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Obama Approval Improves

us-politics

Gallup’s most recent approval numbers put the president’s approval and disapproval at 48% (his best for both in over a year). Not surprisingly, other polling shows a clear positive trend on consumer confidence:

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Immigration Executive Action

law-gavel-lights

A Federal Judge has dismissed the first lawsuit filed against President Obama’s immigration “executive action.”

Congressman Michael Grimm To Resign

Capitol Daytime

A week after pleading guilty, and just shy of two months of being re-elected despite facing a 20 count indictment, Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm will be resigning Congress: WASHINGTON — Michael G. Grimm, the Republican Party’s lone congressional representative in New York City, announced late Monday night that he would resign effective Jan. 5, […]

If you Have a Few Brain Cells to Spare, Watch This

I understand that the main job of cable news anchors/hosts is to fill time between commercials, but surely they could do better than this (wherein we get speculation about the metric system and the lack of “cowboys attitudes” in non-US pilots): And, of course, the best part is the utter lack of comparative framework insofar […]

2014’s Fickle News Cycle

tv-remote (2)

The news cycle in 2014 seemed to be dominated by a series of real and phony “crises” that grabbed our attention for short periods of time.

OTB Caption Contest

palestiniansanta

Time the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM

Airlines Want You Miserable and It Serves You Right

American Airlines Cancelations Unnecessary

JetBlu is joining the competition in charging bag fees and cramming in more seats.

OTB Caption Contest Winners

cubanamnesty

The Robusto Mustachio Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

A break from politics (for one day at least)

Public Opinion on Cuba

travel-suitcase

Via WaPo‘s The Fix: Sixty-eight percent support ending the trade embargo with Cuba — up 11 points from 2009 — and 74 percent support ending travel restrictions to Cuba — a jump of 19 points from five years ago. The main issue over time: More info at the link.

Chart of the Day

us-politics

Via Wonkblog: If anything the chart is amusing because the op/ed it skewers so clearly deserves the skewering. The chart is also amusing because it really underscores the ridiculous nature of the charges the Obama administration has a) socialist in any serious sense of the term or b) been an economic disaster. I am not […]

You Can Now Watch The Interview Online Too

Sony Pictures Cancels Releaase Of "The Interview" After Hacker Threats

In addition to the limited theatrical release announced yesterday, Sony is now making The Interview available online through a number of digital distributors for less than you’d pay at the movie theater: LOS ANGELES — Three digital distributors joined an expanding effort to save “The Interview,” as Sony Pictures Entertainment disclosed the first deals to show the […]

Dangerous Times: Perception and Reality

travel-suitcase

Steven Pinker ad Andrew Mack remind us over at Slate that:  The World Is Not Falling Apart News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not […]

Supreme Court To Consider Whether To Accept 6th Circuit Marriage Appeals On January 9th

gaymarriage

Shortly after the new year, we could know whether or not the Supreme Court will issue a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage by the end of June.

It’s Official: Florida Passes New York To Become Third Most Populous State

Florida

After several years of anticipating that it would happen, the Census Bureau has officially confirmed that Florida has surpassed New York to become the third most populous state in the nation: After years of staving off population challenges from the Sunshine State, New York has finally ceded its position as the nation’s third most populous […]

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

Capitol Dome

Some eight months after being indicted, Michael Grimm, the only Republican representing a Congressional District inside New York City, has plead guilty to a single count of tax evasion, raising questions about how he can continue in office: A former Marine and agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first ran for office as […]

Sony To Allow Limited Screenings of The Interview

Sony Pictures Cancels Releaase Of "The Interview" After Hacker Threats

Reversing a previous decision, Sony will allow The Interview to be screened in a small number of theaters.

Economy Grows at 5% For Only Second Quarter Since 2001

Economy Heartbeat

The Commerce Department had a Christmas present for investors, businesses, and consumers today.

Army Investigation Of Bowe Berghdahl Referred To Top General

Afghanistan Captured Soldier

The Army’s investigation of the disappearance five years ago of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been referred to a top General, who will decide if a court martial should be convened.

Joe Cocker Dies At 70

Joe Cocker Woodstock

Joe Cocker, whose gravely voice became iconic after covering The Beatles at Woodstock some 45 years ago, has died at the age of 70: Joe Cocker, the gravelly British singer who became one of pop’s most recognizable interpreters in the late 1960s and ’70s with passionate, idiosyncratic takes on songs like the Beatles’ “With a […]

US Economic Activity Map

us-economic-activity-four-quarters

This graphic from February is making the rounds this morning: It was the Pew Research Center‘s Chart of the Week (“How metro areas drive the U.S. economy“) eight months ago. Their explanation: It probably should come as no surprise that most U.S. economic activity is concentrated in metropolitan areas. What may be surprising, and what […]

North Korean Internet Connections Collapse

North Korea

What does exist of North Korea’s connection to the Internet has largely collapsed in what may be an attack from outside sources: SAN FRANCISCO — North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network […]

China Losing Patience With Pyongyang? Don’t Believe It Until You See It Happen

China North Korea

There are again reports of Chinese frustration with the Kim regime in North Korea, but change is unlikely to happen in the DPRK until Beijing is ready to let it happen.

OTB Caption Contest

cubanamnesty

Time the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM

US Ground Troops Fighting ISIL

military-soldier-sunset

The ground troops that United States has not sent into Iraq to fight ISIL are reportedly in Iraq fighting ISIL.

In Responding To North Korea’s Cyber Attacks, The U.S. Has Limited Options

North Korea

There’s not a whole lot the United States can do to respond effectively and proportionally to North Korea’s hacking attack against Sony.

