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Twenty Fourteen

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January 2014

A New Year and a Landmark Day in American Public Policy

January 1, 2014: For the United States, New Year's Day 2014 proved to be more momentous over and beyond the usual rituals to usher in a calendar year. Shortly after midnight eastern standard time, Democrat Bill de Blasio was sworn in as the 109th Mayor of New York City. De Blasio's inauguration ended 20 years of Republican rule in the Big Apple. Not only did de Blasio's rise mean a change in party rule for America's biggest city, it also signaled an ideological shift to the left, de Blasio being a committed Progressive-Liberal.

The first day of 2014 also hosted a momentous change in state-level public policy regarding heretofore illegal drugs. In November 2012, Colorado voters passed an initiative legalizing recreational marijuana usage and sales. On January 1, 2014, this first-ever form of state-level marijuana legalization went into effect, and at 8 am mountain time, licensed retailers began selling recreational marijuana to adult customers.

New Year's Day 2014 was also a landmark day for the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 signature heath insurance reform law often called Obamacare. Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans purchased via state and federal exchanges by a 2013 deadline went into effect on the first day of 2014. Additionally, a variety of patient-friendly regulations also took effect on January 1, 2014. Obamacare, in a sense, went into its deepest enactment on the first day of 2014, particularly in the sense that, on that day, thousands and thousands of Americans received healthcare coverage under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act.

Above: Hong Kong rings in 2014

The World Welcomes 2014

Above: Thousands in New York City's Times Square welcomed in the new year; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor leads the countdown to 2014

Above: U.S. Commerce Department graph showing the Census Bureau's U.S. population projection for January 1, 2014

Above: Just after midnight on January 1, 2014, Democrat Bill de Blasio (right) was sworn in as the 109th Mayor of New York City; Later in the day former President Bill Clinton administered to Mayor de Blasio a ceremonial oath of office

New York Daily News: Bill de Blasio Sworn in as Mayor of New York City

Above: On January 1, 2014, a Colorado marijuana customer givens thumbs-up upon making a purchase; Sean Azzariti made the first legal purchase of recreational marijuana in Colorado history, a $59 purchase made on the morning of January 1, 2014

The Denver Post: Article on Colorado Marijuana Legalization

As of 8am, January 1, 2014, Legal Recreational Marijuana for Sale

Sean Azzariti and his $59 New Year's Day Purchase
Above: Page from, the federal exchange website where consumers can shop for and purchase health insurance; President Barack Obama

"Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday after years of contention and a rollout hobbled by delays and technical problems. The decisively new moment in the effort to overhaul the country’s health care system will test the law’s central premise: that extending coverage to far more Americans will improve the nation’s health and help many avoid crippling medical bills."

----Robert Pear and Abby Goodnough, The New York Times

January 1, 2014: A Landmark Day for Obamacare

Dept of Health and Human Services: Timeline of Key Components of the Affordable Care Act

In Iraq, Sunni Militant Organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) Takes the City of Fallujah

January 3, 2014: In Iraq, forces affiliated with Al-Qaeda established control of the city of Fallujah, a city that U.S. forces struggled to control in 2004, and a scene of bloody fighting during that period.

In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, a high degree of sectarian violence (Sunni versus Shiite) returned in 2013. By the start of 2014, it was unclear if the sectarian struggle constituted a full-blown civil war.

"The upheaval also affirmed the soaring capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that was formed a decade ago to confront U.S. troops and expanded into Syria last year while escalating its activities in Iraq."

---Liz Sly, Washington Post, January 3, 2014
Above: Washington Post map marking the city of Fallujah in Iraq; map of Iraq; Flag of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS)

"In Fallujah, where Marines fought the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war in 2004, the militants appeared to have the upper hand, underscoring the extent to which the Iraqi security forces have struggled to sustain the gains made by U.S. troops before they withdrew in December 2011."

---Liz Sly, Washington Post, January 3, 2014

In Iraq, Militants Take Control of the City of Fallujah

"U.S. intelligence officials said Friday the situation in western Iraq was 'extremely dire' after radical Sunni forces linked with al Qaeda raised their flag in the town of Fallujah - site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war - and gained control of the city."

---Andrea Mitchell and Courtney Kube, NBC News, January 3, 2014

NBC News: Fallujah Falls New Yorker: Iraq in 2014

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Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge

January 9, 2014: New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie held a lengthy press conference and apologized for the role of his administration in so-called Bridgegate, a scandal stemming from a deliberately-engineered 2013 traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, a highly-traveled span that connects New Jersey to New York City.

Above: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie press conference on January 9, 2014; The cover of the New York Daily News in the wake of the Christie press conference

New York Times Coverage of the Chris Christie News Conference

The Bridgegate Coverup

Democrat Terry McAuliffe Becomes Governor of Virginia

January 11, 2014: Having been elected in November 2013, Democrat Terry McAuliffe was sworn in as Governor of Virginia.

Above: Terry McAuliffe takes the oath of office to become Governor of Virginia; Governor Terry McAuliffe official portrait

Washington Post Coverage of the Inauguration of Governor Terry McAuliffe

Seattle Seahawk's Richard Sherman and the Rant Heard 'Round the World

January 19, 2014: In the NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco Forty-Niners, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman made a game-winning deflection of a San Francisco pass in the waning moments of the game. The Seattle victory, in turn, set up a Super Bowl showdown with AFC champions Denver Broncos.

