Playing politics
March 14, 2014

Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign released an odd ad consisting entirely of smiling photos of the senator under a dialogue-less musical soundtrack. On Thursday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart had an immense amount of fun replaying the ad under different songs — and encouraging readers to similarly enjoy themselves while his show goes on spring break. As Stewart noted briefly, the ad is probably a way to legally give outside super PACs some happy video clips for their own pro-McConnell commercials (thought Team McConnell can't be disappointed that it has gone viral). None of that means the video doesn't look better under Sir Mix-a-Lot...

Stewart isn't the only one reappropriating the ad — via Slate's David Weigel, there's a whole YouTube account dedicated to putting McConnell into the opening credits of 1990s sitcoms. Full House, anyone? --Peter Weber

This doesn't look good
7:43 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Tuesday, The New York Times revealed that Hillary Clinton used a personal email address during her time as secretary of state. Now, the Times reports that Clinton's lack of a government email address allowed her to avoid record requests from the State Department.

Department officials confirmed that since Clinton had used a personal email, it wasn't subject to searches. Clinton gave the department 50,000 pages of emails she sent from her personal account, but some worry it did not include all of the information from her tenure. The Times reports that the State Department will search Clinton's provided emails, at congressional requests.

"Very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees of the Obama administration should use their official email accounts when they’re conducting official government business," White House spokesman, Josh Earnest told the Times. "However, when there are situations where personal email accounts are used, it is important for those records to be preserved consistent with the Federal Records Act."

ObamaCare in Court
7:30 a.m. ET

When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Wednesday in King v. Burwell, its second major challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the same lawyers from the first case will square off again. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. was widely panned for his defense of ObamaCare three years ago, but his secondary argument won in the end. On the other side, Michael Carvin will try again to undermine the law, arguing this time that legislators only allowed state-run health care exchanges to hand out federal subsidies.

If the justices side with Carvin this time, more than six million enrollees in three dozen states would likely lose their health insurance. In this short video, The New York Times explains the case and how it could essentially create "two American health care systems." —Peter Weber

6:49 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton's speech at the 30th anniversary gala of EMILY's List on Tuesday night is arguably most memorable for what she didn't mention: The flap around her exclusive use of a personal email account while secretary of state. But she did make a none-too-subtle reference to her expected second presidential campaign.

After asking the audience of mostly Democratic women if they want to see more women run for school board, state office, and Congress, she paused then added: "And I supposed it's only fair to say, don't you someday want to see a woman president of the United States? Well, in many ways," she added after the ovation, "all of these questions can only be answered by you."

EMILY's List founder Ellen Malcolm pointed to Clinton when calling 2016 the "time to shatter that glass ceiling and put a woman in the White House," adding for good measure: "Hillary, you heard us.... Just give us the word and we'll be right at your side."

cutting the cord
5:49 a.m. ET
The Tonight Show

NBC Universal knows that you like those Jimmy Fallon videos — and it wants to earn more money from his viral hits. And so, The Wall Street Journal reports, NBCU is in late-stage development on a subscription online comedy channel aimed at 35-and-under cable TV "cord cutters." The web service, which could cost as little as $2.50 to $3.50 a month, will probably include episodes of Fallon's Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and original content.

What that means for viewers is unclear. One idea NBCU is reportedly considering would be to keep content off of YouTube until it has appeared on the subscription service for a while. Or, if it wants those viral Fallon clips to keep going viral, it could reach a revenue-sharing deal with YouTube, which reportedly wants 45 percent of ad revenue. Is 55 percent unfair for NBCU? Well, last week, CEO Steve Burke said that 70 percent of Tonight Show views are online, and most of those viewings earn NBC next to nothing.

Print is not dead
5:02 a.m. ET

Even before Benjamin Netanyahu opened his mouth in Congress, his big controversial speech on Tuesday drew dueling full-page ads in The New York Times. "Jon, what a great day for traditional media," senior print analyst Aasif Mandvi told Jon Stewart on Tuesday night's Daily Show. It turns out the way to save print media, he added, was "angry Jews." (That's "one of the better iPhone games I've played," Stewart quipped.)

