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In-N-Out Burger

Hawaii Governor Loses Democratic Primary Despite Obama Endorsement

Alex Pappas

U.S. President Barack Obama talks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum about strengthening trade and financial ties between the U.S. and Africa while in Washington

Ousted by state Sen. David Ige

Ige handily defeated the sitting governor, winning 67 percent to Abercrombie’s 32 percent of the vote.

Last year, Obama, who was born in Hawaii, endorsed the governor’s re-election.

“I’ve known Governor Abercrombie for decades,” Obama said at the time, “and I’ve come to appreciate him not only as a friend, but as an extraordinary public servant who has never let politics get in the way of serving the people of Hawai‘i.”

Added Obama: “I firmly believe that Neil deserves a second term as governor, and I look forward to continuing to work with him for years to come.”

 
Why wait for the afterlife when air miles offer an Earthly paradise?

Business-class seating on a plane

Why wait for the afterlife when air miles offer an Earthly paradise?

Geoff Dyer

Priority boarding, flat-bed thrones, impeccable service – no wonder we cling to the benefits of frequent-flyer programmes

I've just spent a week in Australia. Los Angeles to Brisbane and back – a great trip: 14,000 Avios points and 320 tier points. Didn't see much of Australia, but I look set to retain my silver status in the BA executive club. Phew! Last year I was relegated from silver to red on Virgin – not as ignominious as it sounds, since all Virgin's silver entitles you to is using the premium and upper-class check-ins. BA silver gives you lounge access, so it's really worth striving for and clinging to.

In an age when any assertion or declaration of class superiority is taboo, air travel is the glaring exception. Of course rich people live in bigger houses in fancier neighbourhoods and eat in more expensive restaurants than the poor. But on planes we're all in the same boat - even if parts of that boat are like another world. In economy you don't just have to endure terrible food, cramped conditions, fear of deep vein thrombosis and the presence of all your fellow travellers. You also have to witness – albeit only briefly – the triumph of the business elite gliding aboard through the priority access lane. Or you gaze longingly at their flat-bed thrones as you shuffle to your meagre perch in steerage. When the flight arrives at the gate, you are held back while business passengers bid farewell to flight attendants with whom they have shared the intimacy that can only be achieved by impeccable service.

This is deliberate. Those in economy have to see what they're missing out on. Those in business must be reminded of the horror to which they might one day return (while being conscious, also, of that mysterious, almost invisible realm of unimaginable bliss: first class).

The hierarchy is so naked that while Virgin are to be respected for the frankness of terming their top echelon "upper class", one wishes they would come clean and rename economy "lower", "prole" or just "scum". British public schools engender exactly such a view of the rank-scented many, but part of the purchased education involves – as Cameron and his cronies understand – keeping this concealed. On a plane, however, everyone expects business travellers to regard – more exactly, to disregard – the wretches in coach with princely disdain. It is as integral to the experience as pre-takeoff champagne.

 
'An absentee President'

'An absentee President'

Obama under fire for jetting out to Martha's Vineyard as third round of airstrikes is carried out in Iraq

 By Francesca Chambers

President Barack Obama said today that it would take 'some time' to resolve the conflict in Iraq and admitted that it will be longer than 'weeks'

The president said among his 'immediate concerns' was making 'sure ISIS is not engaging in the actions that could cripple a country permanently.'

Following the press conference, the first family jetted off to their annual vacation in Martha's Vineyard, where the command-in-chief wasted no time hitting the links on a nearby golf course.

Obama, along with wife Michelle, daughter Malia and dogs Bo and Sunny, arrived at a Coast Guard station on Cape Cod before heading to the island off the Massachusetts coast.

The presidential motorcade wove its way around Martha's Vineyard before pulling down a secluded drive that led to the Obamas' rented vacation house.

The president spent just 30 minutes at the house before heading off to the Farm Neck Golf Club for a round of golf with former NFL player Ahmad Rashad, NBA player Ray Allen, and Cyrus Walker, the cousin of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

High spirits: President Barack Obama laughs while golfing with former NFL player Ahmad Rashad at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mass.,  on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Saturday

The Commander in Chief met some criticism for embarking on his trip amidst the military operation from Senator Ted Cruz who called him in 'absentee President'.

'I think the president should actually stand up and do his job as commander in chief, should spend less time on the golf course and more time doing the job to which he was elected,' Cruz said in an appearance at the Iowa State Fair.