The Seattle victory, however, was quickly overshadowed by Richard Sherman's on-air post-game interview, an exchange between Sherman and Fox Sport's Erin Andrews moments after the game's end. Sherman's fiery comments, transcribed below, quickly became fodder for social commentary.

Above: Defensive Back Richard Sherman of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks goes off with a verbal attack against a San Francisco player; Erin Andrews of Fox Sports is the reporter holding the microphone.

Transcript of Sherman's post-game interview with Erin Andrews:

  • Andrews: "The final play, take me through it."

  • Sherman: "Well, I'm the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you gonna get! Don't you ever talk about me!"

  • Andrews: "Who was talking about you?"

  • Sherman: "Crabtree! Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick! LOB!" (That's a reference to the Seattle defense's nickname, "legion of boom.")

  • Source: NPR

NPR: The Richard Sherman Rant

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Recent Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Wife Indicted

January 21, 2014: Federal prosecutors announced the indictment of recent Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen on corruption charges.On September 4, 2014, both Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted of a series of charges.

Above: Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell; Bob and wife Maureen in happier days

Bob and Maureen McDonnell Indicted on Corruption Charges

"Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.

Authorities alleged that for nearly two years, the McDonnells hit up executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. again and again, lodging near constant requests for large loans, clothes, trips, golf accessories and private plane rides."

---Rosalind S. Helderman, et al, Washington Post

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A Republican Representative Resigns from Congress

January 27, 2014: In the wake of his arrest on a cocaine charge, Congressman Trey Radel of Florida resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Above: Republican Congressman Trey Radel of Florida

Republican Representative to Resign from the House

"Embattled Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) resigned from Congress Monday, months after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge.

A first-term congressman, Radel was arrested for cocaine possession in the fall . After reaching a plea agreement, he underwent substance abuse rehabilitation treatment and returned to Congress earlier this month."

---Sean Sullivan, Washington Post

President Obama Delivers His State of the Union Message

January 28, 2014: President Obama delivered his State of the Union message before a joint session of Congress.

Above: President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner sit behind President Obama.

Time: Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

Washington Post: Coverage of the 2014 State of the Union

Politico: Coverage of the 2014 State of the Union

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Culture War: In the wake of the State of the Union Address, a Republican Congressman Threatens to Throw a Reporter off of a U.S. Capitol Balcony

January 28, 2014:

Above: Republican Representative Michael Grimm of the New York 11th Congressional District; Michael Grimm during the interview in which he threatened a reporter.

Time: Coverage of Michael Grimm's Threat Against a Reporter

NBC News: Coverage of Rep. Michael Grimm's Threat Against a TV Reporter

New York Daily News: Coverage of Michael Grimm's Outburst

February 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014

February 2, 2014: Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment. Initial reports suggested his death was caused by a drug overdose. Hoffman died at 46 years of age.

Above: Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman Biography

CNN Coverage of Hoffman's Death

CNN: Signs of a Resurgence of Heroin Use in U.S.

Super Bowl XLVIII

February 2, 2014: In Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos, 43 to 8. Seattle's victory over Denver was the Seahawk's first Super Bowl Championship.

Above: The Seattle Seahawks dominated Denver, leading 22-0 at halftime, and 36 to 0 late in the 3rd quarter.

Above: Percy Harvin of the Seattle Seahawks; Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson celebrating the Super Bowl Championship

Sports Illustrated Coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII

Janet Yellen Becomes Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve System

February 3, 2014:

Above: Janet Yellen; Yellen sworn in as Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve System

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

February 7, 2014: In Sochi, Russia, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the opening ceremony was held under the watchful eyes of the world. The venue of the 2014 games was particularly significant in that it was the first time in which Olympic games were held in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union. In 1980, the Soviets hosted the Summer Olympic games in Moscow.

In 1980, the United States boycotted the Summer games in protest of the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. In 2014, the United States attended the games in Russia, but this time, American troops were the ones in Afghanistan.


Above: Scene from the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia; The Olympic Flame at Sochi

Above: Maps showing Sochi, Russia with its proximity to surrounding regions, nations, and other Russian cities

Above: The Olympic teams of France (left) and the United States (right) participate in the 2014 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron at Sochi

Huffington Post: 2014 Winter Olympics Medal Count BBC: 2014 Winter Olympics Medal Count

Rejuvenated Franco-American Relations

February 9, 2014: The Washington Post published a jointly-written column by U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande celebrating an improved and rejuvenated relationship between the old allies. The column signaled an abrupt reversal from the tensions between France and the U.S. during the George W. Bush presidency, years in which, due to French opposition to a U.S. invasion of Iraq, many American conservatives regarded France as something of an enemy of the United States.

Above: President Barack Obama; Francois Holland, President of France

The Obama and Hollande Joint Column

"A decade ago, few would have imagined our two countries working so closely together in so many ways. But in recent years our alliance has transformed."

---Presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, Washington Post, February 9, 2014

French President Francois Hollande Visits U.S.

