* I’ll open with a disclaimer: I think Ted Cruz has been a disaster as a senator and my imagination is stretched to even consider what a disaster he would be as president. With that said, the Washington Post cartoon depicting his children as trained monkeys was outrageous and the paper was right to take it down. They never should have published it in the first place. It is important to speak out against this kind of thing regardless of whether the person on the receiving end is someone you support.
* Here’s a really big story to keep an eye on:
Iraqi forces believe they are on the cusp of retaking one of the largest cities captured by the so-called Islamic State. Operations to liberate Ramadi have been ongoing since November, but security officials are saying that troops and Sunni tribal fighters have regained control of several districts in the last 48 hours, and are now advancing on the city’s main government complex.
“In the coming days will be announced the good news of the complete liberation of Ramadi,” Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanemi told Iraqi state television, Reuters reports.
* Will Kimball at the Economic Policy Institute provides some information to demonstrate the fallacy of yet another Republican economic argument.
A common argument claims that cutting the length of time that people can collect unemployment benefits forces people to find jobs faster. If this were the case, we would expect to see the share of people with jobs increase after cuts went into effect in states that cut unemployment insurance. Instead, the share of people employed actually lagged the national average in the three states that most drastically cut unemployment insurance benefits after the Great Recession—Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.
* Time for an Obamacare check-up. Krugman’s got it covered.
So the program is achieving its goals, albeit with a somewhat different mix of kinds of insurance than predicted, and doing so more cheaply than expected. That’s a big success story — and remember, the critics scoffed at those expectations and predicted utter disaster.
* Finally, a lot of cynicism has weighted down people’s hopes of actually doing something about gun violence in this country. But if anybody can turn that around, it just might be the NBA.
In a move with little precedent in professional sports, the N.B.A. is putting the weight of its multibillion-dollar brand and the prestige of its star athletes behind a series of television commercials calling for an end to gun violence.
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