10 things you need to know today: October 4, 2015

Doctors Without Borders handout/Associated Press


1. Jason Chaffetz officially announces House speaker bid
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) formally announced his bid for House speaker in a Fox News Sunday interview. He’ll be up against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is favored to take over when John Boehner steps down Oct. 30. “The American people want a fresh face and a fresh new person,” Chaffetz said.

Source: Fox News Sunday

2. Doctors Without Borders closes Afghan hospital after airstrikes
Doctors Without Borders closed its northern Afghanistan hospitalSunday, one day after being hit in airstrikes possibly carried out by U.S. forces. The organization evacuated its foreign staff after at least 12 staff members and seven patients were killed in the assault that partially destroyed the building. It also denied that Taliban fighters were behind the attack. The U.S. military is conducting an investigation into the incident.

Source: Reuters, The Wall Street Journal

3. Hillary Clinton impersonates Donald Trump on SNL premiere
Hillary Clinton took to Saturday Night Live to poke fun at herself while slipping in a few jabs at Republican rival Donald Trump. Clinton played Val, an ordinary bartender, to Kate McKinnon’s Clinton, who was feeling down on her 2016 chances. The two acknowledged Clinton took a long time to oppose the Keystone pipeline and support same-sex marriage. When McKinnon mentioned Trump, the real politician mustered her best Donald impression for the camera. Former President Bill Clinton also dropped by.

Source: NBC

4. Oregon shooter’s father calls for stricter gun control
The father of the Oregon gunman who killed nine at a community college spoke out Saturday, arguing the shooting “would not have happened” if the U.S. had tighter gun control laws. Christopher Harper-Mercer was armed with six guns when he attacked Umpqua Community College on Thursday before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot in an exchange with police. “How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” Ian Mercer said. All of the shooter’s weapons were purchased legally by himself or a relative.

Source: The New York Times

5. Vatican fires openly gay priest before global LGBT outreach meeting
A priest who came out as gay was fired from the Vatican on Saturday, just one day before the start of the weeks-long Synod of Bishops. “The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said. At the global meeting, bishops will discuss the church’s LGBT outreach. Krzysztof Charamsa can retain his priesthood, but will not be allowed to work for the Vatican or pontifical universities.

Source: The Associated Press

6. Hillary Clinton wants LGBT vets kicked out of military to get honorable discharge
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called on the military to upgrade the service records of LGBT veterans who were kicked out due to their sexuality under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and even before its 1993 enactment. “I can’t think of a better way to thank those men and women for their service,” Clinton said Saturday in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign. She also vowed to never treat support from LGBT voters as a “political bargaining chip.”

Source: The Washington Post

7. California governor signs bill to eliminate racial profiling
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Saturday that calls for law enforcement officials to identify and eliminate cases of racial profiling. The measure requires agencies to record the perceived ethnicity of every civilian they stop, along with the reason for the stop and whether an arrest was made. Activists cheered Brown, but law enforcement officials criticized his decision. An American Civil Liberties Union report said California has seen 149 civilian deaths by law enforcement this year, the highest in the country.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

8. Heavy rains flood Southeast
President Obama declared an emergency to authorize federal aid for South Carolina as heavy rains flooded the state and surrounding region Saturday. The storm, expected to continue through Sunday and Monday and possibly drop a historic amount of rainfall, comes after the area mostly dodged Hurricane Joaquin, which has moved north. In events attributed to the weather, three people have recently died in traffic accidents in South Carolina and one person died in North Carolina when a tree fell on the interstate.

Source: USA Today, CNN

9. Hundreds possibly still missing after Guatemala landslide
About 350 people are still unaccounted for after a Guatemala landslide struck near the capital Thursday night. Rescuers were still searching Sunday, though it was doubtful they would find any more survivors. At least 86 people died when tons of earth, rock, and trees fell from the hillside above El Cambray, burying homes under debris.

Source: CNN, The Guardian

10. Nationals’ Max Scherzer tosses his second no-hitter of 2015 season
Max Scherzer led his Washington Nationals to a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday with a no-hitter, his second of the 2015 season. The game, the tail-end of a doubleheader between the division rivals, made Scherzer just the fifth pitcher to accomplish that feat during the regular season, and the first since Nolan Ryan in 1973. The ace called his no-hitters “bittersweet,” since the Nats will miss the playoffs after a lackluster season.