February 11, 2014:

Above: During the evening of a state dinner, First Lady Michelle Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and President Barack Obama pose for a photo in the White House

Above: The Obamas and French President Francois Hollande

Time: Obama, Hollande, and Rejuvenated American-French Relations

New York Times Coverage of the State Dinner with French President Francois Hollande

Baltimore Running Back Ray Rice Arrested in Atlantic City for Domestic Altercation with Fiancee Janay Palmer

February 14-15, 2014:

Above: Baltimore Running Back Ray Rice

Baltimore Sun: Ravens Running Back Ray Rice Arrested for Domestic Assault, February 15, 2014

"Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancee were arrested over the weekend after a fight at a casino in Atlantic City, according a statement from the Atlantic City Police Department.

Casino security called officers to the Revel Casino at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday after a domestic dispute between Rice and Janay Palmer that was recorded by video surveillance, according to a statement from police. Footage appeared to show both parties involved in a physical altercation."

---Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2014

Rural American Fundamentalist Culture: Kentucky Snake-Handling Preacher Dies of Rattlesnake Bite

February 15, 2014:

Above: Undated photo of Snake-Handling Pastor Jamie Coots holding a rattlesnake. Coots died as a result of a rattlesnake bite on February 15, 2014.

ABC News: Coverage of the Death of Pastor Jamie Coots, Snake-Handler Coverage of the Death of Pastor Jamie Coots

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Ukraine's Pro-Russian Government Violently Cracks Down on Anti-Government Protesters in Kiev

February 18, 2014: In Kiev, Ukraine, government forces cracked down on anti-government protesters in Independence Square.

Above: Government forces in Ukraine crack down on protesters in Kiev

Above: An anti-government protester tosses what appears to be an explosive device towards Ukraine's Parliament Building; Fires burn in Independence Square, the scene of the government crackdown on the anti-government protests.

CNN Coverage of Protests in Ukraine Time Coverage of the Government Crackdown on Protesters in Kiev

BBC Coverage of the Kiev Protests NBC News Coverage of the Anti-Government Protests in Kiev

Cheat Sheet on Protest Movements in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Thailand The Atlantic: Photos from Kiev Clashes

CNN Primer on the Crisis in Kiev, Ukraine

"What are protesters' demands?

Who's a better economic ally, Europe or Russia? That's the key issue at the heart of Ukraine's protests. Demonstrators want the government to forge closer ties with Europe and turn away from Russia.
But the dispute is also about power. Many in the opposition have called for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the ordering of new elections. And both on the streets and in parliament, they've also pushed to alter the government's overall power structure, feeling that too much of it rests with Yanukovych and not enough with parliament.

Who's protesting?

An opposition coalition has been leading the charge against Yanukovych and his allies.

When did demonstrations start?

In November, thousands spilled onto the streets after Yanukovych did a U-turn over a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making -- with Yanukovych favoring closer relations with Russia instead.

What's the latest?

Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left more than 20 people dead and the capital's central square afire into early Wednesday."

---From CNN, February 18, 2014

Above: Map of Europe with the nation of Ukraine marked in gold; President Viktor Yanukovych, who has been in power since February 2010.

Associated Press Article on the Kiev Crackdown

"Thousands of police armed with stun grenades and water cannons attacked a large opposition camp in Ukraine’s capital on Tuesday that has been the center of nearly three months of anti-government protests after at least nine people were killed in street clashes.

The police dismantled some of the barricades on the perimeter of Independence Square, and many of the protest tents were set on fire. But the 20,000 demonstrators fought back, armed with rocks, bats and fire bombs, and singing the Ukrainian national anthem.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the protesters to defend the camp."

---Excerpt from Associated Press Article, February 18, 2014

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Fighting Resumes in Kiev

February 20, 2014: After a brief truce, fighting between Ukrainian forces and anti-government protesters resumed in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.

Above: An Ukrainian priest amid the chaos of the protests on February 20, 2014; Kiev protester on fire

Above: Protesters near Kiev monument; Protester holds a crucifix

NBC News Coverage of Ukrainian Unrest, February 20, 2014 Vladimir Putin and Ukraine

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Agreement Reached Between Ukrainian Government and Anti-Government Protesters

February 21, 2014: The Ukrainian government and anti-government protest leaders signed an accord in which the government promised to restore the 2004 constitution, along with holding elections late in 2014.

Above: An assembled crowd in Kiev's Independence Square on February 21, 2014; Anti-Government Protesters, Independence Square, February 21, 2014

Agreement Reached in Ukraine New York Times: Accord Reached in Ukraine, Skepticism Remains Will the Deal Keep the Peace?

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: Canada Defeats USA Men's Hockey Team

February 21, 2014: In Olympics Men's Hockey, Canada defeated the United States, 1 to 0. Canada's victory allowed them to advance to the final round, a game with a gold medal at stake.

Above: Canada defeated the U.S. Men's Hockey team, 1-0, to advance to the finals to play for an Olympic gold medal; Canadians celebrate

New York Times Coverage of the Canadian Olympic Victory

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Parliament Votes to Remove President Viktor Yanukovych

February 22, 2014: By Saturday, Anti-Government Protesters were in control of Kiev. Also, by Saturday, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych had left Kiev, though maintaining he would not resign. Ukraine's parliament, however, later voted to remove Yanukovych from power. Yanukovych claimed that he was the victim of a coup d'etat. Additionally, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison.

