Jan 4, 2017

Rand Paul becomes Democrats' favorite Republican after Obamacare op-ed

Democrats in Congress spent most of Wednesday quoting an op-ed Sen. Rand Paul wrote for Rare.

The former presidential candidate and former most interesting man in politics wrote that if Republicans don't replace the law at the same time that they repeal it, "the repealers risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of Obamacare."

Why it matters: Paul may not have the kind of megaphone he used to have, but he might encourage other Republicans, and not just the establishment types, to think about the practical dangers of repeal and delay.

You will see an acceleration of adverse selection and ultimately mass bankruptcy of the healthcare insurance industry. - Rand Paul

He warned that crisis that "may eventually lead to calls for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies."

What's next: Don't forget that Obamacare is popular in Kentucky, and even Trump voters don't necessarily want it to go away. Watch Mitch McConnell's next moves very closely.

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.