February 2014

Feb 25, 2014

Pentagon Officials Say They’re Willing to Assume Risks of a Reduced Army

By Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker, The New York Times

In shrinking the United States Army to its smallest size since 1940, Pentagon officials said Monday that they were willing to assume more risk the next time troops are called to war.

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Feb 28, 2014

Holder Health Scare Highlights Questions About Obama

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

President Obama has not undergone a complete medical examination since well before his re-election -- apparently not since October 2011, according to public records.

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Sen. Cruz won't endorse Cornyn in Texas GOP race

By Charles Babington and Donna Cassata, Associated Press

The sniping between establishment Republicans and tea partyers resumed Thursday as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz refused to endorse his state’s senior senator in next week’s Republican primary.

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Congress takes the year off

By Gloria Borger, CNN

It's a political axiom that the closer Congress gets to an election, the less work it gets done.

But here's the current math: what's less than nothing? And if you do even less than nothing, at what point does it become completely counterproductive and silly?

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After government shutdown, dozens of lawmakers gave to charity

By Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post

From the very outset of the 16-day government shutdown last fall, members of Congress recognized its potential for political damage. Many of them, seeking to contain the possible fallout, pledged to give back some of their federal salaries earned while the government was not functioning.

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Hagel Warns Russia Not to Intervene in Ukraine

By Helene Cooper

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned Russia on Thursday to stay out of the turmoil in Ukraine, while NATO defense ministers issued repeated statements meant to show support for the new leadership in Kiev.

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Feb 27, 2014

Nothin’ Doin’

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

Washington is coasting. For the past several years, chroniclers of the relationship between the president and Republicans in Congress have searched in vain for new ways to describe chaos. When chaos wasn’t on order, the task was to find new ways to connote stasis—the lack of progress that filled the exhausted interregnum between periods of chaos.

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Republicans too focused on health-care law, some in GOP warn

By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

Will the Affordable Care Act be the Republicans’ golden ticket in this year’s midterm election? Some worry that the GOP may be placing too big a bet on it.

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Democrats begin push to force vote on minimum wage

By Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post

Congressional Democrats turned Wednesday to an obscure legislative maneuver in hopes of forcing a vote to raise the minimum wage, saying they have no choice but to embrace the rarely-used tactic in hopes of forcing Republicans to debate the issue.

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US: Majority-Minority Nation

With John Harwood, CNBC

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Push Behind Arizona 'Religious Freedom' Law Has Long History

By Pete Williams, NBC News

The path to Arizona's proposed law that would allow businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians begins over twenty years ago in Oregon and winds through a photographer's studio in New Mexico.

Two Native American men who worked at an Oregon drug rehab center were fired two decades ago for smoking peyote -- an illegal drug -- at a church service. They sued, claiming an exemption from the state's drug law, arguing that their use of peyote was part of a tribal religious ritual.

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Feb 26, 2014

D.C. Email Jiujitsu

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

In school did you ever cram for a Shakespeare exam by reading a lot in one sitting? It temporarily rewired your brain. When from your hand let slip the rhyme’d page, backward did run the lines in your hot brain. Verily.

This happened to me after watching the first eight episodes of House of Cards all at once. (I’m still in the first season; I also have a manual transmission). I felt the warp. I started thinking Congress was actually engaged in passing legislation. I walked around the house pursued by House Majority Whip Frank Underwood’s aphorisms. There are two kinds of SodaStream users in this world. … A real man can destroy his enemies just by hanging up his jacket. … Salt is for weaklings.

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