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Blake Griffin on use of medical marijuana in NBA

Blake Griffin averaged a career high 24.1 points this season in helping to lead the Clippers to a No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin on use of medical marijuana in NBA

Blake Griffin said in a Rolling Stone interview this week that he would support the use of medical marijuana in the NBA in part because it would ween players off of traditional prescription painkillers.

“It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense.”

 
Donovan McNabb Arrested in Arizona
 
The Middle East War on Christians

The Middle East War on Christians

Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews.

The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East's population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.

In the rubble of Syrian cities like Aleppo and Damascus, Christians who refused to convert to Islam have been kidnapped, shot and beheaded by Islamist opposition fighters. In Egypt, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood members burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way they once obliterated Jewish synagogues. And in Iraq, terrorists deliberately target Christian worshippers. This past Christmas, 26 people were killed when a bomb ripped through a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood.

Christians are losing their lives, liberties, businesses and their houses of worship across the Middle East. It is little wonder that native Christians have sought refuge in neighboring countries—yet in many cases they find themselves equally unwelcome. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-thirds of Iraq's 1.5 million Christians have been driven from their homes. Many settled in Syria before once again becoming victims of unrelenting persecution. Syria's Christian population has dropped from 30% in the 1920s to less than 10% today.

 
Paul Krugman getting rich talking about income inequality

 Robby Soave

Paul Krugman three-photo combo

Krugman: 'It's remarkably generous'

Economist Paul Krugman — who frequently uses his New York Times column to preach that rich people and Republicans are oppressing the poor with their capitalist policies — has been hired by City University of New York, which will pay him $225,000 to work on the ironically-named income inequality initiative.

His contract with CUNY was first reported by Gawker. He will be paid $225,000 for two semesters of work each year, or about $25,000 per month.

He is not required to teach during his first year of employment. Instead, the darling liberal pundit will be handsomely compensated for making media appearances and garnering publicity for CUNY’s Luxembourg Income Study Center.

CUNY also plans to reimburse Krugman $10,000 each year for travel expenses. A part-time researcher, or team of two researchers, will also be made available to him.

Even Krugman admitted that the deal seemed too good to be true.

CUNY is a public university. About 46 percent of its budget is financed via state revenue in the form of taxes.

 
Life Is What You Make It: An Interview with Peter Buffett

Life Is What You Make It: An Interview with Peter Buffett

By Mark Matousek

The youngest son of billionaire Warren Buffett talks about envy, greed, and why his father isn't giving the kids his money.

Peter Buffett is a poet in philanthropist’s clothing. The youngest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Peter is an Emmy Award-winning musician, composer (of 16 albums), and author who cares far more about helping to heal the planet – particularly the plight of women and girls – than he does about ego, status, or wealth. The NoVo Foundation, which he heads with his wife, Jennifer, is dedicated to catalyzing a “transformation in global society”  This empowering, hands-off approach to philanthropy is non-invasive and runs counter to what Peter called “The Charitable Industrial Complex” in an op-ed of that title for the New York Times that ruffled feathers among certain super rich (whose philanthropy he calls “conscience laundering”).  His bestselling book, Life is What You Make It, asks the important question: Do we choose the path of least resistance or the path of greatest satisfaction? I talked to Peter about his artistic journey and the novel experience (after his father gave NoVo $1 billion) of "sudden becoming Warren Buffett’s son."

 
Why You Get So Many Catalogs

Why You Get So Many Catalogs

By Elizabeth Holmes

Retailers find shoppers spend more online after browsing through lavish print spreads.

The old-school marketing format has survived to play a crucial creative role in modern e-commerce. Today, the catalog is bait for customers, like a store window display, and a source of inspiration, the way roaming through store aisles can be. The hope is shoppers will mark pages they like and then head online, or into a store, to buy.

Today's catalogs are no longer phone-book-size compilations of every item a retailer sells. Instead, they have fewer pages and merchandise descriptions, and more and bigger photos and lifestyle images.

For retailers, creating the inspiration comes with hefty costs, including expensive photo shoots and rising postage rates. And with catalogs produced many months in advance, they lock retailers into specific trends and merchandise, unlike digital marketing pieces that can be updated in minutes.