Source: ESPN

Julie Kliegman

Sunday Talk: Girl you know it’s true


Last week, shortly after Pope Francisblessed” Washington, John Boehner held a tearsoaked press conference during which he announced that he’ll be resigning his seat at the end of the month.

This news sent shockwaves around the halls of Congress, and set in motionseries of events—unfortunate events—that would shake the GOP to its core.

By abdicating the House speakershipBoehner had single-handedly made it possible for the government to keep givingfree stuff” to special interest groups (e.g., women, blacks, poorsetc.)—much to the detriment of liberty.

In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I’d probably think that he’s part of the vast leftwing conspiracy.

Boehner’s move was a stinging rebuke to Ted Cruz and his freedom fighting compatriots, who were intent on stuffing the entire federal government into some lady parts.

Luckily for them, thanks to a previously scheduled hearing on Planned Parenthood, they had the opportunity to publicly browbeat a woman, before dispensing with the handouts.

Also, too

The GOPcontrolled Benghazi Committee was able to drive down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, which is nice.

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Raging Narcissist Donald Trump (R); Others TBD.Face the Nation: Pre-empted by NFL Coverage.

This Week: Raging Narcissist Donald Trump (R); New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R);Bill O’Reilly (Fox News); Roundtable: (R); Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Keith Ellison(D-MN), Greta Van Susteren (Fox News) and Matt Bai (Yahoo News).

Fox News Sunday: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT); Army Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.); Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker; Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Julie Pace (Associated Press), Ben Domenech (The Federalist) and Christi Parsons (Los Angeles Times).

State of the Union: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Rep.Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); Gun Control Activist Mark Kelly.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on self-driving cars (preview); an interview with former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (preview); and, a report on French Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois’ search to uncover the unknown victims of the Holocaust (preview).

After the shooting in Oregon, Stephen Colbert shared some thoughts on pretending and honesty.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Monday: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Ballerina Misty Copeland.Tuesday: Former President Bill Clinton (D); Comedian Billy Eichner; Rock BandFlorence and the Machine.

Wednesday: Actress Gina Rodriguez; Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke; Rock BandTame Impala.

Thursday: Actress Cate Blanchett: Airbnb Co-Founder Brian Chesky.

Friday: TV Host James Corden; Co-Founder/CEO of VICE Media Shane Smith; SingerHalsey.

And, during his first week in the anchor seat, Trevor Noah argued that Donald Trump would make a perfect African president.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:

Monday: Actor Seth Rogen; Tuesday: Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin; Wednesday: Documentary Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky; Rachel Maddow (MSNBC).


A Florida state Rep. was caught scheming to lock up a Congressional seat held by a black Democrat.

In a private gathering during last month’s Republican Party of Florida quarterly meeting, state Rep. Janet Adkins told a group of North Florida GOP activists that the key to defeating Corrine Brown, a black Jacksonville Democrat, is boosting the number of black prisoners in her district.”You draw [Brown’s seat] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote,” said Adkins, a Nassau County Republican, referring to black residents. […]

On maps passed by both the House and Senate during an August redistricting special session, lawmakers redrew Brown’s seat to stretch west from Jacksonville to the Tallahassee region. It currently winds from Jacksonville to Orlando and is considered one of the most gerrymandered seats in the country.

Meanwhile, in the great state of Indiana…

The state House floor leader was forced to step down, after his cellphone fell into the hands of some sex-crazed Canadians … or something.

Rep. Jud McMillin, a rising star in the state’s Republican Party, abruptly resigned Tuesday.The Indianapolis Star has learned that the surprise resignation came after a sexually explicit video was sent via text message from McMillin’s cellphone. It’s unclear who sent the text or how broadly it was distributed. […]

McMillin, whose Facebook page says he is married, did not respond to messages fromThe Star seeking comment. He said in an emailed statement only that he has “decided the time is right for me to pass the torch and spend more time with my family.” […]

McMillin said in a text message last week, “My phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours. I have just been able to reactivate it under my control. Please disregard any messages you received recently. I am truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received.” […]

In 2005, his career as an assistant county prosecutor in Ohio came to an end amid questions about his sexual conduct. He admitted to a relationship with the complainant in a domestic violence case he was prosecuting, but he insisted the relationship began after he stepped off the case, according to the Dayton Daily News. He resigned a week after he stopped working on the case.

