President Barack Obama

Senator: ‘We All Get Killed Back Here At Home’ If Obama Doesn’t Send Combat Troops Back Into Iraq

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) | CREDIT: SUSAN WALSH/AP IMAGES

Senate war mongers John McCain and Lindsay Graham have never met a war they didn’t like.  This article focuses on Graham…

Think Progress

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, calling the commander-in-chief “disingenuous and delusional” and warning that Americans will be “killed here at home” unless he sends ground troops into Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist threat.

Comparing the estimated 30,000 ISIS fighters to the Nazis, Graham warned that “this idea we’ll never had any boots to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.” He argued that given the growth of the “radical Islamic army” and its control of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, “it’s going to take an army to beat a army.” “This is ISIL versus mankind,” he said.

“To destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take back their territory, cut off the finances and destroy the capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fights not a counter terrorism operation,” Graham continued. “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” The Unites States has approximately 1,600 soldiers in Iraq advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces, conducting intelligence operations and surveillance and reconnaissance flights.

Graham’s comments come just hours after the terrorist group released another videopurportedly showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, marking the third time the organization has beheaded a western hostage.

In announcing his strategy on Wednesday, Obama promised to build a global coalition to confront the ISIS threat, step-up air strikes across ISIS strongholds, and asked Congress to authorize $500 million for the training of moderate forces in Syria. But the president ruled out sending ground forces in a combat capacity back into Iraq. “Everybody believes there has to be some ground force on the ground taking the fight to ISIL,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said during an interview on Fox. “If it’s not the Syrian opposition trained by the United States, authorized by the president and the Congress, it will have to be U.S. troops. The president has made a decision on that we’re not going to do that.”

EX-NSA Director Hayden Compares ISIS Airstrikes To ‘Casual Sex’

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Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden | AP Photo / Roger Askew/REX

Ouch!

Apparently General Hayden is starting to display his disdain for the POTUS more and more.  I’m not saying he’s right or wrong on this issue, just saying his comment was rather “audacious” for an ex member of the President’s cabinet.

TPM LiveWire

“The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex: It seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment,” Hayden said according to US News & World Report. “We need to be wary of a strategy that puts emphasis on air power and air power alone.”

Hayden’s comments come two days after President Barack Obama in a prime time speech vowed“a steady, relentless effort” to battle ISIS, the group that recently publicized beheading two U.S. journalists.

Hayden stressed that just using air power against ISIS might not be enough to fully defeat it.

“We need to be wary of a strategy that puts emphasis on air power and air power alone,” Hayden said. “The sooner we take the fight into Syria against [ISIS], the better of we’ll be.”

(H/t: The Hill)

Sunday Talk: We’re not in Kansas anymore… or are we?

Daily Kos

With only two months remaining until the 2014 midterm elections, and Republicans predicting a GOP wave, Democrats are in a state of panic!!!!President Obama—who doesn’t possess the heart, brain, or courage of his predecessor—is not expected togrant illegal immigrants voting rightsbefore the elections, leaving Democrats a few Mexicans short of a fiesta.

Increasingly desperate to retain their majority in the Senate (so as to prevent Obama’s impeachment), they’re now trying something that’s so crazy it just might worknot running candidates.

Then again, it might not.

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: President Barack Obama; Others TBD.Face The Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD); War Criminal Henry Kissinger; Roundtable: Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), David Ignatius (Washington Post) and Peter Baker (New York Times)

This Week: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Rep. Peter King (R-NY); Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA);Roundtable: William Kristol (Weekly Standard), Matt Bai (Yahoo News), Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile and Jonathan Karl (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX); Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News),Julie Pace (Associated Press), George Will (Washington Post) and Bob Woodward(Washington Post).

State of the Union: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Rep.Tony Cárdenas (D-CA); 9/11 Anniversary Roundtable: Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter (D), Boston, MA Mayor Marty Walsh (D) and San Diego, CA Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R); Political Roundtable: Former House Speaker New Gingrich (R-GA), S.E. Cupp (CNN), LZ Granderson (ESPN) and Democratic Strategist Maria Cardona.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on BP’s complaints over the way its agreement to compensate victims of its Gulf oil spill is being interpreted (preview); a report on Briton Nicholas Winton, who helped save hundreds of mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the war (preview); and, an interview with “Quarterback Guru” Steve Clarkson (preview).

