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Stand at the end of Fourteenth Street in West Oakland. This neighborhood has seen the worst of Bay Area gentrification, and its reflection is in the glass that covers the sidewalks, flowing down into gutters, stretching into the distance. It sticks to the walls of buildings and the fronts of homes, where everything as tall as the average person is covered with decades of graffiti frescoes.

A leather recliner, like the one your grandfather used to sit in, is now tipped over on to the asphalt, lacerated from end to end, hemorrhaging foam into the storm drain.

There are no people here. There are signs of their presence, though there are merely only clues as to where they may have gone, yet the only sound is the static of the constant humming vibration of traffic from the overpass overhead.

Track homes are huddled, wall-to-wall, all the way down the street, only broken by a chain link fence surrounding a dirt lot where one of those houses burned to ground so many years ago.

But this lot is not vacant.

Tucked behind the trees lies a treasure. Shrouded in shrubbery sits a shack, only slightly smaller than a garden shed, fitted with a loft, a fire burning stove, a desk and an old grand piano.

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Campus health center prepares for Obamacare enrollment

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UPDATE: Today Covered California approved SF State’s Student Health Center to become a licensed Affordable Care Act enrollment entity, according to SF State’s lead health coordinator, Aimée Williams.

“Now we have to find out the info and see what comes next,” Williams said. “How do we get trained and when can we get students in here; hopefully in the next few weeks.”

As America rolls out the Affordable Care Act (ACA), SF State works to help students navigate the new healthcare system by becoming an insurance enrollment entity.

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Refugee aid should be extent of global involvement in Syria

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“The great tragedy of this century,” is the Syrian Civil War, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. He is not referring to the 110,000 and rising casualties, but the scale of humanitarian devastation both in Syria and in the surrounding region.

Three resolutions face the international community on how to handle this complicated conflict: military intervention, humanitarian assistance or abstinence.

For the U.S., military intervention is problematic and doing nothing is morally flawed. The U.S. and the international community’s best solution is to provide humanitarian assistance to the millions of refugees.

There are 1.84 million registered refugees taking shelter in surrounding countries, according to the U.N.; 5,000 civilians leave Syria per day and nearly 5 million are internally displaced.

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Rand Paul Goes ‘Willie Horton’ On Refugees

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was one of the early outspoken voices to criticize the U.S.’s current refugee policy. And now that most of his Republican counterparts are also saying “no” to refugees, he wants to make sure voters know that he said it first.

In his latest ad, Paul turns refugees into modern day Willie Hortons – warning that being soft on immigration, like Rubio and Cruz, is an open invitation for would-be terrorists to sneak into the U.S.

Dukakis Gave Prisoners Passes, Rubio and Cruz Give Refugees Boarding Passes

The ad tells the story of two al-Qaeda supporters who snuck into Kentucky in 2005, disguised as Iraqi refugees.

The narrator explains how the two were “welcomed into America, given public housing and public assistance,” while simultaneously conspiring to send “heavy arms to al-Qaeda” and attack an American Army captain.

Paul uses this alarming story to challenge fellow Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who we see speaking favorably about immigration and the U.S.’s obligation to house refugees.

Paul explains that he didn’t support Rubio’s immigration bill from the start because he “didn’t believe there was enough scrutiny for those who might come and attack us” – well before the current refugee debate that recently dominated headlines.

In a press release, Paul’s campaign team said, “Unlike Senators Cruz and Rubio, Rand Paul has always fought to defend our borders and protect American interests.”

Where Has Rand Paul Been?

The Rand Paul campaign has been relatively silent for the last couple months. Other than showing up at debates and daytime talk shows, we haven’t seen much of the Libertarian senator in the way of political ads.

Although Paul barely made the cut for the primetime stage in the last GOP debate, he still came out swinging when the cameras turned his way – frequently challenging Rubio, Cruz and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

With this latest spot he is taking that same combative posture – clearly hoping it will be enough to lift him from the back of the Republican pack as the first caucuses and primaries are fast approaching.

