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60 Votes to Stop Sexual Assaults?

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

The Gillibrand and McCaskill bills both would alter how the military approaches sex crimes. As each faces a vote, the bigger question is how far the Senate is willing to go.

Two powerful women senators, Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, took the lead on one of the most vexing problems facing the military: How to combat sexual assault and reform the system so perpetrators get punished, and victims are protected.Each has worked aggressively for many months to win support from their colleagues, and they disagree on one key provision. Their bills will be tested next week in side-by-side votes that will allow either or both measures to proceed if they muster the 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster.


Rand Paul’s Extreme GOP Makeover

Doug Mills/The New York Times, via Redux

Libertarian, conservative, neither? The only thing clear about the senator is that he has the potential to revolutionize the backward-looking Republican Party if he runs for president.

When Rand Paul spoke to a packed ballroom of conservative activists at CPAC last year, he tagged the Obama administration as “completely out of control.” But he saved some of his harshest criticism for his own party, calling the GOP of old “stale and moss covered,” and insisting that the Republican Party has to change.One year later, Paul is again speaking to CPAC, but this time he’s more than the “Stand with Rand” senator who had just filibustered an Obama nominee for 13 hours to protest drone policy.


Why Neocons Love the Strongman

Larry Downing/Reuters

This is just the crisis to make themselves seem relevant again within the GOP—even if they’re undermining the commander in chief at a pivotal moment.

Say this for Rudy Giuliani: He gave away the game with his now-infamous admiring comments on Fox News two days ago about Vladimir Putin. “He makes a decision and he executes it, quickly,” the former mayor said. “Then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader. President Obama, he’s got to think about it. He’s got to go over it again. He’s got to talk to more people about it.”
Giuliani, once a genuinely moderate Republican (go look up his mayoral immigration record) and a man whom aides used to describe a long time ago as the one figure capable of pulling the national GOP back toward the center (I swear, I had those conversations), has served for some time now as little more than a right-wing standup comic—and a staggeringly hypocritical one at that.


The Coming Progressive Backlash

Andrew Burton/Getty

Recent victories from New York to Arizona won’t mean a thing if they fire up conservatives and get them to turn out in November.

The last few months will likely be remembered as one of the most successful in recent history for progressive causes, candidates, and the people who love them.In November, New Yorkers elected a bona-fide liberal to take charge of a city that hasn’t had a Democratic mayor in 20 years. Last month, Bill Nye, known forever to a generation of millenials as “the Science Guy” seemed to put a final nail in the coffin of creationists by debating its staunchest defenders and seeming to crush them with a combination of common sense and scientific fact.


Christie’s Civil War Frenemy

Michael Carroll

Thanks to Republican Michael Patrick Carroll's presence, the investigation into the governor hasn’t become a partisan witch-hunt.

“I assume you want to know about The Fat Man, so let’s talk,” New Jersey legislator Michael Patrick Carroll said to me as I approached him on the Assembly floor of the Statehouse.The Fat Man is, of course, Governor Chris Christie, the politician with whom Carroll has ben uncomfortably intertwined for the better part of two decades. “His aides used to get on my case, and say, ‘when are you going to stop calling him The Fat Man?’ And I said ‘when we pass each other—him on the way down and me on the way up.

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Tech Guy More Powerful Than POTUS


Obamacare is just one example of the risks facing politicians who oversee major tech projects.

Pouring concrete is so old-fashioned. Politicians who once had to cope with debacles like Boston’s Big Dig are now faced with a whole new set of potential infrastructure fiascos as governments rush to build websites and try to keep pace with the Internet age.The murkiness of cyberspace, moreover, presents a huge challenge to oversight and new risks to those in charge. It’s a lot harder for officials to to keep tabs on code-writers or would-be hackers than to monitor whether a tunnel has been dug or track has been laid.

Bye Bye

Grifter for Congress

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Getty

The Texas Republican practically bilked his donors by running the most unserious campaign in recent American history.

Tuesday night will mark the end of one of the most stunningly dishonest political campaigns in American history: that of Steve Stockman for Senate. Stockman’s campaign seemed to violate every ethical and social norm in politics. Usually, when political campaigns violate the rules, it is because of their lust to win. Stockman seemingly never cared about winning the Republican nomination from Senator John Cornyn. Instead, the entire campaign came across as a strange grift; a con performed by a fifth rate Harold Hill who somehow thought that the Tea Party made a better racket than leading a boys band.

US Spies Probed Over Putin Fail

Baz Ratner/Reuters

One U.S. intelligence agency told Congress that Russia wouldn’t take over part of Ukraine. Now Congress wants to know what the spies were thinking.

