Sarah Palin Launches Online Subscription Channel

NEW ORLEANS, LA – MAY 29: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference on May 29, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Yes, TFC friends, apparently there are people who still want to see and hear from Sarah Palin on a regular basis.  Go figure…

Liberaland

For $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year you can have access to Sarah Palin’s new online channel. Palin will oversee all content on the channel, which will feature her take on “important issues facing the nation,” and a behind-the-scenes look at her life as a “mother, grandmother, wife and neighbor.” This way you don’t need to filter through the lame stream media to access her pearls of wisdom: “I want to talk directly to you on our channel, on my terms — and no need to please the powers that be. Together, we’ll go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.”

Palin created the channel with Tapp, the online-video venture formed by Jeff Gaspin, former chairman of NBCUniversal Television, and Jon Klein, former president of CNN U.S.

Channel members will have the ability to post their own videos to the Sarah Palin Channel, submit questions to her and participate in online video chats with her and other subscribers. Active U.S. military members can subscribe free of charge, according to TAPP.

 

Now read this:

10 things you need to know today: July 28, 2014

Palestinian girls celebrate the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the festival to end Ramadan.

Palestinian girls celebrate the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the festival to end Ramadan. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Week

Violence declines under Palestinian-Israeli truce, Congress reaches a deal on veterans’ health care, and more

1. Strikes ease under Palestinian-Israelis humanitarian truce
Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire declined sharply on Monday as a humanitarian ceasefire took hold at the start of Eid al-Fitr, the three-day Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Hamas said it wanted a 24-hour truce. Israel said it would respect “an unlimited truce” but would respond to any attack. Palestinian health officials said the death toll in the Gaza Strip had reached 1,032, most of them civilians. [The Wall Street Journal]

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2. Politicians agree on a plan to improve veteran health care
The leaders of veterans’ affairs committees in the House and Senate reached a deal to fix the health-care system for the nation’s veterans. The Veterans Affairs Department has been gripped by scandal for months since reports surfaced of patients waiting months for care at VA facilities and attempts to cover up the failings. VA committee leaders scheduled a 1:30 p.m. news conference Monday to announce their proposal. [Bloomberg News]

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3. Ukrainian separatists agree to let Malaysian investigators see crash site
Ukrainian troops launched an offensive to retake the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 went down, stalling international investigators’ efforts to reach the site hours after Malaysia reached a deal with pro-Russian separatists to let 68 Malaysian police officers visit the site. Officials in Australia and the Netherlands, where some of the victims were from, also plan to send officers. [The New York Times]

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4. Judge overturns Washington, D.C., handgun ban
A federal judge has ruled that Washington, D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional. The overturning of the city’s ban marked a setback for local politicians who — faced with the nation’s highest murder rate two decades ago — imposed gun laws once seen as some of the toughest in the country. City officials plan to ask for a stay while they decide whether to appeal. [Al Jazeera America]

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5. Liberia closes borders to keep Ebola from spreading
Liberia closed most of its border crossings on Sunday as part of a campaign to impede the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Ebola has killed at least 660 people — including two Americans — in West Africa. Only Liberia’s main entry points will remain open, and people there will be subject to inspections and testing. Ebola can kill 90 percent of those it strikes, but the current outbreak has killed about 60 percent. [Reuters, CBS News]

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6. Beach goers hit by lightning at Venice Beach, California
A 20-year-old man was killed and nine other people were injured in a lightning strike at California’s Venice Beach on Sunday. A witness said the jolt blasted roof tiles off of nearby buildings. Around the time of the afternoon incident the National Weather Service tweeted a warning, urging people to stay indoors if they heard thunder. Three other people were injured by the same rare lightning storm elsewhere in Southern California. [Los Angeles Times]

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7. Washington says it has proof Russia is shooting at Ukraine
The U.S. released satellite images on Sunday indicating that Russia was shooting rockets and artillery at Ukrainian forces from across the border to support pro-Russian separatists. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the need for an immediate ceasefire. Kerry also reportedly told Lavrov that Russia must stop shooting and sending weapons over the border. [The Washington Post]

