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12:35 AM ET, March 16, 2013


 Top Items: 
CPAC Participant Defends Slavery At Minority Outreach Panel: It Gave ‘Food And Shelter’ To Blacks  —  NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — A panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Republican minority outreach exploded into controversy on Friday afternoon, after an audience member defended slavery as good for African-Americans.
Benjy Sarlin / Talking Points Memo:
CPAC Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Whites Arrive  —  A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match Friday as some attendees demanded justice for white voters …
The Columbus Dispatch:
Rob Portman commentary: Gay couples also deserve chance to get married  —  I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn't deny them the opportunity to get married.
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Rob Portman and the Politics of Narcissism  —  I'm glad that Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has reconsidered his view on gay marriage upon realization that his son is gay, but I also find this particular window into moderation—memorably dubbed Miss America conservatism by Mark Schmitt—to be the most annoying form.
Discussion: Paul Krugman, Sky Dancing and EconLog
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Rob Portman, Gay Marriage, and Selfishness  —  Rob Portman's dual revelations that his son is gay and that he has decided to support gay marriage are both a touching story of familial love and another signpost in the astonishingly rapid success of the gay-rights revolution.
Kim Zetter / Wired:
Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them  —  Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled Friday.  —  U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered …
Discussion: Hit & Run, The Raw Story and Lawfare
Rebecca Jeschke / Electronic Frontier Foundation:
National Security Letters Are Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
Alexandra Jaffe / Ballot Box:
Romney urges GOP to ‘learn from’ mistakes he made in 2012 campaign  —  GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney appealed for the Republican Party to learn from the mistakes of his losing 2012 presidential campaign and — as conservatives chart their future — to look to GOP governors for a path to future electoral wins.
Michael Patrick Leahy / BREITBART.COM:
Washington Post:
Romney expresses optimism about GOP's future in speech to conservatives
Discussion: Post Politics and Wonkblog
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
The Anti-Choice Olympics  —  Ever since the 2010 elections, Republican legislators and governors have been in a competition to see who can enact the most blatantly unconstitutional—at least according to existing precedents—laws on abortion in the country.  The first batch …
Discussion: Bloomberg and Not the Singularity
James MacPherson / Associated Press:   North Dakota Senate approves 6-week abortion ban
Talking Points Memo:
House Republicans Unanimously Vote Down Minimum Wage Hike  —  House Republicans unanimously voted down a measure Friday that would have raised the federal minimum wage, from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by 2015.  —  Six Democrats joined 227 Republicans in voting it down; 184 Democrats voted yes.
Charlie Cook /
The GOP Keeps Getting Whiter  —  While the country is becoming more racially diverse, Republican congressional districts are becoming less.  —  After Republicans won only 48 percent of all votes cast for the House in 2012 but 54 percent of the seats, it's no secret that the party enjoys …
Fox News:
Sen. Graham claims Benghazi survivors ‘told to be quiet’ by administration  —  Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in an extensive interview with Fox News, alleged that the injured survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been “told to be quiet” and feel they can't come forward to tell their stories …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Sarah Kliff / Wonkblog:
Want to debate Medicare costs?  You need to see this chart first.  —  It's taken as an article of faith inside the beltway: Policy makers need to do something to tamp down on out-of-control health-care costs.  —  If we don't get our Medicare and Medicaid spending under control …
Michael Winter / Associated Press:
Maryland will be 18th state to ban death penalty  —  The state legislature completed action to repeal capital punishment.  Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign the ban.  —  Maryland's General Assembly on Friday completed its repeal of the death penalty, nearly 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court restored capital punishment.
John Wagner / Washington Post:
Md. General Assembly repeals death penalty
Discussion: Hullabaloo, The Fix and Law Blog
Evan McMorris-Santoro / BuzzFeed:
Democrats Try And Fail To Catch Conservatives Cheering Ashley Judd's On-Screen Death  —  CPAC crowd unmoved by the big moment, video shows.  No gotcha here.  —  WASHINGTON — Democrats hoped to catch attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference cheering the on-screen death …
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Jeb Bush: GOP can't be ‘anti-everything’  —  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called for an aspirational, big-tent conservative movement Friday night, telling leaders that the GOP “must move beyond the divisive and extraneous issues that currently define the public debate.”
Discussion: CNN and Politico
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Sequestration NIMBYism Grips GOP  —  A strange sickness is afflicting congressional Republicans.  —  Unwilling to team up with Democrats to replace sequestration with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, and unable to pass a cuts-only sequestration measure on their own …
Steven Shepard /
Weiner Polled for N.Y. Mayoral Bid  —  Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner's dormant New York City mayoral campaign paid more than $100,000 to a San Francisco-based polling firm earlier this month, suggesting the once-prominent Democrat whose career was derailed by allegations he sent salacious texts …
Michael Shain / New York Post:
‘Jeopardy’ looking at Lauer as next host  —  'I'll take Soft Landings for a thousand, Alex'  —  The answer to the “Jeopardy” clue “Alex Trebrek's replacement” has a new and surprising question:  —  “Who is Matt Lauer?”  —  The beleaguered host of the “Today” show is at the top of the list …
Alexandra Jaffe / Ballot Box:
Santorum delivers emotional CPAC speech inspired by nephew's death  —  Former Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum on Friday delivered an emotional address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, inspired by the death of his nephew the night before, that indicated …
Adam C. Smith / Tampa Bay Times:
Allen West on Rick Scott: “Where is your backbone?”  —  The Buzz caught up with former Florida Rep. Allen West at CPAC and asked him about talk he'll run for governor and Rick Scott's Medicaid decision.  —  “You've got some good guys in Florida for governor.  You've got Jeff Atwater.
Discussion: The Fix
Howard Gleckman / TaxVox:
House GOP Would Need $5.7 Trillion in Tax Hikes to Offset Ryan Rate Cuts  —  House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-WI) fiscal plan promises to balance the federal budget in 10 years, make major cuts in income tax rates for both individuals and corporations, and raise the same amount of revenue as current law.
Idaho Statesman:
Dan Popkey: Top Idaho lawmaker botches civil rights history  —  ‘We need to have our Rosa Parks moment,’ says Rep. Crane during debate.  —  The No. 3 Republican leader in the Idaho House says he made a “slight mistake” when he described Rosa Parks as a champion of states' rights.
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Wonkette
Juliet Eilperin / Washington Post:
EPA likely to delay climate rules for new power plants  —  The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists.
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 More Items: 
Microsoft's Surface Tablet Is Said to Fall Short of Predictions
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Did you know that the Chained-CPI is actually a middle clalss tax hike
Discussion: AMERICAblog
John M. Broder / New York Times:
Obama Seeks to Use Oil and Gas Money to Develop Alternative Fuel Cars
Discussion: Reuters, The Week and Michelle Malkin
David M. Drucker / Roll Call:
Exclusive: RNC to Revamp GOTV Operations
M. Alex Johnson /
US to add missile defense assets as N. Korea ups threats
Chris Johnson / Washington Blade:
Court grants DOJ speaking time in Prop 8 case
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Josh Gerstein / Reuters:
Court deals blow to CIA drone secrecy
Discussion: The Week
 Earlier Items: 
Janet Adamy / Wall Street Journal:
Employers Blast Fees From New Health Law
Discussion: Via Meadia, Law Blog and The PJ Tatler
Rosie Gray / BuzzFeed:
Sources: Duggar Son May Join Family Research Council
Discussion: Queerty
Steve Anderson / The Independent:
Want to join the 62-mile-high club?  Not so quick, sex in outer space could be bad for your health, say scientists