Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. "The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in a brief notice delivered to the Senate. "But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people." The move sends the politically charged issue back to Congress, where Republicans haven't shown they can muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to override Obama's veto.
"American Sniper" lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society -- the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a "Christian" nation to exterminate the "lesser breeds" of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.
Max Fisher, Vox: Fox News is not exactly known as an ally of the Obama administration, especially when it comes to disputes between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, or disputes between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet two prominent Fox News hosts, Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith, harshly criticized Boehner and Netanyahu on Friday for secretly arranging a Netanyahu speech to Congress that is transparently aimed at undermining President Obama, and set up without the White House's knowledge.
Despite Sen. Joni Ernst's rhetoric about growing up poor on Tuesday night's State of the Union GOP response, the Iowa Republican's family received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government subsidies, the District Sentinel news co-op reported. Farm subsidy records indicate that the freshman senator's father, Richard Culver, has received $38,395 in commodity subsidies and conservation payments; Ernst's uncle, Dallas Culver, has reportedly received $250,000 in federal corn subsidies and $117,141 in additional aid; and her paternal grandfather, Harold Culver, got an additional $57,479 in aid between 1995 and 2001. In a widely quoted line from her response, Ernst said of her childhood, "I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry." read more