'I am glad the president is finally demonstrating some leadership, taking the threat from ISIS seriously, but unfortunately, he’s following the pattern that has characterized his foreign policy from the beginning of this tenure which he has laid out no clearly defined objective that we’re trying to accomplish that is key to defending U.S. national security,' Cruz added.

'What is missing right now is the commander in chief laying out a strategic vision, here is what we’re trying to accomplish so everyone will know when it’s accomplished and here’s why it furthers U.S. national security interests,' ABC reported.

'That only comes from the president, and unfortunately right now President Obama’s not providing that leadership.'

 
Marijuana Research Hits Wall of U.S. Law

Suman Chandra checking plants at a federal marijuana facility at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Credit Lance Murphey for The New York Times

Marijuana Research Hits Wall of U.S. Law

By SERGE F. KOVALESKI

Over one million people are thought to use marijuana to treat ailments, but there are few studies on its effectiveness. A major reason: government restrictions on research.

Dating back to 1999, the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated it does not see much potential for developing marijuana in smoked form into an approved prescription drug. In guidelines issued that year for research on medical marijuana, the agency quoted from an accompanying report that stated, “If there is any future for marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives.”

Scientists say this position has had a chilling effect on marijuana research.

Though more than one million people are thought to use the drug to treat ailments ranging from cancer to seizures to hepatitis C and chronic pain, there are few rigorous studies showing whether the drug is a fruitful treatment for those or any other conditions.

A major reason is this: The federal government categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive of five groups established by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drugs in this category — including heroin, LSD, peyote and Ecstasy — are considered to have no accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse, and are subject to tight restrictions on scientific study.

In the case of marijuana, those restrictions are even greater than for other controlled substances. (Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, though nearly half the states and the District of Columbia allow its medical use and two, Colorado and Washington, have legalized its recreational use.)

To obtain the drug legally, researchers like Dr. Sisley must apply to the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse — which, citing a 1961 treaty obligation, administers the only legal source of the drug for federally sanctioned research, at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Sisley’s proposed study also had to undergo an additional layer of review from the Public Health Service that is not required for other controlled substances in such research.

 
Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS

Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS

The former secretary of state outlines her foreign-policy doctrine.

By Jeffrey Goldberg

The former secretary of state, and probable candidate for president, outlines her foreign-policy doctrine. She says this about President Obama's: "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

President Obama has long-ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army ... fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the "failure" that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.

As she writes in her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, she was an inside-the-administration advocate of doing more to help the Syrian rebellion. Now, her supporters argue, her position has been vindicated by recent events.

 
NASCAR champion Tony Stewart kills driver on track during race.

Tragic end: But just seconds later, Stewart's car hits Ward Jr and sends the 20-year-old flying. Ward Jr was later pronounced dead

NASCAR champion Tony Stewart kills driver on track during race.

Race car driver, 20, killed after being run over by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart as he angrily approached star's car to argue over previous lap

Kevin Ward Jr and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart collided on the track Saturday night during a sprint car race in Canandaigua, New York. Ward Jr got out of his car and angrily approached Stewart's vehicle as he was making another lap about the track. Stewart's car then hit Ward Jr and the 20-year-old driver was later pronounced dead

 Struck: Despite the attention of emergency services, Ward Jr (pictured) was pronounced dead on Saturday night

'The prior lap, Tony had gotten into him – just spun him, nothing big, just spun him around. The caution came out. He hopped out of the car – the driver of the 13 [Kevin Ward] ... he hopped out to go and yell and point a finger at Tony, typical thing.'

'Tony came around ... the back end slid out, and he definitely caught him – I couldn't tell if it was with the front or the back of the car. ... The body made contact with the car and went sliding across the track a long distance, at least 50 feet. It was the worst thing I've ever seen.'

 
America’s Vacation-Deficit Disorder
 
Perry and Cruz stoke rightwing fires

Rick Perry

Perry and Cruz stoke rightwing fires

Tom Dart in Fort Worth, Texas 

Texas governor calls for 'war' of ideas at RedState Gathering while senator is given rock-star treatment

Rick Perry used the 2011 RedState Gathering conservative convention to announce his ill-fated 2012 presidential bid. There was no such drama this time around from the man who is stepping down as Texas governor after November’s election.