Above: Anti-government forces ride in Kiev in a military-style vehicle, February 22, 2014; Anti-government forces guard a street in Kiev, February 22, 2014

Above: Anti-Government forces in front of the Ukrainian Parliament Building; Former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison on Saturday, February 22, 2014

Above: Just freed from prison, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to a crowd in Independence Square in Kiev.

CNN: Political Chaos in Ukraine NBC News: Continued Coverage of the Crisis in Ukraine

BBC: Ukraine's Parliament Votes to Oust Yanukovych The Guardian: Yulia Tymoshenko Released from Prison

Slate: Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, February 22, 2014 Time: Anti-Government Protesters Control Kiev

Time: Yulia Tymoshenko

"Saturday has been a fast-moving day in Ukraine’s ongoing crisis as residents awoke to rumors that President Viktor Yanukovych had fled and protesters took control of Kiev. Later in the day, parliament took a decisive step by ousting the president, saying Yanukovych had effectively removed himself from power by failing to fulfill his duties. Earlier, lawmakers had arranged for the release of Yanukovych’s arch-rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Through his spokeswoman, Yanukovych said he did not accept the parliament’s decision and insisted he was the victim of a coup. His protests don’t seem to matter much though."

---Daniel Politi, Slate, February 22, 2014

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Ukraine's Parliament Chooses Interim President

February 23, 2014:

Above: Interim President of Ukraine Alexander Turchynov

NBC News: Interim President of Ukraine Chosen

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: Canada Wins the Gold Medal in Men's Hockey

February 23, 2014:

Above: Canada defeated Sweden to win the 2014 gold medal in Men's Hockey

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize the Parliament Building in Simferopol, the capital city of the region of Crimea

February 27, 2014: In the region of Crimea in Ukraine, Pro-Russian gunmen stormed the Parliament building in Simferopol. The Crimea region in Ukraine is somewhat autonomous within the Ukrainian nation-state. The Crimea, however, is more culturally and politically Pro-Russian than the western parts of Ukraine.

Above: Russian flag flies atop the Parliament Building in Crimea, Ukraine on February 27, 2014

CNN: Coverage of the Situation in the Crimea

Above: NBC News map of Ukraine with the region of Crimea highlighted; Map of Crimea

NBC News: The Significance of the Crimea

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Armed Men Seize Airports in the Crimea; Viktor Yanukovych Speaks From Russia; U.S. Confirms Russian Entry into Crimea

February 28, 2014: In the region of Crimea in Ukraine, armed men occupied two airports. Appearing in public for the first time in several days, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych conducted a news conference in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Yanukovych claimed that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine.

Above: Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych speaks from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, February 28, 2014; Unidentified armed men patrol a Crimean airport on February 28, 2014

Above: Unidentified armed men patrolling the airport at Simferopol, the capital city of the autonomous region of Crimea in the nation of Ukraine

CNN Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis

Coverage of the Seizures of Crimean Airports New York Times Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis

"In Simferopol, the regional capital of Crimea, a large number of masked armed men were stationed at the international airport Friday morning. They were dressed in camouflage and carrying assault rifles, but their military uniforms bore no insignia. It was not clear who they were and they declined to answer questions."

----New York Times, February 28, 2014
Above: Map of Crimea (Source:

Washington Post: U.S. Confirms Presence of Russian Troops in Crimea President Obama's Statement Regarding Ukraine and Russia

"U.S. officials said Friday that Russian troops had entered Crimea, as President Obama warned that there 'will be costs for any military intervention' and vowed to stand by the Ukrainian people."

---Washington Post, February 28, 2014

Above: President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on February 28, 2014; President Obama during a national security meeting in the Oval Office on February 28, 2014

"However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties and a military facility in Crimea. But any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people."

---President Barack Obama, February 28, 2014. Transcript source: New York Times

March 2014

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: Russia's Vladimir Putin Wins Russian Parliamentary Approval to Intervene Militarily in Ukraine

March 1, 2014: The Ukrainian Crisis ratcheted up to the status of an ominous international crisis when Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeded in getting Russian parliamentary approval to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

Above: Washington Post Map of Crimea ; Russian President Vladimir Putin

BBC: Putin Seeks Authorization from Russia's Parliament to Intervene in Ukraine Time: Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, March 1, 2014

New York Times: Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, March 1, 2014 ABC News: Russian Parliament Approves Putin's Request

Washington Post: Russia's Upper House Approves Putin's Request to Intervene Militarily in Ukraine

"President Vladimir Putin received permission from Russia’s upper house of parliament Saturday to send troops to Crimea, responding to what he called a threat to Russian lives."

---Washington Post, March 1, 2014

New York Times: Putin Gets Approval to Intervene Militarily in Ukraine BBC: Putin Gets Authorization to Send in Troops to Ukraine

"As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested —and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine.

The actions signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty."

---New York Times, March 1, 2014

Associated Press Article: Putin's Takeover of the Crimea

"Russia executed a de facto military takeover of a strategic region in Ukraine as the parliament in Moscow gave President Vladimir Putin a green light Saturday to proceed to protect Russian interests. The newly installed government in Kiev was powerless to react to the swift takeover of Crimea by Russian troops already in Ukraine and more flown in, aided by pro-Russian Ukrainian groups.