And, finally…

In the wake of the latest mass shooting, Tennessee’s Lt. Gov. urged his fellow Christians tojoin God’s army.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) was quickly criticized after calling on Christians to arm themselves following Thursday’s mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.According to The Tennessean, Ramsey made the remarks on his official Facebook page.

“While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare,” he wrote on Friday morning. “I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.” […]

“The recent spike in mass shootings across the nation is truly troubling,” Ramsey wrote. “Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West.”

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Silly Rabbit


Médecins Sans Frontières


At Least 19 Killed… Army: Bombing ‘May Have Resulted In Collateral Damage To A Nearby Medical Facility’… Local Police: Taliban Used Hospital As Hideout… Doctors Without Borders: Bombing Continued For Half An Hour After Mistake Was Clear… U.N. Rights Chief: May Be ‘War Crime’…

10 things you need to know today: October 3, 2015

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press


1. Authorities: Oregon shooting victims range from ages 18 to 67
The nine people fatally shot by Chris Harper-Mercer at an Oregon college Thursday ranged in age from 18 to 67, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Friday. Some were teenagers just starting classes for the first time at Umpqua Community College, and others were adults going back to school. Lawrence Levine, the 67-year-old, was an assistant professor of English. Authorities have not announced an official motive for Harper-Mercer, who reportedly had a cache of 13 weapons, body armor, and ammunition.

Source: CNN, The Associated Press

2. Possible U.S. airstrike mistakenly hits Doctors Without Borders hospital, kills at least 9
A U.S.-led airstrike may have mistakenly hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan on Saturday. At least nine staff members reportedly died and 37 more people were seriously injured. Dozens more are still unaccounted for. U.S. forces have repeatedly attacked Kunduz since the Taliban took control of the city Monday. A spokesman for the U.S. coalition confirmed they led the airstrike suspected of hitting the hospital at 2 a.m. and said the incident is under investigation.

Source: The Washington Post

3. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to step down in December
Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Friday he will step down in December. Duncan is one of two remaining members of President Obama’s original 2009 cabinet still serving in the same position, the other being Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In a letter to White House staff, Duncan said that he will be returning to Chicago to live with his family. Obama tapped Education Department official John King Jr. to replace Duncan as acting secretary.

Source: The Associated Press

4. The U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in September
The U.S. economy added a lackluster 142,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. That’s below the 173,000 initially reported for August, and that number was revised down to 136,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1 percent.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Rep. Jason Chaffetz plots run for House speaker
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) may be the latest candidate vying to replace John Boehner as House speaker, multiple sources told Politico. Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called out the current favorite, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), over his comments applauding the Benghazi oversight committee for successfully tarnishing Hillary Clinton’s reputation. McCarthy is still seen as the favorite to replace Boehner when he steps down at the end of October.

Source: Politico

6. Pope Francis met with openly gay couple during U.S. visit
Pope Francis met in private with an openly gay former student at the Vatican Embassy during his September U.S. trip. The student, Yayo Grassi, has been in a committed same-sex relationship for 19 years and brought his partner with him. The revelation comes in stark contrast to the pope’s brief meeting with same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis. The Vatican has since released a statement saying that the meeting between Francis and Davis “should not be considered a form of support of her position.”

Source: CNN

7. Obama: Conflict in Syria won’t become U.S.-Russia ‘proxy war’
President Obama criticized Russia’s increased military actions in Syria on Friday, but vowed to keep the conflict from becoming a “proxy war” between the two global powers. President Vladimir Putin has claimed his tanks and troops in Syria are targeting ISIS, but the U.S. has been skeptical. “This is not a smart strategic move on Russia’s part,” Obama said in a news conference. “It’s only strengthening ISIL, and that’s not good for anybody.”

Source: The Associated Press

8. Coast Guard searches for U.S. cargo ship lost in hurricane
The Coast Guard is searching for El Faro, a U.S.-flagged container ship lost in Hurricane Joaquin. The ship, headed for Puerto Rico with 28 Americans and five Poles, last made contact Thursday morning. The storm is no longer expected to directly hit the U.S., but forecasters said the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic could still see heavy rain over the weekend.

Source: CNN

9. Top FIFA corporate sponsors call for Sepp Blatter to step down
FIFA corporate sponsors Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s, and Anheuser-Busch all called on President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately from the soccer governing body. “Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish,” Coca-Cola said in a statement Friday. Swiss authorities recently announced a criminal investigation of Blatter, who has maintained he will step down in February after a special election to select his replacement. In May, the U.S. indicted several top FIFA officials on corruption charges.

