Inside the Beltway: Still crying for Rep. Paul Ryan

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THE RIGHT ADDRESS

A very rare copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettyburg Address comes up for air at the Library of Congress for six short weeks. The public can take a peek at the “John Hay copy” of the address from March 22 to May 4, as part of the library’s major “Civil War in America” exhibition.

The address, which Lincoln delivered at the dedication of a national cemetery at Gettysburg on Nov. 19, 1863, is recognized as a literary masterpiece.

“In three short paragraphs — some 270 words — Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored the men who had given ‘the last full measure of devotion’ in its defense, and challenged all citizens to a renewed commitment to freedom and democracy,” the exhibit organizers note.

The Hay copy is one of five known drafts; two are at the Library (Loc.gov), and one each is held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Cornell University Library, and the White House.

ONE IN 9.2 QUINTILLION

President Obama may not know what comes after a trillion, but college basketball fans need to be familiar with a quintillion. It has 18 zeroes.

March Madness looms, along with guessing frenzy. Fans hoping to nail the perfect NCAA bracket of college basketball championship matchups have a long road in front of them says Jeff Bergen, a DePaul University mathematics professor and a lifelong collegiate basketball fan. He has figured out the odds. They are not so good.

“The odds of picking a perfect bracket are less than 1-in-9.2 quintillion,” the professor declares. “For those with a solid knowledge of the history of the NCAA tournaments, the odds of picking a perfect bracket increase greatly but still involve numbers with lots of zeroes.”

He’s ready to put his calculations where his mouth is. Mr. Bergen demonstrates the math on YouTube at bit.ly/AteRMp.

POLL DU JOUR

• 74 percent of U.S. voters are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. today.

• 44 percent trust Republicans in Congress to handle gun control policy; 42 percent trust President Obama.

• 43 percent trust Republicans to handle the federal budget deficit; 41 percent trust Mr. Obama.

• 41 percent trust Republicans to handle health care; 46 percent trust Mr. Obama

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