Even so, the potential for boosting sales has brought new interest in print catalogs. Some retailers founded primarily online are entering the fray, including Bonobos, the menswear brand built on the idea of better-fitting pants. And many traditional store retailers with a history of catalogs remain as committed as ever.

Catalogs require months of advance planning and production, presenting seasonal challenges for Athleta, a division of Gap Inc. The athletic-wear brand's catalogs feature action shots of models wearing the clothes and using the gear. Finding the right setting is essential—and difficult, when the winter catalog must be shot in July.

The average catalog costs much less than a dollar to produce, including printing, mailing, the purchase of new addresses and fees for an outside mailing house or project management, says Polly Wong, managing partner for strategic e-commerce and creative services at Belardi/Ostroy, a retail marketing consulting firm. Response rates and order sizes run the gamut, but typically each catalog mailed results in about $4 in sales, she says.

 
Obama: Immigration reform will be 'issue that haunts' GOP

Obama: Immigration reform will be 'issue that haunts' GOP

By Meghashyam Mali

President Obama said that immigration reform would be an “issue that haunts” Republicans if they failed to act and pressed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to use his “political capital” to find a solution.

“There's always gonna be a limit to what I can do in the absence of action by Congress,” Obama said in an interview aired Thursday on "CBS This Morning." “I think it is very important for Congress to recognize that this is going to be an issue that haunts them until it gets solved.”

 
America’s peacetime retreat from Europe now leaves U.S. powerless in Ukraine

Two A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft pilots fly in formation during a training exercise March 16, 2010, at Moody Air Force, Ga. Members of the 74th Fighter Squadron performed surge operations to push its support function to the limit and simulate pilots' wartime flying rates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman)

America’s peacetime retreat from Europe now leaves U.S. powerless in Ukraine

By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times

The Obama administration has removed all operational combat tanks from Europe and key strike aircraft, limiting the options for a show of force to bolster eastern NATO allies as Russia contemplates invading Ukraine.

That makes it a top priority to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington stands militarily behind NATO members such as the Baltic states, Poland and other countries once under Soviet domination.

The problem is, the U.S. shelf is a bit bare. In the past two years, the Obama administration has deactivated the only two armored combat brigade teams in Europe equipped with the Army’s main M1 battle tanks. It also disbanded a squadron of A-10 ground-attack jets that proved effective over Libya.

 
Hammerin’ Hank for speaking a racial truth

Hank Aaron (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jonathan Capehart

We rightly revel in how far we have come on race, but let’s not kid ourselves that we are anywhere close to harmony.

“Never in our 50-minute conversation did Aaron suggest anyone critical of President Obama is racist. Never did he compare the Republican Party to the Ku Klux Klan,” Nightengale further points out in his story. “Simply, Aaron stated that we are fooling ourselves if we don’t believe racism exists in our country. It’s simply camouflaged now. And, yes, he feels sorry for his good friend, President Obama, and the frustrations he endures.”

 
E.J. Dionne Jr. - Jeb Bush’s optimism school

Jeb Bush’s optimism school

His approach to politics offers some lessons for doomsayers.

The Republican Party faces a long-term challenge in presidential elections because it is defining itself as a gloomy enclave, a collection of pessimists who fear what our country is becoming and where it is going. The party’s hope deficit helps explain why there’s a boomlet for Jeb Bush, a man who dares to use the word “love” in a paragraph about illegal immigrants.

The flurry doesn’t mean that the former Florida governor is even running for president, let alone that he can win. But Bush is being taken seriously because his approach to politics is so different from what’s on offer from doomsayers who worry that immigrants will undermine the meaning of being American and that the champions of permissiveness will hack away at our moral core.

No wonder Bush’s statement that immigrants entering the country illegally were engaged in “an act of love” was greeted with such disdain by Donald Trump and other Republicans gathered at last weekend’s Freedom Summit in New Hampshire.

But it’s not just the immigration issue as such that separates Bush from so many in his party. It’s the broader sense of optimism he conveys when he describes an increasingly diverse nation as an asset. He even, on occasion, speaks of active government as a constructive force in American life. And while he is critical of President Obama — he’s a conservative Republican, after all — he does not suggest, as so many in his party do, that because of the 44th president, the United States is on a path to decline and ruin.

Bush is occupying this space because New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has lost it for now. His administration’s role in causing traffic Armageddon on access lanes to the George Washington Bridge last fall and the rapidly multiplying investigations this episode has called forth created Bush’s opportunity.