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8. Man killed by plane crash landing on Florida beach
A father walking with his daughter was killed on a Florida beach on Sunday when a single-engine plane crash landed in the sand. The pilot and passenger in the 1972 Piper Cherokee sent a distress signal before bringing the plane down. Neither person on board was hurt as the plane came to a bumpy stop, but Ommy Irizarry, 36, of Georgia was killed, and his 9-year-old daughter, Oceana, was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. [New York Daily News]

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9. Sarah Palin Channel launches online
Sarah Palin launched a subscription-based online video network — the Sarah Palin Channel — that she said would allow her to reach Americans with no “politically correct” media filter. “I want to talk directly to you on our channel on my terms,” she said in a video greeting viewers, “and no need to please the powers that be.” The site promises video chats, interviews, and clips from Palin’s events. Access costs $9.95 per month. [MarketWatch]

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10. Vincenzo Nibali wins the Tour de France
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday. The 29-year-old Sicilian — who calls himself “a flag-bearer of anti-doping” — was the first Italian to win cycling’s biggest race in 16 years. He won by picking up a second on his rivals wherever he could, then dominating in the grueling mountain phase, where he took three of the four stages he won in the tour. [CBS News]

Rula Jebreal Rails Against MSNBC For Labeling Her ‘Palestinian Journalist’ (VIDEO)

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Rula Jebreal former MSNBC Contributor

 

I have to wonder about the corporate bosses MSNBC.  If nothing else labeling her anything which might lead to a negative connotation, was simply inappropriate for a news organization.

TPM LiveWire

Jebreal said that there’s no reason to label her by her ethnicity, especially when she’s been counted on in the past to weigh in on issues across the Middle East as a journalist and expert.

“Is this how we label people? I think whoever is doing this PR campaign for MSNBC needs to rethink these issues,” she said.

She then suggested that MSNBC labeled her that way to make her seem “emotional.”

“Did I become Palestinian because this way you can describe me as emotional and as biased, and this way can avoid debate as to who is really biased on this issues?” she asked.

Jebreal was not forced out of her contract with MSNBC, but chose to pursue other opportunities.

“If I wanted to stay, I would have stayed,” she told TPM on Wednesday.

She also criticized MSNBC for calling her a Palestinian journalist on Wednesday, even though she calls herself a “Palestinian Journalist” on one part of her website.

Watch the interview via CNN here…

10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2014

An Israeli tank fires into Gaza

An Israeli tank fires into Gaza Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The Week

Hamas proposes a new cease fire, fighting thwarts investigators from reaching the MH17 crash site, and more.

1. Hamas calls for 24-hour truce as death toll tops 1,050
Hamas on Sunday requested a 24-hour humanitarian truce ahead of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan. The request came one day after the militant Palestinian group rejected an Israeli-proposed truce, saying the terms were “unacceptable” because they did not mandate Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. More than 1,050 Palestinians have died in the three-week-old conflict, the majority of them civilians. [USA Today, NBC News]

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2. MH17 investigators thwarted by fighting in Ukraine
International investigators who were to inspect the MH17 crash site Sunday called off their visit due to intense fighting in the area between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists. “The situation on the ground appears to be unsafe,” Alexander Hug, deputy head of the European monitoring group, said. Small contingents of international observers have reached the site since the plane went down July 17. But though the Malaysian government struck a deal to grant greater access to foreign observers, heavy fighting once again delayed the deployment of more experts to the area. [The New York Times, BBC]

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3. New York Times endorses marijuana legalization
The New York Times editorial board on Sunday called on the federal government to repeal its ban on marijuana — which would effectively legalize the drug nationwide. Calling pot “less dangerous than alcohol,” the Times said that though there remained legitimate concerns about legalizing the substance, “on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization.” The Times did, however, add that the drug should only be sold to adults 21 and over. [The New York Times]

