GOP Conclave:

The annual Conservative Political Action Convention (better known as CPAC) kicked off Thursday with a slate of political heavyweights, including rising Republican stars and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. The two senators were among those speaking on the first day of the three-day grass-roots conservative event, and their back-to-back addresses touched on a variety of issues including the economy, civil liberties, marriage, guns and American exceptionalism. Both men have been in the news recently but for very different reasons: Paul, for mounting a nearly 13-hour filibuster in the Senate; and Rubio for his water drinking “escapades” in his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. (Read more)

Less of a Dick: President Obama responded to a group of Democratic senators who demanded to know the legal justification for his drone strike policy with this interesting defense: He’s not as bad as former Vice President Dick Cheney! That’s at least according to a pair of senators who were present at the closed-door Senate Democratic conference Tuesday. The two told Politico that West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller confronted Obama over the administration’s refusal to produce its legal memos that justify the use of unmanned aerial drones against suspected American terrorists. The president also tried to assure the group that his administration is more open to oversight than was his predecessor. “This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here,” he said, according to the two senators who were there. (Read more)

Teaching Him a Lesson: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., traded words with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Thursday during a contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feinstein’s attempt to reinstate the assault weapons ban. Things got heated when Cruz, a former constitutional law professor, began lecturing her on the Bill of Rights. “I’m not a sixth-grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in and I saw people shot with these weapons,” she responded. “I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years, I’ve been up close and personal with the Constitution. I have great respect for it. … So I, you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time.” The bill passed through the committee, but it is widely expected to fail in the full Senate. (Read more)

Bad News: A social media editor at Reuters was indicted in federal court Thursday on suspicion of conspiring with the hacker collective Anonymous to deface various news sites owned by Tribune Co., including the one belonging to the Los Angeles Times. Matthew Keys, 26, is alleged to have given members of Anonymous log-in credentials to Tribune-owned KTXL FOX 40, a television station in Sacramento, Calif., where Keys worked before he was fired in October 2010. According to the indictment, someone used the credentials to gain access to the L.A. Times website in December 2010 and made changes to a headline. Keys faces up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine if convicted on all counts. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Students at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service surprised George H.W. Bush with a flash mob during a recent visit. At first, it appears the 88-year-old former president is uncertain what it is he’s watching as the dancers fall in line to country duo Brooks & Dunn’s song “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” but the look of confusion soon turns into a smile. At the end of the performance, granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager explains to him, “That’s a flash mob.”

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.