Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In this edition, North Korea doles out another harsh punishment, Marco Rubio suspends his campaign, and Chipotle looks a bit under the weather. Here’s the rundown for Wednesday, March 16.
A change in the jet stream may mean some winter-appropriate temperatures and snow in the Midwest and Plains states as well as high winds. Not so in New York City, where temperatures should stay in the 60s with only the slightest chance of rain. [Weather.com]
North Korea Sentences American Tourist to 15 Years
North Korea has sentenced Otto Warmbier, the 21-year-old American tourist who was caught stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel, to 15 years in prison with hard labor. Warmbier’s crime was more severe in the eyes of the North Korean government because he allegedly stole the poster for a friend to hang in her church. His sentencing comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries: North Korea is facing new sanctions over continuing weapons tests, and the U.S. is engaged in its largest-ever military training exercise with South Korea. [AP]
EARLY AND OFTEN
Trump and Clinton Have Quite the Tuesday Night
Donald Trump had a very good night last night, but thanks to John Kasich, not a great one. Trump swept the primaries in Florida, Illinois, and Missouri but was beaten in Ohio by Kasich, the state’s governor. Clinton easily took Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and by a smaller margin, Illinois and Missouri. It’s looking a lot like a Trump and Clinton presidential campaign.
Marco Rubio Stops Doing Whatever It Was He Was Doing, Blames God
Marco Rubio has dropped out of the race after Donald Trump trounced him in his home state of Florida. (Rubio ended up losing to Trump by more than 19 points.) Now Rubio is awkwardly headed back to work representing Floridians in the Senate and pretending not to know how they really feel about him.
Obama: Accountability Better Left to Successor
Now that his presidency is winding down, it seems Obama supports transparency again. The White House has announced the president will happily sign a new bill strengthening Freedom of Information Act requests if it comes across his desk, though they did everything to torpedo an earlier version of the bill two years ago. [Politico]
Senator’s Stance on Climate Change Becomes Clearer
Republican Congressman Pete Sessions introduced a resolution yesterday recognizing magic as a “rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” In the actually very sweet resolution Sessions says, “Magic enables people to experience the impossible.” The congressman has been trying to get magic recognized as an art form for five decades. Tom Hanks should play him in a movie! [Politico]
THE STREET, THE VALLEY
Valeant Meltdown Enters Three Stooges Stage
If a CEO’s job is to increase investor confidence, then pharmaceutical company Valeant’s Michael Pearson isn’t doing a very good one. Back at the helm after two months of medical leave and a nasty little pricing scandal, Pearson managed in one day to admit the company’s numbers aren’t sufficiently in order to file an on-time earnings report, let slide a press-release typo that misrepresented the company’s earnings by more than half a billion dollars, and watch his company shed more than half of its stock price. Tomorrow is another day. [Bloomberg]
Chipotle’s Customer-Poisoning Plan Backfires
The Mexican fast-food chain that people who have never had a real burrito think is good is in trouble. After being dogged by health concerns, including an unfortunate E. coli outbreak, sales dropped more than 26 percent last month. Still, it’s an improvement from January, when they dropped more than 36 percent. [Fortune]
Creepy Jerk Jail-Bound
Ryan Collins, a 36-year-old Pennsylvania man who released scores of nude-celebrity photos to the world, putting millions in an uncomfortable moral quandary, is going to jail. He will plead guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and should spend about a year and a half in prison. [The Verge]
Vaporization Just One of the Pitfalls of Early Adoption
It will take more than the possibility of a terrifying death in an earthbound fireball to dissuade wealthy space tourists. It looks like bookings for Virgin Galactic have entirely rebounded less than two years after an earlier spaceship went to pieces midair, killing one of the pilots. Nearly 700 people have signed up for a chance to travel into space. [Bloomberg]
Denver Post Editor Resigns
Gregory Moore resigned yesterday after 14 years as editor of the Denver Post; in that time, he saw the paper win four Pulitzer Prizes. The Post’s news director Lee Ann Colacioppo will take over Moore’s duties while a replacement is found. [Denver Post]
New York Times Revises Anonymous Sources Policy
Yesterday the New York Times announced a new policy hoping, it said, to avoid running inaccurate and unfair stories. Now reporters must seek permission from one of three high-ranking editors before running a story that depends on an anonymous source for its central point. [NYT]
Breitbart: Your Source for Everything Thin-Skinned and Litigious
Breitbart has begun sending cease-and-desist orders to employees who left the right-wing news site in a staff revolt over, of course, Donald Trump. Breitbart’s public falling out is now tied with the ongoing Gawker–Hulk Hogan sex-tape trial as the season’s most satisfying media drama. [Jezebel]
Marco Rubio hugs his family at a rally in Florida where things did not go well on Tuesday night.
Hillary Clinton to Seem Super-Uncomfortable Tonight
Hillary Clinton will appear on Broad City tonight. We hoped Abbi and Ilana would smoke pot around her and engage in graphic sex talk, bit it looks like they will just be super-nice to her and try and make her seem cool to millennials.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS
Does St. Paul Have Police?
A 15-year-old in St. Paul, Minnesota, decided to take a front-end loader (which we Googled and is a huge piece of construction equipment) on a joyride. He started it up and drove it for more than four hours all around downtown, and across the University of Minnesota campus before what must have been unbearable boredom compelled him to crash it into the front of a car dealership. Will somebody please pay some attention to this kid? [Star Tribune]
Nice Men Terrify Coward Teens
We really don’t know what to make of this. It seems police in Charlton, Massachusetts, are looking for three men who asked some teens if they wanted to have a rap battle with them, then went on their way when their invitation was declined. Police are involved because the boys, poor things, were frightened. We’re just going to say it: Anyone else sense a racial component here? [AP]
Just Like Yesterday: White House May Announce Supreme Court Pick Today
Sources at the White House say the president will likely announce his choice for the Supreme Court today in the face of widespread Republican opposition. Apparently he’s leaning toward Sri Srinivasan or Merrick Garland. [CNBC]
Entire D.C. Metro Implied Unsafe
The Washington, D.C., Metro will be closed today so the whole system can be urgently safety-tested. Now that’s how you run a city.
Fed Meeting Even More Boring Than Usual
A two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve comes to an end today, and though no one seriously expects any big announcements, all eyes are on the Fed’s policy statement and economic projections, which could impact the market in the coming weeks. [WSJ]