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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.

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 […]

Obama’s Cuba Policy Shift Faces Headwinds On Capitol Hill

Capitol Christmas Dusk

The fate of Cuba policy in Congress is far from certain, but what is certain is that following through on President Obama’s historic and necessary changes will face resistance.

Hatred Won’t Improve the Discourse

academic-book-glasses

Now, granted, communications is not my academic area of expertise, but I am pretty sure that starting off a column with  the sentence “I hate X” pretty much precludes any chance of communicating (at least having discourse with) members of group X. And yet, Susan J. Douglas, Professor  and Chair of Communications at the University […]

Obama Has Made An Historic Change In U.S. Cuban Relations, It’s A Good First Step

Cuban American Flags

The resumption of diplomatic relations between U.S. and Cuba, and expansion of some commercial trade ties, is historic but it’s only the first step toward the goal of ending an outdated embargo.

American Held By Cuba Released, U.S. And Cuba To Begin Talks On Normalizing Relations

Diana Nyad

An American freed from captivity, and potentially huge changes in America’s diplomatic and trade relationship with Cuba.

Placing Jeb in Ideological Context

Elephants Fighting

Also: charting the rightward shift in the GOP.

Sowell Deploys a TTBS

us-politics

As a follow-on to my post the other day (On Ticking Time Bombs) I see that Thomas Sowell is joining in the fun: If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew […]

Jeb Bush Running for President

Jeb Bush

The former Florida Governor announced that he’s taking the first step towards running for president in 2016.

When Mom Calls C-Span

CSPAN

No matter how your day is going at least you can say it didn’t start out with Mom calling in to C-Span while you were a guest, unless of course your names are Brad and Dallas Woodhouse: C-SPAN guests usually go on prepared for the occasional offensive question from a caller but when Dallas and […]

Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Running For President, But Don’t Expect The Speculation To End Soon

Elizabeth Warren

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is not running for President, and she is unlikely to change her mind on that. Nonetheless, the speculation that she is will continue for some time to come because it suits her interests and the interests of others.

Senate Confirms Controversial Surgeon General Nominee Vivek Murthy

Capitol Daytime

After nearly a year during which his nomination was blocked by Republicans working together with the National Rifle Association, President Obama’s choice for Surgeon General has been confirmed: President Obama’s pick to serve as the next surgeon general was confirmed Monday evening more than a year and half after being nominated, the first of nearly […]

David Garth, Pioneer Political And Campaign Consultant, Dies At 84

David Garth

David Garth, who served behind the scenes of American politics for some four decades and helped elect Governors, Mayors, and Senators from the 1960s through the 2000s, has died at the age of 84: David Garth, a pugnacious and indefatigable pioneer of the political commercial, who helped elect governors, senators and four New York City […]

On Ticking Time Bombs

Nuclear Explosion

The “ticking time bomb scenario” is a TV trope and, therefore, is a terrible guide for making policy.

The Amorality Of Dick Cheney And The Right In Response To The Truth About C.I.A. Torture

Dick Cheney

Vice-President Cheney’s amoral defense of torture has come to define how most conservatives view the issue, and that’s a problem.

U.S. Government Losing $100,000,000 Per Year On Nickel And Penny Production

Nickel and Penny

The U.S. Government continues to lose money on production of two coins that people barely use anymore.

Senate Passes Spending Bill As Ted Cruz Maneuver Helps Democrats Pass Nominations

Ted Cruz

As expected, the Senate passed the so-called “Cromnibus,” but not before a self-aggrandizing maneuver by Ted Cruz ended up being exploited by Democrats to pass outstanding nominations.

Justice Department Won’t Force One Reporter To Testify, Faces A Choice On Another

newsman

The Justice Department won’t force James Risen to testify in a legal investigation, but faces a new choice in a different case.

Hayden and “Rectal Hydration”

us-politics

Via The Hill:   Ex-CIA director defends rectal rehydration “These were medical procedures,” Hayden said during a tense interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” He added that the method was used because detainees were dehydrated, and that giving them intravenous fluids with needles would be dangerous.  ”I’m not a doctor,” he said. “What I […]

Get Ready For More Rick Santorum In 2016

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum looks to be getting ready to hit the campaign trail again, but it’s doubtful he can find appeal beyond the religious conservatives who supported him in 2012.

