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March 26, 2014

Things are not looking too good for Democrats in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections, and a new George Washington University Battleground poll is, on the surface, more bad news. The respondents were roughly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but 64 percent of GOP voters said they are "extremely likely" to vote in November, versus 57 percent of Democrats. President Obama's 44 percent approval rating won't help the Democrats, and a daunting 73 percent said their personal economic situation has stayed the same or gotten worse over the past four years.

But there is one silver lining for Democrats: Marijuana. While 82 percent of respondents disapprove of Congress — with both parties "universally despised," according to Democratic pollster Celinda Lake — 73 percent support medical marijuana in their states, 53 percent back decriminalizing pot, and most importantly, 68 percent said they are more likely to go to the polls if marijuana is on the ballot. Voters in both parties are in favor of looser marijuana laws, but the highest levels of motivation are among younger, single people — a group that skews Democratic.

"We are very excited about the marijuana numbers in this poll, not only for personal consumption to get through this election, but [also] in terms of turnout," says Lake. Peter Weber

8:10 a.m. ET
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Conservative Republican opponents of the GOP's health-care proposal in the Senate have labeled the ObamaCare replacement package "ObamaCare lite," but the bill is taking fire from the center and left, too.

A group of moderate Republican senators are raising concerns about proposed Medicaid changes that would mean significantly less federal funding in their states. The fifth Republican senator to announce his opposition to the bill, Nevada's Dean Heller, specifically cited Medicaid in his Friday announcement that his vote is currently a "no." Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have not formally opposed the legislation so far, but both centrist Republicans have mentioned similar considerations.

Meanwhile, progressive critics warn the legislation could produce a "death spiral" in insurance markets in which premiums rise as healthier people — no longer bound by ObamaCare's individual mandate — drop coverage, producing a cycle of even higher premiums and fewer insurance customers.

President Trump fired back at critics twice on Twitter Saturday, noting premium hikes under the current system and writing that he "cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!" The health-care bill can't pass the Senate if more than two Republicans vote against it. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017
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The U.K.'s Houses of Parliament were hit with a cyberattack Friday evening consisting of "unauthorized attempts to access parliamentary user accounts," a representative of Parliament said Saturday. Members of Parliament were informed of the situation Friday night when they had difficulty accessing their email accounts remotely.

"We are continuing to investigate this incident and take further measures to secure the computer network," the representative said. "We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems."

It is unclear how many MPs were affected or who is responsible for the attack. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017
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Monday begins the Supreme Court's final week before its current term ends and summer break begins. SCOTUS is expected to hand down several major decisions in the next few days — among them its ruling on President Trump's stalled travel ban — but rumors are swirling that this Monday could see a retirement announcement from Justice Anthony Kennedy, too.

"Sources close to Kennedy say that he is seriously considering retirement," CNN reported Saturday, though "they are unclear if it could occur as early as this term." Kennedy's departure would give President Trump his second SCOTUS nomination after the successful appointment of Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

Kennedy has long served as a swing vote on the court, sometimes siding with the progressive wing — as in the landmark gay marriage case, 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges — but often joining the conservatives on issues like gun control and campaign finance. Kennedy will turn 81 in July and has served on the court since 1988 after being nominated by President Reagan. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017
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The tiny Gulf nation of Qatar has rejected a list of 13 demands issued by Saudi Arabia and other neighboring Arab states Thursday as a condition for restoring diplomatic ties. The Saudi-led group of countries isolating Qatar claims the country is supporting terrorism, an allegation Qatar denies.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in a statement the demands should have been "reasonable and actionable" as well as "measured and realistic," quoting comments from top U.S. and U.K. diplomats. "This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria," he added.

It was never very plausible Qatar would answer other than it did. The "extent and scale of the demands appear designed to induce a rejection by Qatar," notes The Atlantic, "and a possible justification for a continuation, if not escalation, of the crisis. The list, if accurate, represents an intrusion into the internal affairs of Qatar that would threaten its very sovereignty." Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017

Former governor of California (and Terminator star) Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with new French President Emmanuel Macron to take a swipe at President Trump on environmental issues Friday.

"I'm here with President Macron. We are talking about the environmental issues and a green future," says Schwarzenegger in the clip posted to Facebook and Twitter. "And now we will deliberate together to make the planet great again," adds a grinning Macron with a transparent reference to Trump's "Make America great again" slogan.

These antics come in response to Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the international climate accord both Macron and Schwarzenegger support. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017
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The United States and China have reaffirmed their mutual commitment to "strive for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Chinese state media agency Xinhua reported Saturday.

The statement comes after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis hosted Chinese diplomats in Washington in an attempt to reach consensus on how to deal with increasing provocation from Pyongyang. Tillerson indicated earlier this week he is asking China, which is North Korea's primary trading partner, to increase its political and economic pressure on the Kim Jong Un regime. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2017
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Russian interference in the 2016 election "is really the political equivalent of 9/11 — it is deadly, deadly serious," said former Undersecretary of Defense Michael Vickers, who served in the Obama administration, in an NBC News interview Saturday. "The Russians will definitely be back, given the success they had," he added. "I don't see much evidence of a response."

Vickers' comments come one day after The Washington Post's comprehensive report detailing former President Obama's inaction in response to Russian election interference in 2016. President Trump and congressional Democrats have also criticized the Obama administration's "inadequate" response.

Read The Week's analysis of how Russia weaponized the internet here. Bonnie Kristian

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