Mar 4, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Byron Mullens (30) attempts a shot against Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison (4) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena.USA Today Sports

The Fix Is In

Leave it to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, an unapologetic proponent of government spending, to dream two impossible dreams at once. While speaking at an infrastructure event in Washington this week, he offered two tickets to a Philadelphia 76ers championship game to the audience member who could name the single reason why roads, bridges, and waterways have improved, at least a little bit, in recent times. "It's a dirty word in Washington," he hinted. "Stimulus!" someone shouted. Right you are, Rendell said, so why can't we have another one? Then he offered four tickets to the person who could explain why cities can dedicate money to infrastructure while the federal government can't. "Capital budgets!" someone shouted. Right again. "Where are my tickets?" Hmm. The 76ers have 15 wins and 49 losses, and are last in their division. "I'll leave them to you in my will," Rendell replied.

Fawn Johnson

Ted Talks

Sen. Ted Cruz has spent his 14 months in office battling the Establishment. But at last weekend's annual dinner of the Gridiron Club, the Texan aimed his charm at Washington's political and journalism elite, donning white tie and tails and winning loud applause. Cruz, the Republican speaker at the event, joked about his lonely filibuster and his frosty relationship with other senators. "I was accused of acting like some pompous, condescending know-it-all," he said. "We're all familiar with the type, and at Harvard Law School there is even a word for it — alumni." Cruz seemed quite at home, schmoozing with journalists until almost 1 a.m. But don't think he's dropping his "outsider" shtick. He's simply following in the footsteps of others who have done a Gridiron audition before running for president — Mitt Romney in 2007, Barack Obama in 2006, Hillary Clinton in 2004, John McCain and John Kerry in 1999, Dan Quayle in 1989, John Glenn and Bob Dole in 1983, Edward Kennedy in 1980, and Robert Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in 1967.

George E. Condon Jr.

Murmurs

Overt Operations He's back. When John Brennan became director  of the CIA, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator and presidential point man who publicly argued the case for drone warfare and covert operations fell silent for a solid year. That's about to change. "I have now decided to come out," the career spymaster says. Why? In the wake of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's accusations and other revelations, things have gotten brutally rough for his intelligence comrades, Brennan says. At an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations this week, he said he plans to give numerous speeches and interviews in an attempt to counter what he calls a "one-sided" narrative that "misrepresents and mischaracterizes what intelligence-community professionals do on a daily basis." Even Brennan, however, admits his publicity campaign will be "an uphill battle."

The Fix Is In

Leave it to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, an unapologetic proponent of government spending, to dream two impossible dreams at once. While speaking at an infrastructure event in Washington this week, he offered two tickets to a Philadelphia 76ers championship game to the audience member who could name the single reason why roads, bridges, and waterways have improved, at least a little bit, in recent times. "It's a dirty word in Washington," he hinted. "Stimulus!" someone shouted. Right you are, Rendell said, so why can't we have another one? Then he offered four tickets to the person who could explain why cities can dedicate money to infrastructure while the federal government can't. "Capital budgets!" someone shouted. Right again. "Where are my tickets?" Hmm. The 76ers have 15 wins and 49 losses, and are last in their division. "I'll leave them to you in my will," Rendell replied.

Fawn Johnson

Ted Talks

Sen. Ted Cruz has spent his 14 months in office battling the Establishment. But at last weekend's annual dinner of the Gridiron Club, the Texan aimed his charm at Washington's political and journalism elite, donning white tie and tails and winning loud applause. Cruz, the Republican speaker at the event, joked about his lonely filibuster and his frosty relationship with other senators. "I was accused of acting like some pompous, condescending know-it-all," he said. "We're all familiar with the type, and at Harvard Law School there is even a word for it — alumni." Cruz seemed quite at home, schmoozing with journalists until almost 1 a.m. But don't think he's dropping his "outsider" shtick. He's simply following in the footsteps of others who have done a Gridiron audition before running for president — Mitt Romney in 2007, Barack Obama in 2006, Hillary Clinton in 2004, John McCain and John Kerry in 1999, Dan Quayle in 1989, John Glenn and Bob Dole in 1983, Edward Kennedy in 1980, and Robert Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in 1967.

George E. Condon Jr.

Murmurs

Overt Operations He's back. When John Brennan became director  of the CIA, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator and presidential point man who publicly argued the case for drone warfare and covert operations fell silent for a solid year. That's about to change. "I have now decided to come out," the career spymaster says. Why? In the wake of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's accusations and other revelations, things have gotten brutally rough for his intelligence comrades, Brennan says. At an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations this week, he said he plans to give numerous speeches and interviews in an attempt to counter what he calls a "one-sided" narrative that "misrepresents and mischaracterizes what intelligence-community professionals do on a daily basis." Even Brennan, however, admits his publicity campaign will be "an uphill battle."

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