Republican values? Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the third Republican senator to buck the party’s position on traditional values, posting a message of support for same-sex marriage on her website today. Murkowski said her position is consistent with her lifelong Republican values of “promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government.” Espousing more of a libertarian viewpoint, Murkowski went on to say, “I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: It keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of people’s lives—while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.” Murkowski is Catholic but believes churches should not interfere with the government’s ability to allow anyone to marry in civil ceremonies. She joins fellow GOP Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois in supporting same-sex marriage.
Nuclear talk. President Barack Obama again called for a reduction in the world’s nuclear arsenal during a speech in Berlin this morning. “So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” he said. The president proposed cutting the number of warheads held by Russia and the United States by one-third, to roughly 1,000 in each country. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), ratified by the Senate in 2010, sets the limit at 1,550. Obama proposed no timeline for his recommended cuts. During the speech, the president noted Germany’s Cold War history and said the same activism that lead to the destruction of the Berlin Wall 23 years ago needed to be applied today to challenges like climate change, counterterrorism, and the push for democratic values worldwide.
Flight plan. A documentary filmmaker claims he has evidence that “external forces,” not an electrical short circuit, brought down TWA Flight 800 over Long Island, N.Y., in 1996. Tom Stalcup and several former investigators have submitted a petition to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), asking the agency to reopen its investigation of the crash. The theory that something other than electrical problems brought down the plane is nothing new. Investigators who worked on the crash site, including analysts from the NTSB, TWA, and the Airline Pilots Association, have all said the official version of events ignores significant facts. While the NTSB conducted its initial investigation, the FBI did its own checking but concluded that the incident was not a crime or terrorist attack. The filmmakers do not speculate on the source of the external explosion.
Still missing. In an update to a story I mentioned yesterday, FBI agents admitted today they found nothing indicating a shallow grave at the farm north of Detroit a former mobster claimed to be Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place. Although the agency previously described the tip they received from Tony Zerilli as “highly credible,” the agent in charge of the Hoffa search now says it’s highly likely Zerilli was motivated by hopes of monetary gain. No kidding. No one saw that coming, least of all the FBI.