Despite the Obama administration’s promises to the contrary, sanctions relief is helping Iran’s economy recover, according to the IMF. Mark Dubowitz explains: “Even as American and Iranian officials undervalue the total sanctions relief package offered as part of the Geneva interim nuclear deal, Iran is experiencing a modest albeit fragile economic recovery. This is supported by a variety of key macroeconomic indicators in the most recent IMF report. Though the Iranian economy cannot fully recover while the toughest sanctions remain and investment is scarce, the reversal of the steep sanctions-induced recession that prompted an economic free fall in 2012-2013 has enhanced Iranian nuclear negotiating leverage. This likely makes it more difficult to conclude a diplomatic deal that dismantles Iran’s military-nuclear program or to persuade Tehran to finally come clean with the international community on its past military-nuclear activities.”

Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press) Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Despite his position as head of the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint seems awfully confused about the Constitution and the Civil War. Peter Wehner explains: “[W]here DeMint really gets into trouble, I think, is when he claims, ‘the move to free the slaves came from the people. It did not come from the federal government.’ In fact, the move to free the slaves did come from the federal government — in the form of Lincoln, the chief executive at the time; in the form of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment; and in the form of the Civil War itself. Lincoln himself, it should be said, vastly expanded the powers of the federal government, including instituting the first federal income tax. And Lincoln’s prosecution of the war was based first and foremost on preserving the union, though his commitment to end slavery became an increasingly important factor.” Read the whole thing.

Despite my fondness for the Second Amendment, Sen. Rand Paul’s idea to arm 100 percent of pilots seems to be a very bad idea. “I’m concerned about what is the most cost-effective way of preventing another 9/11: I want all pilots to be armed.” I don’t think we should be counting on pilots to shoot terrorists at 30,000 feet, in a pressurized cabin. (Stray shots?)

Despite one outlier poll favoring Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) by a big margin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee argues that “66% of voters know enough about [U.S. Rep. Tom] Cotton [R-Ark.] to have an opinion, while 84% know enough about Pryor. That Cotton still has so many voters to which he will introduce himself over the course of the campaign, and he is already at parity with Pryor on the ballot, is a strong sign of his Election Day potential.” Still, the GOP shouldn’t count their chickens — all these races will be competitive.

Despite her claim to just be thinking about running, Hillary Clinton is acting like a candidate, and her supporters are acting like campaign staff. “If Hillary Clinton wants to be treated as a private citizen/celebrity/world traveler who doesn’t have to answer to voters and the media, she should disavow these PACs and ask her friends to stand down while she makes a decision. Short of that, she is a presidential candidate and should be treated as such. She’s a presidential candidate when she is being paid $200,000 to speak by companies that would lobby her administration should she be elected. She’s a presidential candidate when she’s traveling the country raising money for the Clinton Foundation from the same donor base that would fund her campaign. And she’s a presidential candidate when she’s choosing to avoid taking a stand on issues that might jeopardize her electoral chances.” Listen, the media aren’t going to challenge her even after she declares.

Despite claiming to be serious players, right-wing groups are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this guy: “Miss. Senate Hopeful Chris McDaniel Riffed on ‘Mamacita,’ Reparations.” Where do they find these people??

Despite the drama, it got done. “The passage of the fiscal 2015 budget resolution is a significant victory for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team, which spent days whipping votes for the bill. The 12 defections were greater than the 10 defections in last year’s budget vote. GOP leaders could have only afforded 18 total defections, and on the eve of the vote, it appeared the margin would be tight.”