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4. U.S. doctor in Africa contracts Ebola
An American doctor working to contain the Ebola outbreak in Africa has tested positive for the deadly virus. Thirty-three-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, who has been working in Liberia with the organization Samaritan’s Purse since October 2013, recognized the symptoms and isolated himself to prevent further spread. It is not known how he contracted the virus, which kills 90 percent of those it infects, though a spokesperson for the group promised an “intensive and thorough investigation.” [Associated Press, Reuters]

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5. Fighting in Libya leaves dozens dead
At least 38 people were killed and another 50 injured in Benghazi, Libya, in clashes between the military and Islamist fighters. The conflict began late Saturday when Islamist groups launched an attack on a special forces base in the city. Also on Saturday, 23 people were killed in a rocket attack near the main airport in Tripoli. Citing a concern that the fighting could spread, the U.S. on Saturday evacuated all personnel from its Libyan embassy. [AFP, Al Jazeera]

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6. Pope Francis begs for end to global crises
Pope Francis on Sunday made an emotional plea to end the various violent conflicts that have bubbled up around the globe in recent weeks. Citing the upcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the pontiff said he was dismayed by the chaos claiming the lives of innocents — especially children — in the Middle East and Ukraine. “Please stop,” he said at the close of his regular address. “I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop.” [Reuters]

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7. Video shows first American suicide bomber in Syria
An Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria has released a video showing a U.S. citizen who carried out a May suicide attack in Syria’s civil war. The group, the Nusra Front, released a video on Friday that shows 22-year-old American citizen Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha smiling and speaking before a May 25 attack on the Syrian army. “I want to rest in the afterlife, in heaven,” Abu-Salha says in the video. “There is nothing here and the heart is not resting.” [The Guardian]

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8. Costa Concordia reaches final resting place
The wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia completed its journey to a Genoa scrap yard Sunday, bringing to an end a two-year salvage operation. The ship capsized after running aground in January 2012, and sat partially submerged before being “re-floated” in one of the largest ever maritime salvage operations. [The Guardian, BBC]

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9. Obama urges Central American leaders to stem immigrant surge
President Obama called on the heads of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to help curtail the flood of young migrants to the U.S-Mexico border following a 90-minute White House meeting with the foreign leaders. “Children who do not have proper claims, and families with children who do not have proper claims at some point will be subject to repatriation to their home countries,” Obama warned. [Politico, The New York Times]

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10. MLB Hall of Fame to induct three legends Sunday
Baseball’s Hall of Fame will on Sunday induct three of the most iconic players from the past generation — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas — along with a handful of managers. All three players earned entry on their first year of eligibility. The trio of selections came one year after Hall voters selected zero players in what was widely seen as a symbolic rebuke of the steroid era. [Baseball Hall of Fame]

Sunday Talk: The daddy party – 07-27-2014

ALT TEXT

Daily Kos

If, as is widely expected, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz should both decide toseek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, the race will be a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican party.

And, more importantly, it will deliver themost epic campaign surrogate match-up in American history.

Rand, a self-certified ophthalmologist, is the son of conspiracy theorist/Russiaapologist Ron Paul, MD—himself a two-time primary loser.

The good doctor’s experience with direct mail would certainly be a boon to Rand’sminority outreach efforts; and he’d need all the help he can get on that front.

After all, Ted’s outspoken father, Rev. Rafael Cruz, hails from Cuba (and later Canada), which makes Ted a bona fide minority—unlike Rand, who just plays a minority in urban settings.

 

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Chris Gunness (United Nations Relief and Works Agency); Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Roundtable: Judy Woodruff (PBS), David Brooks (New York Times), Nia-Malika Henderson (Washington Post) and Ruth Marcus (Washington Post).

Face The Nation: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin; Roundtable: David Leonhardt (New York Times), Amy Walter (Cook Political Report), Anthony Salvanto and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX); Roundtable: Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), S.E. Cupp (CNN) and Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich

Fox News Sunday: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi; Roundtable: Brit Hume(Fox News), Kirsten Powers (USA Today), George Will (Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-SC); Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA); Julia Ioffe (The New Republic).

 

Elsewhere:

A Florida state senator was so impressed by convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza’s latest “documentary” that he wants it shown in every school statewide.