GOP Rep on ISIS: ‘A Bunch of Guys Wearing Pajamas Pushing Up Logs’

Screenshot

 

From the comment section of this article:

This appears to be a guy who wants to treat ISIS rationally, rather than a cudgel to bash Obama with.

I wish more Republicans would act in such a way.

Mediaite

On Fox News’s The Kelly File Tuesday, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter dismissed the Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a major threat to the U.S.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the recent on-video beheading of American journalist James Foley.

“ISIS in Iraq and Syria is not an existential threat to us,” Hunter said. “They’re not going to harm the United States. They’re bad guys, yes, if you’re there but a bunch of guys wearing pajamas pushing up logs, they’re not an existential threat to us like North Korea is, like Iran is, like Pakistan is. They are not like that.”

He said ISIS only becomes a threat if they can “get people back in the United States and do harm to us here and commit acts of terror.”

President Barack Obama has authorized military air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

Watch via Fox News:

WORLD LEADERS NOMINATED TO TAKE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

No attribution

When the entire world latches on to a cause via social media…anything is possible.

The Huffington Post

All across social media, celebrities and regular citizens seem to be dumping ice water on their heads to raise money for and awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In fact, the vast majority of Americans have avoided the ice bucket challenge so far, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows, though they’re willing to suggest other individuals get wet.

Sixty percent of Americans said they had “heard a lot” about the challenge. Far fewer said they had actually participated: Just 4 percent said they had donated money, and a mere 3 percent said they had dumped ice water on their heads. Another 2 percent said they’d done both.

Knowledge about ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, remains limited as well. Only 21 percent of Americans said they are “very familiar” with ALS, while another 49 percent said they’re “somewhat familiar.” Twenty percent were “not very familiar” with the disease, and 10 percent were “not at all familiar.”

According to the ALS Association, as many as 30,000 Americans have the progressive neurodegenerative disease at any given time. New cases are diagnosed at a rate of about 15 a day.

Recently, the ice bucket challenge has been criticized by some observers as frivolous if the real point is to raise money for research. After all, by the terms of the challenge, dumping cold water on your head is a way out of donating.

But the survey shows most Americans aren’t buying the bad rap. Sixty-one percent said the ice bucket challenge is “a fun and effective way to raise money and awareness of ALS,” while only 28 percent said that “it’s silly and it would be better if people just donated money.”

Many public figures have posted videos of their cold showers already. Others face limits on their participation. Members of the House of Representatives and the military have been warned that government rules prohibit the use of official resources to promote or references to current military service in ice bucket videos. High-profile State Department diplomats have been barred from participating.

Those rules don’t bar us, however, from asking Americans which politicians they’d most like to see doused with ice cold water.

Asked to pick from a list of potential 2016 presidential candidates who they’d most like to see take the ice bucket challenge, Americans made former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the runaway winner, with 51 percent choosing her. Sixteen percent opted for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), 15 percent for Vice President Joe Biden, 8 percent for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), 6 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), and 5 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Support for Clinton didn’t vary much along party lines, though the motives may have differed widely. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats chose Clinton as the potential candidate they’d most like to see dump freezing water over her head.

Asked separately to pick a world leader for an international edition of the challenge, a 35 percent plurality of Americans rallied behind President Barack Obama, including 34 percent of both Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately for them, Obama hasalready declined to dump ice water on his head, opting instead to give money.

Second and third place went to the leaders of countries with which the U.S. already suffers icy relations: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, with 24 percent, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, with 19 percent. Queen Elizabeth II was fourth with 17 percent, narrowly missing a challenge from America, since three nominations are the usual limit. (Both Putin and the queen have been challenged by others, though neither has responded.)

Germany’s Angela Merkel and Cuba’s Raul Castro took just 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, in the HuffPost poll.

10 things you need to know today: August 12, 2014

Fans pay tribute.

