2014 Watch
June 3, 2014
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The Tea Party has so far been unsuccessful in its attempts to pick off entrenched GOPers via primary campaigns this election cycle. That may all change Tuesday in Mississippi, where a strong challenger could knock off a sitting senator — and in doing so draw Democrats an easier route to maintaining their Senate edge.

The Tea Party vs. Establishment dichotomy is a bit reductive, but it fits the fight between state Sen. Chris McDaniel — endorsed by Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum, among others — and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. And unlike other upstart challengers, McDaniel has a decent chance to win; scarce polling on the race shows him running even with Cochran.

Though presumed Democratic candidate Travis Childers is a long shot to win regardless of who secures the GOP nomination, he'd certainly fare better against the more volatile, lesser-known McDaniel. In a best-case scenario for Democrats, McDaniel tanks his own campaign by turning into another Richard Mourdock, the former Indiana GOP Senate candidate who won the party primary, then bombed in the general election after saying pregnancies resulting from rape were "something that God intended to happen."

Is a repeat of that scenario unlikely? Absolutely. But Democrats would still rather see the Tea Party emerge victorious Tuesday, if only to make one more Senate race a little more winnable for them come November. Jon Terbush

1:57 a.m. ET
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If you drew a Venn diagram with one circle being rap fans and the other Rolling Stones partisans, the group in the overlapping oval will probably be pretty conflicted over Keith Richards' new interview with the New York Daily News. "Rap — so many words, so little said," Richards told the Daily News' Jim Farber. "What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there... All they need is a drumbeat and somebody yelling over it and they're happy. There's an enormous market for people who can't tell one note from another."

Richards, 71, was just getting started. "Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath," he said. "I just thought they were great jokes." He went on to say he stopped appreciating the Beatles in 1967, considers bandmate Mick Jagger a snob ("your friends don't have to be perfect," he added), and thinks most other rock guitarists are egotists who play too much without enough taste. For more of Richards' thoughts on the world, his upcoming (reluctant) solo album, and his drug of choice these days, read the interview at the Daily News. Peter Weber

Trump Fever
12:37 a.m. ET

On Thursday, while Donald Trump was inside New York's Trump Tower signing his pledge of allegiance to the Republican Party, protesters were outside railing against what they called his harsh rhetoric regarding Latinos. Trump's security guards started taking away their signs, and one protester, identified as Efraín Galicia, went to grab back a big blue sign reading "Trump: Make America Racist Again" — and he also grabbed at the security guard, who turned a delivered a pretty vicious punch to the head. You can watch the encounter, courtesy of NY1:

Galicia compared his treatment to that of TV news personality Jorge Ramos, who was escorted out of an earlier Trump press conference by a guard who bears a striking resemblance to the one who punched Galicia. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, said that a member of Trump's security detail had been "jumped from behind," and that it would "likely be pressing charges." Peter Weber

Change in Guatemala
12:00 a.m. ET
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Little more than 12 hours after Otto Perez Molina became the first Guatemalan president ever to resign early Thursday, his vice president, Alejandro Maldonado, was sworn in to replace him. Perez Molina, 64, was ordered locked up until a court hearing on Friday to face corruption charges, and was seen being escorted into a military prison in central Guatemala City.

Maldonado was Perez Molina's second vice president, after the first was forced to resign and then jailed in the bribe-taking scandal that also brought down the president and much of his cabinet. In his inaugural speech, Maldonado ordered all remaining top government officials to resign and vowed to replaced them with a broadly representative administration that will "leave a legacy of honesty." Addressing the protesters that have filled the street in anger over the five-month-old corruption scandal, the new president said "you can't consider your work done," adding: "In what is left of this year, there must be a positive response."

