FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
Late Night Antics
March 26, 2014

On Tuesday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart caught up on the fast-moving situation in Crimea. First he talked through what the U.S. and its allies are (and aren't) doing to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin — or "President Boobs Akimbo" — and then he brought on Senior Russia Correspondent Jessica Williams on to explain why none of that matters. The short version, as Williams explained, is that "Putin doesn't give a sh-t."

That sounds flip, crass even, but Williams followed it up with a surprisingly insightful analysis of what makes Putin tick. There's historical analysis, role-playing, and Russian accents, but it still all boils down to the original assessment: Putin doesn't care what you think. --Peter Weber

This just in
1:58 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to accept as many as 13 times the number of Syrian refugees it currently plans to take in. The former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate called Friday for the U.S. to up its plans to accept between 5,000 to 8,000 immigrants to "at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016." O'Malley cited the photos of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who washed up dead on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to sail from Turkey to Greece, for stirring his moral obligation to urge Americans to do more to help some four million Syrian refugees.

"Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values," O'Malley said in a statement. "If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more."

As Europe faces an influx of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East — a record 107,500 migrants entered the European Union in July alone — O'Malley contends that Americans are "not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders." So far, according to numbers from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported by Newsweek, only 1,541 Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. Becca Stanek

Trump's take
12:43 p.m. ET
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The media is back at it with its "gotcha" questions, according to Donald Trump, and this time they're from conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. In a live radio interview Thursday discussing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Hewitt prompted Trump to name the leaders of ISIS, Iran's Quds Force, Hezbollah, the al-Nusra Front, and al Qaeda.

Trump's response: He didn't know — yet. "You know, I'll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they'll all be changed. They'll all be gone," Trump said in the interview. The Independent notes that Hezbollah has had the "same Secretary General for the past 23 years."

The interview went further downhill when, after Trump mixed up the Quds Force and the Kurds, Hewitt corrected him. Of course, Trump isn't one to admit defeat, so he took to MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to lash out at Hewitt and call him a "third-rate radio announcer."

"When you say Kurds vs. Quds, I thought he said 'Kurds,'" Trump said. "And it was like 'got you, got you, got you,' and every question is, 'do I know this one, and that one.' You know he worked hard on that."

Hewitt will be partnering with CNN to moderate the second Republican debate. Becca Stanek

Clinton Emails
11:31 a.m. ET

In an interview with Al Jazeera America's Mehdi Hasan, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while in office.

"Now, this is a problem, because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of state... knows how classified information should be handled," Snowden said. "And if an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency, or anything like that were sending details about the security of embassies over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their job and lose their clearance. They would very likely face prosecution for it."

Later in the interview, Snowden also expressed incredulity at Donald Trump's candidacy and labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin an "authoritarian." Watch the full exchange below. Bonnie Kristian

TSAaaarg
11:13 a.m. ET

A Denver CBS station has obtained footage that has been concealed from the public since the incident that was caught on camera occurred in February.

Two TSA agents, Ty Spicha and Yasmin Shafi, plotted to manipulate their airport security checkpoint to allow Spicha to fondle male passengers he found attractive. Shafi would tell the body scanner the passenger being screened was female so it detected an irregularity in the genital region. This allowed Spicha to conduct an unjustified pat-down of that area. In the video clip, we see their plan in action:

Another TSA employee reported the plot to superiors. Spicha and Shafi were fired, but no charges were filed. In response to this incident, the TSA has promised more training "in the long run." Bonnie Kristian

Clashing values
10:16 a.m. ET
alexeys/iStock

Kentucky's Rowan County isn't as conservative as this week's hoopla over issuing same-sex marriage licenses may have made it out to be, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the county's elected local clerk, Kim Davis, has rejected same-sex marriage in her refusal to grant marriage licenses, the county's demographics and voting records suggest that not all of Rowan County shares Davis' conservative standings:

Rowan County is classified as a College Town in the American Communities Project, a data analysis project based at American University. It was one of only eight counties in Kentucky that voted for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2013, Morehead, the home of Morehead State, became only the sixth city in Kentucky to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people. [The Wall Street Journal]

However, while Rowan County may have less socially conservative leanings, it is nestled amid counties classified as "Working Class Country counties," which The Wall Street Journal reports are "places that are marked by strong socially conservative attitudes and values." While 56 percent of those in counties classified as College Towns support gay marriage, a 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that only 36 percent of those in Working Class Country counties do.

The juxtaposition of that conservatism with Rowan County's more liberal leanings might be exactly why tensions between religion and social issues erupted there this week. Read the full analysis of Rowan County over at The Wall Street Journal. Becca Stanek

welcome to the good life
9:45 a.m. ET

Forget Thomas Dewey and Harry S. Truman: There's a new triumphant presidential upset brewing. Just ask The New Yorker:

The cover is for the magazine's Sept. 14 issue, out next week. Start preparing your "President West" playlists accordingly. Kimberly Alters

Presidential polling
9:01 a.m. ET
Richard Ellis/Getty Images

There's one 2016 matchup that Donald Trump doesn't stand a chance at winning, a new Monmouth University poll finds. While The Donald dominates just about everyone else in the Republican field in a head-to-head matchup, he loses to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by a whopping 19 percentage points. Faced with the choice of Trump versus Carson, voters chose Carson over Trump, 55 percent to 36 percent.

However, outside of a head-to-head matchup, Trump still leads Carson — and everyone else — by a strong margin in the national polls. The Monmouth University Poll shows Trump in first place with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Carson with 18 percent of the vote. But even if Carson isn't beating Trump in the national polls just yet, Trump had still better watch his back. Carson is quickly gaining traction among Republican voters, with support for him up 5 percent from the last Monmouth poll taken before the Republican debate.

The poll, conducted between August 31 and September 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads