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1.) Spook, Interrupted — John Brennan, the longtime CIA official who President Obama has tapped to run the agency, got a less than welcoming reception from protestors at his confirmation hearing on Thursday. TheDC’s Alexis Levinson reports:
“A protester interrupted Brennan almost immediately after he began his opening testimony, shouting about drones.’We welcome everyone here, but we expect no clapping, we expect no hissing, we expect no demonstration,’ Feinstein said, as the protester was escorted out. ‘This is a very serious hearing.’ Another protester stood up approximately thirty minutes later; Feinstein said that if protesters did not remain silent, she would stop the hearing and clear the public out of the room. Another protester stood up immediately; Feinstein said that if one more protester interrupted the hearing, she would make good on her threat to clear the room. It took only seconds for someone to take her up on that, and Feinstein had the public removed from the hearing room, leaving only the press, staffers and Brennan. Most of the protesters appeared to belong to Code Pink, an anti-war group. They seemed primarily concerned with drone strikes, which Brennan oversaw as President Barack Obama’s senior counterterrorism advisor.”
Loath as we are to defend the ridiculous antics of Code Pink here at TheDC Morning, your guest writer (Jamie Weinstein is currently on vacation at Casa de Campo* and will return next week) is relieved that the drone issue is finally starting to get the attention it deserves. We, as a country, simply cannot escape the fact that Obama has given himself the power to assassinate American citizens with essentially zero oversight. And as much as we want to tell ourselves that this is only a temporary measure, and that it will end as soon as our Islamist enemy is defeated, it’s hard to imagine a future president relinquishing the right to kill whomever he or she wants anywhere on the globe. Will conservatives join together with the anti-war left to roll back this policy, or have we let ourselves become convinced that only an ultra-powerful executive branch, largely freed from the restraints imposed by our Constitution, is the only thing that can ever keep us safe? Or, to put it differently: Are we all ok with the idea of President “Amtrak Joe” Biden getting the ability to kill anyone he wants with a robot plane in a few years?
2.) The great conservative slap-fight of 2013 — The ongoing spat between conservative movement leaders and erstwhile political wonderboy Karl Rove may come across as a bit silly to casual observers, but it’s deadly serious for the folks who have skin in the game. TheDC’s Jeff Poor reports:
“‘[L]et me put something to you folks about Karl Rove — what a propagandist this man is,’ [conservative radio host Mark] Levin said [Thursday]. ‘He keeps bringing up Christine O’Donnell. Karl Rove has lost more races that he’s been involved in than Christine O’Donnell. She has lost one. Rove has lost scores. And as soon as she was nominated, he went on TV on the ‘Hannity’ show and started smearing her.'”
And so the blame game continues. Will this grow into a full-fledged civil war in the Republican Party? Probably not, although TheDC Morning agrees that the right could use a little internal bloodletting after the 2012 debacle. May the least-worst side prevail!
3.) A fun new way to punish kids — An Idaho lawmaker wants to force all the kids in his state to read Ayn Rand. TheDC’s Eric Owens reports.
“An Idaho state senator has proposed legislation that would require every student in the state to read ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ Ayn’s Rand’s apparently timeless libertarian classic. Students would also have to pass a test on the book’s contents to graduate from high school, reports The Spokesman-Review.The lawmaker, Republican John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene, chairs the Idaho state senate’s education committee. He lightheartedly told a fellow senator that he had decided on the 1957 novel because it convinced his son to become a Republican.”
Well, it’s not like high school teachers don’t assign far-worse books on a regular basis, but do we really need to mainline Ayn Rand’s eccentric philosophies into these kids’s heads? Wouldn’t having them read more Shakespeare, Dickens and C.S. Lewis be a better way to introduce these young minds to the idea that Western Civilization is exceptional and worth defending? Either way, the Ayn Rand law is unlikely to pass, which may be for the best. George Bernard Shaw used to say — and I’m paraphrasing here — that he was happy when his books were not included in school libraries because that meant young people might actually read them. Sometimes, it’s better for the kids to find good books on their own.
4.) Broke state turns on math — Golden State students won’t have to put up with that silly math learnin’ for much longer, TheDCNF’s Robby Soave reports.
California will no longer require eighth graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but may leave students unprepared for college. Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth graders in the state.
Forget college. When these kids enter the workforce with no basic understanding of math, they are going to have a really hard time figuring out how their state managed to drive so many of the good jobs away through years of fiscal mismanagement.
6. Today in North Korean News — “Marble Desk Lamp, Gift to Kim Jong Il from Raul Castro”