“Theirs was a love story for the ages.” So said former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney today as he addressed mourners at the former first lady’s funeral. Celebrities and politicians alike — from Tom Selleck and George W. Bush to Michelle Obama and Bo Derek — converged in Simi Valley, Calif., on Friday to bid farewell to the former first lady. Born Anne Frances Robbins, she took to the Silver Screen as Nancy Davis before winning Ronald Reagan’s heart, and today she’s being reunited with her “dear Ronnie” and will be buried beside him at his presidential library.
The Presidential Daily Brief
No drama. They kept cool during the Florida debate, sticking to policy rather than insults. OZY’s Nick Fouriezos, reporting from Miami, says that avoiding confrontation with Donald Trump, who got Ben Carson’s endorsement today, could signal that candidates feel it’s too dangerous to keep swinging at the front-runner. But lines were drawn over the possibility of a contested GOP convention: John Kasich is in favor, Trump is opposed, and Ted Cruz called that scenario “an absolute disaster.” Only Marco Rubio remained coy, simply promising to trudge on despite “disappointing” results.
Nature abhors a power vacuum. Libya’s war-torn chaos has attracted about 6,000 fighters to the militant group, which is looking to gain territory and control over disputed regions while the nation’s leadership remains uncertain. Meanwhile, despite a long-standing embargo on selling arms to Libya, the U.N. says it’s found evidence of shipments from Egypt and Turkey, among others, and two American companies are under investigation. France is calling for more sanctions to spur Libya into forming a unity government, but many fear that will just offer ISIS more control.
It’s an answer that raises lots of new questions. Mikhail Lesin, a Russian media giant who once served as Vladimir Putin’s information minister, was found dead last November in a Washington, D.C., hotel. Russian news reported the cause as a heart attack. But the District’s medical examiner has just released a report saying otherwise: Blunt force trauma killed Lesin, who suffered blows to his head, torso, arms, legs and neck. Now police are investigating, and Russian authorities say they’ll cooperate — if they’re provided with “substantive information.”
It’s a trade-off. United Technologies is exporting one of its air conditioning plants (and 1400 jobs) from the Midwest to Mexico. CEO Greg Hayes defended the move to investors, despite criticism from GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who says such closures won’t happen during his hypothetical presidency. Hayes said Mexico is more convenient and cheaper, and that even more UTC factories could move in the coming months — as long as the U.S. doesn’t erect new trade barriers for goods manufactured abroad when the next president takes office.
Trump Chicago rally postponed amid major protests (ABC News)
Ohio judge says some 17-year-olds can vote in primary (The Hill)
U.S. says North Korea lost contact with submarine earlier this week. (CNN)
Ireland’s parliament fails to elect a prime minister. (The Guardian)
Conservative reporter says Trump campaign manager assaulted her. (ABC)
Japan marks fifth anniversary of tsunami and nuclear disaster. (DW)
Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)
The founding member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer reportedly died at his home in Santa Monica of a single gunshot wound to the head, though authorities have not confirmed if his death was a suicide. Band members confirmed his passing in a post on their Facebook page. The trio produced a number of popular prog rock albums, led by 1973’s Brain Salad Surgery. The group last performed together in 2010, with Emerson staying active over the years on solo projects and film scores, building a legacy that Carl Palmer said, “will remain unmatched” for years.
So much for the white picket fence. Incarceration rates in the U.S. are growing fastest in rural and suburban areas, according to the Vera Institute, a justice policy nonprofit. Since 1970, prisoner rates have skyrocketed: Local jail populations increased 4.1 times in midsize counties and 6.9 times in small counties, compared to only 2.8 times in larger counties. Crime, meanwhile, has fallen. Study authors suspect the culprit is an “if you build it they will come” approach to law enforcement — so could their work prompt a renewed love affair with big-city living?
Why do today what could be better tomorrow? A new study suggests that we needn’t feel guilty about putting things off, which is great news for the 20 percent of us who self-identify as chronic procrastinators. Researchers had employees submit business ideas and found that those who did so after procrastinating by playing games like Minesweeper or Solitaire were 28 percent more creative than those who got straight to work. One academic notes that our first ideas are often our most conventional … giving us more incentive to have second thoughts.
It won’t be long. According to a Pew Research Center report, 65 percent of Americans believe that robots or software will be capable of handling most jobs within 50 years. However, the numbers shifted when respondents were asked about their own professions, with 80 percent saying those careers will be largely unchanged in 2066. That confidence was particularly high in millennials and those who do manual labor, with most assuming that even in a tech-savvy future it will still be humans who do the heavy lifting.
It’s a matter of access. In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, the studio’s new project is meant to give “underrepresented” talent a chance and allow those who might normally be ignored by Hollywood the opportunity to have their voices heard. Five selected filmmakers will embark on a nine-month mentored fellowship, each developing a $100,000 short film from script to production before finally showcasing their work at a festival. It’s not clear what “underrepresented” means, but many hope it signals more diversity. Applications will be accepted starting next month.
So much for legacy. The defending national champions took a step back when unranked underdog Notre Dame took control in overtime, winning 84-79. The Blue Devils, ranked 19th, were up 16 in the second half and seemed to have victory secured, but the Fighting Irish battled back to push the quarterfinal game beyond regulation. It’s the second straight year they’ve knocked coach Mike Krzyzewski out of the pre-March Madness tournament. Duke can still compete for another NCAA title but they’ll need to regroup before the brackets are announced this weekend.