By Tracy Bloom
Staffer Exits: An aide to Sen. Rand Paul whose pro-confederate views became the subject of controversy earlier this month has resigned. Jack Hunter, who adopted the name “Southern Avenger” in past writings that included support for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, confirmed to The Daily Caller that he left his post as the Kentucky Republican’s director of new media. “I’ve long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one,” he wrote in an email that was posted Sunday night. “But there’s a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I’ve also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment.” Paul said that because of views Hunter had expressed before he was employed by the senator, he had become a “distraction.” Paul had previously stood by Hunter. (Read more)
Temporary Freeze: A federal judge has blocked—at least for now—a North Dakota abortion law that would ban the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy. The anti-abortion legislation, the most restrictive in the nation, was set to go into effect next week. In issuing the order, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said the North Dakota law violates Roe v. Wade, which defines viability at 28 weeks. “The State of North Dakota has presented no evidence to justify the passage of this troubling law,” Hovland said. “The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.” (Read more)
No Ground to Stand On: Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Democrats, are taking aim at so-called stand Your Ground laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial. When asked about Zimmerman’s recent acquittal on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, both lawmakers questioned the statute’s wisdom. Warren said the goal should be “not just where some of us are safe, but where all of our children are safe.” Warren, the former dean of Harvard Law School, said the goal of these laws should be to ensure that everyone in the country feels safe. Markey then wondered whether the law would “embolden” an armed person to pursue unarmed individuals. The newly sworn-in U.S. senator said he believed it’s time for such laws to be pared back. The two made their remarks during a joint appearance in Boston on Monday. (Read more)
Not Fit for Print: Noted election forecaster Nate Silver didn’t “really fit into” the culture at The New York Times and was viewed by some as “disruptive,” public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote in a blog post after Silver’s departure was confirmed Monday. Although Sullivan said she was among the many at the Times who was “fond of Silver personally and admired his work,” other “well-respected” journalists at the newspaper didn’t share the same feelings. She added that those same “traditional” journalists would object when she wanted to carry posts from Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog in the publication’s print edition. Although Sullivan says she, like many others, doesn’t know for sure what compelled Silver to leave the Times for ESPN, she speculates, “I suspect that this question of feeling at home in the Times culture was a relatively small factor, and that money, prestige and the opportunity to concentrate on sports and entertainment, rather than politics, were the deciding factors. But it all added up to a better package—a better fit—at ESPN, and last week he told The Times of his plans.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: The ladies of “The View” took issue with Virginia Attorney General (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) Ken Cuccinelli on Monday for attempting to resurrect that state’s anti-sodomy laws. Although Cuccinelli insists the “Crimes Against Nature” laws he wants to reinstate are meant to protect children, they would, in the process (and in violation of the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision), outlaw oral and anal sex in Virginia, even between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes. “He wants the government on my back and my husband off of it,” host Joy Behar said. Her colleague Whoopi Goldberg wondered two things: whether Cuccinelli had ever “indulged” in those sexual acts himself and what the government was doing in the bedroom to begin with. “Get out!” she said.