Putin's move follows President Barack Obama's warning Friday 'there will be costs' if Russia intervenes militarily, sharply raising the stakes in the conflict over Ukraine's future and evoking memories of Cold War brinkmanship. The explicit reference to the use of troops escalated days of conflict between the two countries, which started when Ukraine's pro-Russian president was pushed out by a protest movement of people who wanted closer ties to Europe."

---Associated Press, posted at ABC News, March 1, 2014

The New Republic's Julia Ioffe: The Mentality Behind Putin's Aggression

Armed Troops--Presumably Russian Troops--Surround Ukrainian Military Base

March 2, 2014: Armed troops who were presumably Russian troops took up posts outside a Ukrainian military base in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Reportedly the base was surrounded by these troops.

Above: Armed troops--presumably Russian Troops--posted outside a Ukrainian military base in Crimea as Ukrainian troops stand inside the confines of the base; Pro-Russian demonstrators in Simferopol, Crimea. A large Lenin statue is in the background.

AP: Armed Troops Surround Ukrainian Military Base

"Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base Sunday in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving. The outnumbered Ukrainians placed a tank at the base's gate, leaving the two sides in a tense standoff.

In Kiev, Ukraine's new prime minister urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back his military, warning that 'we are on the brink of disaster.'"

---Associated Press, March 2, 2014

86th Academy Awards: 12 Years a Slave Wins Best Picture

March 2,2014: 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and Gravity dominated the Academy Awards.

Above: Movie poster for 12 Years a Slave, the film that won Best Picture; Lupita Nyong'o of 12 Years a Slave, Best Supporting Actress

Above: Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 86th Academy Awards; A "Selfie" picture sent online via Twitter set a record for the most "retweeted" photo ever, a feat that passed a picture of Barack and Michelle Obama that was tweeted on Election Night 2012.

The Daily Beast: Diversity and the Oscars AP: The Oscar "Selfie" Cultural Landmark

In the United Nations Security Council, U.S. and Russia Clash Over Ukraine

March 3, 2014: During a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York, Russia's representative claimed that ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking Russia to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

Above: Representative from Russia contended that Russian military intervention in Ukraine was requested by ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych

Above: Washington Post map of Crimea showing the distribution of military assets

BBC: Russia Claims that Yanukovych Asked for Military Intervention Washington Post: Map of Crimea and the Military Situation

Washington Post Coverage of the Crisis in Ukraine, March 3, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Visits Kiev, the Capital City of Ukraine

March 4, 2014: United States Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev, Ukraine and declared American solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Kerry visited Independence Square in Kiev, laying flowers at a memorial commemorating those slain in the February clashes with the Pro-Russian government under Viktor Yanukovych.

Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits a memorial in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine

New York Times: Reports of Ukrainian Troops Surrendering in Crimea Images of Kerry's Visit to Kiev

Time: A Confrontation in Crimea

Crimean Parliament Sets Referendum for March 16, 2014 on the Question of Crimea Joining Russia

March 6, 2014: Crimea's Pro-Russian parliament set a referendum scheduled for March 16, 2014 to determine whether Crimea would seek to join Russia.

Above: A woman in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine protests against Russia's Vladimir Putin

Associated Press Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, March 6, 2014

ABC News: Crimea's Parliament Votes to Join Russia New York Times: Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, March 6, 2014

"The Crimean Parliament said on Thursday that a referendum would be held on March 16, two weeks earlier than initially planned, offering citizens of the region a choice of remaining part of Ukraine with greater independence from Kiev or joining the Russian Federation. The referendum, rejected by Ukraine, had originally been scheduled for March 30."

---New York Times, March 6, 2014

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Age of Religious Pluralism: Buddhist Dalai Lama Provides the Opening Prayer in the U.S. Senate

March 6, 2014:

Above: Buddhist Dalai Lama praying before the U.S. Senate

AP: Buddhist Daiai Lama Prays in the U.S. Senate

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

March 8, 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand while en route from Malaysia to Beijing, China. The ultimate fate and whereabouts of the Boeing 777 remained unknown.

Above: The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777; Map showing the approximate location in the Gulf of Thailand where Flight 370 disappeared

The Premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a Joint Project of Fox and the National Geographic Channel

March 9, 2014:


Associated Press: Cosmos

Secession Referendum in Crimea: Official Results Declare Overwhelming Majority to Leave Ukraine

March 16, 2014: In a Crimean referendum of disputed legitimacy, official results declared an overwhelming majority for Crimean secession from Ukraine and union with Russia.