 
Muslim "rights" in New York City schools...

Push for School Holidays Unites New York Muslim

By SHARON OTTERMAN 

The city’s Muslims have struggled to speak as one politically because of their broad diversity, but they have found common ground in a fight to close schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

 It was a gathering remarkable in its diversity from among New York City’s Muslims, a growing group whose members often find it difficult to work together politically because of differences in national origin, language, sect and class. But a single issue has managed to unify them: the push to close the city’s public schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the most sacred Muslim holidays.

The issue might seem of modest importance alongside deeper concerns that continue to trouble many Muslims in the city, including the Police Department’s monitoring of their community since the Sept. 11 attacks. But the rally, held recently in a public school auditorium in Queens and organized in barely a week’s time, was a testament to how the Muslim community in the city is gaining a measure of political confidence.

Like all the major mayoral candidates in 2013, Bill de Blasio pledged during his campaign to add the Muslim holidays to the school calendar. But since his election, he has declined to give specifics and has warned it will take time.

Rather than consider the battle won, a coalition of Muslim, interfaith and secular groups that has largely been dormant since 2009 has begun to agitate again, planning rallies in the city’s five boroughs and distributing postcards that remind Mr. de Blasio that including the Muslim school holidays is a matter of “recognition, inclusion and respect.”

“He’s going to sign only if he has too much headache — he cannot get away from it,” Ahmed Jamil, the president of the Muslim American Society Community Center in Astoria, Queens, told the cheering crowd at the rally last month at Public School 69 in Jackson Heights. “Our rights — we are going to fight until we get them.”

 
“The Great Fatsby?”

You Can Call a Man Fat But You Can’t Fat-Shame Him

  • By Kat Stoeffel

Poor Leo, of all people: carelessly frolicking in the Bora Bora surf, his hair in a man-bun and a 22-year-old in his arms, without the faintest idea that his body would soon be served up for our evaluation. He was oblivious to his appearance, yes, but even so, his body hardly seemed to qualify as fat. No question mark!

 
Why the New Data Journalism Really Is Partisan

Why the New Data Journalism Really Is Partisan

By Jonathan Chait

 The empiricists may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in them. The data journalism movement in general, and Klein’s project in particular, has spurred a fierce ideological backlash. A series of critics, mostly from the right, but also from the left, have flayed their claim of disinterested expertise as as disingenuous cover. “If the voter’s life experiences or intuition tells him that a government bureaucracy will create an inferior health care experience,” argues David Harsanyi in the Federalist, “there’s no chart that’s going to change his mind.”

The scale of the divide was placed on vivid display during the 2012 election, when Silver — attempting to measure the ideologically neutral question of who would win the election — nonetheless became a partisan flash point. With various levels of sophistication, conservatives mounted their own critiques ranging from the philosophical (Jonah Goldberg: “the soul — particularly when multiplied into the complexity of a society — is not so easily number-crunched”) to the quasi-scientific (Sean Trende and Jay Cost leaned heavily on the term “bimodal distribution” to arrive at dramatically cheerier prognoses for Mitt Romney). The poll-unskewing movement infected mainstream reporters and commentators, many of whom declared the election a toss-up.

 
A New Catholic-Evangelical Coalition?

A New Catholic-Evangelical Coalition?

 Robert P. Jones

Social issues have brought about a surprising alliance between Protestant evangelicals and Catholic bishops—but the pontiff's focus on economic justice could complicate matters.

From a historical perspective, this is the most improbable of alliances. The nascent Baptist movement was animated by condemnations of the Catholic hierarchy. Take this example from the Second London Confession of 1689, an early Baptist confessional document, which declared that the pope is “that Antichrist, that Man of Sin, that Son of Perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.” Early Baptist leaders in the U.S., including Roger Williams, John Smyth, and B.H. Carroll (founder of my alma mater, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), commonly held the position that the Catholic Church was “the whore of Babylon” from the Book of Revelation, a figure associated with the Antichrist and the embodiment of evil in the world. As late as 2000, Southern Baptist Seminary President Al Mohler declared on Larry King Live that the pope holds a false office, leads a false church, and teaches a false gospel.

