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March 12, 2014
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I enjoyed watching both seasons of House of Cards, Netflix's shadowy and Shakespearean political comedy/tragedy/farce portraying the rise of the ruthless politician Frank Underwood. But I tried not to take it too seriously. After all, Washington's political elite might be out of touch with the rest of the country — as shown by years of awful Congressional approval ratings — but House of Cards is a work of fiction, and a dark, murderous, and cynical one at that.

Cui Tiankai, China's Ambassador to the United States, on the other hand, thinks House of Cards faithfully mirrors real life:

"I have seen both seasons of House of Cards, which I think embodies some of the characteristics and corruption that is present in American politics," said Cui Tiankai, speaking as a participant on a televised People’s Daily panel coinciding with the Chinese People’s Political Consultive Conference.

The Chinese diplomat, who previously studied in Washington, DC — the setting of House of Cards' intricate political machinations — added that the show's story of bipartisan competition and corruption largely mirrored recent affairs. [South China Morning Post]

Of course, some Chinese people disagreed with the ambassador. While America's political system might be bad, they reasoned, it can't be as bad as China's one-party dictatorship:

Members of China's online microblogging community offered an alternate voice, and several criticized Cui for his comments.

"Americans are such that they do not hide their drawbacks, and through debate, constantly compromise to improve their government," one Sina Weibo commentator wrote. "They see the problems of their [government], and also recognize their own shortcomings."

"Of course there are issues with a two party system," mused another blogger. "But a one party dictatorship can really harm people." [South China Morning Post]

These critics are right. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, while the United States is the 19th least corrupt nation in the world, China ranks a lowly 80th. John Aziz

5:13 p.m. ET

No matter what you think about soccer, you have to respect a good underdog story. And the Leicester City Foxes just pulled off the ultimate feel-good sports story, winning soccer's Premier League title thanks to Chelsea F.C. fighting the Tottenham Hotspurs to a draw Monday.

How do two unrelated teams factor into Leicester City's victory? Our own Peter Weber broke it all down here, but the short version is: The standings dictated that the Foxes needed the Spurs to lose just one of their remaining three games in order to clinch the title. And after jumping out to a 2-0 lead against Chelsea, the Spurs let Chelsea rally back to a 2-2 draw. With the draw, Tottenham forfeited its long-shot comeback bid for the title and Leicester City — which began the season with 5,000-to-1 odds to win — claimed the crown.

The Premier League is the most-watched soccer league in the world and features the heavy-hitters of the sport, such as Manchester United and Liverpool (in addition to Chelsea). The title is the Foxes' first in their 132-year history. To read more about how Leicester City made it to the top, check out David Winner's feature at Newsweek. Kimberly Alters

5:08 p.m. ET

Full-time employees of Tennessee's public colleges and universities are now allowed to carry guns on campus with proper handgun permits, WKRN-TV reports. The law, which Gov. Bill Haslam (R) allowed to pass without his signature, is set to go into effect July 1.

"I have long stated a preference for systems and institutions to be able to make their own decisions regarding security issues on campus, and I again expressed this concern throughout the legislative process this year," Haslam wrote to the House and Senate on Monday. "Although SB 2376 does not go as far as I would like in retaining campus control, the final version of the bill included input from higher education and was shaped to accommodate some of their concerns."

A state senator proposed the bill following a fatal October shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Julie Kliegman

3:58 p.m. ET

Donald Trump has notoriously mocked Hillary Clinton for using the so-called "woman's card," claiming she couldn't get even 5 percent of the vote if she were a man. He might not be laughing anymore, though:

Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold. Jeva Lange

3:05 p.m. ET
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his presidential aspirations in February after earning only 145 votes while running for the Republican nomination. Now, adding insult to injury, Gilmore was also just shut out from even being elected as a Virginia delegate to the Republican national convention.

Gilmore told The Washington Post that he had been "informally assured" he would be a Virginia delegate, but that Ted Cruz's team had mobilized to seize as many supporters as they could. As a result, the Virginia state convention over the weekend elected 10 Cruz supporters and three Trump supporters to send to Cleveland. Because Trump won the state, all delegates will be required to cast their first vote for him; the delegates would then be free to vote for whoever they want on a second ballot at a contested convention.

Still, Gilmore says he will be heading to Cleveland because "technically I'm still a candidate for president."

Gilmore has not endorsed any candidate, and The Washington Post notes his neutrality might be what made both Cruz and Trump supporters wary of sending him to the convention. Jeva Lange

2:55 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Heidi Cruz is sticking up for her husband Ted, who, in a long-running joke, is often accused of being the Zodiac Killer. It's taken on a life beyond just internet memes: A February poll found 38 percent of Florida voters think it's possible the Republican presidential hopeful is responsible for the gruesome homicides.

"Well, I've been married to him for 15 years, and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn't bother me at all," Cruz told Yahoo News on Monday. "There's a lot of garbage out there."

Whether you're married to Ted or not, you don't need to crack a cipher to figure out the Texas senator wasn't even born in time to have committed the earliest Zodiac crimes, which began in the late 1960s. Cruz, surely much to the chagrin of the conspiracy theorists, was born in 1970. Julie Kliegman

2:31 p.m. ET

Things were going fine for Carly Fiorina as she introduced Ted Cruz and his family to a crowd of supporters in La Porte, Indiana. That is, until she fell off the stage.

This is where it gets funny: Cruz definitely sees her go over, but unlike any sort of normal person he continues casually shaking supporters' hands while pretending like his vice presidential pick is not crumpled on some Indiana gym floor. Heidi Cruz at least appears to make some sort of attempt to help Fiorina back up:

Mediaite defends Cruz with footage showing a different angle of the fall, which reveals Fiorina did more of an awkward stumble off the stage than a full-on face plant. By Mediaite's estimate, the stumble-vs-face plant distinction voids Cruz's responsibility to abandon handshakes and check if Fiorina is okay, and thus the whole event does not, as some believe, qualify him for the running of history's greatest monster.

We'll leave that for you to decide. Jeva Lange

2:24 p.m. ET
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Fast & Furious director Justin Lin is in talks to direct the long-anticipated Space Jam 2 for Warner Bros. Lin is already at work on the script with Andrew Dodge, sources told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

A sequel to the 1996 hit starring Michael Jordan has been rumored for some time. This time around, LeBron James is expected to star. The Cleveland Cavaliers star is, of course, already an acting vet, having appeared in Trainwreck in 2015. Julie Kliegman

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