Above: BBC Map of Crimea; A voter casts a ballot in the Crimean secession referendum, March 16, 2014

Time: The Crimean Referendum, March 16, 2014 New York Times Coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis, March 16, 2014

Above: Pro-Russian protest in Odessa, a Black Sea city in Ukraine; Man with Soviet flag in Lenin Square in Simferopol, Crimea

Above: Celebratory flag-waving in Lenin Square in Simferopol, Crimea on March 16, 2014

Above: Fireworks over Lenin Square in Simferopol, Crimea, March 16, 2014

New York Times: Voters in Crimea Choose Mother Russia AP: Coverage of the Crimean Referendum, March 16, 2014

Crimea's Parliament Issues a Declaration of Independence

March 17, 2014:

Above: A man holding a Soviet flag outside the Crimean Parliament Building in Simferopol on March 17, 2014

A Crimean Declaration of Independence, March 17, 2014 Washington Post: Crimea Proclaims Independence

New York Times: Crimean Parliament Declares Independence

"A day after a contested referendum, legislators in Crimea moved swiftly on Monday to begin the process of splitting from Ukraine, with the regional Parliament declaring that Crimea is an independent state, with special status for the city of Sevastopol.

While the ballot on Sunday has been rejected in the West and by the government in Kiev, the legislators asserted that the laws of Ukraine no longer applied to Crimea and that state funds and all other state property of Ukraine in Crimea had been transferred to the new state. They also announced that the Ukrainian authorities had no power in Crimea."

---New York Times, March 17, 2014

Putin Claims Crimea as a Part of Russia

March 18, 2014: President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a treaty for the purpose of annexing Crimea into Russia.

Above: President of Russia Putin delivers a televised address from the Kremlin, March 18, 2014

AP: Putin Addresses the Situation in Crimea, March 18, 2014

"With a historic sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty Tuesday to annex Crimea, describing the move as correcting past injustice and a necessary response to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia's vital interests.

In an emotional 40-minute speech that was televised live from the Kremlin, Putin said 'in people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia.'

He dismissed Western criticism of Sunday's Crimean referendum — in which residents of the strategic Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia — as a manifestation of the West's double standards."

---Associated Press, March 18, 2014

Russia's Lower House Approves the Annexation of Crimea

March 20, 2014: In a 445 to 1 vote, Russia's parliamentary lower house approved the annexation of Crimea into Russia. The legislative matter then moved to Russia's upper house.

Above: President Obama speaking from the White House Lawn--March 20, 2014--regarding the Russian takeover of Crimea

Russia's Lower House Approves the Russian Annexation of Crimea AP: Obama Announces New Sanctions on Russia, March 20, 2014

"The Russian parliament's lower house has given its near-unanimous approval to the country's annexation of Crimea, ignoring threats from Western powers of more sanctions.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma voted 445-1 Thursday to make Crimea a part of Russia following a quick discussion in which members assailed the Ukrainian authorities."

---Associated Press, March 20, 2014

Russia Completes its Annexation of Crimea

March 21, 2014: Russia's upper house of parliament granted approval to the annexation of Crimea into Russia. Putin quickly finalized the matter with his signature.

Above: Vladimir Putin in a Kremlin signing ceremony for the annexation of Crimea, March 21, 2014; President of Russia Vladimir Putin Chairs a Russian Security Council Meeting, March 21, 2014

Reuters: Russia Finalizes Annexation of Ukraine

AP: Russian Government Completes the Annexation of Crimea CNN: Russia Finalizes Crimean Annexation; Ukraine Strengthens Ties to Europe

"President Vladimir Putin completed his annexation of Crimea on Friday, signing the Black Sea peninsula into Russia just as Ukraine itself sealed a deal pulling the country closer into Europe's orbit.

Putin said he saw no need to further retaliate against U.S. sanctions, a newly conciliatory tone apparently aiming to contain one of the worst crises in Russia's relations with the West since the Cold War. His spokesman, however, later kept the Kremlin's warning open that it could consider various options."

---Associated Press, March 21, 2014

Obamacare Milestone: End of Open Enrollment Period for 2014

March 31, 2014:

Above: President Barack Obama; New Yorker cover showing Obama making Republicans take their medicine

**Los Angeles Times: Significant Expansion of American Healthcare Coverage** E.J. Dionne: The GOP Was Wrong

New York Times: Expansion of Medicaid Coverage of Around 3 million Uninsured Rate Falls

Gallup: Uninsured Rate Has Fallen

April 2014

Shootings at Fort Hood

April 2, 2014: At the U.S. Army base Fort Hood in central Texas, a U.S. soldier named Ivan Lopez opened fire with a .45 caliber pistol killing three fellow soldiers and wounding several more. Lopez later killed himself with the same handgun.

This shooting came nearly five years after U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood, a shooting inspired out of religiously-motivated rage against U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.

Above: U.S. Army soldier Ivan Lopez

Premiere of Season 7 of Mad Men

April 13, 2014:

Above: Poster for the premiere of Season 7 of Mad Men

Obamacare Sign-Ups Reach 8 Million

April 17, 2014: President Barack Obama announced that Affordable Care Act health insurance sign-ups via healthcare exchanges reached 8 million.

Above: President Barack Obama

8 Million Obamacare Sign-Ups Obamacare Stats

Space X's Dragon Unmanned Supply Vessel Docks with the International Space Station

April 20, 2014:

Above: Unmanned Space X vehicle Dragon arrives at the International Space Station, April 20, 2014; The International Space Station in 2010

Space X's Dragon Arrives at the ISS

Anti-Government Conservative Folk Hero Cliven Bundy Exposed as an Anti-Black Racist

April 23-24, 2014:

Above: Cliven Bundy

New York Times: Conservative Folk Hero Cliven Bundy's Comments on Blacks Video of Cliven Bundy's Racist Comments

"'I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,' he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, 'and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

"'And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.'"