 
Putin reminds that force in Ukraine remains on table, as NATO beefs up

During his annual public call-in show, the Russian president said he would send troops into Ukraine to 'protect' locals if necessary.

“We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate and we will struggle for that,” Mr. Putin said during his annual call-in television show. “I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia [the upper house of Parliament] empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.”

 
Are You Meeting Your Child's or Teen's Most Crucial Need?

Are You Meeting Your Child's or Teen's Most Crucial Need?

By Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D.

This is your child's most crucial need.

As a psychologist for the past 23 years I've worked with well over two thousand children, teens, and their parents. Parents usually contact me to help their child with defiant behavior, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, school struggles, substance abuse concerns, amongst other struggles. 

In all my years practicing, I've had very few children tell me that their parents do not love them. This is a very good thing, Most parents pride themselves, with good reason, that their children know that they feel deeply loved by them.

 
Putin Asserts Right to Use Force in Ukraine

A pro-Russian militant stood guard outside a police building in the eastern city of Slovyansk on Thursday.

A pro-Russian man stood guard in the eastern city of Slovyansk.

Putin Asserts Right to Use Force in Ukraine

President Vladimir V. Putin said he hoped invasion of what he called “New Russia” would not be necessary.

 A crowd made up of civilians as well as militants formed outside the base, he said. Mr. Avakov’s description of the conflict indicated another challenge for the new government, as in other cases where pro-Russian groups have seized administrative buildings and police stations.

The events in Mariupol overnight, and in the towns of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, north of the provincial capital of Donetsk, on Wednesday, underscored both the limits of Ukraine’s military and the difficulties of the tactical problems it faces in its attempt to dislodge armed separatists from eastern Ukraine.

In a glaring humiliation for the government, a military operation to confront pro-Russian militants in the east unraveled on Wednesday with the entire contingent of 21 armored vehicles that had separated into two columns surrendering or pulling back.

The separatists are well armed and have been accompanied by bold local supporters, including unarmed civilians and elderly women, who mingle in front of and among the armed men.

 
Obama calls Biden 'one of the finest vice presidents in history,' but won't endorse

Obama calls Biden 'one of the finest vice presidents in history,' but won't endorse

By Meghashyam Mali

Obama said that Biden would "go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history and he has been as I said … a great partner in everything that I do,” in an interview aired Thursday on "CBS This Morning."

“I suspect that there may be other potential candidates for 2016 who have been great friends and allies. I know that we've got an extraordinary secretary of State who did great service for us and worked with me and Joe to help make the country safer,” said Obama, referencing Hillary Clinton, who has also said that she is weighing a 2016 run.

 
No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes

(Instagram)

No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes

By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times

President Obama may not be posing for selfies with any more sports stars, but snapping photos with his second-in-command is a different story.

The selfie ended up on the vice president’s Instagram account, with the caption: “Found a friend to join my first selfie on Instagram. Thanks for following and stay tuned. — VP.”

 
The Healing Power of Sleep

The Healing Power of Sleep

By Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS

Spring is in the air and cherry blossoms and magnolias are in full bloom in my neighborhood. As the days get longer, so do my To-Do lists. The sunny skies and warmer weather entice me to stay up as late as I can. And, it takes tremendous will power to turn off the lights and go to sleep while daylight lingers a bit longer each day.

 
9/11 families claim FBI spying on Guantánamo legal team 'sabotage'

Guantanamo KSM

9/11 families claim FBI spying on Guantánamo legal team 'sabotage'

Spencer Ackerman

Some victims' relatives speculate that FBI trying to sabotage commissions in order to bring 9/11 case back to federal court

Eight relatives of the victims of the September 11 attacks expressed frustration with this week’s unexpected derailment of the 9/11 military tribunal on Wednesday, saying they suspected that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surreptitious inquiry into the defense teams amounted to sabotage.

“How can you not have a suspicion with all that we’ve gone through, just in the last two years?” said Bill McGinly III, whose son Mark Ryan McGinly died on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center, where he worked as a precious metals trader.

McGinly was among ten family members who arrived at Guantánamo last weekend expecting to see the commissions address whether Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the 9/11 defendants, is sufficiently mentally competent to understand the proceedings, another in the litany of pretrial questions under consideration by the court ahead of the military trial proper.

