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Potential Schock Replacement Asked Whether He Will Repaint Office of Iniquity

After former Representative Aaron Schock's resignation, there is a new question legislative candidates need to be prepared to answer — how will you decorate your office? While campaigning today, Darin LaHood, who's running for Schock's seat, was asked whether he plans to repaint his forebear's now-infamous bright red office space at the Capitol. The Republican state senator in Illinois wouldn't say. “That’ll be a good problem to solve if I’m fortunate enough to get elected, but I’ll worry about that if and when I’m elected." Next week we assume he will be asked about his favorite Instagram filter for selfies. 

Now You Too Can Learn How Much Being a Senator Sucks

President Obama went to Boston today to help dedicate the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which hopes to remind the public of the bipartisan promise of the Senate that people always express nostalgia for, even though it's hard to prove that it ever existed.

“It’s hard for our children to see, in the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of today’s politics, the possibilities of our democracy," he said. "Our capacity, together, to do big things.” Senator John McCain said, “I have no doubt the place would be a little more productive, and a lot more fun, if he were there."

The crown jewel of the $79 million institute they were all there to celebrate is a replica of the Senate chambers, where students can pretend to pass laws, and get an understanding of how hard it is to make 100 people agree on something. And maybe, just maybe, they can feel a little sympathy for these policy-makers, who are appreciated by less than a quarter of the country — and have never seen their popularity rise above 45 percent since at least 1974 except in times of national tragedy. Judging from the curriculum provided by the Institute, students will feel sorry for Congress in no time. 


Republicans Consider Obama Bigger Threat Than Putin

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll conducted in March asked Americans to rate various countries, organizations, and people based on how much of a threat they posed to the United States. Thirty-four percent of Republicans said that President Barack Obama was an imminent threat to the United States; only 25 percent said the same of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 


New York Budget Gives Tax Breaks to Those Who Need It: The Owners of Yachts and Planes

The final state budget is out, and it includes a surprise tax break for those hoping to buy a yacht that costs more than $230,000. There is also a sales-tax break for private planes in the spending deal. “The justification for that is it creates jobs,” explained Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos. “It makes New York State more competitive.” The Times Union noted that "Skelos did not answer when asked what states New York was losing luxury-yacht jobs to." He did answer a question about the lack of a minimum-wage increase in the budget: “My position is with the minimum wage let’s look at the economic impact, is it really going to create jobs?"

Ellen Pao and the Sexism You Can’t Quite Prove

It happens all the time when my husband and I are at work events together. Cocktail Party Guy asks my husband about how things are going at his news site, and he answers. Then Cocktail Party Guy asks me how our dogs are, and I answer, before pivoting the conversation back to work — and later rolling my eyes as we walk away. It is not impolite. It is not inappropriate. But it is still, at least in my mind, sexist. Both me and my husband love our work. Both me and my husband love our dogs. One of us gets asked about our work. One of us gets asked about our dogs. 

It is a form of soft discrimination that I fear might be all too familiar to all too many women — and often I find it hard to explain to my male friends and colleagues. Occasionally, I even find myself struggling to convince them that it is discrimination, and that it has consequences. 


Germanwings Co-Pilot Told Ex ‘Everybody Will Know My Name’ [Updated]

German authorities have yet to find a suicide note from Andreas Lubitz, the pilot who apparently crashed a Germanwings jet carrying 150 people last week, but over the weekend a portrait emerged of the 27-year-old as a man suffering from vision problems — possibly a detached retina — and psychological issues.

On Monday, German prosecutors said that Lubitz had been treated for “suicidal tendencies” before receiving his pilot's license, but they were insistent in noting that there was no sign that this had persisted in follow-up visits to the doctor. 

More than 100 police officers in Düsseldorf have been investigating the crash and its cause in a new unit called Special Commission Alps, according to the Times: “Since the clues accumulated that the crash could have been premeditated, we have formed a murder commission with 50 specialized investigators."


Federal Agents Allegedly Stole Bitcoins While Investigating Silk Road Case

Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges are being charged with allegedly stealing Bitcoins while investigating the cryptocurrency for the case that brought down Silk Road, the Deep Web black market. According to the Times, Force deposited the Bitcoins found in the process of the investigation into his own personal account instead of turning them over to the government. No word on whether he spent them on breast-milk lollipops.

Person Shot Dead After Trying to Ram Gate at NSA Headquarters

Two men believed to be dressed as women tried to get by the entrance to the National Security Agency complex at Fort Meade on Monday in a stolen car around 9 a.m. One of the men was shot dead by a security guard; one other person has been reported injured. NBC News reports that a gun and cocaine were found in the stolen Ford Escape. The incident is being handled as a "local criminal matter," and no federal agencies are involved yet in investigating what happened. Tens of thousands of military and civilian workers are located at Fort Meade.


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