But he delivered a stentorian, crowd-pleasing and rhetoric-jammed speech on core Republican issues on Friday, doing nothing to counter the impression that he is laying the foundations for a second tilt at the White House.

Perry was praised by Ted Cruz during a speech at the Gathering three years ago, when Cruz was merely a little-known, underdog US senate candidate. Now a Tea Party superstar, Cruz reiterated his admiration for his “friend” on Friday night but before long the two may be rivals for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Speaking to reporters after delivering a speech at the Gathering at a hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Cruz deflected – but did not dismiss – questions about whether he was considering a run.

“There’ll be time enough to answer that question, but let me answer it this way … I think Republicans should nominate whoever’s standing up and leading and fighting the fight,” he said.

 
Pollsters: 'Everything is terrible'

Pollsters: 'Everything is terrible'

By LUCY MCCALMONT

The Capitol Building is pictured. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

Polls from major networks, researchers and newspapers agree: America’s in a bad mood.

In just one week, polls found politicians of all stripes are hitting approval numbers with record lows. The president finds himself roughly as popular as a trip to the dentist. The entire Democratic Party gets the thumbs down. Oh, and so does the Republican Party.

But it doesn’t stop there. Americans are also bummed out about the future in general, especially the economy. Things are so low that even an old favorite, sugar, polled poorly.

Pollsters say it all adds up to a country that feels “everything is terrible,” as one put it, a mood that campaigns should consider as they head into the midterm homestretch, when turnout should be all about enthusiasm – not pessimism.

“With an ‘everything is terrible’ mindset, I’m mostly thinking about how after several years of cantankerous and unproductive lawmaking in Washington, there are very few political figures or institutions who the public trusts anymore,” the Washington Post’s polling analyst Scott Clement said in an interview.

When it comes to candidates, voters are also less than thrilled with both incumbents and their challengers.

“What we’re really seeing in an unprecedented way, especially in the key Senate races, is that voters don’t like either of the major candidates,” said Tom Jensen, the director of the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.

 
Tourists Pose a Dilemma on Catalina

Tourists Pose a Dilemma on Catalina

By IAN LOVETT

California’s Catalina Island, once starved for tourists, must now welcome them cautiously during a drought.

Avalon is the only city on California’s Catalina Island, which has spent millions to revive tourism but, with limited water sources, is requiring businesses and homes to reduce use by 25 percent.

 Just an hourlong ferry ride from Los Angeles, Catalina Island is enjoying a renaissance. After years of declining tourism, businesses here have spent more than $40 million updating this quaint island town. Hotels have been remodeled and new restaurants added. A zip line overlooking the ocean was installed. The beach — long among the dirtiest in California, befouled by an aging sewer system — was cleaned up.

The plan worked. Tourists have been flooding off ferries here in near-record numbers this year.

There is just one problem: Catalina is quickly running out of water, a situation that is threatening to curtail the island’s economic resurgence.

With the island’s reservoir approaching a record low, draconian conservation measures are going into effect. Starting this week, every business and home will be required to cut water use by 25 percent.

Signs in hotel rooms beg guests to keep showers brief. Some restaurants are beginning to serve food on paper plates to reduce dishwashing. When customers ask for water, they are offered bottled water for 50 cents. Hotels plan to start sending some of their sheets and towels to be laundered on the mainland, a huge expense.

If the drought continues into next year, even these measures may not be enough. By spring, a 50 percent reduction in water use could be mandated. At that point, hotels would be likely to close some rooms, and jobs here would begin to evaporate.

Unlike cities on the mainland, about 22 miles away, Catalina cannot simply pipe in water from elsewhere. Instead, the island offers a sobering glimpse of the sacrifices, both personal and economic, that are necessary to survive in California without imported water — a prospect that more California communities may have to face as the population continues to grow and the climate gets even drier.

 
Space Is Getting Crowded With Junk

Space Is Getting Crowded With Junk

By Josh Kramer

And scientists aren't sure what to do about it

 
CIA 'torture' report could inflame anti-US passions in the Middle East

CIA 'torture' report could put Americans and embassies in harm's way

US intelligence officials warn that the report could inspire violent protests, such as it happened after the release of photographs showing abusive treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison (pictured)

National Intelligence Council pressures the White House to keep under wraps the report that outlines CIA torture techniques.

American citizens and embassies could be at risk of attacks if the US Senate releases a lengthy intelligence report on CIA interrogation techniques.

