Last week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is widely considered to be mulling a presidential run, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal stating the policies of so-called "interventionists" such as Hillary Clinton in Syria have "abetted ISIS." In that piece Paul outlined his support for a far more cautious foreign policy:
A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. [The Wall Street Journal]
Paul is now singing a different tune.
On Friday, Paul told The Associated Press in an email that he was in favor of robust military force when it came to ISIS:
If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily. [AP]
That position is well beyond Obama's limited interventions against ISIS, which have so far amounted to humanitarian aid for those displaced by ISIS' advances, as well as airstrikes and other support for Kurdish and Iraqi government fighters on the ground.
Paul's father, the former presidential candidate Ron Paul, remains steadfastly against military intervention of any kind, arguing: "I think the sooner we get out of there, the better. I think the policy we should follow is one designed to allow the Iraqis to solve all their problems and stay out of this and let them deal with it because we tried for a long time." John Aziz
Only in America: Lawmaker refuses to back LGBT civil rights protections because similar laws don't exist for obese people
An Indiana lawmaker is refusing to back civil rights protections for gays and lesbians because there are no similar laws protecting "fat white people." State Rep. Woody Burton called homosexuality "a behavioral thing," like overeating, and argued, "If I pass a law that says transgenders and homosexuals are covered under the civil rights laws, does it say anywhere that fat white people are covered?"
Twitter revealed Friday that it has deleted 125,000 accounts threatening or promoting terrorism since mid-2015, CNBC reports. The Brookings Institution estimated last year that there were at least 46,000 such accounts in existence; Twitter's numbers indicate that ISIS and other terrorist groups have either upped their presence on social media, or Twitter has become better at targeting terrorist accounts.
Spam-fighting technology flags posts by potential terrorists, which are then reviewed by humans, The Associated Press reports. Prior to Friday, Twitter had not revealed the scale to which terrorists were active on Twitter. Jeva Lange
At the price it sells for, this little chocolate ball "better cure PMS, heartbreak, and file our income taxes," said Dominique Haikel at E! Online. For years now, La Madeline au Truffle ($250) from Connecticut-based chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt has reigned as the most extravagant confection in the world. Each one is made to order to get the most of its seven-day shelf life. Dark chocolate dusted in cocoa powder encases a rare mushroom — a Périgord truffle — that's been smothered in a chocolate ganache infused with truffle oil. The whole thing weighs just 1.9 oz, but comes resting on a bed of sugar pearls in a pretty silver box.
The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, will meet in Cuba next Friday, marking the first such meeting between a pope and a Russian patriarch in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054's Great Schism over issues such as papal authority and have remained "formally estranged" ever since, The Washington Post reports.
The private, two-hour meeting will take place at José Martí International Airport in Havana. It's seen as the most significant effort ever made to repair relations. Becca Stanek
Rumor has it that Bernie Sanders will make an appearance on this weekend's Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Larry David, who just so happens to be a skilled imitator of the Vermont senator. "We'll be live in New York," Sanders' senior adviser Tad Devine told CNN Friday.
This would mark Sanders' first actual appearance on the show, though David has appeared many times this season to impersonate him. Sanders' Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton made a cameo back in October.
His appearance would come just days before the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday. NBC has yet to make an official announcement. Becca Stanek
With four days to go until the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump has made what some believe is a questionable move — leaving the state altogether. While other candidates have been staying in hotels in the state, Trump canceled his New Hampshire event on Friday after inexplicably flying back to New York late Thursday. Trump instead plans to attend a rally in South Carolina Friday evening after essentially having "a day off," Red State reports.
"Big storm in New Hampshire. Moved my event to Monday. Will be there next four days," Trump tweeted by way of explanation.
The rest of the candidates have chosen to press on, not sharing Trump's habit of flying home every night after campaigning. "My 90-year-old mother made it out to campaign," Jeb Bush tweeted at Trump.
An anonymous official speaking with CNN also raised the question of if Friday's snowfall was truly a reason to cancel an event. "There are no other campaigns canceling events as far as I know right now. We would expect there to be a blizzard for a campaign to cancel. So maybe the question is: Why did he go back to New York last night?" the GOP official asked. Watch MSNBC break down the possible consequences of Trump's decision below. Jeva Lange
A Minnesota school has banned Valentine's Day, Christmas, and other "dominant holidays" to prevent students from diverse cultures from feeling left out. Celebrating the holidays in a school with many immigrants is "threatening the culture of tolerance and respect for all," said Bruce Vento Elementary School principal Scott Masini. Many parents responded with anger, with one calling the policy "nuts."