Politinerds Radio: Congressman Richard Hanna

Politinerds

On this week’s episode of Politinerds, Jazz Shaw and I interview Congressman Richard Hanna, a Republican representing New York’s 22nd Congressional District, a District in Central New York State that stretches from the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario south to the New York-Pennsylvania border south of Binghamtom. Congressman Hanna has been in office since being […]

More Americans Support Gun Rights Than Gun Control, New Poll Finds

H

As the second anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School approaches, a new poll finds that more Americans support gun rights than gun control.

Despite Last Minute Drama, House Narrowly Passes Bill To Fund Most Of The Government

Capitol Daytime

Despite opposition from both Republicans and Democrats, the compromise budget resolution passed narrowly last night, but not without some last minute drama

Rick Perry Looking For The Elusive Second Act In American Politics

Texas Goveronor Perry activates National Guard for border security

Rick Perry is sounding for all the world like a candidate for President, and says he’s a different candidate this time, but initial perceptions are hard to overcome.

Republicans Seek To Use Budget To Block D.C. Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana

The budget bill Congress set to pass Congress would effectively reverse the will of the voters of Washington, D.C., who just voted to legalize marijuana.

In The Wake Of Midterm Losses, Some On The Left Say Democrats Should Write Off The South

Us_south_census

Some on the left are suggesting Democrats should write off the South for the foreseeable future, but that would be as foolish as Republicans assuming that their dominance in the region will last as long as Democratic dominance did in the century after the Civil War.

Rationalizing Torture

us-politics

I would recommend the following (audio only at the moment):  What Is Torture? Our Beliefs Depend In Part On Who’s Doing It. The piece is about social science research on torture and notes, among other things, 1.  Humans are likely to define “torture” differently if it their group doing it versus when other groups do […]

Torture Report’s Long Shadow

torture-report

What now?

Republican Reaction To Obama’s Executive Action Makes Immigration Reform Much Less Likely

border-illegal-aliens-flag

Judging by recent polling, the President’s executive action has hardened GOP opposition to immigration reform, making progress on the issue going forward much less likely.

Rand Paul The GOP Front Runner? Not Likely

Senate Homeland Security Holds Hearing On Federal Programs Equipping Police Departments

Even leaving aside the fact that it is far too early to be making such assessments, the idea that Rand Paul is the front runner for the Republican nomination in 2016 fails the logic test.

Congress Reaches Budget Deal, Delays Immigration Fight For Another Day

budget-congress-capitol-hundred-dollar-bills

It looks like Congress has averted a budget fight for the second straight year.

Gruber

us-politics

Dana Milbank’s piece on the Gruber testimony is worth a read:  The Jonathan Gruber hearing was a zany coda to Darrell Issa’s tumultuous tenure. His summary of the events are not that different than this report from Fox News:  Gruber apologizes for ‘mean and insulting’ ObamaCare comments and this one from The Hill:  Gruber grilled […]

You are Defending Torture

us-politics

So far the only critique of the Senate report has been that the techniques deployed by the CIA did, in fact, produce good and useful intelligence. Setting aside whether that is true or not, keep in mind that such an argument is a defense of torture. I have not seen anyone disputing the actual content […]

Senate Intelligence Committee Report Reveals A Dark and Regrettable Time In American History

Waterboarding

A dark and regrettable time in American history is finally seeing the light of day.

GOP’s Big Donors Seek To Narrow The 2016 Field, But They Have Less Control Than They Think

Elephants Fighting

The GOP donor class would like the 2016 race to be short and sweet, but that’s unlikely to happen.

Independent Prosecutors For Police Misconduct Cases Is An Idea Whose Time Has Come

law-scales-justice-flag

Many have suggested that prosecution of cases involving police misconduct should be handled by prosecutors who don’t work with local police departments on a regular basis. They’re right.

Republican Senators Split On Whether To Reinstate Old Filibuster Rules

Filibuster

The GOP Senate Caucus seems to be split on whether or not to reinstate the filibuster for Presidential and Judicial appointments.

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