Chris Christie Camp Capitalizes on Good News in New Hampshire

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New Jersey Governor and self-described straight talker, Chris Christie is taking advantage of America’s rejuvenated palette for tough leadership now that national security is on the country’s mind.

Despite being arguably out-bullied by Donald Trump, Christie is doing relatively well in New Hampshire – having recently landed an influential endorsement from theNew Hampshire Union Leader. Pro-Christie super PAC, America Leads, is capitalizing on this lucky second look at their favorite candidate with a new ad campaign in the Granite State.

“Endorsed”

As The Washington Post notes, Chris Christie is betting that once voters are finished flirting with Donald Trump and two freshman senators, he will be in a good position to woo voters as a tough outsider.

The odds aren’t really in his favor, but nonetheless Christie is doubling down on his credentials as a U.S. attorney who prosecuted terrorists as governor.

“Radical”

This 30-second spot relies on an oft-repeated Republican idea – “political correctness” is dooming America, and since President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton won’t ever say the words “radical Islamic terrorism” they are giving in to the ideas tearing the country apart.

Christie ends with a reminder that he is still 2016’s original tough-guy politician. And you better not forget it, buddy.

Chris Christie’s High Stakes Bet: All In On New Hampshire

Make no mistake, Donald Trump still has a commanding lead in New Hampshire, but Christie holds a comfortable second. And he earned it – he has visited the Granite State 50 times and held more than 112 events there.

However, Christie’s campaign and allied super PACs don’t have the same level of infrastructure or support in any other state, so even if he wins New Hampshire, the question is… then what?

Carly Fiorina Just Lost the Cat Lady Vote

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Are we the only ones who found this video kind of painful to watch? Videos featuring Carly Fiorina have been known to raise some eyebrows – and this is no different.

This viral video isn’t from her campaign or her super PAC, but rather The Independent Journal – known for such viral classics as “Making Machine-Gun Bacon With Ted Cruz,” and “How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsay Graham.”

IJ’s political ad team is back with this video-gone-Purina-commercial titled, “Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats With Carly Fiorina.” We see the former Hewlett-Packard CEO playing with squirming puppies and revealing her softer side.

And perhaps to no surprise, there are a few notably creepy moments – like when Fiorina says to one dog, “Obama ate one of your cousins,” or when she took a bite of a Milk Bone herself. Uh… yummy?

Fiorina takes it up a notch and makes her puppy video infinitely creepier thanKendall Jenner’s version when she says that a Twitter user compared her to the Disney puppy-skinner Cruella de Vil and tells the dog in her arms “your coat is exceptionally soft.” … Okay.

Bernie Sanders Courts the Jimmy Carter Democrat

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has found another type voter to target for his 2016 presidential campaign – the Jimmy Carter rural Democrat – although it remains to be seen just how many rural Democrats are left (outside of the organic farm belt in Vermont and Northern California).

When Carter ran for president in 1976, the evangelical farmer was able to rally like-minded rural voters to clinch the Democratic nomination – in fact he ended up taking the entire South, based in part on this strategy.

Of course, the Democratic and Republican parties are vastly different today than they were in 1976, but in Bernie Sanders’s latest ad, he makes the pitch that there are still enough rural Democrats out there to give him a leg up in the 2016 race.

Bernie Sanders: #FeelTheBarn

Sanders’s new spot features a Vermont diary farmer who endorses Sanders for being “a well known friend of family farms” – good news for voters from Iowa’s massive farming industry.

After seeing clips of Bernie at small farm campaign rallies, the ad transitions to shots from Sanders’s now famous massive arena rallies, as the narrator echoes Bernie’s stump speech of taking on Wall Street and “big money.”

The ad is part of a two-spot program in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. These spots mark a shift away from his previous biographical ads to focus more on his platform.

