond never had this problem.)

On his way out of the Capitol that day, Lautenberg, his speech slowed, delivered a muddled verdict on the results, which most saw as a crushing defeat for Democrats: "On a couple of them, they were the way I voted, but we lost some, and that was not as good as I like."
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Jonathan Weisman talks to Republicans about why they're willing to enforce Internet sales taxes.

“It’s obviously an issue that can be divisive for Republicans because a lot of the antitax groups are weighing in against it,” Senator Thune said. “But in states like mine where you’ve got a lot of smaller retailers trying to compete in smaller communities, people are going to do their business online, and that has grown dramatically over the last few years.”

Nancy Cook asks which sequestration-struck program will be the next to benefit from a last-minute panicky restoration of funds.

Pennsylvania continues to look like the state most ripe for a Democratic gubernatorial takeover in 2014, in which case I'd expect Republicans to find a way to tie the Gosnell trial to Allyson Schwartz. (She was once head of a family planning clinic. The ads write themselves! Disgusting ads, possibly, but ads all the same.)

The Houston Chronicle finds out just how lax chemical plant security has become.

And Will Bunch asks whether blogs are dead. I choose not to take it personally.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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