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May 14, 2014

Republicans continue being challenged to rethink long-held positions — ostensibly by members of their own base. In the immigration debate, for example, prominent Evangelicals have urged Republicans to embrace immigration reform. Meanwhile, retired military officers — typically considered a reliable part of the Republican voting bloc — are now sounding the alarm on climate change.

From an article in the Wall Street Journal:

The military must do more to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate, including updating war plans and building more ships to operate in the Arctic, a report by a group of retired military officers will say Wednesday.

The report by CNA Corp., a nonprofit research group that frequently does work for the Navy, says the military must be more aggressive as it prepares to deal with everything from increased numbers of natural disasters in the Pacific to expanded shipping in the Arctic. [Wall Street Journal]

The focus isn't on combating global warming, but instead, on military preparation. Still, this news could have political consequences. In the PR business, this is called "man bites dog." (It's not a story if a tree-hugging hippie warns about global warming; it is a story when a decorated military veteran does.)

And according to a survey I was provided (conducted by pollster Alex Lundry), 79 percent of Republicans believe that "strengthening national security with energy independence" is an important reason to take on climate change — and 74 percent of Republicans say "preventing the U.S. from going to war over oil" would be a good enough reason to do the same.

While this report certainly doesn't mean the global warming alarmists are correct, it is yet another example of how conservative orthodoxy is being challenged on all sides — and how Republicans (see Marco Rubio) are increasingly finding themselves forced to answer difficult questions about topics that were once automatic winners. Matt K. Lewis

9:02 a.m. ET
Duane Prokop/Getty Images

Beyoncé leads the 59th annual Grammy Awards nominations with nine nods for her critically acclaimed visual album, Lemonade, The New York Times reports. Drake and Rihanna follow, nominated for eight awards each, while singer Adele received five nominations.

Beyoncé will compete directly against Adele, and her album 25, in three of the top categories. The category of Album of the Year will also pit the two powerhouses against Drake's Views, Justin Bieber's Purpose, and country singer Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth. Record of the Year will see Beyoncé's "Formation" go up against Adele's "Hello," Rihanna's "Work," Lukas Graham's "7 Years," and Twenty One Pilots' "Stressed Out." The nominees for Song of the Year also include "Formation," "Hello," and "7 Years," in addition to "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" by Mike Posner and "Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber.

The contenders for Best New Artist include DJ duo The Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper, country singers Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini, and singer-rapper Anderson Paak.

The awards will be hosted by James Corden and held Feb. 12, 2017 on CBS. See all of the nominees here. Jeva Lange

8:47 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Retired Marine General John Kelly, 66, is the likeliest candidate to be tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security, three people close to President-elect Donald Trump's transition process revealed to Politico.

The Department of Homeland Security, established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, helms border and immigration control, both of which are issues Trump had made central to his campaign. Kelly had expressed interest in serving in the incoming administration, whether under Trump or Hillary Clinton; he did not endorse a candidate. In the past, Kelly has clashed with President Obama on the decision to open combat roles to women in the military as well as the administration's plans to close Guantanamo Bay.

After four decades in the military, Kelly recently retired as the chief of U.S. Southern Command, which oversaw military operations in Central and South America. Kelly is also one of the most senior military officers to have lost a child in Iraq or Afghanistan; his son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly was killed after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010.

Notably, if Trump were to select Kelly, he would be the third general to join the incoming administration, after Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as national security adviser, and retired Gen. James Mattis, who has been nominated for defense secretary. Retired Gen. David Petraeus is also reportedly being considered for secretary of state.

You can read more about Kelly, and his experience and positions, at Politico. Jeva Lange

8:07 a.m. ET

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 86, recently fell ill after becoming the oldest person to reach the South Pole. But rest assured, Aldrin is in good hands — Dr. David Bowie is taking care of him.

Of course, it isn't the same David Bowie who wrote "Starman," "Life on Mars," and "Space Oddity"; the cosmos-loving rock star, who was born David Jones, died in January after a quiet battle with cancer. But a different David Bowie, of Christchurch, New Zealand, "is still here on Earth tending to the sick," Time reports.

