The pope, the pot and the Castros
The very best and very worst of the week ending March 1.
Every week, the Daily Dose reviews the news for three very best and very worst stories to come across our desk.
—The Very Best —
• The Violence Against Women Act was approved in the House of Representatives yesterday. The bill, which outlines protections against domestic abuse and the prosecution of abusers, is a renewal of a 1994 law that had lapsed in 2011 due to partisan bickering. On the eve of Women's Rights Month, the bill headed to President Obama to be signed.
• The Castro era in Cuba, begun in 1959, is coming to a close. That is, in five years. Shortly after being elected by the Cuban National Assembly to a second term, president Raul Castro announced in a broadcasted speech that he will retire when the term ends in 2018. Brother Fidel made a rare public appearance around the announcement. Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is expected to succeed Raul.
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• Though congressional blowhards expelled a lot of hot air stalling his confirmation, Chuck Hagel has been sworn in as Defense Secretary. The former Army sergeant told a gathering of Defense Department workers and members of the military, "I'll never ask you to do anything I wouldn't do."
—The Very Worst —
• Clarksdale, Mississippi, birthplace of blues music, is reeling from the news that Marco McMillian, a young and well-liked candidate for mayor, was found murdered along a Mississippi River levee. News reports repeat that McMillian was the first openly gay candidate for public office in Mississippi, but it is not known whether his orientation played a role in his killing. A suspect is in custody.
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• A 30-year-old law designed to squeeze drug dealers is slamming legal marijuana dispensaries with federal income tax rates as high as 75 percent. Purveyors are working to overturn a statute that says they can't deduct rent, payroll and other hefty overhead expenses like other businesses can. What's it going to be, Feds — close them down or rob them blind?
• The world is popeless now that Benedict XVI has officially abdicated the throne. In a farewell address to his last general audience, Benedict told the tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square that when elected in April 2005 he recalled telling God, "It's a great burden that you've placed on my shoulders."
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Photo: Raul Castro / Luis Hidalgo/AP
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