Fans pay tribute. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

The Week

1. Robin Williams dies at the age of 63
Robin Williams, the actor who gave us Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society,and Good Will Hunting, has died. Though the investigation is ongoing, the Marin County Sheriff’s Department said the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.” The Oscar-winning actor had been battling severe depression, according to one of his representatives. [Fox]

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2. Iraq nominates new prime minister, ignites impasse with Maliki
Iraqi officials on Monday nominated a new prime minister to replace embattled Nouri al-Maliki, who has been blamed for deepening sectarian divides across the country. Maliki vowed to fight the nomination of Haider al-Abadi through the courts and even by force, sparking fears that his threats could destabilize the country or even lead to a coup. President Barack Obama has publicly backed Abadi’s nomination and made Maliki’s replacement a prerequisite for further American military aid in Iraq’s fight against the militant group ISIS. [The New York Times]

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3. Iraqi and Kurdish forces rescue about 20 Yazidis stranded in the desert
About 20 Yazidis were rescued from Mount Sinjar after Iraqi and Kurdish forces swooped in on a helicopter to airlift the people out. The mission also dropped off much-needed supplies, including diapers, food, and water, to the thousands of families who were left behind. The dramatic rescue comes as the Yazidis, a small Kurdish minority, have been targeted by the militant group ISIS. [CNN]

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4. FBI launches investigation of Michael Brown shooting in St. Louis
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown was a civil rights violation. Brown, who is black, was on his way home from a convenience store when he was shot by a police officer in the suburbs of St. Louis. He was shot multiple times; the officer said Brown got into a physical altercation with him and pushed him into his squad car while Brown’s friend said they were unarmed and had their hands up. [New York Daily News]

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5. NATO warns Russia’s humanitarian mission to Ukraine could be a prelude to invasion
Early Tuesday, Russia said it is sending a convoy of about 280 trucks carrying food, medicine, and other supplies to the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, controlled by pro-Russia separatists and under siege by Ukrainian troops. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday warnedthat there is “a high probability” that Russia will stage a military intervention in Ukraine, saying that as Ukraine closes in on the major separatist-held cities, Russia’s state-run media has increasingly warned about the humanitarian crisis.

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6. Talks resume as Israeli-Palestinian truce holds
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in Egypt in the hopes the two sides will soon be able to reach a lasting cease-fire agreement. The two entities are currently in the middle of another 72-hour cease-fire designed to give both sides some breathing room to come up with a more long-term solution. It’s not clear how much progress has been made. Hamas is demanding an end to the Gaza blockade, while Israel wants Hamas to fully disarm. [ABC]

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7. Drugmaker runs out of Ebola treatment
Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego says it has exhausted its supply of a revolutionary newEbola treatment credited with saving lives during the latest outbreak. Known as ZMapp, the last of the medication was sent to Liberia to treat doctors who have contracted the deadly disease. The announcement came amid heated debate as to the ethics of whom should receive the drug when hundreds are dying and there is such a limited supply. [The Washington Post]

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8. California school district shelves controversial sex ed book
After getting complaints from 2,200 parents and residents, the Fremont school district has decided hold off using a controversial health textbook that discussed everything from sexual bondage to vibrators and sex games. The superintendent has asked that the book remain on hold until the matter is fully investigated. The book was supposed to be given to ninth-graders. [Los Angeles Times]

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9. Barneys settles over racial profiling allegations
Barneys has decided to settle over allegations that it racially profiled at its store in New York City. After a nine-month investigation, the retailer will pay a $525,000 fine and implement new policies designed to spot employees who profile. Last year, two black customers reported that the store had falsely accused them of credit card fraud. [NPR]

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10. Doctors in Mexico remove a 150-pound tumor
It took four hours, but surgeons in Mexico were able to remove a 150-pound tumor. The patient, 51-year-old Mercedes Talamantes, said that the tumor began growing in her ovaries five years ago, but that she had been housebound for only the last two. About a month ago, her daughter convinced her to see a doctor about the growth. [ABC]

10 things you need to know today: August 10, 2014

Thousands of Yazidis, a minority religious group, have fled ISIS advances in Iraq.