Kevin Drum’s Lympho-Somethings Way Down

Great news on the Kevin Drum front: I’m 8 weeks through my 16-week regimen of chemotherapy, and last week my doctor ordered up sort of a halftime report on how I’m doing. This is an extended set of lab tests, and today she called to tell me the results. Apparently they came out great. Unfortunately, […]

Only One Person Has ‘Blood On His Hands’ In The Deaths Of Officers Ramos And Liu, And He’s Already Dead

Rafael Ramos Wenjian Liu

NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot dead while sitting in their patrol car In Brooklyn. And those suggesting that anyone other than the killer has “blood on their hands” are being absurd.

Russia Invades Ukraine, Hookers Raise Prices

condoms-russia-crisis

Talk about your second- and third-order effects.

Obama: Sony Attack ‘Vandalism’ Not War

computerlaugh

President Obama believes the North Korean attack on Sony was “an act of cyber vandalism” rather than “an act of war.”

OTB Caption Contest Winners

FurFest

The Fast and Furriest Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Rand Paul, Marco Rubio Exchange Barbs Over Cuba Policy Changes

Marco Rubio Rand Paul

Two potential candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016 traded barbs this week over the President’s new policy toward Cuba.

Supreme Court Refuses To Block Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

Same Sex Marriage Supreme Court

More interesting developments from the Supreme Court on what has been one of the biggest legal stories of 2014.

F.C.C. Rejects Petition To Declare ‘Redskins’ An Obscene Word

Washington Redskins Helmet

Not surprisingly, the F.C.C. has rejected a petition to ban the word “Redskins” from the airwaves.

Obama Faults Sony For Pulling ‘The Interview’ From Theaters, Vows Response To North Korea

Obama Makes Statement On U.S.-Cuba Policy

President Obama criticized Sony for backing down, and said that the U.S. would respond to North Korea’s cyber attack “at a place and time we choose,”

Did 24 Help Make Torture Acceptable?

24_on_fox.jpg

In the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on C.I.A. torture, some have suggested that eight years of Jack Bauer helped make torture more acceptable to the American public.

F.B.I. Charges North Korea With Being Behind Hacking Attacks On Sony

North Korea Military Parade

The U.S. Government has formally charged North Korea with responsibility for the hacking attack on Sony. How to respond to that attack is a more complicated question.

Comparative Human Rights Abuses

travel-suitcase

Via the Monkey Cage (Putting Cuban human rights violations in some context), Erik Voeten notes In a recent article (ungated) in the American Political Science Review, Penn State political scientist Christopher J. Fariss develops a smart measurement model that captures the common component among different measures of physical integrity rights. Moreover, this model generates measures […]

Drezner on Cuba

travel-suitcase

If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend Dan Drezner’s piece on Cuba from yesterday:  Every big question you have about the U.S. opening to Cuba, answered

Some Questions for Those who Oppose an Opening with Cuba

Cuban American Flags

A little round of Qs and As on US-Cuban policy.

Oklahoma And Nebraska Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Colorado Marijuana

Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado over the Centennial State’s decision to legalize marijuana, but they don’t seem to have much of a case.

Ok, This is Silly: No “Team America”

travel-suitcase

Via TPM Livewire:  Paramount Blocks 2004 Movie ‘Team America’ From Being Shown In Theaters

Rand Paul Breaks With Other 2016 GOP Contenders In Backing Obama’s Opening To Cuba

Senate Homeland Security Holds Hearing On Federal Programs Equipping Police Departments

Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans who seems to be evaluating the new policy toward Cuba through something other than an outdated Cold War perspective.

Federal Judge Kind Of, Sort Of Finds Obama’s Immigration Action Unconstitutional In Poorly Reasoned Decision

constitution-preamble-gavel

A Federal Judge has issued a ruling that sort of says that President Obama’s Immigration action is unconstitutional. Except it’s poorly reasoned, and apparently not legally binding on anyone.

US-Cuban Relations and Venezuela

travel-suitcase

Via Bloomberg:  Obama Makes Maduro’s ‘Insolent Yankees’ a Tougher Sell “Maduro’s anti-US rhetoric is being undercut by the Cuban government,” said Gregory Weeks, head of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina. “One of the biggest repercussions is that Maduro’s foreign policy is based on exclusion of the U.S. and now its biggest […]

Iraq And Afghanistan Wars Cost $3 Trillion

defense-spending

The costs of more than a decade of war are far higher than many ever thought, and we’re still paying the price for the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration while they were being fought.

GOP Wins Last Outstanding House Seat, Has Largest Majority Since 1928 Elections

us-politics

The final undecided House election of 2014 was decided yesterday in Arizona, and it gives the GOP another pickup and its biggest House majority in eighty-six years: Republicans clinched their 247th U.S. House seat on Wednesday when GOP challenger Martha McSally officially unseated Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), bringing to an end the final unresolved congressional […]

Sony, “The Interview,” and Running Government Like a Business.

military-soldier-sunset

It strike me that the situation with Sony and The Interview is a good example of why you can’t run government like a business. While the US government would have to make calculations about warding off future attacks, national reputations, etc. in the face of terrorist threats, all Sony (And AMC, etc.) had to do […]

Texas Plumber’s Used Truck Ends Up In Syria Being Driven By Islamist Fighters

Texas Syria

A truck that used to belong to a small Texas plumbing company has been spotted in Syria in the hands of anti-Assad Islamist: TEXAS CITY — A local plumber is being flooded with phone calls — and some threats — after a picture of one of his old company vehicles being used by Islamist militants […]

Hate Speech and Academic Freedom

professor-teaching-cartoon

Should a professor who says she “hates Republicans” keep her job?

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