1. Rand Paul filibustered for almost 13 hours. At 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, Paul, the Kentucky Senator with libertarian leanings, took the Senate floor and spoke these words: “I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak.” What ensued was an almost 13-hour-long old-school talking filibuster of Brennan’s nomination, during which Paul quoted from Alice In Wonderland and made frequent trips to the Senate candy drawer.
Paul was motivated to filibuster by a letter he received from Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday that preserved Obama’s right to target American citizens with drones, in extraordinary circumstances. Paul acknowledged that his filibuster will only cause a delay in Brennan’s nomination, but he hopes that his actions will raise awareness of the need to protect American freedoms. By the time he finally sat down at almost 1 a.m. on Thursday, Paul had won himself a whole lot of new fans, and a handful of critics. Read the highlights from the #filiblizzard here.
Amy Davidson with The New Yorker praised Paul for raising awareness, and The Washington Post lauded Paul’s political savvy. Liberal activism group Code Pink went so far as to visit Paul’s office to thank him in person. However, The Wall Street Journal slammed Paul, claiming that there is no legal basis for his complaint.
How it’s playing on PolicyMic:
Adam Hudson (@adamhudson5) tweeted: “Rand Paul has atrocious views on like 90% of everything, except #drones & #assassination. Sad that he's the only ‘reasonable’ one on this.”
Mark Kogan (@markskogan) tweeted: “Rand Paul did us all a great service with his #StandwithRand #filibuster yesterday.”
Daniel Solomon (@Dan_E_Solo) tweeted: “…Let's not pretend that Rand is drawing attention to important issues directly, or that the issues he's drawing attention to are central.”
Pundit Nolan Kraszkiewicz describes the issues surrounding the drone controversy, and editor Tom McKay critiques Democrats for not getting in on the action. Think Paul’s filibuster was long? Editor Chris Miles profiles five that were even longer.
Finally, a massive shout out to editor Mike Luciano for his outstanding coverage of all 13 hours of Paul’s filibuster. You can read his blog here.
2. Korea threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike on U.S., South Korea. Ahead of a UN vote to approve new sanctions on Pyongyang, North Korea threatened to exercise its right to a nuclear strike if perceived hostilities from the U.S. do not cease. The U.N. approved new sanctions today in response to North Korea’s nuclear test in early February.
3. Scientists use search engines to discover drug side effects. Researchers from Microsoft, Stanford, and Columbia used data from the Internet search queries of six million users to successfully identify drug side effects unknown to the FDA.
4. Facebook shakes things up with revamped news feed. The social media giant will unveil its new design at company headquarters today. Mark Zuckerberg has hinted that users can expect bigger photos, more videos, and “more engaging ads.” Watch the announcement live (1:00 p.m. EST) here.
5. Study reveals how to outsmart Chinese censors. A coalition of computer science researchers released a study this week on the editing habits of censors on the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo. Censors delete posts in real time, usually when they contain controversial political opinions, but Quartz finds one hidden take-away: Censors take a break around 7 p.m. Hat tip Gideon Lichfield (@glichfield).