April 2014

Apr 30, 2014

Donald Sterling’s offensive foul

By Todd Purdum, Politico

Basketball’s summary ouster of Donald Sterling for his viral racist harangue is yet more proof — as if any were needed — that race remains the essential fault line in the American experience, even (or perhaps especially) in the age of Barack Obama. But the National Basketball Association’s decision to ban the cranky L.A. Clippers owner from the game till death is also fresh evidence that the major commercial institutions of national life — whether the NBA or Fox News — find racist sentiment, overtly expressed, instantly and intolerably bad for business.

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Senate Drops Bid to Report on Drone Use

By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

The Senate has quietly stripped a provision from an intelligence bill that would have required President Obama to make public each year the number of people killed or injured in targeted killing operations in Pakistan and other countries where the United States uses lethal force. The move highlights the continued resistance inside the government about making these operations, primarily carried out using armed drones, more accountable to public scrutiny. In a letter to the Senate earlier this month, James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, expressed concern that a public report would undermine the effectiveness of the operations.

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Obamacare less a negative for president: NBC/WSJ poll

By John Harwood, CNBC

President Barack Obama's public standing has slightly improved in the wake of stronger enrollment under the new health-care law, giving Democrats a rare positive development in an ominous midterm election season. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 44 percent of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, up from 41 percent in March as his administration scrambled to overcome the bungled rollout of the federal health-care website. Some 50 percent, down from 54 percent in March, disapprove. Assessments of Obama as a person also ticked up and back—barely—into positive territory for the first time since the crisis over the website last October.

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Supreme Court Takes Up Privacy in the Digital Age

With Pete Williams, NBC News

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Putin's Threat to Retaliate for Sanctions Carries Risks

By Indira Lakshmanan and Joe Carroll, Bloomberg News

President Vladimir Putin’s threats to retaliate for further sanctions on Russia set the stage for escalating economic warfare that may have painful effects for U.S. and European companies. While the Russian leader is casting himself as reluctant to take countermeasures against additional penalties from the U.S. and European Union, he hasn’t ruled out doing so eventually. Such a move could dash billions of dollars in foreign investment in some of the world’s biggest untapped oil reserves.

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Apr 29, 2014

As His Tenure Winds Down, Obama Turns Focus to Executive Branch

By John Harwood, The New York Times

John Podesta got a brief burst of attention from his hiring in a White House “shake-up,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell will be in sharp focus in coming confirmation hearings to be health and human services secretary and the cameras loved Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary, during the debt-ceiling wars.

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Post-ABC News poll shows Democrats at risk in November as Obama’s approval rating falls

By Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill, The Washington Post

Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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Obama argues against use of force to solve global conflicts

By Christi Parsons, Kathleen Hennessey and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Manila—On the final stop of his weeklong Asian tour, President Obama on Monday answered the question that has dogged him all along the way: Has he gone too far in reducing America's historical role in global security?

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What Sanctions Mean

With Peter Baker, The New York Times

Peter Baker on what this latest round of sanctions targeting Russia means.

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Apr 28, 2014

Women could be critical to key races, and both parties are going all out to get their votes

By Reid Wilson, The Washington Post

In her first campaign ad for the U.S. Senate, Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land minces no words: “Congressman Gary Peters and his buddies want you to think I’m waging a war on women,” she starts. “Reaaally? Think about that for a moment.” Land then pauses for several seconds, shakes her head dis­approvingly and waits a few more seconds before going for the knockout. “As a woman,” she says, “I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters.”

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'This Week': Sen. Elizabeth Warren

With Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

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In Poorest States, Political Stigma Is Depressing Participation in Health Law

By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

Inside the sleek hillside headquarters of Valley Health Systems, built with a grant from the health care law, two employees played an advertisement they had helped produce to promote the law’s insurance coverage for young, working-class West Virginians. The ads ran just over 100 times during the recent six-month enrollment period. But three conservative groups ran 12 times as many, to oppose the law and the local Democratic congressman who voted for it.

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