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June 12, 2014
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While America's political class obsesses over Eric Cantor's stunning defeat, a perhaps more predictable — if dramatically more serious — defeat is taking place on the foreign stage. In this case, it is the Iraqi army that appears to be getting walloped. From The Guardian:

"Iraq is facing its gravest test since the U.S.-led invasion more than a decade ago, after its army capitulated to Islamist insurgents who have seized four cities and pillaged military bases and banks, in a lightning campaign which seems poised to fuel a cross-border insurgency endangering the entire region.

... Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers — roughly 30,000 men — simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq's second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting." [The Guardian]

For those wondering how the U.S. — after investing (wisely or not) so much in the region — could allow this to happen, the suggestion that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the U.S. to consider airstrikes against the militants will surely be a sticking point.

That, coupled with New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins' prior reporting that, when it came to whether or not the U.S. should have left a residual force behind in Iraq, "every single senior [Iraqi] political leader, no matter what party or what group, including Maliki, said to them privately, we want you to stay," seems to buttress the argument that Obama dropped the ball on winning the peace.

Some, of course, will blame George W. Bush for starting the whole mess. But for a president who once seemed poised to reverse the Democratic Party's anemic foreign policy image, the potential question over "Who lost Iraq" would be yet another serious indictment of the "Obama doctrine." Matt K. Lewis

May 28, 2016

With 7 in 10 Americans reporting they are "frustrated" with the 2016 presidential election, this year could be the Libertarian Party's big chance — and America's largest third party is holding its national convention in Orlando, Florida, this weekend.

On the agenda: picking a presidential nominee from among three contenders. Though the contest is considered close, greatest name recognition belongs to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012, when he picked up more than 1 million votes. Johnson recently polled at 10 percent nationally against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and he would need 15 percent support to make it into the general election debates.

You can watch livestream of the convention proceedings below. The nomination is expected to take place around 5 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian

May 28, 2016

Martin Short and Maya Rudolph stopped by The Tonight Show on Friday, so naturally host Jimmy Fallon had to find something totally outlandish for them to do together. The gang spoofed '80s cop shows with The Windy City Blue, a gag that gets progressively sillier — and windier — with each new bit. Hold onto your hat and watch below. Julie Kliegman

May 28, 2016
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The World Health Organization dismissed a call Saturday to move or cancel the Rio Summer Olympics due to the spread of the Zika virus. The U.N. agency was responding to a Friday open letter from 150 health experts urging them to delay or relocate the event "in the name of public health," citing the mosquito-borne virus' link to birth defects.

"Based on the current assessment of the Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games," the group's statement read.

The Zika virus is thought to have originated in Brazil. Julie Kliegman

May 28, 2016
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Speaking at Harvard University, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Friday that she expects to hike interest rates "probably in the coming months" if the economy continues to improve.

Yellen noted that "growth looks to be picking up from the various data that we monitor," referencing rising oil prices and a weaker, stabilizing dollar as the rationale for her decision, which corresponds with recent remarks from other Fed policymakers.

She argued that a gradual increase from the near-zero rate the central bank has maintained since the 2008 financial crisis "would be appropriate" to push inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent goal. Bonnie Kristian

May 28, 2016
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Things are looking good for Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, and not only because he's expected to star in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel.

James scored 33 points Friday in the Cavs' 113-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors. With the win, his team earned a spot in the NBA Finals against either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors, which would be a rematch of last year's contest.

This means, as The New York Times reports, that James is set to appear in his sixth-straight NBA Finals, and seventh overall. He's a two-time champ, both from when he took his talents to the Miami Heat. Julie Kliegman

May 28, 2016

Police arrested at least 35 people Friday at a San Diego rally for Donald Trump. About 1,000 people turned out to protest the hard-line immigration policies of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Reuters reports.

Clashes between protesters and supporters were largely non-violent, but police in riot gear began pushing and pepper spraying protesters.

Trump's campaign has come under fire for its history of conflict at rallies and its subsequent handling of both protesters and reporters. On Wednesday, police arrested protesters at Trump's Anaheim rally after they reportedly pelted officers with objects. Julie Kliegman

May 27, 2016

A Home Depot employee in Staten Island, New York, sparked death threats by wearing an "America Was Never Great" hat to work, The New York Times reports. Krystal Lake, 22, says she wore the hat after several co-workers wore pro–Donald Trump pins. "The point of the hat was to say that America needs change and improvement," Lake said. A company spokesman said Lake has been told never to wear the hat again. The Week Staff

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