Guatemala holds presidential elections on Sunday, and Maldonado will serve until the new president is sworn in in January. None of the three main candidates are expected to earn 50 percent of the vote, meaning there will likely be a runoff election in October. Regardless, the peaceful resignation of Perez Molina — who says he is innocent — is being hailed as an unprecedented step toward political accountability in a country with a long history of often brutal repression. Peter Weber

September 3, 2015
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During a press conference on Thursday for what historians will one day refer to simply as The Pledge, Donald Trump found time to rave about Kanye West, saying, "I would never say bad about [Kanye] because he says such nice things about me." It wasn't the first time Trump has name-dropped the rapper — in fact, the two have a long and occasionally tense history.

Trump has been known to call West a good friend, and they even sound eerily similar when they speak. For his part, West has at times clashed with the current administration, a frequent target of Trump's.

Still, Kimye spent the night of the first Republican debate chilling with Hillary Clinton, and Kim Kardashian also tweeted a selfie before the rendezvous, calling Clinton "our next president."

The 2016 election, in other words, could be a test of loyalties for West. Here's a peek at the history between him and The Donald name-checking each other:

2015: Trump on West: "I'll never say bad about Kanye West. I love him. But maybe in a few years I'll have to run against him and take that back." Earlier in the week, Trump also said: "[West is] a nice guy. I hope to run against him someday."

2014: Trump on if he got a Kimye wedding invite: "Well, I don't know that I'd be invited, but I definitely wish them the best of luck. I know them well and they're both very nice people so I hope they do well."

2010: Kanye West in "So Appalled": "I'm so appalled/Spalding balled/Balled in and Donald Trump taking dollars from y'all/Baby your fire and your girlfriend hired/And if you don’t mind, I'ma keep you on call"

2009: Donald Trump: Following the Taylor Swift controversy, he calls West "disgusting," demands a boycott of all things Kanye West.

2007: Kanye West in "Flashing Lights": "You're fire m------f------, Donald Trump n----/I'm killin' these n---- can't f--- n----/Now let's drink to that 'til we drunk" Jeva Lange

This just in
September 3, 2015
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Donald Trump swore off the possibility of a third-party run on Thursday, when he announced signing a pledge of loyalty to the Republican Party. Trump, who famously refused to rule out a third-party bid in Fox News' big GOP debate in August, said Thursday that he had been treated "with great respect" since ascending to the top spot in the GOP presidential polls, and that he sees "no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge." By signing the pledge, Trump will avoid complications of getting on primary ballots as a Republican, and also rob opponents of an attack line at the next debate. Jeva Lange

This just in
September 3, 2015
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Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who defied the Supreme Court's order to issue same-sex marriage licenses, was jailed Thursday after she was found in contempt of court. Davis, citing her religious beliefs, stopped issuing marriage licenses — to any couples, gay or straight — in June after the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples had the right to marry.

Lawyers for four spurned couples asked a judge to impose fines to force her to comply. Davis has previously said she was prepared to go to jail for her actions. Jeva Lange

back to school
September 3, 2015

If SAT scores are any indication, then hundreds of thousands of teenagers graduated in 2015 unprepared for college. According to College Board, which owns the test, SAT scores plummeted to their lowest average in a decade, despite the test being overhauled in 2005. The average score for the class of 2015 was 1490 out of 2400, down 7 points from 2014. Scores dropped across all three sections — in reading, writing, and math.

Only 42 percent of students who took the SATs earned a score of 1550 or higher, a troubling statistic considering the College Board calls this threshold the "college and career readiness" level. The scores were also lower for minorities: Only 23 percent of Hispanic students and 16 percent of African-American students made the 1550-or-higher cutoff. Poverty, language barriers, and low levels of parental education are cited by The Washington Post as possible factors in the dismal scores.

Although a new version of the SAT, with an essay-optional writing section, will be given to the class of 2016, it would likely take a major education overhaul to surmount the troubles students encounter when they hit high school level classes. "Simply doing the same things we have been doing is not going to improve these numbers," Cyndie Schmeiser, the chief of assessment for the College Board, told The Washington Post. "This is a call to action to do something different to propel more students to readiness." Jeva Lange

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