Why do people take an instant dislike to Ted Cruz?

Because it saves time, according to one former Bush administration official. But joking aside, it is quite extraordinary how so many people, including colleagues and acquaintances going all the way back to his college days, describe him as a totally unlikable person. Not only do they feel that way, they are all coming out of the woodwork to say so openly.
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The political debate frame has shifted to the left

It was interesting to read reports of the recent back-and-forth between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as to who is a real progressive, with both claiming the label. It was not long ago that Republicans had managed to so damage the label of even the perfectly honorable political tradition of liberalism that leaders of the Democratic party shied away from it, and veered into the so-called ‘third way’ neoliberalism policies that they would describe as centrism or moderate or some such euphemism.
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The Daily Show reviews the Iowa caucus results

(This clip aired on February 3, 2016. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

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Taking a break from political debates

I have decided to take a break from watching the debates and town halls held by the Democratic and Republican candidates. I started watching the Democratic town hall on Wednesday but soon got tired of it. I think it is because as a fairly close observer of politics, I am not learning anything new about the candidates’ views from these events. I think I pretty much know where they stand so watching would be largely for style not substance and I am not that interested in style. I figure that if they say something really new or interesting, I will hear or read about it elsewhere.
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What war does

Words cannot adequately describe the horrors that wars inflict on people. In this video captured by drones flying over the city of Homs in Syria, we get a look at the staggering levels of devastation that has been inflicted on the people of that city. This used to be the third largest city in Syria and a major industrial center. It is heartbreaking to see the impoverishment of yet another country in that region similar to the way that Iraq and Libya, other countries that had a modern infrastructure, were ruined by wars.
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UN panel says that Julian Assange has been kept in ‘arbitrary detention’

The Guardian is reporting that Julian Assange’s three and a half years holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London constitutes “arbitrary detention”. The official report is to be released tomorrow though the British and Swedish governments were informed two weeks ago. Assange’s lawyers are already calling for him to be allowed to leave the embassy without the threat of extradition to the US hanging over him.
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Score a win for the Satanists

In a post a few days ago, I wrote about how The Satanic Temple had applied to deliver the opening prayer at a meeting of the Phoenix, AZ city council. The council had been having opening prayers for over sixty years but the 2014 Greece v Galloway decision by the US Supreme Court had required government entities that offered such prayers to open it up to all groups and thus avoid the appearance of endorsing specific viewpoints.
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Rand Paul also bows out

Rand Paul has dropped out of the Republican race for his party’s presidential nomination after coming in fifth in Iowa. I thought that he would stay in at least until the New Hampshire primary because the evangelical climate of Iowa was not really conducive to his campaign and the more libertarian streak in New Hampshire would be better for him. But his poll numbers were poor there too and he must have decided it was hopeless to carry on.
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