Instead, McGinly and the other family members watched the commissions learn that the FBI secretly approached a classification specialist advising bin al-Shibh’s lawyers to get him to become an informant, apparently because of an investigation into the media leak of an unclassified manifesto by accused 9/11 architect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

The defense teams argue that a government investigation into their own conduct creates a potential conflict of interest, pitting their need to defend themselves against their responsibilities to defend their clients. On Tuesday morning, after a session lasting less than two hours, the judge in the case, army colonel James Pohl, ordered the defense teams to internally examine the extent of their penetration and to provide him with a witness list.

 
Is TSA Precheck a Better Way to Go Through Security?

Is TSA Precheck a Better Way to Go Through Security?

The TSA is in a huge push to get more people to sign up for Precheck, but there have been questions and customer confusion. Scott McCartney explains 

 
Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 7, 2014. Friday marks the second day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together prospective presidential candidates, conservative opinion leaders and tea party activists from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds

By Phillip Swarts - The Washington Times

Five days after federal law enforcement personnel withdrew from a confrontation with defiant rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada, both sides are preparing for their next move.

“The federal government shouldn’t violate the law, nor should we have 48 federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams,” Mr. Paul told a Kentucky radio station.

He also appealed for the Bundy family, which dispute the federal government’s jurisdiction over the disputed lands, to seek redress nonviolently.

“I hope it’ll go through a court,” he said “But if it were in a court, I would be siding and wanting to say that, look, the states and the individuals in the state should own these lands.”

 
Is the truth catching-up with Jameis Winston?

A Star Player Accused, and a Flawed Rape Investigation

As she gave her account to the police, several bruises began to appear, indicating recent trauma. Tests would later find semen on her underwear.

For nearly a year, the events of that evening remained a well-kept secret until the woman’s allegations burst into the open, roiling the university and threatening a prized asset: Jameis Winston, one of the marquee names of college football.

Three weeks after Mr. Winston was publicly identified as the suspect, the storm had passed. The local prosecutor announced that he lacked the evidence to charge Mr. Winston with rape. The quarterback would go on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead Florida State to the national championship.

In his announcement, the prosecutor, William N. Meggs, acknowledged a number of shortcomings in the police investigation. In fact, an examination by The New York Times has found that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.

The police did not follow the obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter. After the accuser identified Mr. Winston as her assailant, the police did not even attempt to interview him for nearly two weeks and never obtained his DNA.

A month before the rape accusation became public, the university’s victim advocate learned that a second woman had sought counseling after a sexual encounter with Mr. Winston, according to the prosecutor’s office. The woman did not call it rape — she did not say “no.” But the encounter, not previously reported, “was of such a nature that she felt violated or felt that she needed to seek some type of counseling for her emotions about the experience,” according to Georgia Cappleman, the chief assistant state attorney, who said she had spoken with the advocate but not with the woman.

The victim advocate was concerned enough about the episode to have alerted Mr. Winston’s first accuser.

Ms. Cappleman said that based on what she was told, a crime had not been committed. Nonetheless, Ms. Cappleman said she found the encounter troubling, because it “sheds some light on the way Mr. Winston operates” and on what may be “a recurring problem rather than some type of misunderstanding that occurred in an isolated situation.”

The detective handling the case waited two months to write his first report and then prematurely suspended his inquiry without informing the accuser. By the time the prosecutor got the case, important evidence had disappeared, including the video of the sexual act.

 
If Vladimir Putin reads SparklyMorons , what does the think about America?

If Vladimir Putin reads SparklyMorons , what does the think about America?

 
Are Families the Key to Reducing Poverty?

Are Families the Key to Reducing Poverty?

Peter-Christian Aigner

Looking back on the Moynihan report, misunderstood by liberals and conservatives alike...

The 1965 document is a touchstone in the debate over black culture and the War on Poverty. The author's call for full employment and a welfare state, however, is mostly forgotten.

For months, Republicans have been saying that the Democrats' so-called "War on Poverty” is a failure, and that it is time for conservatives to break liberals' "monopoly" on the issue by joining the debate. Because they disagree about the fundamental causes of the problem, however, it has been impossible to have a reasonable dispute over solutions. GOP leaders routinely describe government as the very source of poverty—a "hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives," in Representative Paul Ryan's words. 