The warning comes from the National Intelligence Council, which is pressuring the White House to keep the report under wraps to avoid inflaming anti-US passions abroad, lest more violence breaks out throughout the Middle East, reported Yahoo News.

'It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if you release a report like this at a time when terrorism is surging all over the Mideast you are handing the other side a recruitment tool,' ex-CIA Director John McLaughlin told the news outlet. 'It’s blindingly obvious.'

People who have read the full report say it shows that the CIA interrogation program was far more brutal than previously understood, and that agency officials repeatedly misled Congress and the Justice Department about what was being done to al-Qaida detainees.

 
Barry Switzer: ‘I’d never recruit a white quarterback’

Barry Switzer likes Johnny Manziel's ability, but says he'd 'never recruit a white quarterback.'

Former Oklahoma and Cowboys coach Barry Switzer: ‘I’d never recruit a white quarterback’ 

BY John Healy

In an interview with WNSR Sports Radio in Nashville, Switzer was asked if he were an NFL coach, would he want to draft Johnny Manziel? Switzer begins by saying he 'loves his ability, Johnny can play,' but out of nowhere Switzer brings race into the equation.

"I've always said I'd never recruit a white quarterback,” Switzer said. “The only way I'd ever recruit a white quarterback to play for me was if his mom and daddy would have to both be black, and that's the only way I would do it.

"My offense is a quarterback-fullback offense. I'd have to have a Jamelle Holieway, J.C. Watts [or] Thomas Lott. Those guys are gonna be my quarterbacks, they're great runners, they're great ball carriers and ... able to pass, complete some, and those guys could. Those guys could throw and run."

 
The amazing health benefit of "always meaning what you say."

New Scientific Study: Being Honest Improved Health

By Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D.

Read about the amazing health benefit of "always meaning what you say." This idea was tested with a sample of 72 adults just this year. Half of them were randomly assigned to a Sincere group that was given these instructions to follow over a 5-week course. As compared with a control group, the Sincere group reported on average 7 fewer physical complaints in the last week.

 
Oversize Expectations for the Airbus A380

Oversize Expectations for the Airbus A380

Credit Kieran Doherty/Reuters

By JAD MOUAWAD 

Why is the giant A380 jet wowing passengers, but not many airlines? Its maker may have made the wrong bet on air travel’s future.

To get a sense of the Airbus A380’s size and ambition, walk up the grand staircase of an Emirates version of the aircraft, past the showers and the first-class suites and then through endless rows in business class to the bar at the back of the upper deck. This sleek semicircle, alluringly underlit and fully stocked with pricey spirits like Grey Goose vodka, is undoubtedly one of the defining features of this aircraft, which can hold more than 500 passengers. The plane dwarfs every commercial jet in the skies.

Since it started flying commercially seven years ago, the A380 has caught the imagination of travelers. Its two full-length decks total 6,000 square feet, 50 percent more than the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. Its wingspan barely fits inside a football field. Its four engines take this 560-ton airplane to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, a surprisingly smooth ascent for such a bulky plane. Passengers love it because it’s quiet and more reminiscent of a cruise ship than an airplane.

The A380 was also Airbus’s answer to a problematic trend: More and more passengers meant more flights and increasingly congested tarmacs. Airbus figured that the future of air travel belonged to big planes flying between major hubs. “More than simply a big airplane,” one industry analyst wrote when the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2007, “the newest industry flagship will change forever the way the industry operates.”

The prediction hasn’t exactly come true.

Airbus has struggled to sell the planes. Orders have been slow, and not a single buyer has been found in the United States, South America, Africa or India. Only one airline in China has ordered it, and its only customer in Japan has canceled. Even existing customers are paring down orders.

The A380 has a list price of $400 million, but the pressure has forced Airbus to cut prices as much as 50 percent, according to industry analysts. So far, Airbus has received 318 orders and delivered 138 planes to just 11 airlines — a disappointing tally given forecasts that the plane would be a flagship aircraft for carriers worldwide.

Only one airline — Emirates — has made the A380 a central element of its global strategy, ordering 140 as it built a major travel hub in Dubai. But Emirates is unique. No one else has bet on the plane with quite the same confidence.

 
Baghdad's Last Line of Defense

Baghdad's Last Line of Defense

By Matt Bradley

Saturday Essay: As Islamist insurgents close in, Iraq is desperately trying to rebuild its army. But are untrained recruits, rallied by their own sectarian leaders, the right men for the battle?