Republican Alan Hays, inspired after seeing the movie in theaters, said he now plans on introducing a one-page bill in November which wouldrequire all 1,700 Florida high schools and middle schools to show the movie to their students, unless their parents choose to opt them out. The documentary film is a conservative-spin on American history focusing on elevating the “essential goodness of America” while discrediting criticisms about American’s checkered history with civil rights and social justice. It’s not completely inconceivable for the bill to pass the Republican-controlled Florida legislature and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.”I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill,” Hays said.

 

Dumb And Dumber Headed To Texas Border

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I couldn’t resist posting this article.  The headline had me at “Dumb and Dumber…”  So apropos for these two.

Liberaland

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Friday that he is heading to the Texas-Mexico border this weekend to assess the current immigration crisis, and he will be joined by Michele Bachmann (R-Minn).

They will visit the areas of Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo, meeting with the Border Patrol and local officials. King has been a critic of  immigration reform and has called for toughening border security, according to KCCI.

His jaw dropping statements such as immigrants weighing “130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” will only add to the problem.

Stuff King shouldn’t say again while visiting our Southern Border:

“We could also electrify this wire (on the border) with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.”

King comparing immigration laws to picking a dog: “You put out a beacon like the Statue of Liberty and who comes here? The most vigorous from every country that has donated legal immigrants to America. The cream of the crop. We’ve always had bird dogs around our place. In our family there’s a black lab and white lab, a yellow lab, and my brother has a chocolate lab. Well, you go in and you look at a litter of pups, and you watch them. You watch how they play — they run around a little bit — and what do you want? You want a good bird dog, and you want one that’s gonna be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s in games the most — not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner. You want a pet to sit on the couch, pick the one that’s sleeping in the corner. That’s — so, you get the pick of the litter, you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. We got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet because it’s hard to get here; you had to be inspired to come. We got the vigor from the planet to come to America. Whichever generation it was, and then we taught our children that same thing.”

King on the United States’ official language, “One of the great things about America is we’ve been unified by a common language. That common language, of course, is English. Our language is getting subdivided by some forces of the federal government. It is time to speak with a common voice. The argument that diversity is our strength has really never been backed up by logic. It’s unity is where our strength is. Our Founding Fathers understood that. Modern-day multiculturalists are defying that.”

“When we give the welfare state, then people won’t be able to come out of it. It’s the biggest trap that people can have,” Michele Bachmann said in 2011.

Both politicians are “pro-life” Christians. It will be interesting to see how the two will reject children who are fleeing violence and still be OK with GOP Jesus.

Now read this:

Wrapped in the flag, and carrying a cross

Daily Kos

There is no lower bound on modern so-called conservatism. It’s not going to happen.

As an example, [Fox & Friends] aired two emergency calls from Spanish speakers each identified on-screen as “Immigrant.” In the first, a distressed male requests emergency assistance for his cousin, whom the man described as “turning blue.” Another call featured a man and woman explaining to the 911 operator that they have not had access to water in three days.[Host Brian Kilmeade] asked the deputy, “So those calls, you have to respond to, even though for the most part, when you get there you realize, they’re not even American citizens?”

As we watch the nice network host very grumpily contemplate the injury that must be being inflicted on America due to various non-citizens not breathing or slowly dying of thirst on our dime, keep in mind that is a contingent of viewers out there who believe absolutely that yes, we should let people calling 911 die if they cannot prove they are American citizens, and would happily tell you so on national television. There’s also a contingent that thinks you should die a preventable death if you do not have the right kind of health insurance or if your employer did not feel like giving you any, and who are willing to pipe up with that theory even during a presidential debate. There are people who bring their hands together to clap lustily when a candidate brags that they have personally presided over the efficient execution of a new record number of prisoners, and many would probably clap just as hard if a candidate announced that he had a plan to streamline things even further by simply executing all of those prisoners at once, say in some sort of gas chamber. There are groups now who parade around with loaded guns and declare that the elected leaders who oppose them are, for whatever scant reasons they can come up with, simply illegitimate; this notion of illegitimate rule has been absorbed into and is entrenched even our highest legislative chambers. All the various pieces are there to turn us into a nation of monsters, nationalistic feudalists who are are self-assured in our expansions of business rights and just as self-assured in our calculations of which actual living persons in the world, American or otherwise, have lost their last chance and need to be ignored or disposed of before they cost the rest of us any more cash.