----Cliven Bundy, quoted in the New York Times, April 23, 2014 Fox News and Cliven Bundy Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert Takes Apart Cliven Bundy

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post: Cliven Bundy, Donald Sherling, and the Persistence of Anti-Black Racism

Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Exposed as an Anti-Black Racist

April 25-26, 2014:

Above: Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling

L.A. Times: Sterling's Comments on African Americans President Obama Comments on the Sterling Scandal

Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling Salon: Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling are not the Last of a Dying Breed

Washington Post: Donald Sterling is a Registered Republican

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The Catholic Church Declares Popes John XXIII and John Paul II to be Saints

April 27, 2014:

Above: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

The NBA Commissioner Announces a Lifetime Ban L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

April 29, 2014:

Above: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces a lifetime ban for L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling

CNN: Lifetime NBA Ban for Donald Sterling

Slate: The Changing of the NBA

The Dow Closes at a Record 16,580

April 30, 2014:

Above: The Dow-Jones Industrial Average closes at 16,580; President Barack Obama

CNN: The Dow Closes at a Record High

"April ended on a high note today as the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high of 16,580." ----CNN, April 30, 2013

May 2014

Russia Celebrates May Day

May 1, 2014:

Above: May Day celebrants in Moscow, May 1, 2014; Russian Communist Party members carry banners

Reuters: Russia Holds a Large May Day Celebration

The U.S. Economy Created 288.000 Jobs in April 2014 and the Unemployment Rate Fell to 6.3%

May 2, 2014: The federal government issued its monthly jobs and unemployment report. The report indicated that, for April 2014, the U.S. economy experienced an increase of 288,000 jobs, a number well above some projections. The unemployment rate declined to 6.3%, its lowest level since September 2008, the fateful month in which the U.S. economy began to collapse. The lower unemployment rate, however, was a bittersweet statistic in that much of the reduction was attributed to people abandoning the search for employment. Such individuals are not counted in the overall unemployment rate.

Above: CNN graph showing U.S. monthly job creation from April 2013 though April 2014

U.S. Added 288.000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.3% CNN: Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.3%

April Jobs Report Better Than Expected U.S. Unemployment Down to September 2008 Level

"U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years, evidence that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.

The Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate sank to 6.3 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, from 6.7 percent in March. But the drop occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell sharply. People aren’t counted as unemployed if they’re not looking for a job."

----Associated Press, May 2, 2014

Gallup Poll: In terms of Healthcare Insurance, the Uninsured Rate Drops Significantly

May 5, 2014: A newly-released Gallup survey indicated that, regarding health insurance, the uninsured rate dropped significantly since the full implementation of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went into full effect.

Above: Gallup graph showing the significant recent decline in the uninsured rate

Gallup: Uninsured Rate Has Declined The New Republic: Gallup Measures Lowest Uninsured Rate It Has Ever Measured

Heretofore Record High for the Dow: 16,695

May 12, 2014:

Above: The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high of 16,695 on May 12, 2014

Dow Hits 16,695

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Anti-Obama Conservative Writer and Activist Dinesh D'Souza Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Fraud

May 20, 2014:

Above: Anti-Obama Conservative activist Dinesh D'Souza on CNN

CNN: Prominent Conservative Dinesh D'Souza Enters a Guilty Plea Salon: Dinesh D'Souza Pleads Guilty

Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice and Wife Speak About Domestic Abuse

May 23, 2014:

Above: AP photo of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and wife Janay at a May 23, 2014 press conference in which they discussed his arrest for assaulting Janay

Associated Press: Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice and Wife Janay Appear at Press Conference, May 23, 2014

"His voice cracking with emotion, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice acknowledged Friday that he 'failed miserably' and apologized for the actions that led to his arrest on assault charges.

Rice was arrested following a Feb. 15 altercation in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which he allegedly struck fiancee Janay Palmer. The couple married in late February, and both went to the stage at the team training complex for their first public comment since the arrest."

---Associated Press, May 23, 2014

Shooting Rampage Near the University of California, Santa Barbara

May 23, 2014:

Above: CNN screen covering the mass murder shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara; Elliot Rodger,the 22 year old gunman who killed six people

ABC News: Mass Shooting in Southern California The Daily Mail: Coverage of the Mass Killing in California

Huffington Post: The Elliot Rodger Video AP: Seven Dead

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

May 28, 2014:

Above: Author and poet Maya Angelou, 1928-2014; Maya Angelou and Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in April 2008

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014 AP: Maya Angelou's Life

American POW Bowe Bergdahl Released from Captivity in Afghanistan

May 31, 2014:

Above: Bowe Bergdahl, United States Army

New York Times: The Release of American POW Bowe Bergdahl

"The soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was handed over to American Special Operations troops inside Afghanistan near the Pakistan border about 10:30 a.m. Saturday in a tense but uneventful exchange with 18 Taliban officials, American officials said. Moments later, Sergeant Bergdahl was whisked away by the helicopter-borne commandos, American officials said. He was described in good physical condition."