The House intelligence committee is ordering a review of the intelligence analysis leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after U.S. spy agencies last week concluded that Moscow would launch no such invasion.Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Daily Beast Tuesday that he was ordering a review of the intelligence analysis that produced what was in retrospect a flawed assessment: that the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border was simply a bluff by Vladimir Putin.

First Person

Kentucky’s Pro-Gay Marriage A.G.

Stephen Lance Dennee/AP

Jack Conway’s decision to not appeal a judge’s ruling forcing the state to recognize gay nuptials is a brave move in the Bible Belt.

When I ran to be Kentucky’s governor in 2007, I was questioned by a newspaper’s editorial board about how I voted in the 2004 statewide referendum over what I felt was a pernicious constitutional amendment that would not only ban gay marriage, but anything that looked like it, like as civil unions. Privately, I’d supported marriage equality—strongly—ever since Andrew Sullivan introduced much of the country to the possibility in his historic 1989 essay in The New Republic.

The ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Bill

The Daily Beast

In a bi-partisan effort to bring Oscar-winning attention to patients who require additional treatment, Dems and GOPs lobby to pass a possible life-saving legislation.

In the much-acclaimed movie Dallas Buyers Club, a man dying of AIDS smuggles illegal drugs from Mexico, defies the Federal Drug Administration and its jackbooted agents, and succeeds in prolonging his life, and the lives of others. The Hollywood screenplay is based on the true story of an AIDS patient who created and carried out the audacious scheme in the 1980’s, when the virus was ravaging the gay community and people were desperate for access to life-saving drugs.

Black Senators Make History Again

Pete Marovich/MCT, via Getty

More than half of the blacks who ever served in the chamber met last week to discuss their trailblazing paths.

In a town where rhetoric is overblown and trivial events are hailed as monumental, an historic event took place in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday that received scant attention when it deserved so much more.  With little fanfare, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) convened a special panel to gather at the Library of Congress to celebrate Black History Month. With so much attention now placed on events overseas, I didn’t want this story to get lost in the shuffle.


Ukraine Rages, GOP Fires on Hill

Pool Photo by Fabrice Coffrini

Republicans are pointing fingers at former Secretary of State Clinton, who during her tenure saw resolution and hope in the now fury-filled Russia.

Russian troops and transport planes had barely arrived in Crimea on Friday when the politics of the ongoing crisis began.“Hillary’s Russia Reset: Nailed It,” proclaimed the website for America Rising, an opposition research firm and political action committee that has been taking aim at potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates since soon after the 2012 contest.  The tumblr post tweaking Clinton featured the then Secretary of State cackling as she held out her infamous “reset” button with the Russian foreign minister, a gesture that can come across as silly in light of recent events in Ukraine.

Is CPAC Getting Less Crazy?

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Conservatives are taking baby steps to lighten up at their annual convention by allowing a Muslim to join a panel and a gay group to attend.

For years I thought that the “C” in CPAC stood for crazy.  And I’m not saying that because I believe that conservatives inherently have a mental disorder.  (For the record, I don’t.)  What I mean is that over the past few years, the American Conservative Union’s annual conservative political convention has increasingly become a showcase for the worst of the right.Who can forget the 2012 CPAC panel, “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity is Wweakening the American Identity?” This program featured Peter Brimelow, a person the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described as leading, “a race-baiting hate group that warns against the pollution of America by non-whites, Catholics, and Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Texas’ Primary Color Battle Begins

Julia Robinson/Reuters

GOP’s and Dems go at it on Tuesday in the first of Texas’ 2014 primaries, which aim to set a precedent for either blue or red in the Battleground State. The following five questions are sure to be answered.

The first primary election of 2014 will happen in Texas on Tuesday. Lone Star State voters will go to the polls in a series of primaries that will measure Tea Party fervor as well as whether Democrats have made the most basic organizational strides in the state. But the primary may only be the first preliminary election in the state, as Texas law requires a runoff in late May if no candidate obtains an absolute majority of the vote. Here are the five things to consider Tuesday’s primary:Will Anyone Be Conned By The Stockman Scam?Congressman Steve Stockman has mounted a long-shot bizarre campaign to unseat Sen.

In Memoriam

The Great Russ Hemenway

I have been meaning for some time now to write about Russ Hemenway, one of the great unheralded liberal operatives of the last 50 years in American politics, and my dear friend, who died last month at 88. (Here is his New York Times obituary.) It’s taken me some time—because, I told myself, I’ve been really busy, and I have been. But it seems clear to me now that it’s mainly been because, even though he lived an amazing long life and passed in relative peace, I still haven’t wanted to accept the idea that he’s gone.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

  1. President Obama, Guided by Faith Play

    President Obama, Guided by Faith

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    Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt

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    Obamacare's Full Court Press

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