* There was a terrible tragedy in the skies over Ukraine today:
A Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday with 295 people on board, and U.S. intelligence later confirmed that it was brought down by an antiaircraft missile.
The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine immediately blamed each other for the crash, which occurred as the Boeing 777 was flying its regular route from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
* With Israel launching ground operations today, Matt Duss explains how Benjamin Netanyahu took what could have been a simple police matter of three murdered teenagers and turned it into a war.
* NBC News pulled reporter Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza, apparently because he was doing his job really well.
* A House Republican working group is preparing to submit its proposal to address the child immigration crisis to the GOP leadership, and it looks like it will be unacceptable to Democrats.
* And believe it or not, some other Republicans are preparing legislation that is even farther to right than the main GOP bill, signaling the possibility of a fight among Republicans over just how far to go.
* Meanwhile, Ted Cruz wants to make sure that legislation to address the problem of children coming to the southern border also ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. before 2007 to stay. Here’s his two-page bill to do it.
* Here’s the tweet of the day, courtesy of CNN’s Jim Acosta, reporting from Netroots Nation:
Biden speech to Netroots interrupted by protesters shouting “stop deporting our families.” VP asked crowd to applaud demonstrators.
Could that mean the White House is inviting activists to pressure it to make a significant policy move on deportations?
* House Republicans are already holding farcical hearings on John Boehner’s suit against President Obama, and Dana Milbank suffered through one of them so you didn’t have to.
* Dave Weigel with a nice dissection of media nonsense about the latest fake Joe Biden gaffe, and how that shows about how “gaffes” are manufactured “like some lost Escher sketch of incoherence and lazy punditry.”
* Beatdown of the day: Jonathan Chait versus Karl Rove on that never-ending GOP lack of an Obamacare alternative problem. — gs
* The Koch family maxes out to Joni Ernst in Iowa, and here it is very clear Republicans have expanded the map beyond the core red state battlegrounds. — gs
* Harold Meyerson explains why Democrats really need to take sides in America’s class war
* Ryan Cooper uses Luke Russert to explain why “objectivity” in journalism is a crock.
* Striking factoid from Ed Kilgore: It now looks as if there is only one viable candidate to replace Eric Cantor as the only non-Christian Republican member of Congress. — gs
* And Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton explained on a phone call today why he favors drug testing for recipients of farm subsidies and Social Security. Kidding! He was talking about food stamps, and why he voted against a farm bill that included them:
“I don’t think that we should be using farmers as a way to pack more welfare spending into Barack Obama’s government,” Cotton said. “Nor should we have a food stamp program that isn’t reformed, that doesn’t have job training and work requirements, that doesn’t have drug testing requirements, so we can get people who are addicted the help they need. Or make sure that long-term addicts or recidivists are not abusing taxpayer dollars.”
And there you have it. Food stamps aren’t something that helps tens of millions of Americans feed their families when times get tough, they’re just a way for addicts to leech off hardworking Americans.