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Underwhelmed

Obama Gets an F for Foreign Policy

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Even Democrats don’t see him as a strong leader in the world at this point of his presidency.

Six years into Obama’s presidency, the public is losing faith that our president can command the respect of other nations. It’s not hard to see why.The Olympics in Sochi came to an end last week, and less than a half-day’s drive away, Ukraine is in a state of turmoil, with its leader having fled the capital in the face of protesters demanding reforms. In Venezuela, over a dozen are dead and CNN has been booted from the country in protests against a government that has long stifled democracy and impoverished its own people.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Texas: Where Crazy Gets Elected

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One of America’s largest states has the highest percentage of uninsured citizens in the country—yet its bullheaded leaders still won’t get on board with Obamacare or the president himself. What’s more, it seems the Texan population are A-OK with that.

So what happens in Texas when the Republican gubernatorial candidate invites Ted Nugent to the state to campaign for him not long after the Motor City Motormouth has called the President of the United States a “subhuman mongrel,” not to mention a “Communist” and a “gangster”? Would you believe, as Maxwell Smart used to say, that the candidate increases his lead? Well that’s what has happened. There’s crazy, and then there’s Texas crazy.In a poll that came out Monday, conducted as the Nugent controversy was brewing, Republican Greg Abbott leads Democrat Wendy Davis by 11 points, which Politico notes is up from six points in a poll last year.

Playing ‘Dirty’

The Skunk at the Oscar Party

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Jeremy Scahill may not fit in amongst Leo and Marty, but even if he doesn’t take home a statue for his documentary ‘Dirty Wars,’ he’s already winning big with the launch of ‘The Intercept,’ his new online venture backed by Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar.

Jeremy Scahill was the only person who worked on the documentary “Dirty Wars” who could bear to watch the Academy Awards nomination ceremony. The rest of the film’s cast and crew were too nervous. In fact, director Rick Rowley, made sure he was on the subway, so he couldn’t be reached.“And so the dude who plays ‘Thor.’ I don’t remember his name. The actor. I think he is Australian. He is announcing it and the president of the Academy is there and so I have no idea how any of it works.

Hyperbole

CPAC Attacks God

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Once-prominent conservative activist Brent Bozell claimed that CPAC was 'an attack on God himself' because it briefly invited an atheist group to set up a booth.

Is the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) "an attack on God Himself?" That's what once-prominent conservative activist Brent Bozell says. Bozell, the gingerbearded head of the Media Research Center, issued a statement Tuesday attacking CPAC, as well as its sponsor, the American Conservative Union, for issuing an invitation to the American Atheists to sponsor a booth at the conference. Although the invitation was quickly withdrawn by the political organization, Bozell still fulminated about the very thought of atheists being present at a conservative event "It makes absolutely no difference to me that CPAC and ACU have backed down and removed the booth," he said.

Cheney: Less Food Stamps, More War

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The former vice president is angry that President Obama would spend less on wars and military, and more on aid for low-income Americans.

In 2003, George Bush took two huge moves. He invaded Iraq, pushing the United States into a decade-long quagmire, and he signed a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. In the past, presidents chose one or the other. You either cut taxes, or you fought wars, but you didn’t fight wars while cutting taxes. It was impractical, for the simple reason that wars aren’t free.When confronted with this, Vice President Dick Cheney—who supported the wars and the tax cuts—dismissed the concern.

Veto?

No Super Bowl for Anti-Gay AZ?

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If Arizona governor Jan Brewer signs an anti-gay bill, it could lead to the NFL moving next year's Super Bowl.

Could the Super Bowl keep Arizona Governor Jan Brewer from signing an anti-gay bill?The controversy over Senate Bill 1062 has swirled in recent days as even legislators who supported the bill, which would allow businesses to refuse to serve customers for religious reasons, are now backtracking. Three Republican state senators who voted for the bill have now come out against it while both of the state's Republican senators Jeff Flake and John McCain have also urged Brewer to veto the legislation.

A Family Affair

A Century Of Dingell?

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Could retiring Michigan congressman John Dingell be replaced by his wife Debbie?

It's possible one Michigan congressional district could be represented by a Congressman with the last name "Dingell" for an entire century.With Democrat John Dingell announcing his retirement from Congress yesterday after serving more than 58 years in office, it leaves a major void in politics of the Wolverine State. After all, Dingell had succeeded his father, John Dingell Sr. in Congress in a 1955 special election. John Sr. took office in 1933, which means that Michigan has had a Dingell on Capitol Hill since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated.

Jindal Joins the 'Stupid Party'

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More than a year after saying Republicans need to not be the “stupid party,” the governor of Louisiana has given in to the dumb.

