April 11, 2014

While it's still in its early days, Ezra Klein's much-hyped new site dedicated to explanatory journalism has already attracted a whole lot of mockery, in some cases for jaw-droppingly elementary question-and-answer items like "What is marijuana?" and "Who is Gwyneth Paltrow?"

And criticism is not just coming from the right, where conservatives are dinging the site for Matthew Yglesias declaring the national debt to be about $5 trillion less than it is — or Klein's insistence that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision to resign was proof ObamaCare had won. Liberals are on Vox's case, too.

A few weeks ago, liberals were upset when Klein hired what some described as a self-hating gay journalist. Now, the assistant managing editor of the left-leaning Pro Publica is accusing the outlet of lifting content.

The hits just keep on coming. To be sure, a certain amount of controversy is good publicity. But one gets the impression there are a lot of people out there rooting for Klein's experiment to fail. Matt K. Lewis

To your health
7:01 a.m. ET

After 25 years of rising steadily, the number of new U.S. diabetes cases dropped by about 20 percent over six years, from 1.7 million new cases in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2014, according to a new analysis by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop," CDC diabetes expert Edward Gregg tells The New York Times. "Initially it was a little surprising because I had become so used to seeing increases everywhere we looked."

Health officials aren't sure if the drop in new cases is the result of programs aimed at fighting diabetes — which still afflicts about 10 percent of U.S. adults — or if the diabetes epidemic has naturally peaked, or if people are changing their diets and exercising after watching friends and relatives go blind or have limbs amputated because of the disease. Whatever the cause, the success isn't evenly spread among Americas. The new diabetes rate is still flat among the less-educated as well as black and Latino populations, while it is dropping among whites and those with more education. Read more about the diabetes findings at The New York Times. Peter Weber

5:58 a.m. ET

Stephen "Greg" Fisk, 70, was elected mayor of Juneau, Alaska, in October, easily beating incumbent Merrill Sanford. On Monday afternoon, the Juneau Police Department said, Fisk's adult son, Ian Fisk, called 911 to report that he had found his father dead at his home. Mayor Fisk was pronounced dead at the scene. The Juneau Police Department "is aware of rumors that an assault occurred in connection with Fisk's death," the department said Monday night. "Those rumors are speculation." Fisk's body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.

City Assemblywoman and Deputy Mayor Mary Becker will step in as mayor on at least a temporary basis, she told KTVA CBS 11 News, and she's working with the city attorney to figure out what happens next. The autopsy results "are expected within several days and will be used to determine the cause of death," according to the Juneau Police Department. Peter Weber

Anything goes well with Vince Guaraldi
3:54 a.m. ET

Monday night was the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, calling it "probably the greatest Christmas special of all-time." But you don't have to take Kimmel's word for it. "We asked a person who knows a lot about the greatest things of all time, we asked him: 'What is the greatest Christmas special of all-time?'" Kimmel said, and in case you didn't get the joke from the headline, Kimmel Live rolled a supercut of Donald Trump saying "peanuts." It's a little silly, but Kimmel is right: Trump does like to say "peanuts. Watch below, or go watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. It really is a classic. Peter Weber

2:46 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

At a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, on Monday night, Donald Trump toyed with demanding a $5 million payment to appear at the next Republican presidential debate. The reason? CNN, which is hosting the debate on Dec. 15, "doesn't treat me properly," Trump said. During the last GOP debate the news network hosted, he added, "CNN had 23 million people. It was the biggest show in the history of CNN." That gives the master negotiator the upper hand, at least in his estimation.

"How about I tell CNN that I'm not gonna do the next debate?" Trump proposed to the crowd. That got "tepid applause" from the crowd of about 6,000, NBC News says, so Trump elaborated, to cheers: "I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which money goes to the Wounded Warriors or go to vets." He went on to say that people who are "really, really, really smart like I am" don't need teleprompter and that he doesn't listen to "talking heads, who are not smart people at all."

