Tuesday night's primaries were a series of near-miss defeats for Tea Party insurgent candidates and victories for the Republican establishment — a sharp turnaround from where things were just two weeks ago, when the political world was reeling after the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia GOP primary.
The most obvious example is the Republican primary runoff in Mississippi, where incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran won with just under 51 percent of the vote — and challenger Chris McDaniel bitterly denounced Cochran and the Republican establishment for having courted Democratic voters to cross over into the GOP primary.
Another example: Oklahoma's open Senate race, where national figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had endorsed T.W. Shannon, the state House Speaker, who if elected would have been the first African-American U.S. senator from the state. However, many local GOP activists gravitated to Rep. James Lankford, the No. 5 Republican in the House, who has a longstanding base among religious conservatives. Lankford won the nomination outright with 57 percent of the vote, above the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff, with Shannon far behind at 34 percent.
There were also some near-misses in House races. In New York's 22nd District, two-term Rep. Richard Hanna was opposed by state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who had the backing of conservative groups. Hanna won his race with 53 percent, against Tenney's 47 percent.
And in Colorado's 5th District, four-term Rep. Doug Lamborn was challenged by Bentley Rayburn, a retired Air Force general who previously ran against Lamborn in the open-seat 2006 primary, and challenged him again in 2008. Lamborn won for a third time tonight, also with 53 percent against 47 percent.
Colorado also delivered another big win for the GOP establishment, in the four-way primary for governor. Former congressman and 2006 nominee Bob Beauprez won with 30 percent — narrowly defeating former Rep. Tom Tancredo, famous for his strong opposition to even legal immigration, who came in at 27 percent.
If you don't know Zara Adil's story about an attempted robbery at her family's tobacco shop, Jimmy Kimmel showed the narrated security camera footage on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live. He then interviewed the college student from her home in Lexington, Kentucky — and Adil's story doesn't get any less crazy. She'd never been robbed before, never fired a gun, and yet she fought off two armed robbers, at least one of whom has since been arrested.
Adil doesn't plan on staying in the family business, she told Kimmel: She is studying to become a trauma surgeon. "Oh, so then you can operate on people you shot," Kimmel quipped. Jokes aside, what Adil did was probably unwise, but it was undeniably gutsy. Watch her in action below. —Peter Weber
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully laid out his case for why the Obama administration's prospective deal to curb Iran's nuclear program is misguided and dangerous, in an address to Congress. And he didn't skimp on the World War II analogies.
"Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem," Netanyahu said. "The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world." Later, he gave a shout out to Nobel Peace Price–winning Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, repeating the mantra "never again."
But "there is a contradiction at the heart of the Israeli prime minister's argument," says William Galston at The Wall Street Journal:
If Ayatollah Khamenei is a Hitler (Mr. Netanyahu made the analogy), we cannot do business with him, and we shouldn't try. If Iran is really determined, as Mr. Netanyahu insists, "to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world," then why should we believe that any diplomatic outcome will make Tehran more tractable? Negotiations with the Nazis in the 1930s just whetted their appetite. The point isn't a better or worse deal, it's regime change. If the prime minister had followed his own logic, that is where he would have ended up — urging regime change in Tehran. [Galston, WSJ]
So why didn't Netanyahu make that case — as he did regarding Iraq's Saddam Hussein in 2002? "Because he knows that the American people are still reeling from their government's ill-starred effort to effect regime change in Iraq," Galston wrote. Also, he notes, U.S.-pushed regime change in Iran hasn't worked out to well, setting in motion "a chain of events that led to the Islamic Republic." Read Galston's entire argument at The Wall Street Journal.
In an attempt to curb overpopulation, wildlife authorities in western Victoria, Australia secretly killed hundreds of koalas in 2013 and 2014.
Environment minister Lisa Neville said it was a "very challenging and complex issue" and the koalas were suffering due to ill health and starvation. "That's just not good enough and that's a terrible way to treat koalas," she said. "I'm wanting to make sure that we're taking the best action we can in this terrible situation of overpopulation."
Almost 700 koalas were captured, sedated, and then euthanized, Australia's ABC reports. Neville said that despite the cull, there are still too many koalas in the area. "We need to stop their suffering," she said. "Our priority must be about treating these koalas humanely." Neville said that she is working with experts to put together a management program for the marsupials.
When Disney brought on Leonard Nimoy to direct Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck thought, "Well, there's a good choice — you've got this guy with no emotions who's gonna do a funny little comedy," Selleck told Seth Meyers on Tuesday night's Late Night. But it turns out, "Leonard was irreplaceable," he added. Not only was Nimoy "a lovely guy — he's not Spock, he's a warm, funny guy" — but he was a "fine director" whose contribution to the 1987 hit can't be overstated." Not that everything went smoothly — Nimoy's decision to hire twin babies wasn't such a success. Watch Selleck's remembrance — and reason the first director didn't work out — below. —Peter Weber
More information is coming out about the homeless man shot and killed by police in Los Angeles on Sunday, including that he was a convicted bank robber who took over a French man's identity 15 years ago in order to gain entrance to the United States.