Liberals have attacked them as racist and uncaring, but, as Ta-Nehisi Coates reminded us, Democrats have often described the problem in near-identical terms. Numerous works have shown that the cultural explanation of poverty is ancient and goes well beyond partisan and ethnic-racial lines. Even during the Great Depression, many Americans blamed laziness for the joblessness and hardship abroad. Making the case for work over "the dole," Franklin D. Roosevelt called welfare a "narcotic" that would "induce[] a spiritual and moral disintegration to the national fiber" if made permanent.

 
Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote.

Coalition of the Disappointed

Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote.

You can tell it's an election year because so many noncrises are suddenly urgent priorities. Real median household income is still lower than it was in 2007, the smallest share of Americans is working since 1978, and the Russians are marching west, but Democrats are training fire on race, gender and the grievances of identity politics.

"We have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections we don't vote at the same rates," President Obama said at a Houston fundraiser the other day. He means that the Obama Democrats are now what they call the "coalition of the ascendent," made up of minorities, young people, single women and affluent, college-educated cultural liberals. The problem is that this year they may be a coalition of the disappointed, so Democrats are trying to scare them to the polls with pseudo-controversies.

 
Obama to GOP: 'Listen to the will of the American people' on immigration

Obama to GOP: 'Listen to the will of the American people' on immigration

By Meghashyam Mali

President Obama on Wednesday urged House Republicans to “listen to the will of the American people” and bring immigration reform for a vote.

“One year ago, the Senate introduced comprehensive bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. Both sides worked together to pass that bill with a strong bipartisan vote,” said Obama.

“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” he added. “Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from 'Dreamers.'

 
Hillary: Defining a Legacy That’s a Work in Progress

Defining a Legacy That’s a Work in Progress

By MARK LANDLER and AMY CHOZICK 

Hillary Rodham Clinton may face a dilemma as she recounts her record before a possible White House bid: Much of her work as secretary of state is either unfinished or went awry.

From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the grinding civil war in Syria to the latest impasse in the Middle East peace process, the turbulent world has frustrated Mr. Obama, and is now defying Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to articulate a tangible diplomatic legacy.

“I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. “I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”

..............................................

The criticism of the Russian election led Mr. Putin to accuse her of fomenting unrest, and left some of Mr. Obama’s senior aides unhappy. “Some at the White House thought she overstepped,” said Michael A. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, who supported her view.

At the same time, Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were curbed by her innate caution, her determination to show loyalty to a rival-turned-boss and her growing pains in the job. Still, dissecting her record yields tantalizing clues about what kind of foreign policy she might pursue as president. “Hillary unbound,” people who worked with her say, would be instinctively less reluctant than Mr. Obama to commit the military to foreign conflicts.

“It’s not that she’s quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former White House aide who played a behind-the-scenes role in opening secret direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

Leon E. Panetta, who forged close ties to Mrs. Clinton as defense secretary and C.I.A. director, said she was a stalwart supporter of the C.I.A.’s activities in Pakistan — read, drone strikes — and an influential voice in advising Mr. Obama to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“The president has made some tough decisions,” Mr. Panetta said. “But it’s been a mixed record, and the concern is, the president defining what America’s role in the world is in the 21st century hasn’t happened.”

“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Mr. Panetta said, “and certainly, she would.”

 
Steve Jobs's 13 Most Inspiring Quotes

Steve Jobs's 13 Most Inspiring Quotes

 By Dylan Love

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."
 
US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks

US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks

Two currencies - US Dollar and Rouble

 By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The US Treasury faces a more formidable prey with Russia, the world's biggest producer of energy with a $2 trillion economy, superb scientists and a first-strike nuclear arsenal

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot. The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

"It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11. “The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare. Bear this in mind as Washington tightens the noose on Vladimir Putin's Russia, slowly shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies and state bodies with $714bn of dollar debt (Sberbank data).

Princeton professor Harold James sees echoes of events before the First World War when Britain and France imagined they could use financial warfare to check German power. He says the world's interlocking nexus means this cannot be contained. Sanctions risk setting off a chain-reaction to match the 2008 shock. "Lehman was a small institution compared with the Austrian, French and German banks that have become highly exposed to Russia’s financial system. A Russian asset freeze could be catastrophic for European – indeed, global – financial markets," he wrote on Project Syndicate.

 
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