Here comes the sun
May 22, 2014
CC by: Narendra Modi

Newly elected Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi is a hugely controversial figure, and how he will govern India — a country currently in an economic funk — remains unknown. Critics worry that the Hindu nationalist Modi may sow seeds of division, and stoke up religious conflict. Yet Modi largely ran his campaign on reviving the country's economy — and he does have a few big economic ideas up his sleeve.

As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi pioneered India's first incentives for large-scale solar power in 2009. And now his government plans to harness solar power to enable every home in India to run at least one light bulb by 2019. More than 400 million people in India still lack electricity. That's more than the entire population of the U.S. and Canada.

"We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space," Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division of Modi's Bharitiya Janata Party, told Bloomberg.

He's probably right. Solar can be totally decentralized, meaning that unconnected homes can have access to power without India having to immediately roll out expensive centralized infrastructure like power lines, substations, and coal-fired power stations — previously a stumbling block to bringing electricity to the poorest in the third world.

If successful, this kind of program could provide a clean, decentralized energy template for sub-Saharan Africa, where upwards of 580 million people lack electricity. John Aziz

This just in
2:51 p.m. ET
Handout / Getty Images

In what would be a sharp reversal of policy, the U.S may no longer threaten to prosecute families who seek to pay ransoms to foreign hostage-takers, according to ABC News. "There will be absolutely zero chance of any family member of an American held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves, or even the threat of prosecution, for trying to free their loved ones," one senior official familiar with the internal policy review told ABC. The administration faced criticism last year after the family of James Foley — an American journalist held hostage and executed by ISIS — claimed the administration repeatedly threatened them over their attempts to negotiate directly for Foley's release. Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
2:15 p.m. ET
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush on Saturday said his brother, Jeb, faces a unique hurdle in the presidential horse race: his own name.

While fielding questions at a closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Bush "acknowledged being a liability to his brother's candidacy," according to The New York Times, which spoke to attendees as they left the event.

"He basically said being a Bush is a challenge," Norm Coleman, a former senator and current RJC board member, told the Times.

"That's why you won't see me," Bush reportedly said, according to the paper. Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
1:15 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The head of the Clinton Foundation on Sunday acknowledged that the global charity "made mistakes" in how it disclosed and handled donations.

Responding to recent criticism of the foundation that threatened its reputation and Hilary Clinton's nascent presidential campaign, acting CEO Maura Pally said the foundation would commit to greater transparency and limit donations from foreign governments. Moreover, she acknowledged clerical errors in the organization's tax forms, but insisted the overall revenue figures were correct.

"So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," Pally wrote in a statement posted to the foundation's website. Jon Terbush

Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
12:40 p.m. ET
Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother who brought her daughter to a concert by the pop artist Pink is not guilty of poor parenting, as NJ.com notes.

The mother's decision "did not subject the child to any unreasonable risk of harm, or compromise [her] health, safety or welfare," Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones wrote. Rather, it was "self-evident that all which happened here is that a young girl went to her first rock concert with her mother and had a really great time."

The case arose as part of a custody dispute in which the girl's father alleged child abuse after his ex-wife exposed their daughter to Pink's "lyrical profanities" and "sexually suggestive themes and dance performances." Judge Jones rejected that claim, citing Elvis, the Beatles, and rock music's history of baffling and outraging parents.

The court takes further judicial notice that historically, rock music has often involved socially controversial lyrics and themes, as well as what some people have at various times considered to be suggestive songs and performances. It is a matter of common knowledge that back in the 1950's and 60's, when rock music (then more commonly called rock and roll), was still in its relative infancy, millions of teens and pre-teens embraced this then-new style of music as not only exciting, but groundbreaking.

Many parents, however, did not welcome rock music with similar open arms. Instead, there was a significant degree of parental and social resistance and pushback by members of prior generations. [PDF]

One can only wonder how the judge would have ruled had the case involved not a Pink concert, but rather the Gathering of the Juggalos. Jon Terbush

Watch this
11:55 a.m. ET
Pool / Getty Images

Constrained by decorum, President Obama at times appears unable to express the full heft of his emotions when dealing with difficult situations. Enter Keegan-Michael Key who, when playing Obama's fictional "anger translator," Luther, on the comedy Key & Peele, serves as the mouthpiece to the president's true thoughts and emotions.

At the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday, Obama brought Key out to play that very role. Yet as Obama turned to obstreperous climate change deniers, he soon overtook Key as the voice of rage, prompting the comedian to leap in and save Obama from going too far.

"Instead of doing something about it [climate change] we've got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate," Obama said, his voice rising. "It is crazy."

"What about our kids? What kind of stupid, shortsighted, irresponsible bull—" he continued before Key cut him off. —Jon Terbush

Quotables
11:38 a.m. ET
Pool / Getty Images

Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong spared no one in Washington with her routine at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, but her most poignant barbs focused on race relations in America.

"Your hair is so white now it can talk back to the police," Strong said of President Obama.

Earlier, Strong earned mostly hushed grumbling when she combined into one punchline recent police shootings of unarmed black men and reports of Secret Service incompetence. Calling for applause for Secret Service agents in attendance, Strong called them, "the only law enforcement agency that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot."

You can watch Strong's full routine below. —Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
11:04 a.m. ET
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday claimed Christians in America face persecution at the hands of intolerant liberals.

"Today's Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians," Cruz warned at Iowa's Faith and Freedom Coalition summit.

"There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers," he added.

Counting Cruz, nine declared or potential Republican presidential candidates attended the event in hopes of wooing evangelical voters. Representing a range of experience and political positions, the presidential hopefuls all tailored their messages to fit the religious tenor of the evening. Jon Terbush

See More Speed Reads