Source: The New York Times

10. Saturday Night Live to kick off 41st season
Miley Cyrus will kick off Saturday Night Live‘s 41st season, serving as both host and musical guest. Hillary Clinton is set to appear in the show’s opening sketch alongside cast member Kate McKinnon. All of SNL‘s cast members from last season are returning, and they’ll be joined by newcomer Jon Rudnitsky, who some have already criticized for a history of racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes. Watch the season premiere at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Source: NBC, The New York Times

Julie Kliegman

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2015

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli


1. School shooter kills nine in Oregon
A gunman opened fire in a writing class at Umpqua Community College in southern Oregon on Thursday, killing at least nine people. The alleged shooter, identified as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, died in an exchange of gunfire with police, although it was not immediately clear whether an officer shot him or he killed himself. A frustrated President Obama issued a statement saying it was time for Congress to strengthen gun laws. “This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” he said.

Source: The Oregonian

2. Hurricane Joaquin hits the Bahamas but U.S. landfall looks less likely
Hurricane Joaquin hit the central Bahamas with heavy rains overnight, flooding homes, after strengthening into what forecasters called an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. The storm began to make a slow turn to the north on Friday as it battered the island chain for a second day. Forecasters have been split on whether Joaquin would hit the U.S. East Coast as it headed north. The latest tracks have it staying offshore, and threatening Bermuda.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, The Miami Herald

3. Iranians troops join offensive against Syrian rebels as Russian airstrikes continue
Hundreds of Iranian troops arrived in Syria to participate in a ground offensive against rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s military, Lebanese sources said Thursday. The news came as the commander of CIA-backed rebels said one of his group’s camps had been targeted in Russia’s first two days of airstrikes in support of the Syrian government. Moscow insisted it was attacking the Islamic State. American and Russian military leaders held a video conference Thursday to discuss avoiding clashes as they support rival military forces combating ISIS.

Source: Reuters

4. Bernie Sanders gains on Hillary Clinton in fundraising
Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders nearly caught up to Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the party’s nomination, in fundraising over the last three months. His campaign announcedThursday that he had hauled in $26 million from July through September. Clinton collected $28 million in the same period, much of it from big-ticket fundraising events. Sanders relied largely on 1.3 million small online contributions, putting him on a quicker pace than President Obama set in 2008.

Source: USA Today

5. Judge blocks Obama administration fracking rules
A federal judge on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Obama administration’s first attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The ruling only affects a small portion of lands where the technique, which has led to a boom in domestic oil and gas production, is used. It only covers federal and tribal lands, but nearly 90 percent of fracking is done on state and private land covered by state and local laws.

Source: The New York Times

6. Biden not expected to join presidential race in time for first debate
Vice President Joe Biden is delaying a decision on whether to jump into the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and is not expected to participate in the first primary debate, scheduled for Oct. 13, several Democrats said Thursday. Biden reportedly has not been preparing for the debate. People close to Biden said he would probably announce his plans in late October. Biden has said he doesn’t know whether he and his family are emotionally prepared for a campaign so soon after the May death of his son Beau.

Source: CNN

7. Virginia executes man convicted of three murders
Triple murderer Alfredo Prieto was executed by lethal injection in Virginia on Thursday. He was convicted of killing two people in Virginia in 1988 — raping one as she lay dying — and another in California. He was linked by DNA and ballistics evidence to six other killings. Prieto’s lawyers tried to stop the execution over concerns one of the execution drugs would cause unnecessary pain. Prieto also asked the Supreme Court to step in, saying he was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

Source: The Washington Post

8. Job gains expected to have continued at around 200,000 in September
Economists expect the federal government to report Friday that the economy added about 200,000 jobs in September. That would be close to the average monthly gains in nonfarm jobs this year. If the Labor Department reports a higher number, pressure will increase on the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Lower numbers will fuel questions about how long the Fed will hold off.

Source: USA Today, CNBC

9. Authorities blame arsonist for Planned Parenthood fire in California
Police on Thursday that a small fire that damaged a Planned Parenthood facility in Southern California was caused when someone threw a container of flammable liquid at the building. About six weeks ago, someone threw rocks at the same facility, breaking several windows. Planned Parenthood has faced sharp criticism since conservative activists released videos on its supplying of fetal tissue for medical research. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the arson was the result of the “toxic rhetoric.”

