May 19, 2014

The setup is great: Two of the world's biggest movie stars, Matthew McConaughey and Brad Pitt, discover they are in balconied New Orleans hotel rooms on opposite sides of a gawker-filled street. Pitt throws a beer across the street, and McConaughey catches it and pops it open, all with camera-toting tourists and paparazzi snapping away below. It looks pretty serendipitously awesome in still photos, curated BuzzFeed-style.

But then watch the video. Maybe it's the street commentary, or the fact that Pitt is pretty clearly playing to the crowd, or maybe just that we expect these guys to be closely edited and professionally filmed — or at least carefully curated, BuzzFeed-style — but the moment looks decidedly less "epic" in the garish light of smartphone video. Swap any two non-famous men for McConaughey and Pitt and it's less a "special moment" between "two of the most handsome men to grace the cover of People magazine," as The Times-Picayune says, and more what goes on every weekend in the French Quarter. --Peter Weber

10:24 a.m. ET

Recreational marijuana sales have been legal in Washington State for about two years now, and during that time, the price of weed has plummeted. From a post-legalization high of about $25 per gram on the retail market, the same amount of pot now costs less than $10.

(Washington Post)

The economic explanation for this price drop is simple and predictable: The drug war makes the marijuana business dangerous and expensive because, as The Washington Post summarizes, black market drug sellers "must operate covertly, forgo advertising, pay higher wages to compensate for the risk of arrest, and lack recourse to civil courts for resolving contract disputes."

Once marijuana is legalized, these added costs of doing business disappear, making for a cheaper product and safer industry. Similarly, alcohol Prohibition in the 1930s caused the price of liquor to roughly triple, a rise which inversely parallels the discounts we see in Washington. Bonnie Kristian

10:11 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Many Republicans are reeling Wednesday with the knowledge that Donald Trump is their presumptive nominee — and at least one major conservative publication is already looking to make the best of a bad situation. Red State urged Congress on Wednesday to confirm President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, as soon as possible in order to avoid a much younger, much more liberal pick when — as they see it — Hillary Clinton inevitably takes office next year:

Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite at the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it. [Red State]

Red State takes the warning even further, cautioning Congress that, "The fact that Merrick Garland still exists as an option right now is a gift that should not be squandered." Read the whole piece over at Red State. Jeva Lange

10:04 a.m. ET

It may have taken Adele a full week after Beyoncé's Lemonade was released to sing the visual album's praises, but she swears she's not late — the album had just left her "speechless." On Tuesday, however, the British songstress finally found her words:

Unsurprisingly, Adele — who has already proclaimed herself "Queen Bey to the day I die" — absolutely adored Beyoncé's latest record. If that caption isn't evidence enough of Adele's serious Beyoncé fandom, that photo of her literally bowing down next to Queen Bey should be. Becca Stanek

10:00 a.m. ET

Following the news that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, many Republicans who aren't ready to jump on the Trump train are casting about for other Election Day options.

After Ted Cruz dropped out of the race last night, Google Trends showed a sudden spike in searches for "Libertarian Party," suggesting that the 16 percent of Americans who say they'll vote third party in a Trump vs. Clinton contest are preparing to do just that.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent Republicans took to Twitter to announce their support for Hillary Clinton — or at least their exit from the GOP. Washington Examiner editor Philip Klein tweeted a picture of his voter registration change form, while Free Beacon writer Lachlan Markey shared a photo of his registration card in flames.

Former John McCain strategist Mark Salter declared that if "the GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level," he's with Clinton. Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum predicted that 2016 would see "Former Republican presidents & presidential nominees for Clinton." Bonnie Kristian

9:33 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There was a time when Marco Rubio didn't work hard to hide his hatred of being a U.S. senator, although "I don't know that 'hate' is the right word," he told The Washington Post last October. "I'm frustrated."

Oh, but how times have changed. For one, Rubio has dropped out of the presidential race. He is spending more time fishing and on his boat in Florida. He has decided against running for reelection, or for governor, or for really anything else before 2020.

Oh, and he kind of loves his job.

"Since I'm not running for reelection, there's a lot of things I want to get done. I'm actually enjoying it very much. It's kind of been the most enjoyable and productive I've been," Rubio told Politico.

While Rubio has stayed out of the spotlight in recent weeks by avoiding the garbage fire that is the current Republican race, he has been quietly getting work done on the Senate floor, including urging aid for Puerto Rico and breaking with party lines to back President Obama's call for $1.9 billion in federal funding to fight the Zika epidemic. Politico reports Rubio is also working to limit some U.S. benefits for Cuban immigrants, and he has as taken on a bigger role in protecting the Everglades.

"I feel positive about being able to get good results down the stretch. None of them are the kind of things that will dominate headlines. I'm honored to serve in the Senate. I've enjoyed my work there, despite the lack of progress in the process," Rubio said. Jeva Lange

9:20 a.m. ET

So, Donald Trump is probably going to be the Republican Party nominee for president. If that fact has you seriously Googling Canada's visa process, you might be onto something — there's some pretty cool stuff going on up in the Great White North. Last night, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry forced overtime in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat with this ridiculous half-court heave:

Of course, the Raptors went cold in OT and lost to the Heat, at home, 102-96. But hey, you're heading to Canada now — you can't be rude to your guests. The Raptors will try, though, when they host the Heat again at the Air Canada Centre for Game 2 on Thursday. Kimberly Alters

8:43 a.m. ET

Donald Trump says he plans to tap a politician to serve as his vice president. "Somebody that can help me with legislation and somebody that can help me get things passed and somebody that's been friends with the senators and congressmen and all so we don’t have to go the executive order route as much as Obama did, you know, where he can't get anything approved so he just keeps signing executive orders," Trump said in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday morning, the day after he all but sealed the GOP nomination with his win in the Indiana primary.

But Trump isn't ready to name names. "Well, it's too soon. I just don't want to do it," Trump said. "I think that, you know, a lot of people are talking about certain names, and certainly those are the names we are thinking of." The five potential running mates The Washington Post and others have floated recently are Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Watch Trump's full interview below, with his vice presidential remarks starting at the 16:05 mark. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads