Shorter Question Everything
• The nation’s most powerful politicians honored Rosa Parks on Wednesday by unveiling her statue in a permanent place in the U.S. Capitol. President Barack Obama praised Parks as an enduring reminder of what true leadership requires, “no matter how humble or lofty our positions.” Parks became the first black woman to be depicted in a full-length statue in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.
• Perpetuation Of A Racial Entitlement: Wow. If ever there was a reason to keep the Voting Rights Act on the books, Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia just made it with this incredibly bigoted statement.
Other stupid right wing comments
• New Hampshire Republican state Rep. Mark Warden: “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”
• Kooky talk: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested Wednesday the sequester was a conspiracy by President Barack Obama to cut defense spending and raise money for community organizing groups.
On the confirmed
• The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts. The vote was 71 to 26 to support the nomination. A total of 25 Republicans and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against Lew’s confirmation.
• The Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday postponed until next week a vote on the confirmation of White House aide John Brennan to be CIA director, dashing hopes of Democratic leaders who had hoped to have a vote on Thursday. No explanation for the delay was immediately available.
• After a year full of mishaps and failures in its quest to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell announced today that it would not pursue exploratory drilling activity in the Arctic Ocean this year.
• The U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday that it was responding to a report of a collision between a boat and an inactive oil wellhead, which is now discharging an oily-water mixture off the coast of the state of Louisiana.
In other news
• As the rebellion in Syria against dictator Bashar al Assad continues to simmer, senior administration officials tell NBC NEWS that the U.S. will announce a policy shift tomorrow. Washington will begin to channel aid directly to selected groups of the Syrian opposition, rather than through non-governmental agencies. The aid will still not include weapons–but the definition of “non-lethal” aid will be broadened.
• Marco McMillian was a candidate for Mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, the first openly gay candidate for office in the state’s history. His body was found on a the Mississippi River levee Wednesday morning, an apparent murder victim.
• Canada’s top court on Wednesday upheld a ban on hate speech contested by a Christian anti-gay activist, but struck down a section of the law also prohibiting belittling or ridiculing others. The Supreme Court said in its decision that the hate speech ban “is a reasonable limit on freedom of religion and is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” “The benefits of the suppression of hate speech and its harmful effects outweigh the detrimental effect of restricting expression which, by its nature, does little to promote the values underlying freedom of expression,” it said. However the court also found that speech which “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of (a person or group) does not rise to the level of ardent and extreme feelings constituting hatred.”