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Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen': Pentagon

Defense Secretary Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Dempsey hold a press briefing at the PentagonBy Missy Ryan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. "They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. Hagel's assessment of Islamic State, which gained strength during Syria's civil war and swept into northern Iraq earlier this summer, sounded a note of alarm several days after the group posted a video on social media showing one of its fighters beheading an American hostage kidnapped in Syria. This is beyond anything we've seen." Hagel spoke as the United States continued attacking Islamic State targets in Iraq.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:47:58 -0400
Federal judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Groom figurines are seen on a cake at a ceremony to celebrate the wedding of Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly HillsBy Letitia Stein TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - A federal judge in north Florida on Thursday struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling, leaving same-sex couples still unable to marry in the state. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Florida's Northern District in Tallahassee is the fifth judge in the state to rule against a same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008, but the first federal judge to do so. "The institution of marriage survived when bans on interracial marriage were struck down, and the institution will survive when bans on same-sex marriage are struck down," Hinkle wrote. The ruling addressed two lawsuits involving 10 same-sex couples, mostly married in other states and seeking recognition in Florida.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:59:19 -0400
Calif. bill would pay for lawyers for unaccompanied minor immigrants

California Governor Jerry Brown adjusts his earpiece during a news conference at Memoria y Tolerancia museum in Mexico CityCalifornia would spend $3 million on lawyers for unaccompanied minors arriving in California from Central America under a proposal announced Thursday by top California Democrats. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, along with Attorney General Kamala Harris and the leaders of both houses of the legislature, said they planned to submit legislation authorizing the expenditure to help children who have been streaming over borders in Southwest states since last fall. It is critical that these children, many of whom are fleeing extreme violence in Central America, have access to due process and adequate legal representation. Central American children began flooding the border at crossing points in Texas earlier this year, overwhelming local officials and leading the federal government to send thousands to other states for processing. By the end of June, about 3,000 of the children had been sent to California, and more have come since.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:55:42 -0400
Republican lawmaker slams SEC over unauthorized leaks to media

Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Hensarling questions financial regulators about the effects of the Volcker RuleBy Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican lawmaker slammed the Securities and Exchange Commission over leaks of confidential information to media outlets, including Reuters, calling the disclosures "unacceptable." Representative Jeb Hensarling, who leads the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee, said in the letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White that the leaks raised questions about who attends closed agency meetings and hurt the SEC's ability to enforce securities laws. At issue are Reuters stories from the fall of 2013 about SEC officials' deliberations regarding a settlement with JPMorgan Chase over its "London Whale" trading scandal.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:07:54 -0400
We want our politicians to act like LBJ. But not really.

The problem with Barack Obama is that he just doesn't love the full contact sport of politics. He has no capacity for the inside machinations or tactical brutality we associate with a more sophisticated and celebrated president

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:38:55 -0400
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