— M. Alex Johnson (@MAlexJohnson) March 4, 2015
"He fooled a lot of people, including us, years ago," French consul general Axel Cruau told the Los Angeles Times. He said that the man, identified by the LAPD as Charley Saturmin Robinet, stole the identity of the real Robinet in the late-1990s. The man calling himself Robinet was convicted of a bank robbery in 2000, and Cruau said that French officials let the United States know that Robinet had assumed someone else's identity and was not a French citizen. The actual Charley Saturmin Robinet is still alive and living in France.
Students in Selma, Alabama, have started a petition to change the name of a bridge that honors a purported member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Protestors marching for black voting rights were beat after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, and for the 50th anniversary this weekend President Obama will visit the landmark and give an address. Most area residents don't know much about Pettus, who was a Confederate soldier, U.S. Senator, and alleged grand dragon of the Alabama Klan in 1877. "They're responsible for too much death and misery," Rev. Joseph Lowery, a veteran civil rights leader, told The Associated Press. "We don't need to honor them. I'm with the kids. Let's change it."
There are conflicting opinions on Pettus; Selma historian Alston Fitts believes he was not part of the KKK, as Selma did not have much Klan activity following the Civil War, while history professor Michael Fitzgerald at Minnesota's St. Olaf College is almost certain Pettus was a member of another terrorist organization, the White League. Pettus himself shared his insights into race relations when he testified in front of a congressional committee investigating the KKK in July 1871: He stated that whites were the real victims in the post-Civil War South, not blacks.
On Tuesday night, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled, 7-1, to bar state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The order is a direct violation of several orders by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, allowed to take effect by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices also issued a lengthy defense of defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore sat out the vote, but the six-justice majority asserted in its unsigned ruling that the state court could "interpret the United States Constitution independently from, and even contrary to, federal courts." One judge on the all-Republican court partially assented, and Justice James Gregory Shaw was the lone dissenter, warning his colleagues that they are overstepping their authority and "and potentially unsettling established principles of law."
Since Moore originally ordered the probate judges to disregard Judge Granade's ruling, Alabama has been a confusing jumble of marriage law. Before Tuesday's ruling, at least 48 of the state's 67 counties were issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The state order didn't say what it proposes to do with the "purported" same-sex marriage licenses already issued.
The gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign called the ruling "bizarre," "outrageous and baffling," and "extralegal." "The Alabama State Supreme Court does not have the authority to interfere with a federal court order," legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement.
University of Alabama constitutional law professor Ronald Krotoszynski agreed, suggesting to The New York Times that the state court is "trying to lobby" the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of its big same-sex marriage case this term. "You might read it as kind of a brief or a political document to the Supreme Court of the United States," he said.
One of the most active volcanoes in Chile erupted early Tuesday, causing thousands to flee from the city of Pucon.
— Doyle Industries (@DoyleGlobal) March 4, 2015
The Villarrica volcano rises above Pucon, 400 miles south of Santiago. At about 3 a.m., lava started to flow and heavy smoke filled the air, and authorities became worried that mudslides would be caused by melting snow. "It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen," Australian tourist Travis Armstrong told The Associated Press. "I've never seen a volcano erupt and it was spewing lava and ash hundreds of meters into the air. Lightning was striking down at the volcano from the ash cloud that formed from the eruption."
As the volcano activity died down, some residents and tourists returned to Pucon, and by the middle of the day stores were open and public transportation was up and running. No injuries were reported. —Catherine Garcia
In an attempt to find some investors to make his Twitter screenplay Ghost Plane a reality, Aziz Ansari figured he should take advantage of his appearance on Conan and turn it into a table read. Ansari and Andy Richter were into it, but Conan O'Brien's sad attempt at portraying Jennifer Lawrence got him reprimanded by Ansari, who told him, "You are going to have to try harder, Mark Cuban is watching this thinking about whether he should invest!" Watch the clip (with a few expletives) below. —Catherine Garcia
If the organizers of Women on $20s have their way, you won't be seeing Andrew Jackson's face on the $20 bill much longer.
— Women On 20s (@WomenOn20s) February 18, 2015
Instead of the seventh president of the United States, this new group would like to see Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, or Susan B. Anthony staring back on the $20. They're targeting this particular bill because 2020 will mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and also because they aren't fans of Jackson and his authorization and enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, along with other controversies. Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women on $20s, told The Washington Post that Jackson wasn't even fond of paper currency, and preferred gold and silver. "The guy would be rolling in his grave to know that every day the ATM spits out bills with his face on it," Stone said.
Women on $20s has a list of 15 women they say would make excellent replacements for Jackson, and as soon as they get 100,000 signatures on their petition it will be sent to the White House. Their plan might not even be that far-fetched — The Post says that in 2013, a similar campaign in Britain was successful and put Jane Austen on the 10-pound note. —Catherine Garcia