Sure, two $150,000 ads won't stop print newspaper from bleeding money, Mandvi conceded, but the pro- and anti-Netanyahu camps have now taken over the entire newspaper. This is where the segment hit its stride: In about a minute, The Daily Show mocks sponsored content and the New York Times' Vows and Styles section, and they make it funny even for people who don't care about print media or the "Grey Lady." Watch. —Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:21 a.m. ET

There wasn't much that Jon Stewart liked about Tuesday's spectacle of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning a fawning Congress about President Obama's Iran nuclear talks — not Bibi's conceit that he was speaking for all Jews, not Obama's "eh, we're still cool" response, not CNN's weird Star of David graphics, and not Netanyahu's 19 years of urgent warnings about Iran. But you probably guessed that Stewart wouldn't like the speech.

Watch below to see Stewart argue that the world does need "Netanyahu's anti-aging secret," his crude analogy about Congress appreciating the big speech, and probably his best line of the night, about Tuesday marking "the sacred Jewish holiday of 'Suuk-On-It-Mr. President,'" a "festival of slights." —Peter Weber

Watch this
3:50 a.m. ET

If you don't know Zara Adil's story about an attempted robbery at her family's tobacco shop, Jimmy Kimmel showed the narrated security camera footage on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live. He then interviewed the college student from her home in Lexington, Kentucky — and Adil's story doesn't get any less crazy. She'd never been robbed before, never fired a gun, and yet she fought off two armed robbers, at least one of whom has since been arrested.

Adil doesn't plan on staying in the family business, she told Kimmel: She is studying to become a trauma surgeon. "Oh, so then you can operate on people you shot," Kimmel quipped. Jokes aside, what Adil did was probably unwise, but it was undeniably gutsy. Watch her in action below. —Peter Weber

History lessons
3:16 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully laid out his case for why the Obama administration's prospective deal to curb Iran's nuclear program is misguided and dangerous, in an address to Congress. And he didn't skimp on the World War II analogies.

"Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem," Netanyahu said. "The six million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world." Later, he gave a shout out to Nobel Peace Price–winning Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, repeating the mantra "never again."

But "there is a contradiction at the heart of the Israeli prime minister's argument," says William Galston at The Wall Street Journal:

If Ayatollah Khamenei is a Hitler (Mr. Netanyahu made the analogy), we cannot do business with him, and we shouldn't try. If Iran is really determined, as Mr. Netanyahu insists, "to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world," then why should we believe that any diplomatic outcome will make Tehran more tractable? Negotiations with the Nazis in the 1930s just whetted their appetite. The point isn't a better or worse deal, it's regime change. If the prime minister had followed his own logic, that is where he would have ended up — urging regime change in Tehran. [Galston, WSJ]

So why didn't Netanyahu make that case — as he did regarding Iraq's Saddam Hussein in 2002? "Because he knows that the American people are still reeling from their government's ill-starred effort to effect regime change in Iraq," Galston wrote. Also, he notes, U.S.-pushed regime change in Iran hasn't worked out to well, setting in motion "a chain of events that led to the Islamic Republic." Read Galston's entire argument at The Wall Street Journal.

save the koalas
1:59 a.m. ET
Ian Waldie/Getty Images

In an attempt to curb overpopulation, wildlife authorities in western Victoria, Australia secretly killed hundreds of koalas in 2013 and 2014.

Environment minister Lisa Neville said it was a "very challenging and complex issue" and the koalas were suffering due to ill health and starvation. "That's just not good enough and that's a terrible way to treat koalas," she said. "I'm wanting to make sure that we're taking the best action we can in this terrible situation of overpopulation."

Almost 700 koalas were captured, sedated, and then euthanized, Australia's ABC reports. Neville said that despite the cull, there are still too many koalas in the area. "We need to stop their suffering," she said. "Our priority must be about treating these koalas humanely." Neville said that she is working with experts to put together a management program for the marsupials.

In Memoriam
1:57 a.m. ET

When Disney brought on Leonard Nimoy to direct Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck thought, "Well, there's a good choice — you've got this guy with no emotions who's gonna do a funny little comedy," Selleck told Seth Meyers on Tuesday night's Late Night. But it turns out, "Leonard was irreplaceable," he added. Not only was Nimoy "a lovely guy — he's not Spock, he's a warm, funny guy" — but he was a "fine director" whose contribution to the 1987 hit can't be overstated." Not that everything went smoothly — Nimoy's decision to hire twin babies wasn't such a success. Watch Selleck's remembrance — and his explanation for why the first director didn't work out — below. —Peter Weber

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