Shorter Question Everything
May as well, because Woodward has become something of a joke by now.
• Obama jokes about Woodward-Sperling clash at Gridiron dinner: “You notice that some folks couldn’t make it this evening. It’s been noted that Bob Woodward sends his regrets, which Gene Sperling predicted. . . . I know that some folks think we responded to Woodward too aggressively, but hey, can anybody tell me when an administration has ever regretted picking a fight with Bob Woodward?” Obama asked. “What’s the worse that could happen?” [Read the whole thing, it's well worth it ]
• Bob Woodward Is Losing His Marbles: When a veteran Navy intelligence analyst gets his knickers in a loud public twist over the number of U.S. nuclear-strike capable aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, one might first enjoy the spectacle – but then wonder: why such carryings-on to raise the military threat against Iran? When the veteran Navy intelligence analyst turns out to be Bob Woodward, who has a national audience from his platform at the Washington Post, serious observors might well wonder what the motive for this misleading war-mongering might be (beyond apparent editorial policy at the Post).
• Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who lost out in a bruising bid for the job of secretary of state, may have the last laugh. Rice has emerged as far and away the front-runner to succeed Thomas E. Donilon as President Obama’s national security adviser later this year, according to an administration official familiar with the president’s thinking. The job would place her at the nexus of foreign-policy decision making and allow her to rival the influence of Secretary of State John F. Kerry in shaping the president’s foreign policy.
• Rand Paul is no hero: A majority of Americans are OK with the use of drones to kill “suspected terrorists” overseas (making Paul’s grandstanding something less than “brave”), but when the prospect of collateral damage is raised, only 27 percent continue to support the program, with 43 percent opposed. If Rand Paul has similar problems with blowing up innocent brown people abroad, he certainly didn’t emphasize it during his filibuster. Paul is wrong because, rather than take issue with Obama’s actual drone program, his criticism is animated by the paranoid delusions of the far right — the same apocalyptic visions that animate gun-hoarding survivalists and the militia movement. As Charles Johnson noted, “Sen. Paul is a frequent guest on the conspiracy-peddling Alex Jones Show, where he co-signs every deranged fantasy.”
• Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri said on Friday that bee venom could be used to deliver a fatal sting to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) following the results of a new study. According to The Huffington Post, the study demonstrated that melittin, a toxin found in the venom, can help smaller particles penetrate the protective envelope around HIV, and subsequently destroy it.
• Russian scientists on Saturday dismissed initial reports that they had found a wholly new type of bacteria in a mysterious subglacial lake in Antarctica. Sergei Bulat of the genetics laboratory at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics had said Thursday that samples obtained from the underground Lake Vostok in May 2012 contained a bacteria bearing no resemblance to existing types. But the head of the genetics laboratory at the same institute said on Saturday that the strange life forms were in fact nothing but contaminants.
• Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada was on Saturday sent back to prison by a British judge, just two days before the government was due to make a fresh bid to deport him. The radical cleric, who has been dubbed Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, was found to have breached the conditions of his bail granted last November. “The appellant’s bail is revoked forthwith, and he is ordered to be detained,” judge Stephen Irwin said in an order, adding that Abu Qatada would be detained at the high-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London.
• Venezuela will hold a presidential election on April 14, officials said on Saturday, as acting President Nicolas Maduro tries to benefit from an emotional outpouring for his late mentor, Hugo Chavez, and win his own term in office. Maduro, a physically imposing former union leader who served as foreign minister and vice president under Chavez, has vowed to keep Chavez’s self-styled socialist revolution alive.