TPM Cafe: Opinion

Over the Christmas holiday, using #BlackLivesMatter, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted an incendiary critique of American race relations. Pointing to recent protest over police treatment of Americans of color, Khamenei compared the unrest in New York and Missouri to conflicts in the Middle East, and called on “Jesus followers” to defend the oppressed. It is doubtful that the impetus behind the Ayatollah’s tweet is a genuine concern for the lives of black Americans. His sanctimonious taunting, however, is illustrative of the powerful opening that recent events offer to America’s adversaries and detractors.

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A swearing-in featuring Joe Biden is gaffe-porn, when both the Vice President’s best and worst are on full display. It’s when Biden is in his truest form—“unleashed,” as they say—and the chamber is his stage. But are these really just “aw, shucks, dad” moments, another blunder we have come to expect from Uncle Joe? Or is it…kinda creepy? And why does he get a pass from progressives?

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The recent attack on Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical French newspaper featuring acerbic cartoons and comics, is shocking. Twelve people are dead, 11 injured. These attacks threaten the freedom of the press. But the media’s response has been troubling. Coverage lionizes Charlie Hebdo as an institution, while also taking advantage of the cartooning community.

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PARIS -- The mood in Paris’ 11th Arrondissement was subdued late Wednesday afternoon, as fans of Charlie Hebdo came to pay their respects. Demonstrators held up signs and placards exclaiming “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) at the scene of the tragedy, as thousands of French people posted the phrase on social media. Scrums of news crews waited, though it was not clear what for. Save for the constant wail of sirens, the rest of the city seemed remarkably normal, despite an increased police presence at major transit and commerce centers.

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Perhaps Hillary Clinton will not run for president. Or perhaps the one potential opponent who could actually give her candidacy an existential challenge, Elizabeth Warren, will reverse field and run. Either of these eventualities could make 2015 an exciting prelude to an exciting 2016 Democratic nominating contest.

But more likely than not, Clinton will run and Warren won’t. And that will more than likely mean that Democrats will enter the caucuses and primaries resigned to but not necessarily “ready for” Hillary, and strongly favoring a challenge aimed at—to use the term so often heard—keeping her honest.

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Sometimes I feel as if in saying that I attend MIT, I’m telling a blonde joke. (Hint: I’m not.) Many MIT students recount questions about their GPA, test scores, magnificent things they’ve built, other accomplishments—while I often find myself trying to convince people that I actually attend MIT. The reactions that I’ve received from people range from amusing to borderline offensive, from delightful to “what??

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Sony’s bromance The Interview freaked out North Korean leadership. While various experts have disputed the White House’s claim that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack, we can be certain about the Kim Jong Un regime’s outraged response to the film overall—a response that culminated in North Korean representatives arguing their case before the United Nations. (How many films get trashed at the UN?)

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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