Thousands of Yazidis, a minority religious group, have fled ISIS advances in Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

The Week

President Obama addresses Iraq operations, fighting continues between Israel and Hamas, and more

1. Obama says Iraq operation could be ‘a long-term project’
President Barack Obama stressed the need for a stable, cooperative Iraqi government to push back ISIS advances in the country in a Saturday address. “This is going to be a long-term project,” he said. Obama maintained that the intervention will focus not on using U.S. combat troops but continuing to deploy airstrikes when needed. On the humanitarian aid front, Kurdish forces were able to open a safe route earlier this weekend, but thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority are still trapped on a northern mountainside in Iraq, having fled the latest advance by ISIS. [TheWeek.com, The Washington Post]

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2. Palestinian negotiators accept new ceasefire, but no Israeli response
Palestinian negotiators reportedly accepted an Egyptian proposal of a new 72-hour truce this morning, saying they are in Cairo “to look for an agreement.” If Israel also agrees to the new ceasefire, the two sides could resume negotiations — albeit separately, as neither recognizes the other’s legitimacy — which faltered over the weekend following the end of a prior 72-hour truce. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned today that “Israel will not negotiate under fire,” and Israeli leaders ended negotiations in Egypt earlier this weekend, after Hamas militants resumed rocket fire toward southern Israel. [The Associated Press]

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3. Russia offers Donetsk rebel troops ‘humanitarian’ support
Just a day after Western powers warned against such a plan, Moscow “urged support for Russia’s initiative to deploy a humanitarian mission to Ukraine.” The offer comes in the wake of a requested ceasefire by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, who claim their stronghold on the city of Donetsk is failing and that the militants are “completely encircled.” But the rebels stepped back those remarks this morning in response to the Ukrainian government’s stance that any negotiations would have to stem from “raising white flags and … putting down guns.” [BBC News,Reuters]

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4. Egyptian court bans political wing of Muslim Brotherhood
An Egyptian court delivered a ruling on Saturday that commands the Freedom and Justice Party — the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing — to dissolve and turn all of its assets over to the state.While a separate ruling banned the Muslim Brotherhood itself nearly a year ago, that decision did not specifically detail the FJP, meaning the political party could have had the opportunity to run in parliamentary elections later this year. “This is a political decision to get rid, not just of the Freedom and Justice Party, but of all the parties that were established after the revolution of January 25, 2011,” Mahmoud Abou al-Aynayn, the FJP’s lawyer, said. [Reuters]

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5. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hits, kills fellow driver in sprint race
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a fellow driver during a sprint car race in upstate New York on Saturday night. During the race, Stewart and Kevin Ward, Jr. battled a bit for position, and Ward’s car ultimately spun out. Ward then got out of his car and began walking across the track, pointing his finger toward Stewart, who was driving back around on the caution lap. Stewart’s car clipped Ward and flung him on down the track. Ward was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. [USA Today]

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6. Crowd gathers to protest St. Louis police shooting of black teenager
A Saturday police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a predominantly black St. Louis suburb prompted angry protests for several hours that night, with the NAACP calling for the FBI to investigate the incident. The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the shooting at the request of the local Ferguson police department, and while an official confirmed that a police officer had shot Brown on Saturday, he did not offer a reason for the shooting. The officer has reportedly been placed on paid administrative leave. [The Associated Press]

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7. GM recalls another round of vehicles
General Motors is recalling 269,000 vehicles due to a variety of defects. The largest recall is of 2002-2004 model Saturn Vue crossovers (202,115 cars). The ignition key in some of the vehicles has been found to dislodge while the car is running, and the company attributed at least two crashes and one injury to the defect. The latest round of recalls brings GM’s total this year to 66, and about 29 million GM cars and trucks have fallen under one of the recall umbrellas so far in 2014. [Reuters, USA Today]

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8. Washington state’s first month of pot sales reach $3.8 million
One month into legally selling marijuana, Washington state stores have sold more than $3.8 million-worth of weed. That number is expected to net the state more than $1 million in taxes, still less than Colorado, which collected close to $2 million in excise and sales taxes in its first month of retail marijuana sales. “It’s off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn’t fully up and running yet,” Brian Smith, a Washington Liquor Control Board spokesman, said. [The Associated Press]

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9. Pfizer faces wave of lawsuits over Lipitor complications
A Reuters review has found that lawsuits by U.S. women claiming the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor gave them type-2 diabetes have rocketed up from 56 to nearly 1,000 in five months. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which produces the drug, has denied liability for the side effects, which were raised in 2012, when the Food and Drug Administration ordered a label change alerting users to risks associated with the drug. The women’s lawyers claim that females are more at risk than men of developing diabetes from using Lipitor, which is the best-selling prescription drug of all time, since it went on the market in 1996. [Reuters]

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10. Venus Williams defeats Serena Williams to advance to Rogers Cup final
Venus Williams, 34, defeated her two-years-younger sister, Serena Williams, on Saturday afternoon to advance to the final of the Rogers Cup. The elder Williams sister had not defeated Serena in more than five years, but she did so 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3. Serena still leads the sisters’ all-time series, 15-11. [ABC News]

10 things you need to know today: August 9, 2014

The United States is sending food and water to displaced Iraqis via airdrops.