We think of ourselves as exceptional, but we are a hair’s breadth from constructing internment camps for migrant children under the declaration that they are too disease-riddled to mingle with the rest of the population. There are increasingly aggressive responses to even the rumor that a few of those children might arrive nearby, and our top politicians are eager to get themselves photographed among military-garbed, heavily armed troops meant to stem the influx of foreigners who put America’s continued existence at risk merely by stepping onto our own soil. We have already established that we consider war crimes justifiable, so long as the reasons are deemed pure. We elect those that will patiently explain to us why the Bill of Rights no longer applies to some Americans. The thought that we would consider global humanitarian norms to constrain our own possible actions already stirs great anger among many of self-proclaimed “true” patriots.

This is just a friendly reminder as we watch the hosts on television ponder these things and watch the people with big, misspelled signs confront buses full of suspicious-looking children from nearby summer camps. There is no natural lower bound here, no fail-safe switch that ensures things will go to a certain point but never any further. And no matter how sweetly the nice people on television smile as they ponder the fate of the poor or the powerless or how assured the politicians sound as they explain the common sense of these things, whether it be the announcement that corporate religions trump personal faith, the existential dangers of the disease-riddled other in our midst, or whatever other new obvious truths are suddenly discovered as each year ticks on, it should rightly be terrifying.

10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2014

Gaza residents are using the short cease-fire to salvage what belongings are left.

Gaza residents are using the short cease-fire to salvage what belongings are left. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Note: The Week was published online at 10:33 am this morning, hence the late post…

The Week

Israel and Hamas enter 12-hour cease-fire, the U.S. embassy in Libya evacuates its staff, and more

1. Israel, Hamas enter 12-hour cease-fire as death toll passes 1,000
Gaza residents are taking advantage of today’s 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire to gather supplies, inspect damaged homes, and recover bodies from the rubble. Israeli forces are continuing to search for Hamas-built tunnels; meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry reported that the death toll has passed 1,000. The lull in fighting comes less than a day after Israeli cabinet members “unanimously rejected” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s week-long cease-fire proposal. [The Associated Press, NPR]

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2. U.S. embassy in Libya evacuates staff
The State Department evacuated its staff from the U.S. embassy in Libya today due to “the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias.” The embassy, located in Tripoli, was already running with very few staff members. Heavily armed Marines drove the remaining personnel to Tunisia early this morning, with air support in the form of two American F-16 fighter jets, along with several unmanned drones. In addition to evacuating the embassy, the State Department issued a travel warning, urging U.S. nationals not to enter the country, and those already in Libya to depart. [BBC News, NBC News]

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3. Russia reportedly firing across border on Ukrainian forces
Russia is carrying out artillery attacks on Ukrainian soldiers and gathering more sophisticated weaponry along its side of the border, likely to be used by separatist insurgents in the neighboring country, according to reports from Ukrainian and American officials. As the Ukrainian military has made inroads on retaking militant-controlled areas of the country in the last few weeks, Moscow has answered with drone attacks and the sending of more high-powered weaponry, such as tanks and rocket launchers, to Pro-Russia separatists. American officials say the attacks are likely meant to keep Ukrainian soldiers away from the border, which then clears the way for Russia to interact freely with the militants. [The New York Times]

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4. Iran confirms arrest of four journalists
Iran confirmed the arrest of Jason Rezaian, a correspondent for The Washington Post, on Friday. Rezaian, 38, is a U.S.-Iranian dual national. He was reportedly detained on Tuesday, along with his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who works as a correspondent for the National, a United Arab Emirates-based newspaper. Two other American citizens working as photojournalists were also detained with the couple, according to Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, director general of the Tehran Province Justice Department. The reason for the reporters’ arrest is unknown, and because the U.S. and Iran do not have a formal diplomatic relationship, negotiating a release may be difficult. [The Washington Post]