The small farm vote helped Jimmy Carter in 1976 – it even helped Bernie in 2006 when he snagged the endorsement of well-known country hippie Willie Nelson.

Much like Carter, Bernie Sanders’s populist “fight for the small guy” message does well with rural Democrats. But unfortunately for Bernie, there aren’t much of them around anymore.

Pro-John Kasich PAC Summons Ronald Reagan to Attack Donald Trump

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Summoning the ghost of Ronald Reagan to point out hypocrisies in the current Republican Party is usually something liberal groups do. But now a pro-John Kasich super PAC has called in support from the beloved Reagan spirit to attack the current GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump.

The Shining City on the Hill and its Big Fabulous Wall

The 2-minute spot opens with Reagan during his acceptance speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention, where he preaches, “In the party of Lincoln, there is no room for intolerance, and not even a small corner for anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind.”

Then the ad cuts to Donald Trump, reading his own press release, in which he proudly calls for the U.S. to ban all Muslims from travelling to the country until politicians “figure out what the hell is going on.”

The spot then passes through clips from Tuesday’s media fallout where anchor after anchor challenges Trump – even at one point asking if various comparisons to Adolf Hitler gave him “any pause at all.” To little surprise the Donald didn’t see a strong connection.

Establishment Republicans Probably Agree: “What the Hell Is Going On?”

Ohio Governor John Kasich is about as “establishment” as it gets, and he has been arguably one of the most outspoken critics of Trump, out of anyone on the primetime debate stage – and his allied super PAC has always followed suit.

New Day For America became one of the first establishment groups to seriously target Trump, after it announced it would drop $2.5 million attacking the real estate mogul. Those early attack ads almost earned the group a lawsuit, but they ran the spots anyway.

But like nearly every other attack on Trump, this $2.5 million ad campaign will likely leave him unscathed. It seems like the crazier his campaign gets, the greater his lead becomes in the polls, leaving his opponents in the dust.

 

Tailgaters for Jeb!

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In his latest attempt to show that he isn’t as boring as he may sometimes seem, Jeb Bush just released this web ad featuring his time partying with college football fans during the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Unfortunately, we don’t get to see Jeb shotgunning beers with rowdy face-painted college students, but there are plenty of clips of him joking around and hanging out with collar-popped, football loving dudes throughout Southern colleges.

The SEC football games have become a campaigning bonanza, especially for Republican candidates looking to drum-up more support in the South. The Southern states with colleges participating in the games have even banded together to re-dub Super Tuesday as the “SEC Primary.”

The Bush campaign’s SEC tour started slightly off-kilter, when it remade a Jeb logo that looked identical to the SEC’s, and then slapped it on a bunch of Jeb Bush merchandise.

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But, as cool as the beer koozies and shirts looked, the SEC was not happy about having their logo borderline ripped-off, and the Bush campaign had to remove the swag from their campaign store.

No big loss on the koozies though… they make it too hard shotgun the beer.

 

Ted Cruz Vows to ‘Kill the Terrorists’

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For a candidate who once cooked bacon with a machine gun to make a viral video, Ted Cruz’s political ads have gotten a lot more serious. In his latest 30-second T.V. spot, the straight-faced senator vows that if he is elected president, he will “kill the terrorists,” and “never apologize for America.”

In the spot, Cruz echoes an increasingly popular Republican talking point, that, “Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, the world is more dangerous.” He goes on to challenge “every Islamic militant,” promising “if you wage jihad against [the United States], you’re signing your death warrant.”

The ad comes after a barrage of attacks from the Rubio camp, which is continually hitting Cruz on national security for his support of ending the NSA’s metadata collection program.

Cruz’s ad first aired in Iowa on Saturday, during the Big 10 Conference’s football championship game, which featured the Iowa Hawkeyes. It will run for the next week, and will be interspersed with another ad featuring an endorsement from Representative Steve King – another hardline conservative politician, who represents a chunk of western Iowa.