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2:15 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
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit and Jihad Watch
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Dems in Distress  —  WASHINGTON — Scott Brown, the Republican who admitted he wore pink leather shorts on his first date with his wife-to-be, is back.  —  And Democrats are scared to death.  —  It's not that Democrats are particularly scared that the 54-year-old former Massachusetts senator …
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.
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
Maureen Dowd finds the lightning bug  —  Mark Twain famously observed: “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter-it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  —  Maureen Dowd presents as tomorrow's Exhibit A. She happened onto …
Discussion: Althouse
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:   Scott Brown fires up Senate fight
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 …
Yahoo! News:
Crimea holds referendum to split from Ukraine  —  Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Crimeans took to the polls on Sunday for a referendum on breaking away from Ukraine to join Russia that has precipitated a Cold War-style security crisis on Europe's eastern frontier.
Washington Post:
Crimeans begin voting on Russia referendum
Washington Post:
Tensions mount as Crimea prepares for referendum
Discussion: The Week and Washington Monthly
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 …
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.”
Jonathan Topaz / Politico:
RNC chair: Obamacare ‘main target’  —  Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Obamacare “complete poison” on Sunday and vowed the GOP would continue to target the new health law in upcoming races.  —  Appearing on CNN's “State of the Union,” he called the Affordable Care Act the “main target” for Republicans.
Discussion: CNN
Christopher Clark / Spiegel Online:
What History Teaches Us About the Ukraine Crisis  —  On the 100th anniversary of World War I, it is tempting to compare events in Ukraine to 1914.  But the current crisis bears little resemblance to the geopolitical situation of the time.  The answers history provides are anything but singular and absolute.
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
American Prospect:
Piketty's Triumph  —  Three expert takes on Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty's data-driven magnum opus on inequality.  —  Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, Heather Boushey, Branko Milanovic  —  In the 1990s, two young French economists then affiliated …
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 More Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
How soon can we expect to see brain implants for perfect memory, enhanced vision, hypernormal focus …
Carole Cadwalladr / Guardian:
Scarlett Johansson interview: ‘I would way rather not have middle ground’
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Israpundit
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
 Earlier Items: 
Oliver Bullough / The New Republic:
Sleepless in Simferopol  —  No one knows what Putin will do after Sunday's election.
Cathleen Decker / Los Angeles Times:
In old memo, a glimpse of conflict ahead for Hillary Clinton?