Iraq's ability to turn back the militant onslaught, which has gained more ground over the past week, will depend in large part on its ability to bolster its depleted troop ranks and shape a fighting force capable of standing up to the Islamic State.

So far, Iraq's military has struggled with the influx of recruits, who are proving to be far from battle-ready. Their military training has been perfunctory, even though many of the new enlistees had never before fired weapons. In June, when some were sent into battle in the northern city of Tal Afar, they were outgunned and outmaneuvered by the Islamic State.

"They came in without prior experience," said Gen. Mohammed Koraishi, who was in charge of the Tal Afar operation. "Most of them hadn't used a gun before. This was the first time the Iraqi Army had received recruits like this."

That the new reservists—some politicians claim that there are hundreds of thousands of them—have answered a call from a Shiite cleric to fight a Sunni Islamist insurgency has many Iraqis worried. They fear that Mr. Maliki's new army is little more than a well-armed Shiite militia that could make Iraq's already bad sectarian conflict even worse.

Without proper training, say many politicians, the recruits are more likely to harass, abuse and murder the mostly Sunni residents of the areas in which they will be deployed. That could push Iraq into the sort of sectarian civil conflict it saw in 2006 and 2007.

 
Here's a Tip: Numbers Don't Add Up for Most Waiters and Waitresses

Here's a Tip: Numbers Don't Add Up for Most Waiters and Waitresses

By Jo Craven McGinty

Some Live in Poverty, While Median Income Falls Below Average

Nearly 15% of the nation's 2.4 million waiters and waitresses live in poverty, compared with about 7% of all workers. They are more likely to need public assistance and less likely to receive paid sick leave or health benefits—and their ranks are increasing. From the start of the recovery in 2009 until June of this year, restaurant jobs have increased by 13%, while all other jobs are up 5.5%. 

 
Please don't tell me what I should think about Israel

Illustration by Simon Pemberton

Please don't tell me what I should think about Israel

Hadley Freeman

Hadley Freeman

To a liberal American Jew in Britain, the Gaza crisis reveals some very unsavoury attitudes among the left

What a strange, Alice-through-the-looking-glass time it is to be a liberal American Jew in Britain. When I was growing up in New York, it was a given that one supported Israel. Israel, like America, was a country made from desperate immigrants. It was where my great-grandmother lived after seeing two of her sons go to the concentration camps, and where the memorial for my great-uncle Jakob, who was murdered in Auschwitz, was erected. Israel was the Holocaust’s happy ending, and you only have to look at Hollywood to know how much America loves simple happy endings. Israel = good, Israel’s enemies = evil antisemites. But to be honest, I always resented this. I dislike being told what to think, or people making lazy assumptions about where my loyalties should lie.

America’s devoted support for Israel is well known, and increasingly is regarded by Europe with the same kind of disgusted bafflement with which it views the US relationship with guns. This week it was reported in this paper that it’s “unthinkable” in Hollywood to criticise Israel (that pesky Jewish mafia – displease them and they’ll force-feed you matzos until you explode). The Jewish Journal chided high-profile Jews in Hollywood, including Steven Spielberg, for failing to make their feelings about the Gaza conflict known, as though anyone gives a flying hamantasch what Spielberg thinks about Gaza.

So that’s America. And now we turn to Britain, where I now live, and where, as Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times recently, “not having a negative opinion of Israel is tantamount to not having a conscience”. This week’s most glaring example of this mentality comes courtesy of the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, north London, which demonstrated thinking so nervy and so potentially hypocritical that at least one legal expert said it “may well count as unlawful discrimination”.

 
Hamas threatens major escalation in rocket strikes on Israel

Palestinians recover items from the rubble of Al-Qassam mosque after an Israeli air strike on Gaza

Hamas threatens major escalation in rocket strikes on Israel

Jason Burke in Gaza City

Hamas officials in Gaza have threatened a "major escalation" of rocket strikes against Israel, raising fears of a return to the intense violence of recent weeks.

Ihab al-Ghussein, the Islamist organisation's deputy information minister, said that "if on [Sunday] we have no response to our demands, our defensive measures will be intensified".

An estimated 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died since the start of the most deadly round of fighting between Israel and Hamas since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a surprise victory in Palestinian elections. Three civilians in Israel have been killed and 64 soldiers.

