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3:55 PM ET, March 16, 2014


 Top Items: 
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 …
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.
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 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 …
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
Maureen Dowd finds the lightning bug
Discussion: Althouse
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:   Scott Brown fires up Senate fight
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’  —  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 and DNC Rapid Response
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: Israel Matzav and Israpundit
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: Scared Monkeys, Politico and OnPolitics
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 …
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.
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.
Discussion: The Week and Hinterland Gazette
Washington Post:
Crimeans begin voting on Russia referendum
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: 
Wall Street Journal:
How soon can we expect to see brain implants for perfect memory, enhanced vision, hypernormal focus …
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: 
Christopher Clark / Spiegel Online:
What History Teaches Us About the Ukraine Crisis
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
American Prospect:
Piketty's Triumph  —  Three expert takes on Capital in the Twenty …
Oliver Bullough / The New Republic:
Sleepless in Simferopol  —  No one knows what Putin will do after Sunday's election.