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1:50 AM ET, April 18, 2013


 Top Items: 
EMS Director Says 60 To 70 Dead In West Explosion  —  West EMS Director Dr. George Smith says as many as 60 or 70 people died and hundreds were injured Wednesday night in a fertilizer plant explosion in West.  —  A rescuer earlier said he knew of five deaths.
Selwyn Crawford / Dallas Morning News:
Live video: Explosion, injuries reported at fertilizer plant near Waco in West, Texas  —  A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked the town of West, north of Waco, causing multiple injuries and leaving people trapped and buildings on fire.  —  Firefighters were reported among …
Lateef Mungin / CNN:
Explosion hits fertilizer plant north of Waco, Texas  —  Are you there?  Please send photos and videos to iReport, but please stay safe.  —  (CNN) — An explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant Wednesday night in the area of West, Texas, sending a massive fireball into the sky and causing dozens of injuries, officials said.
Massive Explosion In Texas Injures More Than 100, Leads To Evacuations
Discussion: Joe. My. God. and U.S. News
Conflicting reports on Boston arrest  —  After the explosion: Moment-by-moment  —  (CNN) — Investigators have pinpointed two men as “possible suspects” who were seen in images near the finish line of this week's Boston Marathon — moments before twin bombs there exploded …
Los Angeles Times:
Videos point to 2 suspects in Boston Marathon bombing  —  Investigators comb through Boylston Street just beyond the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two days after two bombs exploded.  (Julio Cortez / Associated Press / April 17, 2013)  —  Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing …
Discussion: Daily Mail and Weasel Zippers
No Arrest Made in Bombing Investigation … Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack.  Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate.
The Boston Globe:
Image shows suspect carrying, perhaps dropping, black bag  —  Investigators are ‘very close’ in the investigation, said the official, who declined to be named  —  A sign was taped to a barricade near the bombing site Wednesday.  —  An official briefed on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation …
Discussion: Boston Globe and American Power
Daily Mail:
Boston bomber is caught on camera: FBI reveals store footage shows ‘dark-skinned man in backwards hat’ planting second explosive moments before blasts tore through marathon crowds  — Shows the ‘dark-skinned’ suspect walking towards the mail box, dropping a package and walking away
Alexander Abad-Santos / The Atlantic Wire:
Reports: Boston Bombing Suspect ID'd in New Video — ‘Arrest Has Been Made’
Discussion: Yahoo! News and Mediaite
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Reports: Authorities Eye Suspect In Boston Marathon Bombings
Gabrielle Giffords / New York Times:
A Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip  —  SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby.  But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets.  The fear that those children who survived …
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Senate rejects background checks on gun purchases in 54-46 vote  —  The Senate delivered a devastating blow to President Obama's agenda to regulate guns Wednesday by defeating a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.  —  It failed by a vote of 54 to 46, with 5 Democrats voting against it.
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Senate Blocks Drive for Gun Control
John Bresnahan / Politico:
Gun control: Senate rejects background checks deal
Associated Press:
Senate rejects gun background checks
Discussion: Hit & Run and
Sabrina Siddiqui / The Huffington Post:
Assault Weapons Ban, High-Capacity Magazine Measures Fail In Senate Vote
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
U.S. News:
Feds arrest suspect in ricin-positive letters sent to Obama, senator  —  The ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker were both postmarked April 8 and sent from Memphis, Tenn., signed “I am KC and I approve this message.”  A third letter went to Michigan Sen. Carl Levin.
Lady Liberty 1885:
Paul Kevin Curtis and the Ricin Letters  —  NOTE: This post was embargoed by LL1885 pending confirmation of the suspect's identity.  We did not want to get the wrong guy.  It was written at 2:16 pm EST and held until now.  Paul Kevin Curtis Arrested for Ricin Letters My co-blogger …
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Republicans pull plug on Mark Sanford  —  National Republicans are pulling the plug on Mark Sanford's suddenly besieged congressional campaign, POLITICO has learned — a potentially fatal blow to the former South Carolina governor's dramatic comeback bid.  —  Blindsided by news …
Washington Post:
GOP abandons Mark Sanford; ex-wife says sons ‘upset’ over encounter with former mistress  —  Following revelations that his ex-wife accused him of trespassing on her property earlier this year, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) has lost the support of his national party.
Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post:
Patricia Maisch, Hero Of Tucson, Escorted Out Of Capitol For Shaming Senate  —  WASHINGTON — Patricia Maisch, a hero of the Tucson shooting that left six dead and another 13 wounded, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), was escorted by police out of the Capitol Wednesday …
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Raw Story
Talking Points Memo:   NRA Celebrates Failure Of Background Check Bill In Senate
Sahil Kapur / Talking Points Memo:
Background Checks Die At The Hands Of Senate Filibuster
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Senate Votes Down Background Check Bill
Discussion: Post Politics
Robert Stanton / Houston Chronicle:
Humble first-grader says teacher sent kids out, fondled her  —  A first-grade teacher at an Humble prep school cited her racial prejudice against black students in denying allegations that she fondled a girl in her classroom last month, according to court records.
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar / Associated Press:
Max Baucus Says He Fears Obamacare Is Headed For ‘Huge Train Wreck’  —  WASHINGTON — A senior Democratic senator who helped write President Barack Obama's health care law stunned administration officials Wednesday, saying openly he thinks it's headed for a “train wreck.”
Discussion: Power Line and Weasel Zippers
Javier Manjarres / The Shark Tank:
Move Over “Obama Phone,” Say ‘Hola!’ to the Marco Rubio Immigration Phone, AKA MarcoPhone  —  With the new ‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act’ finally being filed in the U.S. Senate, concerns over how much money the immigration reform bill will cost …
Matthew Boyle / BREITBART.COM:
Discussion: Post Politics
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 More Items: 
Jacob Sullum / Hit & Run:
Obama Responds to His Gun Control Defeat With Self-Righteous Solipsism
James Hohmann / Politico:
Ron Paul Institute opens amid split with Rand
Dennis Lehane / New York Times:
Messing With the Wrong City
Discussion: The Boston Globe and CNN
Evan McMorris-Santoro / BuzzFeed:
Bloomberg's Group Prepares For The Long Game On Guns
Discussion: Daily Kos
Tara Culp-Ressler / ThinkProgress:
High Schooler Protests ‘Slut-Shaming’ Abstinence Assembly Despite Alleged Threats From Her Principal
Discussion: Friendly Atheist and BuzzFeed
Zack Ford / ThinkProgress:
Transgender Woman Arrested For Exposing Breasts Jailed With Men
Discussion: Advocate
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Dancing on the graves of ‘old media’
 Earlier Items: 
O. Kay Henderson / Radio Iowa:
Senator asserts homosexuality poses health risks to heterosexuals (AUDIO)
Barbara Starr / CNN:
U.S. military to step up presence in Jordan in light of Syria civil war
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Alexis C. Madrigal / The Atlantic Online:
Hey Reddit, Enough Boston Bombing Vigilantism
Discussion: Yahoo! News and The Dish
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
Tom Friedman Continues His Journey To Insanity (The Terrorists Win)
Discussion: Politico, New York Times and Hit & Run