Source: The Associated Press

10. Serena Williams cuts short stellar season
Serena Williams, the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, cut her season short Thursday, pulling out of two tournaments due to nagging injuries. Williams, 34, played hurt much of the year but still managed to win five titles — the Australian Open, Miami, French Open, Wimbledon, and Cincinnati. She came within two wins of becoming only the fourth woman to win a calendar-year grand slam, losing in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Roberta Vinci last month. Her record for the year was 53-3.

Source: Tennis

Harold Maass

Huckabee Bashes Obama For Trying To ‘Exploit’ Oregon Shooting


AP Photo / Sebastian Scheiner

Huckabee shows us more and more that he is actually dumber than a ton of bricks…


Huckabee instead blamed gun-free zones and “evil people doing evil things” for the shooting.

“Obama can shamelessly try and exploit any tragedy he wants, but it’s clear that gun free zones are sitting duck zones,” the former governor wrote. “His passion is grossly misplaced into destroying the Second Amendment. There were 50 shootings in Chicago the past two weekends and this administration failed to utter a word. Gun violence is a problem in this country, but it’s not the fault of the Second Amendment it’s the fault of evil people doing evil things.”

After the shooting that left at least ten people dead, Obama called on lawmakers to enact gun control reforms, acknowledging that he was politicizing the issue.

“Somebody somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue,” he said. “Well this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”


Charlotte PD Considers Banning People From Certain Neighborhoods If They’ve Been Arrested

Charlotte Observer/Getty Images


Police and city councilors in Charlotte, North Carolina, are debating whether to ban people from being in certain parts of the city if they’ve ever been arrested. Police would designate the restricted spaces — generally high-crime areas — as “public safety zones,” and bar those who had previously been arrested in the areas from entering.

Former arrestees would face misdemeanor charges if they entered the zones, the Charlotte Observer reports. To qualify for a ban, one need not have to have been tried, convicted or incarcerated for a crime — simply arrested.

Neither the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department nor the Charlotte City Council responded to Mic‘s request for comment Thursday.

Under the proposed rule, police could designate public safety zones in response to activities like drug sales and weapon discharges. They could then send notifications to people who had been arrested in these areas previously, and ban them from entry as long as the area remained designated as such.

The bans “could be appealed” by people picking up children from school or going to work in the zones, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Charlotte PD Considers Banning People From Certain Neighborhoods If They've Been Arrested

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrest a man during a protest over the summer.Source: Charlotte Observer/Getty Images

Comprehensive arrest numbers were not readily available for this report, but since 1999, North Carolina hasmandated that all law enforcement departments statewide collect data on traffic stops. According to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, black motorists were both more likely to be stopped and twice as likely to be searched after being stopped by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police compared to white motorists between 2002 and 2013.

North Carolina Department of Justice data also show that black motorists were more likely to be arrested after a stop between October 2010 and August 2015 — the broadest dataset available.

Charlotte PD Considers Banning People From Certain Neighborhoods If They've Been Arrested
Source: North Carolina Department of Justice

According to census figures from 2014, black people constitute 32.2% of residents in Mecklenburg County — over which the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has jurisdiction — while white people compose 59.2%.

It’s not hard to guess who would be most affected by proposed “public safety zones,” considering these numbers.

This is also not the first time Charlotte has suggested a measure like this. According to the Charlotte Observer, a 2013 injunction against the Hidden Valley Kings gang prohibited its members from “driving, standing, sitting, walking or appearing together in public view.” The injunction expired last year, but authorities are could technically renew it.

Zak Cheney-Rice

Your Friday Briefing: Oregon Shooting, Syria Airstrikes and More

From my inbox…

A vigil in Roseburg, Ore., after a gunman killed nine people on a community college campus on Thursday.

