Late Night Antics
March 27, 2014

The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not craft emporium Hobby Lobby and other private companies founded on religious principles can be compelled to offer their employees health care plans that cover contraception. After oral arguments this week, it appears a narrow majority of the court may well side with Hobby Lobby — and Jon Stewart has some questions.

The main one he asked on Wednesday night's Daily Show is why a for-profit corporation should be allowed to claim the religious rights of an individual, espeically based on scientifically faulty views about contraception and abortion. "Let me get this straight," he said. "Corporations aren't just people, they're ill-informed people whose factually incorrect beliefs must be upheld because they sincerely believe them anyway?"

The answer, as always, lies in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy. But in this case, the asking is all that matters — Stewart doesn't get a vote at the high court, and neither do you — and The Daily Show does a fine job of finding a lighter side to a thorny question. Certainly watch the part with Senior Legal Analyst Jordan Klepper; there's a nice little borrow from Annie Hall. --Peter Weber

Quotables
5:28 p.m. ET
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The editor-in-chief of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo says that unlike the organizers behind a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, his publication never intends to denigrate entire swaths of people.

"When we make a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, or Jesus, or Moses, we don't mock or attack people," Gerard Biard said Tuesday at an event in New York, according to The Guardian. "We mock or attack institutions, representatives, powers, and, again, political powers."

Organized by anti-Islam crusader Pamela Geller, the Texas event challenged participants to draw caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Two gunmen attempted to attack the contest but were shot dead after injuring only one person.

Distancing himself and his publication further from the contest, Biard added that while Geller "wakes every morning and thinks, 'How can I defy these people?,'" he wakes up wondering, "Where's my coffee?" Jon Terbush

Quotables
4:00 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

At a dinner on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made quite an unfortunate gaffe when speaking about the Middle East.

"Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula... Everything that starts with 'Al' in the Middle East is bad news," Graham apparently said at a dinner with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to investigative journalist Uri Blau.

What Sen. Graham may not have realized is that "Al" is the Arabic word for "the."

Blau reports that Graham also hinted about a 2016 presidential run. Participants at the dinner told Blau that Graham said to them, "You will see me in New Hampshire." Meghan DeMaria

Spy Games
3:29 p.m. ET
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Four months after terror attacks rocked France, the lower house of the nation's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would broaden the government's spy powers. The bill, which passed by a 438 to 86 vote, heads to the Senate where it is expected to easily pass as well.

Drafted days after gunmen killed 17 people in separate attacks — including one on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdothe bill would allow intelligence agencies to tap phones and monitor email accounts without first obtaining permission from a judge. It would also compel internet service providers to hand over user data upon request. Critics contend the bill is an unnecessary encroachment on liberty, likening it to America's Patriot Act. Jon Terbush

This doesn't look good
2:50 p.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

New research suggests that food stamp recipients are more likely to be obese than the rest of the U.S. population.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture study looked at data from thousands of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 2007 to 2010. The researchers found that Americans who received food stamp benefits were more likely to be obese than those who did not, including those who qualified for benefits but didn't receive them.

Of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries surveyed, 40 percent of them were obese. Of the poor who qualified for SNAP benefits but did not receive them, 32 percent were obese, as were 30 percent of higher-income Americans. Food stamp recipients also reported eating less fruits and vegetables and drinking more soda than the rest of the country.

But while food stamp recipients may be eating less healthy foods, the rest of the population isn't doing great, either. The average diet of food stamp recipients scored a 56.8 on the healthy eating index, versus 60.3 for eligible non-participants and 60.2 percent for wealthier people. As The Huffington Post notes, that's "the difference between an F and a D-minus," so most people could stand to improve their diets. Meghan DeMaria

Graduation Day
1:42 p.m. ET
Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images

A survey by the Daily Caller of the 2015 commencement speaker choices of the top 25 universities in the country finds that just three have selected a right of center dignitary. Those three are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, scheduled at Rice University; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito at Washington and Lee; and political commentator David Brooks at Dartmouth.

The other 22 schools all selected more liberal speakers, ranging from Arianna Huffington to Obama mega-donor Marc Benioff, and including eleven current or former Democratic politicians and appointees.

Fortunately for conservatives, none of this matters, because no one pays attention to their graduation speaker, anyway. Bonnie Kristian

2016 Watch
1:38 p.m. ET

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Tuesday announced he is running for president, using a kickoff speech to spotlight his Christian faith, conservative beliefs, and gubernatorial experience. Notably absent from Huckabee's pitch to voters, though: Any mention of his most famous backer, the actor, gym equipment salesman, and roundhouse kick master Chuck Norris.

"I still believe Mike Huckabee is the most qualified," Norris told The New York Times. "He has the moral clarity and experience to lead our great country forward."

Norris supported Huckabee in 2008, and cut a memorable ad spot for him riffing on the "Chuck Norris Facts" meme.

Earlier this year, Norris endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the latter's difficult re-election campaign. And last year, he campaigned with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who was then running for a first term. Jon Terbush

Baltimore
1:06 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

In 2010, the Baltimore Police Department requested $200,000 from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue funding an officer training program that had improved community-police relations and decreased police shootings. The funding request was declined, and the program shut down in 2012.

But according to the training program's organizer, Adam Walinksy, the DOJ added insult to injury when the same department the Baltimore PD had solicited for help instead gave funding to the production company that made Mr. Roger's Neighborhood to allow them to do a national rollout of their video program on fostering relationships between children and the police.

Walinksy believes Baltimore would have had more beautiful days in the neighborhood lately if the DOJ had supported the training program. "Once they stopped training the officers — stopped their interaction with the community, that all that was left was locking people up, and that's what led to this whole Freddie Gray thing," he says. "It was a nonsense arrest." Bonnie Kristian

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