It's an interesting idea, that CNN needs Trump more than Trump needs CNN, and there are probably at least nine rival campaigns who hope Trump carries through with his threat to boycott the event. If he does, Trump told the crowd, "they'll say 'Trump is chicken.'... One thing I'm not is chicken, okay?" Okay. You can watch Trump's comments at RealClearPolitics. Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

There was just one female Democratic senator not on stage with Hillary Clinton during a Washington, D.C., fundraiser and endorsement event Monday: Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts senator signed a letter in 2014 that called on Clinton to run for president, but she has not endorsed anyone in the primary yet, and is one of just six Democratic senators who has not backed Clinton, ABC News reports. Clinton's campaign said all of the senators who endorsed her were invited to the event at the Hyatt Regency, but did not reveal if an invitation had been extended to Warren. "We're honored to have 13 women senators coming together to endorse and support Hillary Clinton," spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement. "This is a sign of the broad support Clinton is receiving from women across the country who know she'll fight for us."

When asked where Warren was, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski told ABC News she wasn't sure, adding: "Maybe she has a cold." Warren's office did not comment. Clinton, a former senator from New York, had nothing but praise for her former colleagues, telling the crowd the women "have so much courage and smarts, the combination of grit and grace. It was the honor and privilege of my life to serve with them." Catherine Garcia

Clinton Emails
1:35 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Monday, the State Department released 7,800 additional pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, the largest release of her emails to date.

Most of the emails were from 2012 and 2013, NBC News reports. On Sept. 12, 2012, one day after the attacks in Benghazi, Clinton was sent a declassified update that said events "were set in motion by a statement made by a Muslim Cleric in Egypt saying that the internet film was going to be shown across the United States on September 11 in an effort to insult Muslims." Clinton also received an email from her daughter, Chelsea, who wrote she was "so sorry about the State Department officer killed in Libya and the ongoing precariousness in Egypt and Libya. Such anathema to us as Americans — and a painful reminder of how long it took modernism to take root in the US…"

In 2012, Clinton talked politics with longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. On Jan. 22, Clinton wrote to Blumenthal about the upcoming primary in Florida, calling Mitt Romney "Mittens" and Newt Gingrich "Grinch." "If Mittens can't beat Grinch in Florida, there will be pressure on state Republican parties to reopen or liberalize ballot access especially in the caucuses, which as we know are creatures of the parties' extremes," she wrote. Right before the presidential election later that year, Clinton sent an email to Albright, telling her she was "so nervous about the election, I can't think about much else."

Also included in the latest batch was an email Clinton sent to aide Philippe Reines asking him for the Showtime channel number so she could "watch Homeland." After Reines asked if she had Comcast, Clinton replied: "You won't be surprised to hear I'm not sure." Catherine Garcia

1:23 a.m. ET

The global climate change summit in Paris, COP21, is a pretty big deal, with a lot riding on what the 150 or so world leaders commit to for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Given what's at stake, there are quite a few points of friction, especially between rich and poor countries, and in the video below, The Wall Street Journal explains the goals, expectations, and the challenges of the summit succinctly and instructively. "COP21's stated aim is to combat climate change," concludes reporter Jason Bellini, but "the nitty-gritty of negotiations could mostly be about the worldly concern of money." It's a helpful primer to the talks and the buzzwords you'll hear or read about in other coverage of COP21:

While the WSJ explains how COP21 is trying to save humankind's future, The Economist focuses on how countries are already adapting to the real, painful effects of climate change, focusing on Bangladesh:

The main takeaway is probably that, with aid, developing countries can and are adapting to increased drought, flooding, and other massive disruptions to their livelihood, but if the rate of change doesn't slow considerably, nature may outrun humanity's ability to stay in heavily affected regions. The subtext is that if the inhabitants of Bangladesh and elsewhere can't survive in their home countries, they'll have to go somewhere else, probably in large numbers. Peter Weber

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