Today at Liberty University, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (Republican, as you know) became the first serious candidate to officially throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 presidency. And, just like that, the race is officially on.
Cruz's early entry is largely seen as an attempt to steal some thunder from other GOP probables who have polled better (most polls put Cruz at something like eighth place among likely Republican candidates)—particularly from people like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Among many members of his party, Cruz is seen as divisive (or, as NPR has it, the "enfant terrible" of Congress.) Nevertheless, experts note that Cruz is a gifted speaker and a Tea Party hero—his odds are long, but not wholly unrealistic.
The Senator's speech was heavy on conservative and faith-based talking points. He asked America to "imagine a candidate" who would abolish the IRS, stand "unapologetically" with Israel, repeal Obamacare and “defend the sanctity of human life and uphold the sacrament of marriage.” Discuss
The United States is facing a shortage of lethal drugs. That's not much of a problem, unless you want drugs to kill people, which many states do. Lethal drugs are manufactured in Europe, where companies suffering a crisis of conscience are refusing to sell them to America. That's a problem for places like Texas, which only has enough drugs for two more lethal injections (both of which are on the table for next week.)
It's not a problem for Utah yet, but it could become one, and Utah is getting proactive about it by doing things the old fashioned way. Lawmakers have approved a bill that would bring back the firing squad, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert is trying to make up his mind about whether or not to sign it. If he does, that's not to say that Utah would start using a firing squad—only that they would have the legal option to. Just in case. Discuss
The New York Times is reporting that during her time as Secretary of State, presumable 2016 presidential contender and tween idol Hillary Clinton used her personal email exclusively, potentially violating government laws. If that's true, Clinton spent four years without the ".gov" email address she should have had as Head of State Department—an email address that would archive all of her communications. Her personal email address has no such archival guarantees
How bad is it? Well, it's drawing some pretty public condemnation from both sides of the aisle. "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario—short of nuclear winter—where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business," said the National Archives' former Director of Litigation, Jason R. Baron.
A Clinton spokesperson said Clinton followed the "letter and spirit of the rules" ... Discuss
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and 16 previous denomination presidents have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to take action against ISIS. The letter comes on the heels of ISIS' video depicting the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, and a report that they've kidnapped hundreds more. “We humbly call upon you to use the influence and power of your distinguished office to take the necessary actions now in this urgent hour to bring an end to these human atrocities,” the letter stated.
All told, it's a good letter, respectful of the office of the President and humble in its tone. As RNS points out, the timing is a little off (in more ways than one: it was accidentally dated March 2, 2014.) But more to the point, President Obama has already submitted a draft of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force to Congress, where it has been met by a "lack of enthusiasm" among GOP Congressional leaders ... Discuss
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed—continuing its bid for legitimacy—published a lengthy interview with President Barack Obama which covered a variety of intriguing topics. For example, Obama finds both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton to be "highly qualified" candidates for the presidency, he thinks Vladimir Putin "has a foot very much in the Soviet past" and, notably, dismissed the idea that the "coalition" of people who elected him would automatically support the next Democratic nominee. "I don’t think any president inherits a coalition," he said. "I think any candidate has to win over people based on what they stand for, what their message is, what their vision is for the future."
Interesting points but this is still Buzzfeed, and Buzzfeed being what it is (and the Obama Administration's media strategy being what it is) you know the President wasn't getting out of there without some sort of viral-ready video ...
You never know what the Internet is going to give you on any given day, which is why it's important to stay on your toes. Tomorrow it might be a ferret who correctly predicted the Super Bowl, and next week it might be Anna Kendrick unwrapping a Starburst with her tongue. Today, however, it's President Barack Obama being edited to sing "Shake It Off." Why? Don't ask why. It's the Internet. You figure it out ... Discuss