Female Fighters

: Women will soon be able to see action on the front lines after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the combat ban, which has been in effect since 1994. By removing the prohibition Wednesday, the Pentagon chief opened “hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war,” according to The Associated Press. Military officials have until May 15 to give Panetta their initial implementation plans. (Read more)

Punt, Pass and Kick: As expected, the House approved a bill Wednesday that would suspend the so-called debt ceiling until May 18, giving Democrats and Republicans more time to deal with long-term budget negotiations. The legislation passed 285-144, with 86 Democrats supporting it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already said his chamber will approve it without any changes. The White House indicated it would not block the bill from becoming law. Without action, the U.S. would have gone into default as early as mid-February. (Read more)

Total Destruction: Basing his case off of Barack Obama’s inaugural address, John Boehner has decided that the president’s real goal for his second term is to “annihilate” the GOP and shove it into the mythical “dustbin of history.” Here’s the House speaker’s logic: “It’s pretty clear to me that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans. So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party.” (Read more)

Next in Line: Joe Biden’s second term as vice president has just begun, but already it appears he has his sights set on something higher—the presidency. According to Politico, Biden had more than 200 Democratic insiders at his residence the night before the inauguration to talk about the 2012 election triumph. But many walked away from the veep’s place with the impression that Biden was already looking ahead to the 2016 race. Said one Democrat close to the White House: “He’s intoxicated by the idea, and it’s impossible not to be intoxicated by the idea.” (Read more)

Bogus Sentiment? Sen. Ron Johnson, who got into a fiery exchange with Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearing Wednesday, now says the secretary of state faked her angry outburst to avoid a line of questioning that suggested her department misled the public after the deadly attacks in Libya. Johnson told BuzzFeed after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was over: “I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question. I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.” (Read more)

Seat of Power: Ever wonder what happened to “Invisible Obama,” the empty chair Clint Eastwood used as a stage prop during his often-incoherent and much-maligned Republican National Convention speech? Well, wonder no more. According to CNN, the famous chair now sits in the office of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Larry Wilmore, “The Daily Show’s” “senior black correspondent,” has a serious problem with people using Martin Luther King Jr. as a “prop in our own petty political arguments.” Among the examples he uses: abortion, gun control and even the Occupy Wall Street movement. Said Wilmore: “If we were to believe the pundits, Martin Luther King would be the only pro-life, pro-gun guy at the Occupy Wall Street rally.”

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