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5. Australia, Netherlands to send police to Flight 17 crash site
Both Australia and the Netherlands are negotiating with Ukraine to send dozens of police to the debris field from downed Flight MH17. The Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens to last week’s tragedy, hopes to send 40 unarmed military police, while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he intends to send an additional 100 Federal Police, to bolster 90 Defense Force troops already on the ground. Both countries’ decisions come following a week in which Russian-backed separatists, blamed for shooting down the jetliner, first tampered with and then impeded Ukrainian officials’ attempts to secure the crash site. [NPR]

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6. Bose files lawsuit against Beats over headphone patents
Less than three months after Apple agreed to buy Beats Electronics for $3 million (that deal is pending regulatory approval), Bose is suing Beats for what it claims are five different patent violations. Bose filed the lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Delaware on Friday, claiming Beats’ Studio noise-canceling headphones are in patent violation for use of technologies such as “dynamically configurable ANR filter block technology.” Bose is seeking an award for damages, along with an injunction to stop Beats from selling the headphones. [Time]

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7. Emergency contraceptives still effective for overweight women
The European Medicines Agency announced that Norlevo, a European drug “identical” to Plan B One-Step, would be an effective emergency contraceptive even for heavier women after all. The new report came after the EMA warned last fall that Norlevo might not work as well for women with BMIs over 25. The agency now says there “isn’t enough data to support the previous warning to women about weight.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not issued any similar warnings about Plan B’s effectiveness. [Time]

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8. Pope Francis reportedly plans visit to United States in 2015
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Caput told mass attendees at a Thursday mass in Fargo, North Dakota, that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to attend next September’s World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia. “Pope Francis has told me that he is coming,” the archbishop said, although the Philadelphia Archdiocese subsequently released a press release noting that the Vatican has not officially accepted the invitation, and probably will not do so until about six months before the event. Still, a spokesman for the Vatican said that Pope Francis is interested in making a trip to the U.S., and that he is also considering invitations from other cities. [Catholic News Service]

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9. New study shows Tylenol does not help ease back pain
Researchers published a new study which shows Tylenol and similar forms of acetaminophen may be no more effective than a placebo at treating back pain. Participants divided into three groups all reported similar variation in pain and recovery time, regardless of whether they were taking acetaminophen or a placebo. And, 75 percent of the participants reported being satisfied with their treatment results — including those given placebos. [Time, The Lancet]

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10. Russians lose control of gecko-filled satellite
Russian scientists sent a satellite filled with geckos into space on July 19, with the hopes of studying “the effects of weightlessness on lizard mating.” The geckos apparently put out a “do not disturb” sign, though, because Russian space firm Progress reported on Thursday that the scientists have lost control of the satellite, which is currently set to autopilot. While the scientists can still watch videos of the on-the-lam subjects, Progress said the satellite is not yet “responding to commands.” [Al Jazeera America]

ESPN Panelist: Women Should Try Not To ‘Provoke’ Domestic Violence (VIDEO)

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith | Frank Micelotta

This guy needs a course in “critical thinking”.  Lesson number one:  Think before you speak…

TPM LiveWire

Provocative “First Take” panelist Stephen A. Smith was discussing the National Football League’s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games, after he was indicted for allegedly physically assaulting his then-fiancee. The suspension was widely panned as lenient.

Smith said during his ESPN appearance that a man has “no business” putting his hands on a woman, but then went on to say that he was raised by women and encouraged the female members of his family to “make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.”

“I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to try to make sure it doesn’t happen … but at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation,” he added. “Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them. Because we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying.”

Smith’s ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle did not take kindly to that analysis.

Beadle’s outrage prompted Smith to address his comments with a lengthy explanation on Twitter. In a curious apology, he said he was sorry to any woman who “misconstrued” his meaning and essentially rehashed his original argument.

“I wasn’t BLAMING women for anything,” he wrote. “I was simply saying to take all things into consideration for preventative purposes. Period.”

Watch Smith’s original comments below: