U.S. Senate confirms first ambassador to Russia in five months

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously approved President Barack Obama's choice of John Tefft to be the next American ambassador to Russia, filling a post that had been vacant since February.

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World of Hurt: What Comes Next for America?

Ronald Brownstein, NJ
The iron fist failed. Then the velvet glove failed.That's undoubtedly a simplistic verdict on the foreign policy records of the past two presidents, George W. ("iron fist") Bush and Barack ("velvet glove") Obama. But it now appears inevitable that the 2016 foreign policy debate will unfold against a widespread sense that America's world position eroded under both Bush's go-it-alone assertiveness and Obama's deliberative multilateralism. "There will be a groping on both sides toward a new synthesis," says Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute. Read More (Opens In A New Tab)

From Now Till Election, Congress to Make Itself Scarce

Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
Never mind that this Congress is on track to becoming the least productive in modern history. By Friday, most lawmakers will be heading back to their home states and districts on a five-week recess, despite having plenty of items on their to-do list. They will return on Sept. 8 -- but only for a few weeks before heading out again until after the November midterms. Welcome to the election year schedule. The light program allows for the nation’s legislators to be among their constituents in the final weeks of the midterm campaign. On the one hand, that’s seems like a smart strategy:... Read More (Opens In A New Tab)

Businessman says helped ex-Virginia governor, wife as part of ‘business relationship’

RICHMOND Va (Reuters) - The businessman at the heart of a corruption trial involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, testified on Wednesday he helped them out with gifts and loans strictly for the benefit of his dietary supplement company.

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Desperate Democrats Can’t Escape Obama

Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg
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Bad Policies Are Their Own Worst Enemy

Steve Chapman, RealClearPolitics
Newspaper editorials rarely make news -- I've been writing them for a long time, and, believe me, I know -- but one did the other day, when The New York Times came out for legalization of marijuana. It was an agreeable development for anyone who, like me, believes in letting people live their own lives, even if they do it badly. But its significance is much bigger than that. The Times is not exactly at the vanguard of history here. With all modesty, I will note that I wrote my first column arguing against pot prohibition in 1982, when the Washington Nationals were the Montreal Expos,... Read More (Opens In A New Tab)