In the days after Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 election, conservative wunderkind and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stepped up with harsh criticism for his party. “It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments—enough of that,” he told POLITICO. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party.“ Republicans, said Jindal, ”should stop being the stupid party“ and should ”fight for every single vote.

Freak Out in Kansas

Where Does the Tea Party Find These People?

I was on Hardball last night talking about the escapades of this Milton Wolf character, the tea party guy who’s challenging GOP incumbent Senator Pat Roberts this year. Wolf became freshly newsworthy this past weekend when the Topeka Capital-Journal revealed that in 2010, Wolf, a radiologist, posted photos of disfigured corpses on Facebook (of people who’d been shot, etc.) and joined other commenters in poking fun at the them.One image he posted showed a human skull all but blasted apart, about which Wolf wrote: “One of my all-time favorites,” Wolf posted to the Facebook picture.

Bill of Fights

From Anti-Gay to No Way

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The SB 1062 bill that was once a big hit is now taking one, as its own GOP supporters have started changing their minds. Now it’s in the hands of Tea Party favorite Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Whether that’s a good thing is still TBD.

With all but three Republicans in the Arizona legislature voting for a bill characterized as anti-gay, and with every Democrat in opposition, the early betting was that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer would sign SB 1062. A Tea Party favorite, she had signed tough anti-immigrant legislation and once famously wagged her finger in President Obama’s face during an airport tarmac encounter. The image went viral.Brewer is not someone to be trifled with.

Hate Hypocrisy

Uganda's Christian Mafia

Ben Curtis/Getty

The evangelical organization that describes itself as a Christian mafia has been the hidden hand behind Uganda’s anti-gay bill, along with Rick Warren, the gay-bashing pastor who presided at Obama’s first inauguration.

The President of Uganda has just signed into law extreme anti-gay legislation.  In addition to imprisoning anyone who counsels or reaches out to the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community in Uganda, the law establishes a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which include acts where one person is infected with HIV, “serial offenders,” and sex with minors. “Aggravated homosexuality” is punished with life in prison.  A previous version of the law, amended after worldwide protests, proscribed the death penalty.

The Bayou's Reality TV Race

Getty/AP/The Daily Beast

There will soon be a vacant slot to fill in Louisiana’s 6th, and the two interested candidates—Tony Perkins and Edwin Edwards—are guaranteed to bring a dose of drama to the podium.

Despite (or rather because of) being raised Southern Baptist, I am uncomfortable with the whole concept of intercessory prayer. Sarah Palin may be cool with asking God to bring her state a new pipeline, but I tend to question both the wisdom and efficacy of such special pleading. That said: Please, please, please, dear Lord, smile on your weary political servants and let the race for Louisiana’s 6th congressional district blossom into the saint-vs.

Fight Back

Stand Your Ground With Your Phone

Getty(2)/The Daily Beast

If law enforcement can track people with impunity, why not fight fire with fire and record the police?

Yesterday’s paper brought yet another amazing story from the alternative universe that is Florida. In the land of jai alai and alligators, where “stand-your-ground laws ” are considered by many to be a legitimate defense for shooting people, it seems that recording a conversation with a cop will land you in jail.As the Sun-Sentinel reports, 33-year old Brandy Sherling was stopped by a Broward County, Florida sheriff’s deputy for a minor traffic violation.

What About Bobby?

Is Jindal the Least Popular Guv?

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If home state approval ratings are any indication, likely presidential candidate Bobby Jindal of Louisiana doesn’t stand a chance.

Past performance is supposed to predict future results. In politics, this should mean that winning over constituents in your home state makes you an immediate national figure, the kind of person who’s talked about as a potential president, and whose every appearance outside the borders of one’s home state sets tongues wagging.This was supposed to be Chris Christie’s calling card. The New Jersey governor boasted a 74 percent approval rating in his strongly Democratic state only a year ago.

Naked Fear

Indecent Proposal For NFL Gays

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Jack Burkman’s gay-banning bill for the NFL is based on nothing but his own political agenda and anonymous Republicans looking for Tea Party cover.

A bill that could ban gays from playing in the NFL is possibly unconstitutional, being pushed for entirely cynical political reasons and is not based on any empirical evidence . . . and that’s according to the lobbyist promoting the bill.Jack Burkman is a Washington lobbyist who announced via his PR firm on Monday that he would “block gays from the NFL.” The announcement comes in the aftermath of NFL draft prospect Michael Sam coming out as gay earlier in February and Jason Collins making his debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday as the first openly gay player in a major professional sport.

'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.

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