Following a heavily attended Friday evening wake, tens of thousands of people gathered at Queens's Christ Tabernacle Church on Saturday morning for the funeral of murdered NYPD officer Rafael Ramos. In addition to Ramos's family and friends, the mourners included cops from New York City and across the United States, police chief Bill Bratton, Governor Cuomo, Vice-President Biden, and Mayor de Blasio.
After the Killings, Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton Now Have the Most Critical Relationship in New YorkBy Chris Smith
It’s late afternoon on Friday, December 19, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is surprisingly serene. Fourteen floors below his office at One Police Plaza protesters are massing, once again, to block the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. They’re chanting, “Hey, ho! Racist cops have got to go!” as a smaller, pro-cop rally starts to gather directly across the street. In the waiting room outside Bratton’s office, the flat-screen TV tuned to NY1 is playing and replaying cell-phone video showing an NYPD plainclothes cop punching a suspect as he is being handcuffed.
Bratton is concerned, certainly. Yet he remains visibly unruffled, reclining in a leather armchair. A puppet replica of his late great sidekick and co-strategist, the former deputy police commissioner Jack Maple, is propped on a shelf. Yes, Bratton says, in hindsight it was probably a bad idea to sit on one side of the mayor with the Reverend Al Sharpton on the other at a City Hall press conference back in July, after the death of Eric Garner. True, his first year back atop the NYPD has been stressful, particularly in the past month. Two weeks ago, on the afternoon a Staten Island grand jury announced it would not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who had wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck, Bratton was briefly hospitalized for dehydration.
While the controversy over President Obama's immigration action and normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba will certainly carry into the new year, the president is already working on another bold move sure to infuriate members of Congress. Senior administration officials tell The Wall Street Journal that Obama plans to make an aggressive push to close Guantánamo Bay, which still holds 132 detainees. This month, six detainees were transferred to Uruguay and four were sent back to Afghanistan. The White House intends to return more prisoners to foreign countries in early 2015 or even before the end of the year, focusing first on the 64 detainees that have been cleared for release.
In a pre-Christmas-vacation interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, President Obama disappointed the nation's hawks by saying that he doesn't consider the Sony hack an "act of war" by North Korea, which his administration has blamed for the attack. "I don't think it was an act of war," he said. "I think it was an act of cybervandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously."
There is an overt ridiculousness about North Korea that, by making it the subject of kitsch, has shielded the regime from the full brunt of its deserved moral opprobrium. The North Korean regime is not only the source of inadvertently comic propaganda but also ghastly torture. And so the revelation that the regime was employing terrorist threats to stop a James Franco–Seth Rogen movie was initially greeted as a hilarious joke — which, in a sense, it is — before a colder reality has slowly settled in: A totalitarian regime has just successfully exerted control over American media. Another studio has immediately canceled a North Korea–themed project. Others will follow. American film is now being effectively vetted by Pyongyang.
President Obama waited until a day after the conclusion of the 113th Congress to announce efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, but unsurprisingly the biggest shift in relations between the two countries in five decades drew passionate responses from lawmakers now dispersed around the country. While most noted that they're happy to see American Alan Gross released after five years in Cuban captivity, many went on to lambast the president in especially harsh terms for the historic move. "The president’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable," said Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American. "Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office."
Three decades ago, right-wing French intellectual Jean-François Revel published a call to arms entitled How Democracies Perish, which quickly became a key text of the neoconservative movement and an ideological blueprint for the Reagan administration. Revel argued that the Soviet Union’s brutality and immunity from internal criticism gave it an inherent advantage over the democratic West — the United States and Europe were too liberal, too open, too humane, too soft to defeat the resolute men of the Iron Curtain.
Be sure to give Ted Cruz a sarcastic thank-you, because the U.S. has a surgeon general for the first time since July 2013 owing to his attempt to block the president's immigration order. The Texas senator's maneuvering helped Democrats advance many of Obama's executive-branch nominees over the weekend, including that of Dr. Vivek Murthy for surgeon general. On Monday night, he was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 51 to 43, despite unlikely opposition from the National Rifle Association.
With the midterm election behind us, soon politicians will begin declaring their intention to run for the presidency in 2016, and we can drop any pretense of caring about what our current elected officials are up to. (Update: Cue Jeb Bush, who just announced he'll "actively explore" a 2016 run.) However, unless you and your spouse have a weird game that involves memorizing the names of bland white guys who used to be governor, you probably won't know who a lot of these people are. That's why we at Daily Intelligencer have compiled this list of every credible candidate believed to be mulling a 2016 run (sorry, Vermin Supreme). Study this list, because one of these people will be elected president in 2016. (Unless we witness the meteoric rise of some charismatic Washington newcomer with a crazy name, but what are the chances of that happening?)
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.By Jason Zengerle
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013
For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
Salon Jan. 15, 2012
Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010
After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009
Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon