Beyonce, immigration, Cookie Monster, guns, Vladimir Putin, Cuba, Rand Paul, Jay-Z and the Naked Cowboy. They all made their way into the national discourse this week. But how?
1.) “Any questions?”: Beyonce and Jay-Z sure know how to make a splash. She slapped down critics of her Inauguration lip synching by singing the national anthem acapella at a pre-Super Bowl presser in January. This week it was her music impresario husband’s turn to literally rap critics of their anniversary trip to Havana with an “Open Letter.” As we know by now, Bey-Jay were cleared by Treasury to go to Cuba. What I want to know is this: Who approved these outfits? Okay, hers is better than his — but still.
2.) What a riot: Russian President Vladimir Putin got an eyeful while touring a trade fair in Hanover, Germany. Alexandra Shevchenko, protesting Putin’s actions against the punk protest band “Pussy Riot” confronted Putin with a vulgar message for him painted on her back. “I liked it,” Putin said later about the protest. “Putin is a bastard,” Shevchenko said in response. And he earned that without saying anything about her appearance.
3.) Not dead yet: Just when folks said the push for gun control was waning enter Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). The two favorites of the National Rifle Association (NRA) came up with a bill to expand background checks on gun buyers on Wednesday. And on Thursday the Senate voted to proceed to debate on measures to reduce gun violence. With the NRA scoring votes and circulating bill language, things can still go awry. But Toomey and Manchin showed what can happen when leaders lead.
4.) ¿Quién sabe?: The 113th Congress has done more in three months than the 112th did, well, ever. Case in point, immigration. There’s a story just about every day about how the so-called Gang of 8 is close to a deal on comprehensive immigration reform. Yesterday’s report was that measures to bolster border security might make a deal possible. But don’t tell that to Sen. John McCain. When asked if those measures would make his Republican colleagues vote for immigration reform, he said, “Damned if I know.”
5.) Rand Paul Winkle: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wasn’t wrong to speak to students at predominantly black Howard University this week. Yet, as the photo suggests, on a scale from one to 10, his Howard gig was a big zero. Republicans should talk to everyone, including those who voted 9 to 1 for President Obama — twice. But the least Paul and other Republicans could do is prepare fresh talking points. Dana Milbank and Charles Blow did a great job hammering Paul for presenting a vision of the GOP as if he were a visitor from 100 years ago. Okay, fine, a Republican freed the slaves and helped pass the Civil Rights Act. But, to paraphrase Janet Jackson, what have you done for them lately?
6.) Cookie crumbled: Cookie Monster got into big trouble this week for allegedly pushing a toddler out of a stroller in Times Square. Seems the kid’s parents didn’t tip the creep after he insisted on taking a picture with the little one. Jeez, Naked Cowboy would never do such a thing.
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