The United States is sending food and water to displaced Iraqis via airdrops. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.)

The Week

The U.S. continues its aid drops and airstrikes in Iraq, Reagan’s former press secretary’s death is ruled a homicide, and more

1. Obama addresses Iraq airstrikes as ISIS advances
President Barack Obama used his weekly Saturday address to describe the United States’ military airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops in Iraq. “The United States can’t just look away,” he said, when “countless innocent people are facing a massacre.” Obama authorized the use of airstrikes against ISIS targets on Thursday, and the U.S. has since sent two rounds aimed at stopping the militants’ march toward Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdish capital. The Sunni insurgents have continued their advance, though, forcing thousands of Iraqis to flee into the nearby mountains, reliant on aid drops for fresh water and food. [TheWeek.com, The Wall Street Journal]

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2. Former Reagan press secretary James Brady’s death ruled homicide
A medical examiner for the Northern District of Virginia on Friday ruled former press secretaryJames Brady’s Monday death a homicide. John Hinckley, Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan, along with three others including Brady, on March 30, 1981. He has since been treated at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital, after being found not guilty for the assassination attempt by reason of insanity. The shooting wounded Brady, who died on Monday at age 73, and left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. The medical examiner determined that those injuries led to Brady’s death, albeit 33 years later. [The Washington Post, NBC4 Washington]

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3. Afghanistan’s presidential candidates pledge to honor audit
Following a contentious runoff vote in June, Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates finally agreed to honor — and speed along — an audit of more than eight million ballots on Friday. Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani are vying for leader of a country which should have instated its new president last weekend, but arguments between the candidates’ camps and disruptions of the audit have pushed that timeline back. The United Nations, along with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, worked to broker the most recent agreement, which supersedes a previous truce that quickly stalled. [The Washington Post]

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4. Malaysia Airlines to be de-listed and taken private
Two high-profile disasters in less than five months, capped off by three straight years of losses for Malaysia Airlines prompted the Malaysian government to announce that the company will be de-listed and taken private on Friday. The move had been expected following the March 8 disappearance of Flight 370 and the July 17 shooting-down of Flight 17 over Ukraine. Khazanah Nasional, a state investment fund, proposed a $436 million buy-out of the airline’s shares. The company said it expects to completely “overhaul” the airline. This will include eliminating popular routes, trimming payroll, and installing new management. [Reuters]

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5. U.S. Ebola patient says he is ‘growing stronger every day’
Dr. Kent Brantly wrote in a statement released by international relief agency Samaritan’s Purse that he is “growing stronger every day,” as doctors at Emory University Hospital treat him for the deadly Ebola virus. Brantly contracted Ebola while working in Liberia as part of a post-residency program. He has been in the United States receiving treatment for a week. The World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak an international health emergency on Friday. More than 900 people in West Africa have died from the virus so far. [Time]

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6. State Attorneys General implore FDA to regulate e-cigarettes
A group of 29 state attorneys general sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, requesting that e-cigarettes be regulated the same as traditional cigarettes. “E-cigarettes have all the addictive qualities of regular, combustible cigarettes,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “Each year, electronic cigarette companies spend millions of dollars advertising their product…glamorizing smoking in the same way combustible cigarettes did before these commercials were banned.” Courts have struck down previous attempts by the FDA to regulate e-cigs, which come in thousands of flavors and are sold everywhere from corner stores to the internet. [NPR]

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7. Facebook purchases cybersecurity firm
Facebook announced on Thursday that it has acquired cybersecurity firm PrivateCore, although terms of the deal were not released. The Palo, Alto-based startup uses “vCage technology” to protect servers from malware and other malicious hardware devices. “I’ve seen how much people care about the security of data they entrust to services like Facebook,” Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer, wrote in a post announcing the acquisition. [Time]