A vigil in Roseburg, Ore., after a gunman killed nine people on a community college campus on Thursday|Amanda Lucier for The New York Times


Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
• “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
President Obama angrily condemned on Thursday night the “routine” of mass shootings in the U.S., after a 26-year-old man killed nine people on a community college campus in Oregon before dying in an exchange of gunfire with the police.
Neighbors remember the gunman as a fragile young man with a shaved head and dark glasses who recoiled from social interaction.
• It’s jobs day.
When the U.S. employment report for September comes out this morning, watch for a gain of more than 200,000 new jobs and an increase in hourly wages.
If those signs of a healthy labor market are confirmed, the Federal Reserve could have the ammunition it needs to raise interest rates this year.
August added a disappointing 173,000 jobs, but that initial number may be revised higher today. The unemployment rate of 5.1 percent is expected to stay the same.
• Hurricane batters the Bahamas.
Hurricane Joaquin is pounding the Bahamas with powerful wind and waves for a second day.
Though it may not directly hit the U.S., heavy rain and flash floods are possible on the Eastern Seaboard even if the storm stays offshore, the National Weather Service says.
• Ukraine’s crisis overshadowed.
Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, meets the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine in Paris today for talks that were to be about Ukraine.
But the focus is likely to switch to Syria, where Russia began airstrikes this week. A Russian official said today the strikes would last three to four months. (Here’s a map of the battle across Syria.)
Moscow is determined to save Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. And Syria’s foreign minister is to address the U.N. today.
• The Vatican weighs in.
Pope Francis did not hold a private meeting with Kim Davis last week in Washington, the Vatican said today. Instead, she was among dozens of guests invited by the Vatican ambassador for a brief meeting with the pope.
The Vatican said that Francis was unaware of the specifics of the case of Ms. Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Thereport of the meeting had heartened conservatives.
• U.S. military jet crashes in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claim to have shot down a C-130 plane that crashed at an airport on Thursday, killing six members of the U.S. armed forces, five civilian contractors and three Afghan civilians.
At the same time, the Taliban’s rule in the strategic city of Kunduz shows evidence of harsh civilian abuses.
• Waiting for the vice president.
With less than two weeks before the first Democratic presidential debate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. hasn’t announced a decision on whether to run.
This weekend, Mr. Biden addresses the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group in the U.S. It has yet to make an endorsement.
• Amazon will stop selling streaming video players from Apple and Google in hopes of raising sales of its Fire TV devices and its Prime video service.
• Hackers stole the personal data of about 15 million potential T-Mobile customers, including Social Security numbers, home addresses and birth dates.
• Wall Street stock futures are slightly higher this morning. European shares are up strongly, and Asian indexes ended mixed.
• At the movies.
Matt Damon plays an astronaut left behind by his crew in “The Martian,” a science-fiction thriller directed by Ridley Scott and opening nationwide today.
In “Freeheld,” Julianne Moore stars as Laurel Hester, the New Jersey police detective who, dying of lung cancer, fought to be able to leave her pension to her domestic partner (played by Ellen Page).
And “He Named Me Malala” is a documentary portrait of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Popular reads
Women dominate the top best-seller debuts this week: Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me” (No. 1), Mary Karr’s “The Art of Memoir” (No. 3) and Suzy Favor Hamilton’s “Fast Girl” (No. 4) on our hardcover nonfiction list.
In fiction, “Devoted in Death” (No. 3) by J. D. Robb, who is actually the best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts, and “Fates and Furies” by Laura Groff (No. 7) are new to the chart this week.
Get an early look at all of our best-seller lists.
• New sounds.
A sweeter, more chaste Janet Jackson is evident in “Unbreakable,” her first album in seven years, which is released today. It includes a tribute to her brother Michael, who died in 2009.
Others with new albums today are Collective Soul and Avicii.
• Scoreboard.
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers captured playoff spots on Thursday night.
In pro football, the Baltimore Ravens earned their first win of the season, 23-20, over the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Angry Obama Blasts Congress for Failing America on Guns


At a press conference Thursday, President Barack Obama was visibly frustrated with a lack of action from Congress to prevent mass shootings like the one that happened today at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

“It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun,” Obama said.

He recalled an interview in which he said that America is the only country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings regularly. Hours later, there were reports of a shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater.

He continued: “We spend over $1 trillion on preventing terrorism…yet we have a Congress that prevents us from even collecting data on how to reduce gun deaths.”

Shut out in the Black Belt

VOX Sentences

President Obama really doesn’t want to give another speech after a mass shooting; a major Senate criminal-justice reform bill; and why DMV closures in Alabama could be a voter-suppression issue.

Obama speaks on the shooting

Mary Wilson/Getty Images


Voting booths. Booths, where voting happens.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty

Vox Sentences is written by Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind.