A hilarious sendup of the Iowa presidential cattle call

The Daily Show had a field day making fun of the Iowa ‘summit’ hosted by congressman Steve King (R-Crazy) and the Koch brothers, finding much that was eminently mockable in those proceedings. Jon Stewart also alluded obliquely to something that I have been wondering about but hesitated to say out loud, and that is whether Sarah Palin’s greater than usual incoherence (a high bar that she easily surpassed on this occasion) was due possibly to her having been drinking before her speech.
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The strange and strong US-Saudi Arabia alliance

On the surface, there is something quite mystifying about the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. That nation acts like it can do anything at all and the US will not say a word against it. Their human rights record along practically any axis you choose (gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, freedom of speech, you name it) can only be described as appalling, with harsh punishments routinely meted out for people exercising what we would consider to be the most basic of rights. There is not even a pretense of democracy, with an autocratic monarchic system ruling the country. Even the fact that 15 of the 19 people who carried out the 9/11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia did nothing to shake this relationship and instead the US attacked Iraq on wholly trumped up charges.
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The truth about Alan Gross

As part of the deal to improve relations with Cuba, that government released Alan Gross from its prison and sent him back. Gross has been portrayed as a naive and innocent individual, a do-gooder trying to help ordinary Cubans and who, while engaged in perfectly innocuous activities on the island, was caught in the net of an oppressive government and unjustly held. That has been the dominant media narrative about Gross. At the State of the Union address, he was one of the president’s guests of honor and was given a shout-out during the speech.
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The State of the Union is boring

Two days ago, president Obama gave his state of the union speech that I, as is my usual practice, did not watch. I really hate meaningless political rituals. Apparently he listed several progressive proposals and was not at all conciliatory towards the Republicans or their agenda, even making pointed digs and laughing and winking at them, which has infuriated them.
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