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8. Congress adds $20 billion in extra projects to military budget
Congress added more than 300 glorified earmarks to the current defense spending bill, tacking on an additional $20 billion in costs for projects such as cancer research at historically black colleges and informing troops of the gym locations on military bases. The Pentagon did not request the additions, as the U.S. already spends more on war and defense than the next eight nations combined. American military spending totaled about $718 billion in 2013. [The Washington Times]

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9. Judge rules against NCAA in O’Bannon case
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled on Friday in favor of Ed O’Bannon and 19 others in a lawsuit claiming the NCAA had violated antitrust law by not allowing athletes to be paid for their names, images, and likenesses. The decision is a victory for Football Bowl Subdivision and Division I men’s basketball players in the sense that they can now receive up to $5,000 a year in compensation for their role in the NCAA’s live television broadcasts. And, Wilken determined the NCAA’s arguments that it was not a monopoly and that payments to players were unreasonable based on the definition of amateurism did not hold — “that could haunt the NCAA in other litigation,” ESPN’s Lester Munson says. [The Associated Press, ESPN]

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10. Giant, newly discovered jellyfish species baffles scientists
Researchers caught a new species of jellyfish off Australia’s northwest coast in 2013, and nearly a year later, the find still has the scientists flummoxed. The Keesingia gigas is a type of Irukandji jellyfish, but unlike its tiny cousins, this jellyfish is about the length of a human arm. It carries fatal venom, which can cause pain, nausea, and even heart failure. What Keesingia gigas does not appear to have is tentacles, and that’s stumping Lisa-ann Gershwin. “Jellyfish always have tentacles…that’s how they catch their food,” the director of Australia’s Marine Stinger Advisory Services said. “I just don’t know what it is.” [The Guardian]

10 things you need to know today: August 2, 2014

An Israeli soldier went missing during fighting in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

An Israeli soldier went missing during fighting in the Gaza Strip on Friday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Week

Hamas denies kidnapping Israeli soldier, the WHO warns Ebola outbreak is spreading too quickly, and more

1. Hamas denies kidnapping Israeli soldier
The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, released a statement early this morning saying the Islamist Palestinian faction is not responsible for the Friday disappearance of an Israeli officer.“Until now, we have no idea about the disappearance of the Israeli soldier,” the statement read. “We do not know his whereabouts or the conditions of his disappearance.” A spokesman for the Israeli military refuted the statement, saying that the search for Second Lt. Hadar Goldin is ongoing and that Hamas is responsible for the abduction. [The New York Times]

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2. WHO warns Ebola outbreak moving too fast to control
An Ebola outbreak that has spread to three African capitals — a historical first — is moving more quickly than doctors can control, the World Health Organization warned on Friday. More than 700 people have died in the outbreak so far, and the fatality rate has hovered around 60 percent. WHO said it plans to deliver $100 million in funding to health care workers. “Constant mutation and adaptation are the survival mechanisms of viruses and other microbes,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, said. “We must not give this virus opportunities to deliver more surprises.” [The Associated Press]

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3. The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July
The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, less than the 298,000 created in June, but still significantly more than July 2013’s numbers, which were below 150,000. The July numbers marked the first time since 1997 that the economy added at least 200,000 jobs for six straight months. Unemployment rose back to 6.2 percent, but the overall figures were still relatively positive, as they demonstrate an economy continuing to recover in spite of the Fed’s taper and ongoing geopolitical turmoil. [TheWeek.com]

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4. Uganda court throws out anti-gay law
A strict anti-homosexuality law in Uganda that was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in February was overturned on Friday by the country’s constitutional court. The “Anti-Homosexuality Act” sentenced those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” to life in prison. While it received widespread support in religiously conservative Uganda, many Western countries withheld aid in response to the law’s passing – problematic for a country that relies on aid for about 20 percent of its budget. The new ruling could still be appealed. [Reuters]

