It's been nearly two years since the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but you wouldn't know it from the news emerging out of Capitol Hill today. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the creation of a select committee to investigate the incident. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about Benghazi, even though the attack occurred before his tenure. And a group of three Republican senators — John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) — sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he reveal his whereabouts on the night of the attack.
The flurry of activity comes in response to the release earlier this week of internal White House emails about the attack. Republicans claim they constitute a "smoking gun" of a nefarious White House cover-up; others disagree. Either way, my colleague Peter Weber earlier today noted that the GOP's renewed emphasis on Benghazi is curious given that the issue has largely been forgotten by the American public, epitomized by Tommy Vietor's comment on Fox News this week, "Dude, this was like two years ago."
But, of course, it hasn't been forgotten on the right, where the flames of Benghazi burn as brightly as ever. And as Lynn Vavreck noted recently at The Upshot, American elections are no longer about trying to convince the mythic "swing" voter in the middle — they're about maximizing turnout at either end of the political spectrum. So while Benghazi may seem like an odd issue to raise in 2014, it's actually perfect — so perfect that you can count on seeing it again in 2016, too. Ryu Spaeth
The skyrocketing price of college tuition at previously-affordable state colleges and universities is a longstanding source of concern, especially for people graduating with mountains of student debt. People have many theories as to why this is happening: administrative bloat, too-high salaries for professors, or perhaps too many unnecessary new buildings.
Robert Hiltonsmith, an analyst at Demos, has crunched the numbers. While the above factors do play a small part, the overwhelming reason for increasing prices at state schools is decreasing support from state government. Here's the take-home chart:
In other words, it's the austerity, stupid. Ryan Cooper
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) on Wednesday proposed legislation that would dismantle behemoth banks, a move that could pressure Hillary Clinton to ratchet up her populist rhetoric as the White House race gets underway.
Entitled the "Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Exist Act," the bill would require federal regulators to draw up a list of banks whose collapses would devastate the entire economy. The Treasury would then have one year to break up those institutions. In a statement, Sanders said the list would initially include at least eight banks — including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase — and possibly more.
"No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of Americans or to our nation's economic wellbeing," Sanders, who recently announced he will compete in the Democratic presidential primary contest, said at a press conference unveiling the legislation.
"If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and that is the bottom line," he added.
Bill Clinton is fine with his wife veering from his criminal justice policies.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour Wednesday, Clinton said that his tough-on-crime policies cast "too wide a net." His remarks come after Hillary Clinton gave a speech last week lamenting America's "era of mass incarceration." Critics were quick to point out that the policies she criticized included those implemented by her husband, but now, Bill Clinton has voiced his support for her speech.
"We have too many people in prison," Bill Clinton said to Amanpour. "And we wound up spending — putting so many people in prison that there wasn't enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs, and increase the chances when they came out that they could live productive lives."
"I strongly support what she's doing, and I think any policy that was adopted when I was president, any federal law that contributed to it, needs to be changed," Clinton added. Meghan DeMaria
Sylvia Driskell, a 66-year-old woman from Auburn, Nebraska, wants to sue every gay person in the world.
Driskell will represent herself in Driskell v. Homosexuals, claiming she is an earthly "ambassador" of "God and His Son Jesus Christ." In her seven-page, handwritten petition, Driskell writes that "homosexuals say that it's not a sin to be homosexual, and they have the right to marry, to be parents." She goes on to argue that children raised by "liars, deceivers, and thieves" will "grow up to be one of the three, or all three."
Driskell ends her petition by noting that it is "imperative" for her to "start standing up for the moral principles on which our great nation, our great states, and our great cities were founded on." U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard has been assigned the case, filed May 1, but no summons have been issued thus far. Meghan DeMaria
There are many ways to inform a boss that your days with a company are numbered. Some are professional, some are ill-advised, and at least one now includes cake.
It is "more probable than not" New England Patriots staffers deliberately tampered with footballs during the 2015 NFL playoffs, according to an investigation commissioned by the NFL and made public Wednesday.
Released more than three months after the Super Bowl, the Wells report concluded that a Patriots locker room attendant, Jim McNally, and an equipment supervisor, John Jastremski, likely deflated footballs during the team's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Moreover, it determined quarterback Tom Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities." However, the report found no evidence other players, the team's ownership, or coach Bill Belichick knew of the tampering.
In a statement, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would consider possible disciplinary action. Jon Terbush
A Florida woman who was being held at knifepoint by her boyfriend has Pizza Hut to thank for her safety.
Cheryl Treadway's boyfriend Ethan Nickerson took her phone away and was holding her hostage, but Treadway somehow convinced him to let her order a pizza mid-confrontation. Treadway opened up the Pizza Hut app, and in the "special instructions" section where most people would request extra cheese or napkins, she wrote "911hostage help!" and "Please help! Get 911 to me."
When the restaurant received the order, a cook told the manager about the instructions. The Pizza Hut employees called 911, and the the Highland County Sheriff's Office sent a team of deputies to remove Treadway and her children from the house.
Florida's WFLA reports that Nickerson "may have been high on meth" during the situation. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment, and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement. Meghan DeMaria