Foreign affairs
March 26, 2014

Speaking in Brussels today, President Obama dismissed the notion that America's intervention in Iraq was morally equivalent to Russia's invasion of Crimea. As the Washington Post's Aaron Blake reports, after noting he opposed the intervention, Obama added:

[E]ven in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory, nor did we grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state could make decisions about its own future.

Good for Obama. It's about time he pushed back against this sophistry.

And speaking of pushing, this reminds me of something William F. Buckley said to Johnny Carson:

To say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.

All these years later, and it's almost like déjà vu. Matt K. Lewis

Watch this
1:24 a.m. ET

Clueless guys mangling their intimate conversations with wives and girlfriends is a staple of comedy, but Amy Schumer gave it a martial arts twist on Tuesday's Inside Amy Schumer. "You're here to evade and defuse the ancient art of female emotional combat," Schumer told a group of three men, dressed in lycra combat attire. One by one, the dudes faced off against their sparring partner, Caitlyn, a stand-in girlfriend. Only one succeeded, but along the way Schumer was able to poke fun at both genders. "Remember, women can't deny the authority of therapy and/or Oprah," she said at one point. It's funny, but it's probably unintentionally instructive, too. Guys. Peter Weber

In Memoriam
12:12 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, President Obama posthumously awarded the nation's highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, to Army Sgt. William Shemin and Pvt. Henry Johnson, two soldiers who demonstrated heroic bravery during World War I and were apparently passed over for decoration because Shemin was Jewish and Johnson was black.

Johnson, who fought off a German sneak attack in 1918 while attached to a French unit, had been awarded France's highest military honor, but the Pentagon normally only awards top military honors within five years of the celebrated incident. A defense bill passed in December scratched those rules for Johnson and Shemin, who rescued wounded colleagues under fire for three days in 1918.

"We are a nation, a people who remember our heroes," Obama said at a ceremony in the White House. "We never forget their sacrifice, and we believe it's never too late to say thank you." Watch highlights of the ceremony below. Peter Weber

surveillance nation
June 2, 2015
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 36 hours after key provisions of the Patriot Act expired during a congressional stalemate, the Senate voted, 67 to 32, to curtail the bulk collection of Americans' phone records in what is being called a "remarkable reversal" of national security policy. Under the USA Freedom Act, which now heads to President Obama's desk, phone data would stay private, but the government could search records under court orders.

UPDATE: Obama signed the bill Tuesday night, saying the "legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs." He also chided the Senate for "a needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities." Samantha Rollins

Evidence-based medicine
June 2, 2015

If you get a test for something at the doctor and it comes back positive, chances are you're going to be very anxious. Does that mean you have the disease? Maybe. But as Aaron Carroll explains below, this can be a misleading way to think.

The prevalence of the disease — that is, the number of people in the general population who have it — can sharply effect one's chances with such a test. One study of mammograms, for example, found that over 95 percent of people with a positive test for breast cancer did not actually have it.

That's only the first part of a complex topic, but it's really worth understanding. Check it out. Ryan Cooper

This just in
June 2, 2015
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Walmart announced Tuesday that it is raising the starting wage for more than 100,000 of its U.S. workers, including department managers and workers in specialized divisions. The wage increases will go into effect next month.

Workers in Walmart's deli and wireless product divisions, for example, will now earn between $9.90 and $18.81 an hour, compared with a range from $9.20 to $18.53 an hour before the increase, The Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, department managers in electronics and automotive care will earn between $13 and $24.70 an hour, compared with $10.30 to $20.09 before the increase.

In February, Walmart announced that it would raise its minimum wage for all workers to $9 an hour in April and to $10 next February. Walmart is America's largest private-sector employer, with 1.3 million employees nationwide. The company said it is spending $1 billion to raise its workers' wages. Meghan DeMaria

This just in
June 2, 2015
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Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would require states to report all police shootings to the Department of Justice.

In a statement to announce the legislation, the senators cited reporting from The Washington Post published Sunday, which found that 2015 has seen at least 385 police killings nationwide so far.

"Too many members of the public and police officers are being killed, and we don't have reliable statistics to track these tragic incidents," Boxer said in a statement. "This bill will ensure that we know the full extent of the problem so we can save lives on all sides."

The Post notes that the new bill would differ from the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which Congress approved last year, because it would require reporting non-fatal shootings, in addition to fatal ones, to the DOJ. The new legislation would require reporting details about the shooting victims including age, gender, race, and whether or not the victims were armed. Meghan DeMaria

survey says
June 2, 2015
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A new poll from The New York Times and CBS News found that both Republicans and Democrats don't approve of the ways political campaigns are funded.

Forty-six percent of respondents said the U.S. should "completely rebuild" how campaigns are financed. Another 39 percent agreed that the campaign finance system needs "fundamental changes."

Among Republicans, 80 percent of the poll respondents said money has too much influence on U.S. politics, and 76 percent of Republicans supported requiring outside spending organizations to disclose their donors. Meanwhile, 90 percent of Democratic respondents believed money had too much influence, and 76 percent of Democrats supported more disclosure about political donors. Across the political spectrum, many respondents expressed support for new measures that would restrict the wealthy's influence, such as limiting spending by super PACs.

The 1,022 adults polled weren't optimistic that things would change anytime soon, though. Fifty-eight percent of respondents were "pessimistic" that the U.S. will change the way campaigns are financed. Meghan DeMaria

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