News Florida’s incumbent governor, Rick Scott, won in 2010 by a narrow margin

Politicians are used to courting a particular section of society come election time, but in a first for America, it may be the marijuana vote that decides the Florida governor’s race.

President Barack Obama pushed ahead yesterday with his choice of the former US Senator Chuck Hagel as America’s next Pentagon chief while nominating his anti-terror advisor, John Brennan, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Chuck Hagel was chosen by Obama because they agree war is always a last resort

Veterans of the Drip will remember that we flagged up a brilliant piece by the New York Times' David Brooks explaining why Chuck Hagel was chosen for the Pentagon. Brooks argument was simple and persuasive. The huge costs of Obamacare will put intolerable pressure on America's budget. Defence spending will need to be cut. Therefore Obama needed a Republican war veteran as political cover.

Unhitched: the Trial of Christopher Hitchens, By Richard Seymour

Sectarian and mean-spirited, this far-left attack on the late contrarian author fails to convince

Editorial: Politics and patience are the right response

It was with some trepidation that we waited for the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons this afternoon. Over the weekend, as the news from Algeria grew ever bleaker and the death toll from the attack on the In Amenas gas plant continued to rise, the tone of official pronouncements, including from David Cameron on Sunday, sounded alarmingly simplistic and shrill.

Second inaugural addresses: fraught with difficulty and rarely memorable

The second inaugural address has rarely been memorable. Save for Abraham Lincoln’s, which struck a series of soaring notes, including “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty source of war may speedily pass away”, they are fraught with difficulty.

Markets set for fiery day after US 'fiscal cliff' deal

Global stock markets are expected to face turbulent trading when they re-open today as investors give their initial verdict on the US budget agreement to avert the "fiscal cliff" of combined general tax rises and public spending cuts.

Turmoil fear as US pulls back from 'fiscal cliff'

Markets worldwide face volatility after late compromise on tax rises and spending cuts

The News Matrix: Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tories lose voters to Labour and Ukip

Ex-US president George H W Bush in intensive care

Former US president George H.W. Bush has been admitted to a hospital intensive care unit “following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever”, but he is alert and talking to medical staff, his spokesman said.

Mr Bush's son, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, has been among the visitors at the hospital

Former US president George HW Bush to spend Christmas in hospital

Former US president George H.W. Bush will spend Christmas in a Texas hospital after developing a fever and weakness following a month-long, bronchitis-like cough, his spokesman said.

Editorial: Mr Obama wins, with or without a budget deal

The broad principles of a long-term solution to the US budget deficit are clear
Game changer: Marvin Miller, former head of the baseball union, pictured in 1981

Everyone's a winner on the level playing fields of sport

Out of America: Baseball and hockey don't follow the stereotype of rampant US capitalism

Republicans pin hopes for win on a third Bush

It has been less than a month since Mitt Romney was forced to abandon his 1,118-word victory speech, but already the Grand Old Party has begun the search for its great new hope, with Republican heads turning in the direction of Texas and the name Bush.

George P. Bush speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference

Republicans pin their hopes on a third George Bush

Grandson of one President – and nephew of another – signals that he is ready to run for political office

Obama advisers see mandate for fiscal policy

President Barack Obama spent Thursday meeting with senior advisers and returning a series of congratulatory phone calls from foreign leaders as the glow of his successful campaign faded into the impending grind of governing in a divided Washington.

Romney has played a textbook campaign

Editorial: High hopes to sober realism

A presidential challenger who appears to believe in so little does not deserve to win

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us