In it, but not of it. TPM DC

President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony had "made a mistake" pulling the film "The Interview" after its email archives were hacked, the contents were leaked, and threats were made against theaters if they showed the film.

"Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I'm sympathetic to the concerns that they faced," Obama said at his end-of-the-year press conference. "Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake."

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Vermont is abandoning its plan to establish a single-payer health care system under the Affordable Care Act, its governor announced Wednesday, a blow to reformers who hoped the state could set a national example.

Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said that he was nixing the plan because it would require large tax increases to fund. The state had been working for years on a plan to institute a single-payer system in 2017, when Obamacare allows states to propose alternative reforms to extend health coverage and control costs.

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President Barack Obama can thank outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for triggering the "nuclear option" in November 2013 and securing him one of the most robust judicial legacies of any modern president.

In six years, he has appointed a whopping 307 judges, who will shape the law for decades after he leaves office. The final 12 district judges were confirmed in the closing night of the Senate session on Tuesday, Reid's final move before Democrats surrender control of the chamber.

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The United States intends to open an official embassy in Cuba in the coming months, the White House announced Wednesday, part of a broader normalizing of diplomatic relations after the countries exchanged prisoners.

In a conference call with reporters, a senior administration official called the developments "the most significant changes to our Cuba policy in more than 50 years."

"What we are doing is beginning the normalization of relations of the United States and Cuba," the official said. "President Obama has long believed that engagement is a better tool than isolation and nowhere is that clear than in Cuba, where we have seen a policy of isolation fail for the last 50 years."

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As the backlash continues against police violence in the aftermath of multiple African-Americans being killed by officers, one wrinkle in the ongoing debate has been the aggressive reaction of law enforcement itself to the public criticism and protest.

Among the recent examples, a New York City police union has urged members to ban Mayor Bill de Blasio from their funerals if they die in the line of duty, saying it would be "an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice" after the mayor's handling of Eric Garner's death at the hand of an NYPD officer. A St. Louis police association demanded that the NFL and St. Louis Rams discipline players who walked onto the field before a game making the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture associated with the Michael Brown shooting. A police union in Cleveland called a Browns player's T-shirt protesting the Tamir Rice and John Crawford shootings there "pretty pathetic."

It isn't unusual for police unions to urge public calm and defend their members' constitutional rights to due process in the event of an officer-involved shooting. What is different in these cases, experts say, is the kind of rhetoric that unions are deploying to counter critics of the police.

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