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CPAC 2015 Recap

Mar. 3rd, 2015 

    The annual three-day Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, was held in Maryland this past weekend. The Conference drew a wide array of policy makers and thought leaders from the conservative movement, as well as the usual crop of 2016 presidential hopefuls. In this episode we discuss some of the major takeaways from the CPAC. We review Rand Paul’s straw poll victory, the continued rise of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and explain why the biggest headline might be the performance by Jeb Bush.

Boehner on the Clock

Mar. 2nd, 2015 

     Republican leadership failed to advance to a 3-week funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security in the House on Friday. It was a stunning defeat for Speaker John Boehner. Instead Congress passed a 1-week funding bill with a new deadline set for Friday. Democrats contend that a deal has been reached for the House to pass a clean spending bill for the rest of the year in exchange for Democratic votes and support. How likely is this to happen? We discuss in today’s episode.

DHS Funding Goes Down to the Wire

Feb. 27th, 2015 

     Today is the deadline for funding the Department of Homeland Security. The question of what Republicans will do about a funding vote remains. The Senate passed a clean funding bill that would fund DHS through the rest of the year. But a vote to fund DHS for an additional 3 weeks just failed in the House of Representatives. In this episode we discuss why the current strategy may be a net negative for Republicans and we also discuss some possible outcomes to the impasse.

DHS Funding & 200th Episode Commemoration

Feb. 26th, 2015 

     The Department of Homeland Security will shut down unless Congress reaches a funding solution within the next 24 hours. At issue is Congressional Republicans’ desire to roll back President Obama’s executive actions granting 5 million undocumented immigrants work permits. On the surface the fight seems to be between Democrats and Republicans but the real fight is taking place between Senate Republicans and House Republicans. We detail the standoff, the latest developments and try and decipher who will blink first.

This episode marks episode #200 of In the News. We’re quite proud and excited to have reached this milestone. In this episode I briefly discuss the history of the show, its impetus and where I hope to see it go from here. We also announced the winner of our 200th episode special $25 gift card giveaway contest from Amazon. We hope you listen!

Time stamps for this episode:

DHS Funding: 0:00

Gift card giveaway: 29:07

The President Pulls out the Pen

Feb. 25th, 2015 

     The Keystone Pipeline has been debated for the better part of 5 years. Both sides of the debate have invested millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in pushing their position on whether the 1200-mile pipeline should be built. Many believe that the resources invested are wildly disproportionate to the impact the project would have on the economy and the environment.

The newly elected Republican Congress, in keeping with campaign promises, sent a bill on the pipeline to the president’s desk, which the president promptly vetoed. In this episode we discuss the bill, the project and why this may be the first of many such face-offs with Congress over the president’s remaining 2 years in office.

VA Scandal Update

Feb. 24th, 2015 

     Last year it was revealed several Veterans Administration facilities were falsifying records in an effort to make it seem that veterans were receiving medical attention within approved time frames. It is believed that up to 40 veterans lost their lives because of lack of timely care at these facilities.

President Obama appointed former Proctor & Gamble CEO, Bob McDonald to the head of the VA in an effort to stem the tide these problems. McDonald made a recent appearance on Meet the Press in which some of the statistics on progress given have been disputed. In this episode we discuss the source of that dispute as well as give a general update on the state of progress of the VA’s problems.

Sister Soulja & Missed Opportunities

Feb. 23rd, 2015 

     Gov. Scott Walker, in New York City last week, attended a private group dinner in an attempt to woo wealthy donors ahead of a possible presidential bid. At that dinner former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani made some controversial statements about President Obama, namely that the president does not love America. Instead of distancing himself from Giuliani’s comments when asked about them, Gov. Walker said only that the Mayor can speak for himself.

In this episode we discuss Giuliani’s comments and the related fallout. We also explore the idea that in politics, refusing to distance yourself from controversial statements made by members of your own party can often wind up being a missed opportunity.

Obamacare Second Enrollment Hiccups

Feb. 20th, 2015 

     The Obama administration announced that roughly 800,000 taxpayers may have received erroneous information regarding their Obamacare subsidies. Information that may affect their tax returns. The administration also announced the second enrollment period that ended last week will be extended for another 6 weeks starting in March. The administration has done this to allow people who are going to liable for the tax penalty this year to avoid paying it next year.

In this episode we analyze these setbacks in the broader context of whether the government has bitten off more than it can chew when it comes to the health care law. We also discuss the legal battle in which the Supreme Court has given itself another opportunity to decide the law’s fate.

A Wrench in the Works on Immigration

Feb. 19th, 2015 

     A district court judge in Texas has ruled that President Obama’s executive actions on immigration are illegal. Justice Andrew Hanen ruled that while the president does have prosecutorial discretion when it comes to deportations and their deferment, he does not have the authority to bestow benefits on recipients such as work permits.

Congress has been deadlocked on how to handle Obama’s executive actions on immigration with funding for the Department of Homeland Security hanging in the balance. Will Republicans view the court decision as a victory or as a sign that momentum is on their side and that they should continue the fight? We discuss what should happen vs. what will likely happen at this point on today’s episode.

Escalating in Ukraine

Feb. 18th, 2015 

     Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany brokered a cease fire that would bring violence in the year long conflict between the Ukrainian central government and separatist rebels to an end. Although widely observed in many areas in eastern Ukraine fighting did flare up in the eastern city of Debaltseve over the weekend, leading many to question Russia’s sincerity in pursuing peace in the beleaguered nation.

Amid the conflict there are repeated calls for the US and Western European powers to arm the Ukrainian gov’t. What are the dangers involved in doing so? What are the internal politics of Russia that are allowing its leadership to remain so highly dedicated to keeping Ukraine from gravitating toward Western influence? We discuss in today’s show.

Who’s Behind the Mask?

Feb. 17th, 2015 

     ISIS released a video showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian prisoners they had abducted in Libya. This latest attack prompted Egypt to launch airstrikes against ISIS, in Libya. The video was the latest in a series of provocative and disturbing acts carried out by ISIS over the last several weeks.

In this episode we discuss why it seems that these acts conducted by ISIS are intended to illicit anger and revenge violence rather than any specific political or geographical goal. We also discuss why there seems to be a gap between our stated goals in regards to the terrorist group and the authorization the president is seeking from Congress on how to fight them.

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