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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

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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After police unions slammed his decision to wear a T-shirt protesting the police shootings of two black people in Ohio, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins gathered the media on Monday to explain himself more fully.

Hawkins outlined his rationale, speaking without notes, according to ESPN Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi. He touched on his own upbringing and the role of his children in his lengthy comments.

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It wasn't a particular person or fact that earned PolitiFact's 2014 Lie of the Year, but the general mass hysteria that accompanied the Ebola epidemic.

And though PolitiFact doesn't say it, its most prominent examples were conservative figures, which isn't too surprising given the level of delirium on Fox News and elsewhere once the disease, which has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa, claimed one life on American shores.

"Fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits," PolitiFact's authors wrote. "They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy."

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With her presidential bubble rapidly expanding, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) isn't wavering in her insistence that she isn't running for president -- but she also won't go ahead and say she will not run for president.

Her evasions seem sure to keep the political class yapping.

NPR's Steve Inskeep had a little fun with the ongoing speculation about Warren's presidential aspirations in a Monday morning interview with the senator, asking her about the progressive groups that have teamed up to draft her into the 2016 race, presumably against Hillary Clinton.

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is calling all hands on deck to fix his state's huge self-imposed budget crisis, which nearly cost him re-election this year, and the staunch conservative is now receiving an assist from an unlikely source: Obamacare.

The state's well-documented budget troubles came after Brownback's dramatic reductions in taxes since taking office in 2011. With its revenue drying up and cash reserves depleted, Kansas is staring at a $280 million hole in its $6.4 billion FY 2015 budget, which ends in June.

Brownback offered his proposal for closing that hole last week, a mixture of spending cuts and transferring funds from other parts of the budget to fill it. And second biggest of those transfers is $55 million in revenue from a Medicaid drug rebate program that was bolstered under the Affordable Care Act.

The short version then is this: Obamacare is helping Kansas address its fiscal crisis -- even if Brownback's administration seems loath to admit it.

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Don't expect Alabama to soon join the ranks of other GOP-led states that have signed onto Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, but Gov. Robert Bentley (R) opened the door ever so slightly in new comments reported Thursday.

"I wouldn't be opposed to a block grant for the entire Medicaid system," Bentley said, as reported by al.com, after saying something similar in an address to the state legislature. His answer was in response to a question about the Medicaid expansion specifically.

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