 
Big-time prosecutor spells trouble for A-Rod as Biogenesis investigation heats up

Big-time prosecutor spells trouble for A-Rod as Biogenesis investigation heats up

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

BY Teri Thompson , Michael O'keeffe NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The Justice Department didn’t bring heavy-hitting prosecutor Patrick Sullivan into the Biogenesis case just to file relatively low-level criminal charges against Anthony Bosch and six other defendants.

Sources say that Patrick Sullivan and his investigators hope to ultimately bring down the money men behind the steroid distribution scheme described by their boss, Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, after Tony Bosch and six others were charged last week, as well as anyone who obstructed the investigation.

Sullivan, the Assistant U.S. Attorney, is famous in South Florida for breaking up sophisticated drug networks and prosecuting notorious kingpins — including Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. Sources say that Sullivan and his investigators hope to ultimately bring down the money men behind the steroid distribution scheme described by their boss, Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, after Bosch and six others were charged last week, as well as anyone who obstructed the investigation.

 
Conservatives Are Greatest Threat To Nation, Obama Suggests

President Barack Obama arrives at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 29, 2014 in Bethesda, Md. (Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Conservatives Are Greatest Threat To Nation, Obama Suggests

Neil Munro

Political conservatives are the greatest threat to the nation, President Barack Obama suggested in a kid-glove interview with the New York Times.

“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us,” said the interviewer, Thomas Friedman.

“Our politics are dysfunctional… societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions,” said Obama, who repeatedly claims to be a moderate stymied by the GOP’s supposed obstructionism and radicalism.

“And the more diverse the country is, the less it can afford to take maximalist positions,” Obama added.

That comment about diversity was likely a warning to conservatives, who are expected by many Democrats to lose power as the nation absorbs more foreigners who do not share conservatives’ small-government ideals.

“Increasingly politicians are rewarded for taking the most extreme maximalist positions… and sooner or later, that catches up with you,” Obama warned.

 
Four reasons Obama's new approach in Iraq may not last

Four reasons Obama's new approach in Iraq may not last

By Susan Crabtree

When it comes to Iraq, President Obama is very much the reluctant warrior.

Ever the reluctant warrior, President Obama's sudden display of bold military strength in Iraq this week surprised his harshest foreign policy critics and supporters alike.

As he spoke Thursday about authorizing airstrikes against militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Obama was careful to note that he was elected president in part to get the U.S. out of a war with Iraq.

Still, Obama made a compelling case for renewed U.S. leadership in the world in limited and specific cases. The U.S., he said, could no longer "turn a blind eye" to the brutal atrocities against Kurdish minorities and threats to U.S. personnel in the region. And, he argued, because the Iraqi government was asking for America's help, the military action is on firm legal ground.

 
Depression and Body Dissatisfaction in Midlife Women

Depression and Body Dissatisfaction in Midlife Women

By Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D.

Why are we comparing ourselves to something that is not realistically attainable for most women?

 
Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel

Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel

The filmmaker on the best luggage, life's greatest luxury and how 'Apocalypse Now' made him a hotelier

 
Ted Cruz for President?

Ted Cruz for President?

By Molly Ball

Conservatives are literally praying that the Texas senator will be the 2016 nominee. The rest of the Republican Party isn't so sure.

After finishing his speech, Ted Cruz announced he would take questions from the audience. But instead of asking him anything, they just wanted to tell the Republican senator how great he was.

"When I look at you, I can imagine you would be just like one of the founding fathers of this country," one woman said from the microphone stand in the middle of the hotel ballroom.

"Honor to you, Ted Cruz," said the next. "We would like to see you in the White House in 2016!" The crowd—about 300 conservative activists attending this weekend's RedState Gathering—erupted in cheers.

At meetings like this one, both in his home state of Texas and across the country, Cruz is a bona-fide rock star. "It's like the Beatles all in one person," gushed the Texas gathering's emcee, Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the widely read RedState, who introduced Cruz by hailing him as "the leader of the conservative movement in the United States."

Since joining the Senate last year, Cruz has managed to unite a divided Washington against him by infuriating Republicans and Democrats alike. He was blamed for last fall's government shutdown and last week resumed his inflammatory tactics, successfully urging House Republicans to reject proposed border legislation. The sharply conservative bill that passed the House in lieu of the original rescinds the temporary amnesty granted by President Obama to some young undocumented immigrants.

