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5:00 PM ET, March 16, 2014


 Top Items: 
Daily Mail:
Doomed airliner pilot was political fanatic: Hours before taking control of flight MH370 he attended trial of jailed opposition leader as FBI reveal passengers could be at a secret location  —  Police are investigating the possibility that the pilot of missing Flight MH370 hijacked his own aircraft in a bizarre political protest.
New York Times:
Pilot Spoke to Air Controllers After Shutoff of Data System  —  SEPANG, Malaysia — A signaling system was disabled on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet before a pilot spoke to Malaysian air traffic control without hinting at any trouble, a senior Malaysian official said Sunday …
Robert Mendick / Telegraph:
Malaysia Airline MH370: 9/11-style terror allegations resurface in case of lost plane  —  Possible plot investigated after Al-Qaeda supergrass told court that four or five Malaysian men planned a passenger airliner hijack  —  By Robert Mendick, Robert Verkaik in London, Dean Nelson in Kuala Lumpur and Malcolm Moore in Beijing
New York Times:
Obama Factor Adds to Fears of Democrats  —  WASHINGTON — Democrats are becoming increasingly alarmed about their midterm election fortunes amid President Obama's sinking approval ratings, a loss in a special House election in Florida last week, and millions of dollars spent by Republican-aligned groups attacking the new health law.
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Dems in Distress  —  WASHINGTON — Scott Brown, the Republican …
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
Maureen Dowd finds the lightning bug
Discussion: Althouse
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:   Scott Brown fires up Senate fight
Burgess Everett / Politico:
U.S. rejects Crimea vote as invalid  —  U.S. lawmakers and senior officials hope new sanctions, cooperation with Europe and tough talk can head off Russia's ambitions, even as the world stands by and watches Crimea vote on breaking from Ukraine.  —  As voters in the Crimean region voted Sunday …
Discussion: CNN
Yahoo! News:
Crimea holds referendum to split from Ukraine
Discussion: The Week and Hinterland Gazette
Washington Post:
Crimeans begin voting on Russia referendum
Carole Cadwalladr / Guardian:
Scarlett Johansson interview: ‘I would way rather not have middle ground’  —  The star talks to Carole Cadwalladr about playing an alien in Under the Skin - Jonathan Glazer's low-budget sci-fi film set in Glasgow - and her role in the recent SodaStream controversy
Discussion: Israpundit and Israel Matzav
Caitlin MacNeal / Talking Points Memo:
RNC Chair On Paul Ryan's Remarks: Dems Always Waiting To ‘Pounce’ (VIDEO)  —  This post has been updated.  —  Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday addressed the controversy over Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) remarks about a “culture problem” in inner cities of men not wanting to work.
Discussion: Hinterland Gazette and Hullabaloo
Jonathan Topaz / Politico:
RNC chair: Obamacare ‘main target’
Discussion: CNN and DNC Rapid Response
Laura Hancock / Casper Star-Tribune:
‘The Death Sentence of AIDS:’ Newly minted Wyoming lawmaker stands by controversial book  —  Wyoming's newest legislator stands by a book he wrote nearly 30 years ago that claims many gay people demand the right to have sex with children and people with AIDS should be quarantined if they continue having sex.
Discussion: Booman Tribune and The Raw Story
Hemant Mehta / Friendly Atheist:
Fred Phelps, Founder of the ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church, is on the ‘Edge of Death’  —  You know Fred Phelps.  You loathe Fred Phelps.  You despise everything he stands for, like his family members' infamous protests at soldiers' funerals with their awful “God Hates Fags” signs.
Andrew Cuomo / CNN:
CNN Poll: Rand Paul goes where his father never went  —  Washington (CNN) - Rand Paul has done something his father never did - top the list of potential Republican presidential candidates in a national poll.  —  According to a new CNN/ORC International survey, 16% of Republicans and independents …
Discussion: OnPolitics, Scared Monkeys and Politico
Tyler Cowen / Associated Press:
Crimea Through a Game-Theory Lens  —  A Russian occupation of Crimea raises the specter of the Cold War, in which the nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union devolved into regional disputes around the world.  —  While military and political frictions made the biggest headlines …
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Some White People Tried To Rally For Their Race Today  —  A smattering of white people on Saturday stood up to discrimination against their race that exists only in their minds.  —  The so-called “White Man March” was the brainchild of an organizer named Kyle Hunt, who wrote on his website that he expected …
Caitlin MacNeal / Talking Points Memo:
McCain Compares Russia To A Gas Station  —  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday called for economic sanctions against Russia, arguing that they would be effective since its economy depends on oil and gas exports.  —  “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” he said on CNN's “State of the Union.”
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 More Items: 
Inside Politics: The Political Forecast: More Democrats to retire this week
Discussion: RedState
Associated Press:
Karzai says Afghanistan doesn't need U.S. troops to stay past end of year
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Christopher Clark / Spiegel Online:
What History Teaches Us About the Ukraine Crisis
Discussion: Outside the Beltway