Foot, meet mouth
May 8, 2014
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Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has turned Charles and David Koch into his favorite punching bags this year, repeatedly dinging the billionaire brothers for bankrolling GOP interests. Yet in an interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd Thursday, Reid offered a puzzling pronouncement: Sure the Kochs are bad, but Sheldon Adelson, another GOP mega-donor, is A-okay.

"I know Sheldon Adelson," Reid said. "He's not in this for money."

The Kochs, he explained, "are in it to make money" and to "add zeros to their billions," whereas Adelson is "in it because he has certain ideological views."

Adelson has donated millions of dollars as part of an effort to ban internet gambling, something that would directly threaten his bottom line. And there was much speculation in 2012 that Adelson — who dropped $90 million on the election — did so in hopes of putting business-friendly Republicans in Congress and the White House.

Adelson also happens to be from Reid's home state, so draw whatever conclusions you may want to from that.

This just in
4:59 p.m. ET
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Arkansas on Tuesday passed a religious freedom bill largely similar to the one in Indiana that has sparked an intense public backlash and boycott threats. The state's Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, has signaled he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Like Indiana's law, the Arkansas version goes further than a federal iteration and those elsewhere around the country in that it protects against "burdens" on religious freedom even when the state is not a party in the litigation. Amid unrelenting criticism, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Tuesday said his state would "fix" its law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Abortion
4:46 p.m. ET
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Despite the fact that a large number of Americans find abortion to be morally unacceptable, pro-abortion rights activists are determined to destigmatize the procedure.

Carafem, a new clinic in the Washington, D.C. area, has an unconventional approach to providing patients with the abortion pill. The whole clinic has a "spa-like" feel, The Washington Post reports, and patients are provided with warm teas and soft robes.

While Carafem may aim to create a soothing atmosphere, President Christopher Purdy is unapologetic about the clinic's actual purpose. "We don't want to talk in hushed tones," he said. "We use the A-word."

According to the Post, the pro-abortion rights campaign comes as the movement is struggling politically in the face of anti-abortion activists' growing momentum. Activists hope that clinics like Carafem, coupled with "unapologetic" and "bold" attempts to put a human face to abortion, will help normalize the controversial procedure.

Really?
4:40 p.m. ET
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The secret to finding sewage leaks in rivers could be at your local drugstore.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in England are using tampons' absorbent properties to science's advantage. Their study, published in the Water and Environment Journal, found that tampons absorb "optical brighteners" found in common cleaning products, and the particles make the tampons glow under ultraviolet light. By dipping tampons into rivers, the researchers believe they can detect where sewage is seeping into the water stream from nearby households.

The scientists left tampons attached to rods in 16 surface water outlets in Sheffield. After a three-day period, nine of the tampons glowed under UV light. The researchers were then able to identify where the sewage leaks were.

"Sewage in rivers is very unpleasant, very widespread, and very difficult to track down," David Lerner, a University of Sheffield professor who led the study, told The Guardian. "Our new method may be unconventional, but it’s cheap and it works."

The researchers estimate that five percent of English homes have misconnected pipes that cause sewage leakage. Only 17 percent of England's rivers are in "good health," The Guardian notes. The scientists hope to use the "tampon tests" in larger trial areas to help stop sewage pollution.

This just in
4:33 p.m. ET
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Defense lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday rested their case after attempting to convince jurors that while Tsarnaev participated in the attack, his brother was the mastermind.

The defense called just four witnesses while arguing that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a police chase following the attack, plotted the bombing that killed three and injured 260 more. Tsarnaev's lawyer's never denied their clients' guilt, saying in an opening statement, "It was him."

Tsarnaev faces 30 charges, 17 of which are punishable by death.

cheap read
3:32 p.m. ET
Facebook.com/New York Daily News

Declining circulation and plunging advertising revenue have plagued the tabloid for years, Reuters reports, and despite cable distributors facing industry problems of their own, Cablevision will reportedly still be able to make an offer on the New York Daily News with the whopping bid price of one dollar.

According to Reuters, Cablevision Systems Corp. could make the offer as early as this week. The paper's low value and Cablevision's insanely low bid take into account the News' $30 million annual loss and waning readership.

Germanwings Crash
2:25 p.m. ET
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Officials from Lufthansa, Germanwings' parent company, revealed Tuesday that the company knew Andreas Lubitz suffered from depression. Lubitz apparently told the company about his condition in 2009, when he resumed his pilot training after a leave of absence.

Lufthansa also said that it had given prosecutors emails between Lubitz and the flight training school, which included medical records about a "deep depressive episode." The company said in a statement that it is revealing the information "in the interest of a swift and thorough clarification."

Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings jet that crashed into the French Alps last week, is believed to have intentionally crashed the plane, killing all 150 people on board. German prosecutors announced Monday that Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies, but Lufthansa said Tuesday that Lubitz had "passed all medical checks" after the episode, The Associated Press reports.

This just in
1:51 p.m. ET

Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday defeated President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria's general election, marking the first democratic transfer of power since the end of military rule 16 years ago.

With most of the vote counted, Buhari had 15.4 million votes to 13.3 million for Jonathan, according to Reuters. Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party has ruled Nigeria since 1999, but the rise of Boko Haram and surging inequality helped the 72-year-old Buhari, a former military leader, rise to victory in Africa's largest country.

"The people of Nigeria have taken over," Lai Mohammed, a spokesperson for Buhari's All Progressives Congress, said.

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