These antics have made Cruz a hero to the hard right, which thrills to his disruption of the GOP establishment. He has spawned a legion of imitators, such as John Ratcliffe, who became one of the few candidates to oust a Republican incumbent in a primary this year when he unseated 91-year-old Texas Representative Ralph Hall. Ratcliffe told me he modeled his campaign on Cruz's from 2012; his message in speeches is that he will not be an automatic vote for Republican leadership in Washington. Presumably, when Ratcliffe gets to Washington next year (he has no Democratic opponent in November), he will be one of the House conservatives who meet Cruz over pizza on the eve of important votes. "Most of the Texas delegation supported my opponent," Ratcliffe told me. "Senator Cruz didn't, and I appreciate that."

 
Don't mistake Tea Party birth pains for death throes

 Don't mistake Tea Party birth pains for death throes

By Star Parker

With Republican Sens. Pat Roberts in Kansas and Lamar Alexander in Tennessee winning their respective primaries, Tea Party challengers failed in all attempts in this primary cycle to defeat Senate incumbents.

The Tea Party is on its way in, folks, not on its way out. Change is hard and doesn’t happen overnight. The undeniable facts are that America has huge problems, that these problems have been growing and festering for years while being ignored by our political class in Washington, and the American people are very unhappy with the state of affairs.

The failure of any Tea Party candidate does not negate these truths and what they point to: the profound need for change in America and for political leadership with the clarity and courage to make it happen.

 
Are Robber Nerds the New Robber Barons?
 
Religious leaders say Isis persecution of Iraqi Christians has become genocide
Patriarch Louis Sako

Religious leaders say Isis persecution of Iraqi Christians has become genocide

Calls for UK to give asylum to those fleeing violence come as Syrian Kurdish fighters resisting jihadist attacks appeal for help.

Sam Jones and Owen Bowcott

"Now we consider it genocide – ethnic cleansing," he said. "They are killing our people in the name of Allah and telling people that anyone who kills a Christian will go straight to heaven: that is their message. They have burned churches; they have burned very old books. They have damaged our crosses and statues of the Virgin Mary. They are occupying our churches and converting them into mosques."
 
Africa’s Best And Worst Of Times
 
'This is going to take some time'

'This is going to take some time'

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN

President Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

President Barack Obama said on Saturday that there remains no “particular timetable” for how long the U.S. military mission will continue in Iraq, but added a long-term solution involving the Iraqi government will take much longer.

The president, who once referred to the Islamic State as a “JV team,” also acknowledged that the militants advanced more rapidly in Iraq than anyone predicted.

Obama made the remarks as he headed to Martha’s Vineyard for a two-week vacation with his family.

Military airstrikes have destroyed ISIL arms and equipment in western Iraq, but the humanitarian effort to help? the Yazidi population will take more time to complete, Obama said from the White House.

“We feel confident we can prevent ISIL from going up the mountain and slaughtering people who are there,” Obama said. U.S. military forces are “positioned to strike ISIL terrorists around the mountain” to help Iraqi forces break the siege. The next step, Obama said, “is how do we give safe passage?”

Obama said the situation would not be resolved in weeks.

“It’s going to take some months,” he said.

 
Obama on America and the World

President Obama called King Abdullah II of Jordan from the Oval Office on Friday to discuss Iraq.

Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Obama on America and the World

In an interview, President Obama made clear he is going to involve America more deeply in places like Iraq only to the extent that communities there agree to an inclusive politics.

President Obama’s hair is definitely grayer these days, and no doubt trying to manage foreign policy in a world of increasing disorder accounts for at least half of those gray hairs. (The Tea Party can claim the other half.) But having had a chance to spend an hour touring the horizon with him in the White House Map Room late Friday afternoon, it’s clear that the president has a take on the world, born of many lessons over the last six years, and he has feisty answers for all his foreign policy critics.

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi Shiites or any other faction. Despite Western sanctions, he cautioned, President Vladimir Putin of Russia “could invade” Ukraine at any time, and, if he does, “trying to find our way back to a cooperative functioning relationship with Russia during the remainder of my term will be much more difficult.” Intervening in Libya to prevent a massacre was the right thing to do, Obama argued, but doing it without sufficient follow-up on the ground to manage Libya’s transition to more democratic politics is probably his biggest foreign policy regret

At the end of the day, the president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us. We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but, he said, we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.

 
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