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5. American tourists detained in North Korea ask the U.S. for help
Two American tourists who have been detained in North Korea for more than three months areasking the U.S. government for help in avoiding prison sentences. Charged with “anti-state” crimes, Jeffrey Edward Fowle allegedly left a bible in a nightclub, although his family said he was not in the country on a church mission; Matthew Todd Miller’s alleged crime is less clear. A specific court date has yet to be set, but both men said they expect to be tried soon. “I don’t know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation,” Fowle said. [The Associated Press]

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6. ObamaCare support hits all-time low
A new poll from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows a majority of Americans are unsatisfied with ObamaCare. In July, 53 percent of those polled had a negative opinion of the Affordable Care Act, which is up eight percent from June and marks an all-time high disapproval rating since the law was created. In addition to the disapproval numbers, 56 percent of those polled said they were not directly affected by ObamaCare, while 28 percent polled said the ACA had harmed them or their family. [The Washington Post]

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7. Obama, Putin speak for first time since new round of sanctions
Following a new round of economic sanctions slapped on Moscow, President Barack Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to again voice his concern at ongoing aggression toward neighboring Ukraine. Russia has amassed at least 12,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, and the White House has accused Russia of sending artillery and rocket fire into Ukraine. Moscow said Putin found the conversation counterproductive, because the new sanctions would affect Russia’s ability to cooperate internationally and help create global stability. [The Associated Press]

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8. Taiwan gas blasts leave at least 25 dead
At least 25 people are dead and more than 260 are injured following a series of gas explosions in Taiwan on Thursday night. Officials said ruptured pipelines caused the blasts, although they are unclear on what prompted the ruptured pipelines. Firefighters are still searching the rubble for additional victims, and the local government had set up an emergency response center for people trying to find relatives. “It felt like an earthquake,” one witness said. [BBC News]

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9. Florida judge orders redrawing of congressional map
Florida Judicial Circuit Judge Terry P. Lewis said lawmakers were making a “mockery” of a voter-approved anti-gerrymandering amendment in their attempts to submit a congressional map that divides the voting boundaries for two congressional seats. He ordered them to submit a new mapwithin two weeks, lest the legislature delay upcoming November elections. Top Republican lawmakers had fought to keep the current map until after this election cycle, but Judge Lewis wrote in his ruling that doing so would deprive voters of “the equal right of having a say in who represents their interests in Congress for two years.” [The New York Times]

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10. Pacers’ Paul George suffers leg injury in Team USA scrimmage
Friday night’s Team USA scrimmage ended in one of the worst possible ways. As the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George chased down James Harden, he instead slid past the opposing player, slamming into the base of the basket and snapping his leg sideways. Following a late-night surgery to repair the open tibia-fibula fracture, sources began reporting that George will likely miss the entire 2014-15 season. George led the Pacers to the conference finals last season, averaging 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds, and he was considered likely to land on Team USA’s final roster for the FIBA World Cup, which starts later this month. [USA Today, SBNation.com]

DON’T BLAME ME

The Huffington Post

Cruz: It’s Not Me Who’s Holding Migrant Kids Ransom

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had two people to blame on Sunday for the surge of child migrants detained by U.S. border security this year: President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“Ill tell you who is holding these kids ransom — [it] is Harry Reid and the president because their view is, ‘Don’t do anything to fix the problem,'” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Cruz was responding to Reid’s earlier claim that “Republicans would rather hold these kids ransom” than consider bipartisan immigration reform legislation.

“He mentions comprehensive immigration reform,” Cruz said. “The Gang of Eight billis one of the causes of this problem. What the kids are saying is they are coming because they believe they will get amnesty. Part of the Gang of Eight bill promising amnesty.”

Cruz chiefly blamed Obama’s 2012 executive action, which deferred deportation for some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, for enticing migrants with a promise of amnesty.

The Texas Republican is pushing legislation that would undo the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Interviewer Chris Wallace asked Cruz whether his opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, which pairs increased border security with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, would ultimately prevent Republicans from getting the increased border security they want.

“What I’m interested in is fixing the problem,” Cruz said. “It’s only Washington. All of the proposals being floated are missing the cause of the problem.”

Wallace pressed Cruz on how stopping Obama’s deferred action would help the kids who are already here, having fled violence in central America.

“Continuing this regime where tens of thousands of kids are being brutalized by drug dealers is not humane, is not compassionate,” Cruz said, not directly answering the question. “That’s what Democrats and Harry Reid want to do.”

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