Aldrin's manager shared the delightful coincidence on Twitter:

Bowie and Aldrin were already fatefully tied, too: Bowie's song, "Space Oddity," was released less than two weeks before Neil Armstrong and Aldrin became the first two people to walk on the moon in July 1969.

Aldrin was evacuated from the South Pole over the weekend and has been advised to remain in quarantine until the fluid in his lungs clears. Jeva Lange

7:40 a.m. ET
Ty Wright/Getty Images

Republican congressional leaders, fiscally conservative groups and media, and Sarah Palin have decried the Carrier deal President-elect Donald Trump heralded last week as a corporate shakedown and terrible example of "crony capitalism," but the American public is on board, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday. Announcing the deal, in which Carrier keeps some 800 jobs in Indiana that had been slated to go to Mexico in return for $7 million in state financial incentives, "was big for Trump," says Morning Consult's Kyle Dropp. "Rarely do we see numbers that high when looking at how specific messages and events shape public opinion."

Trump's overall favorability numbers did not change much from last week's online survey — 47 percent of voters said they view him favorably, 46 percent unfavorably — but 60 percent of respondents (including 87 percent of Republicans) said the Carrier deal gave them a more favorable view of Trump, versus 29 percent who said it made them view Trump less favorably. A quarter of respondents had heard nothing about the Carrier deal. And majorities of respondents, including large majorities of Republicans, said it was appropriate for presidents and vice presidents to directly negotiate with private businesses, and offer financial incentives and government contracts to individual companies to keep jobs in the U.S.

The poll respondents were less enamored of Trump's prolific and controversial tweets, with a 56 percent majority saying Trump uses Twitter too much and a 49 percent plurality saying his Twitter usage is a "bad thing" (23 percent said it is a "good thing"). Morning Consult conducted the survey online with 1,401 registered voters last Thursday and Friday; it has a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Peter Weber

7:39 a.m. ET

It wasn't all Donald Trump. After crunching the numbers, The Associated Press reports that the most buzzed-about topics on Twitter in 2016 included the Rio Olympics and Pokemon Go, as well as the Oscars, Euro 2016, Game of Thrones, and Black Lives Matter. "RIP" was also one of the biggest trends on the social media website, surfacing for a number of celebrity deaths throughout the year.

U.S. politics did dominate the conversation, though, with "Election2016" as the second most-tweeted topic and "Trump" also cracking the top 10. Brexit also resulted in an enormous spike in conversation.

As for the most popular tweet of the year? It might be a little unexpected — it was simply the Spanish word for lemonade, "limonada," tweeted by a Spanish gamer who promised prizes to fans that retweeted it. It resulted in more than 1.3 million retweets:

Runners-up included this tweet by One Direction's Harry Styles and this post-election tweet from Hillary Clinton. Jeva Lange

6:11 a.m. ET
Ty Wright/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump is traveling to Fayetteville, North Carolina, for the second stop on his "thank you" tour to battleground states that voted for him. Last week in Cincinnati he held his first rally, which strongly resembled Trump's raucous campaign events, and later this week he is taking his victory tour to Iowa and Michigan. In his Ohio rally, Trump mixed in a personnel announcement — he will nominated retired Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary — so he may combine business with politics. Victory tours are extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, in U.S. presidential history. Peter Weber

5:32 a.m. ET
Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls resigned on Tuesday to mount a bid for the Socialist presidential nomination, and President Francois Hollande replaced him with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. Valls will face at least seven rivals in the Socialist primary, and if he wins, he will compete against Republican nominee Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front. Hollande is not running for re-election, he announced last week. Cazeneuve, 51, is a close ally of Hollande and gained a high profile through his work in the aftermath of several Islamist terrorist attacks in France, including his push for new security laws. Hollande named Bruno Le Roux, a Socialist leader in parliament, as the new interior minister. Peter Weber

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