"Yikers Island," quips Bloomberg View's Eli Lake, reacting to the Ted Cruz campaign's decision to remove an ad because it happened to feature a softcore porn actress (at 2,000+ shares so far). "The best political story today is from @BuzzFeedAndrew," concludes freelance journalist Steve Friess. "Unless the ad itself was pornographic I'm kind of fascinated that anyone cares," points out Tim Murphy at Mother Jones. "BuzzFeed got the Cruz campaign to shame a woman for appearing in some Skinemax movies," Dave Jamieson with the Huffington Post puts it another way. "The back story to how @BuzzFeed discovered this must be … interesting," muses NYT's Farhad Manjoo. "What's a nice boy like @BuzzFeedAndrew doing recognizing softcore porn actresses in campaign commercials?" similarly wonders Wall Street Journal's Byron Tau. Yes, Andrew Kaczynski. What about that?
Anxious to recover from this week's double-digit loss in New Hampshire’s primary, Hillary Clinton repeatedly took Bernie Sanders to task by demanding Sanders "level" with voters about his trillion-dollar plans. Or as the New York Times billed it, "Hillary Clinton Paints Bernie Sanders’s Plans as Unrealistic." "My mom also took up painting in her later years," jokes James Taranto with the Wall Street Journal. "Talons are out," notes Paige Sutherland with WBUR Boston. Also in politics, the DNC has rolled back Obama's ban on contributions from federal lobbyists. "Great political move, great PR move, just a great move all around. Have a drink guys," snarks Elizabeth S. Bruenig from The New Republic. Simultaneously, the main super PAC supporting Hillary just made a big play to lift her in primary states. "New campaign by Priorities to focus solely on positive spots about Clinton. Theme: she will uphold Obama legacy," explains that story's author, Washington Post's Matea Gold.
On to the outrage beat. Video of questionable teaching strategies (and that's putting it euphemistically) at Success Academy charter school in New York is now making the rounds, thanks to an exposé by the New York Times. In the footage, a young teacher (considered an exemplary one) emotionally shreds a first-grade girl for struggling to solve a math problem. What do we call such a strategy? "Fear as motivation?" suggests Sam Sifton, also at the Times. "Teaching by humiliation?" offers NYT's Alex Burns. "This idea that poor people need fear because they lack intrinsic motivation happens k-16," weighs in sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom. Josh Sternberg with NBC News chimes in, "i don't understand a pedagogy that supports yelling, humiliating and chastising children who are trying to learn." Checking in on the Flint tragedy, it appears that despite the fact that state authorities were warned to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and a suspected link to Flint’s change in water sources, the state remained mum. "Apparently running govt like a business involves ensuring your press conferences precede fixing problems by a year," observes independent journo Marcy Wheeler.
Abroad, blockaded Syrian cities will receive aid followed by a ceasefire, but everyone's doubtful that any of it will last, despite efforts by Kerry and Lavrov to look “cooperative” while announcing the deal in Munich, Germany. But wait: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is vowing to regain control of the entire country again but warned it could "take a long time." Well, at least one part of that claim won't be met with skepticism. "Clarifying: interview done before Munich deal," points out Greg White at Bloomberg News. And remember those teen hackers who bragged about (allegedly) breaching the CIA and FBI? "Yeah, they've been arrested," VICE's Kaleigh Rogers answers.
And in news no one likes to see, two teenage girls were shot dead at an Arizona high school this morning and last night in Ohio a man injured four restaurant patrons in a machete attack before being shot dead by police.