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Barack Obama

Applause for Obama, Francis and diplomatic relations with Cuba

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I applaud President Barack Obama's historic step to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. He displayed courage and boldness in doing so.

There is no reason why we should not have formal ties with Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S., while we have ties with other countries with which we have disagreements over certain matters. I'm thinking of China; Vietnam, with whom we fought a war with that led to almost 60,000 American soldiers being killed; or Saudi Arabia, one of the most undemocratic countries in the world.

Rabbi David Saperstein confirmed as U.S. ambassador for religious freedom

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The Senate has confirmed Rabbi David Saperstein as the State Department's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, making him the first non-Christian to hold the job.

Saperstein, who led the Reform Jewish movement's Washington office for 40 years, focusing on social justice and religious freedom issues, was nominated by President Barack Obama in July and confirmed by a 62-35 vote on Friday.

Saperstein takes a liberal bent on domestic issues, and all but one of the votes against him came from a Republican.

Obama's executive action is a start but doesn't address the heart of the issue

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Heading into the holiday weekend, I can't help but think about the three predictable questions I will probably be asked over the Thanksgiving table: Do you have a job lined up for next year? Are you dating anyone? What do you think about the president's executive action on immigration?

We'll pardon a turkey, but not inmates?

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Well, 'tis the season for pardoning turkeys at the White House. There is an online petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon a GMO-free, pasture-raised turkey this year. The president has pardoned at least two turkeys a year since taking office, and he has pardoned or commuted the sentences of 61 people. I can't find any record of his having pardoned anybody in 2014. But he will pardon those two turkeys this week.

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