March 4, 2014
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Furious with the GOP leadership, conservatives and Tea Party types have vowed to unseat entrenched Republican lawmakers in divisive primary campaigns across the country this year. And Tuesday, the Tea Party gets its first shot at doing just that, with Rep. Steve Stockman vying to dump Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's second-ranking Republican.

Yet as voters head to the polls, the most intriguing question is not whether the Tea Party will win, but rather how badly it will lose. Stockman entered the race as a huge underdog, and his campaign has since been a rolling disaster. He ditched the campaign trail for a bit — he claimed he snuck off to Egypt and Russia — fended off allegations he'd been charged with a felony, and got hammered by a local Tea Party coalition for running the "laziest statewide campaign to date."

If Cornyn fails to crack 50 percent — there are a handful of other candidates in the race too, so that's not an unrealistic possibility — there will be a runoff in May. But even then, Cornyn should have no trouble coasting to a comfortable reelection, which would be an embarrassing blow to the Tea Party — on Sen. Ted Cruz's own turf, no less. Jon Terbush

10:54 a.m. ET

Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a sexting scandal involving a 15-year-old girl, Newsday reports. "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he told the court in tears this spring.

Weiner, 53, is in the process of getting divorced from top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who did not appear in court for the sentencing. After The Daily Mail published the news last year that Weiner exchanged sexually explicit messages with a high school sophomore whom he knew was underage, the FBI got involved, seizing Weiner's laptop. That resulted in the discovery of emails on the laptop from Hillary Clinton to Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, reopening the (ultimately unchanged) FBI investigation into Clinton's handling of classified emails — which Clinton has blamed in part for her election loss.

Weiner had reportedly sought probation on the grounds that he needs therapy, calling himself "a very sick man for a very long time," NBC New York reports. Prosecutors argued Weiner's actions "[suggest] a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control." Jeva Lange

10:54 a.m. ET

On Sunday, the Trump administration rolled out a new iteration of its much-critiqued travel ban, a version that targets a slightly different set of countries and has no expiration date. The new ban may also differ from its predecessors by posing a more difficult challenge to those who would try to fight it in court, as Reuters detailed Monday in dialogue with several legal experts.

"The greater the sense that the policy reflects a considered, expert judgment, the less the temptation (by courts) to second-guess the executive," Saikrishna Prakash, a University of Virginia law professor, told Reuters. To the extent that this version "looks less like a matter of prejudice or a desire to fulfill a campaign promise," Prakash said, the safer from legal contest it will be.

Because the new ban adds North Korea and select government officials from Venezuela to its no-entry list, the White House can more easily argue it is not excluding Muslims on the basis of their religion rather than measurable security risks.

That each of the eight nations targeted are subject to slightly different guidelines will also help the administration's case in court, as will the ban's reliance on a multi-month review by the Department of Homeland Security. The review "at least arguably attenuates the link between the president’s alleged bias and the policy," said Margo Schlanger, a law professor at the University of Michigan. Bonnie Kristian

10:37 a.m. ET
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Sunday talk news shows on ABC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, and NBC all failed to discuss or only briefly touched on reports of widespread devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Media Matters reports. In total, the left-leaning media watchdog estimates that ''the five major Sunday political talk shows dedicated less than one minute in total to covering the growing humanitarian emergency."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has warned of "complete destruction of the power infrastructure" in the territory as well as "severe destruction of the housing infrastructure." Also of serious concern is the damage to the island's crops: "There will be no food in Puerto Rico," Jose A. Rivera, a farmer, predicted to The New York Times. "There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won't be any for a year or longer."

More than 3.5 million Americans live in Puerto Rico, although the crisis was not covered at all by ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, or Fox's Fox News Sunday. Read more about the coverage at Media Matters. Jeva Lange

10:32 a.m. ET

The chances of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) surviving his cancer diagnosis are likely in the single digits, McCain reported in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday evening.

"They said that it's very serious," the senator told CBS host Lesley Stahl. "Some say 3 percent, some say 14 percent. You know, it's a very poor prognosis. So I just said, 'I understand. Now we're going to do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can.'"

McCain has no intention of slowing down in whatever time he has left. "I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know that I've got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can," he said. At present, that primarily looks like tangling with his own party on health-care policy, as The Week's Simon Maloy has explained here.

Watch a clip of McCain's conversation with Stahl below. Bonnie Kristian

10:09 a.m. ET

"The last time athletes have been this outspoken was with Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell. That's the last time probably we've seen this kind of division in the country and with civil rights issues," Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in comments published by ESPN Sunday evening.

Kerr was weighing in on President Trump's weekend tussles with pro athletes and their political activism — from Trump's decision to rescind the Warriors' championship invitation to visit the White House over comments from point guard Stephen Curry to the president's multi-day attack on NFL players like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.

But Kerr didn't stop with a history lesson. He also had some thoughts on the present controversy:

"How about the irony of, 'Free speech is fine if you're a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans, but free speech is not allowed to kneel in protest?'" Kerr said. "No matter how many times a football player says, 'I honor our military, but I'm protesting police brutality and racial inequality,' it doesn't matter. Nationalists are saying, 'You're disrespecting our flag.' Well, you know what else is disrespectful to our flag? Racism. And one's way worse than the other." [Kerr via ESPN]

Kerr said that before Trump's disinvitation tweet he was preparing for a civil visit to the White House despite political differences. Now, he added, that expectation seems implausible. "The idea of civil discourse with a guy who is tweeting and demeaning people and saying the things he's saying is sort of far-fetched," he said. "Can you picture us really having a civil discourse with him?" Bonnie Kristian

10:05 a.m. ET

Several NASCAR team owners responded to NFL protests over the weekend by saying they would not tolerate their own members kneeling during the national anthem, a policy President Trump praised Monday morning:

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has been voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver a record 14 consecutive times, apparently didn't agree with NASCAR's stance. He tweeted his disapproval on Monday:

Earnhardt is apparently of the minority opinion, though. No drivers protested during the national anthem on Sunday before the race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, The Associated Press reports.

Football players like Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, have declined to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America. While more than 60 percent of NFL players are black, NASCAR has had just four black drivers in cup history, ABC News Radio's Brad Mielke reports.

Richard Childress, who was the owner of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s father's team, said that kneeling during the national anthem would "get you a ride on a Greyhound bus."

"Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in," Childress said. "So many people gave their lives for it. This is America." Jeva Lange

9:29 a.m. ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced Monday that he "certainly" disagrees with President Trump, who spent the weekend criticizing NFL players who kneel to protest police brutality during the national anthem. "I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive," Brady told the hosts of Boston WEEI's Kirk & Callahan Show.

Brady, who linked arms with fellow Patriots during the national anthem on Sunday, added: "I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, 'Oh, that is wrong. That is right.' I do believe in what I believe in." Axios writes that Brady's words and actions matter because "Trump has called Brady a friend and described him as 'the BEST quarterback.'"

The Associated Press counted more than 200 players who knelt or sat during the national anthem in solidarity against Trump, who had urged owners on Friday to fire "son of a bitch" players who declined to stand.

Still, Brady insisted that "the one thing about football is it brings so many guys together — guys you would never have the opportunity to be around. Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We're all different, we're all unique. That is what makes us all special." Read more at WEEI, or listen to the audio below. Jeva Lange

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