---New York Times, Saturday, May 31, 2014

June 2014

Bull Market: The Dow Hits 16,924, a Heretofore Record High

June 6, 2014:

Above: CNN graph showing the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting 16,924, a new high

CNN: The Dow Hits a New High at 16,924

Mosul, a Major City in Northern Iraq, Fell to the Jihadist Sunni Guerrilla Group, ISIS--The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

June 10, 2014:

Above: Washington Post map (May 15, 2014) of Syria and Iraq and corresponding ISIS activity and control; Embattled Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki
Above: map of Iraq; Flag of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) CNN: ISIS and its Goals

CBS News: Mosul Falls to ISIS Reuters: The Fall of Mosul, Iraq The Leader of ISIS Peter Bergen: What Bush Hath Wrought in Iraq

The Guardian: ISIS on the March The Guardian: ISI Takes Mosul Washington Post: ISIS and its Presence in Syria and Iraq

Associated Press: Mosul Falls to Jihadists

"In a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, al-Qaida-inspired militants overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city.

The rampage by the black banner-waving insurgents was a heavy defeat for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he tries to hold onto power, and highlighted the growing strength of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The group has been advancing in both Iraq and neighboring Syria, capturing territory in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.

There were no immediate estimates on how many people were killed in the assault, a stark reminder of the reversals in Iraq since U.S. forces left in late 2011.

Earlier this year, Islamic State fighters took control of Fallujah, and government forces have been unable to take it back."

----Associated Press, June 10, 2014

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Eric Cantor, Republican House Majority Leader, Defeated in GOP Primary

June 10, 2014:

Above: Representative Eric Cantor (Republican) of Virginia's 7th Congressional District

Politico: Eric Cantor Knocked off by GOP Primary Challenger Politico: Vote Results for the Virginia GOP Primary, 7th Congressional District

2014 FIFA World Cup: Brazil Defeated Croatia in the Opening Game, 3-1

June 12, 2014:

Above: Soccer Crests of Brazil and Croatia Matches, 2014 World Cup

2014 FIFA World Cup: Mexico Defeated Cameroon, 1-0

June 13, 2014:

Above: Soccer Crests of Mexico and Cameroon Matches, 2014 World Cup

2014 FIFA World Cup: France Defeated Honduras, 3-0

June 15, 2014:

Above: Soccer Crests of France and Honduras Matches, 2014 World Cup

Sunni ISIS Jihadists Take Tal Afar, a Northern Town in Iraq

June 16, 2014:

Above: BBC map showing ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) pervasiveness in Iraq and Syria; Wikipedia map of Iraq

AP: ISIS Takes Another Iraqi Town Washington Post: ISIS Evidently Conducts Mass Executions

New York Times: Another Iraqi Town Falls to Rebels George W. Bush and America's Imperialistic Debacle

Brookings Institution: Options in Iraq

2014 FIFA World Cup: The United States Defeated Ghana, 2-1

June 16, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests of the United States and Ghana

2014 World Cup Group Standings

2014 FIFA World Cup: Mexico and Brazil Battled to a Draw, 0-0

June 17, 2014:

Above: Soccer Crests of Mexico and Brazil

Sports Illustrated: Mexico and Brazil Battle to a Draw

The NFL's Washington Redskins Lose Trademark Rights

June 18, 2014:

Above: Washington Redskins logo on flag

Time: U.S. Patent Office Cancels Washington Redskins Trademark

USA-flag.pngGeorgia-flag.pngAlabama-flag-shaded.jpgUniversity of Alabama .png
Depraved Murder or Tragic Accident? Alabama Man Arrested in Georgia in the Wake of Son's Death

June 18, 2014:

Above: Justin Ross Harris, Leanna Harris, and Cooper Harris--their son who died on June 18, 2014

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Justin Ross Harris Arrested CNN: Profile of Justin Ross Harris The Death of Cooper Harris Leanna Harris, Wife of Justin Ross Harris Petition of Support for Justin Ross Harris

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: July 4, 2014 Article on Justin Ross Harris

2014 FIFA World Cup: Costa Rica Defeated Italy, 1-0

June 20, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests of Costa Rica and Italy

Costa Rica Defeats Italy

FIFA: 2014 World Cup Group Standings The Daily Beast: England Eliminated

2014 FIFA World Cup: France Defeated Switzerland, 5-2

June 20, 2014

Above: Soccer crests for France and Switzerland

Reuters: Pictures of France vs. Switzerland

Sunni Militants (ISIS) Captured Border Crossing at Iraq-Syria Frontier

June 20-21, 2014:

Above: ISIS flag (ISIS is also known as ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant); Time coverage of the turmoil in Iraq

ISIS Advances in Eastern Syria NBC News: ISIS Takes Area on Iraq-Syria Border

"Sunni militants have seized an Iraqi crossing on the border with Syria after a daylong battle in which they killed some 30 Iraqi troops, security officials said Saturday.

The capture of the Qaim border crossing deals a further blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, which has struggled to push back against Islamic extremists and allied militants who have seized large swaths of the country, including the second largest city Mosul, and who have vowed to march on Baghdad.

Police and army officials said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and allied militants seized the crossing near the border town of Qaim, about 200 miles west of Baghdad, after battling Iraqi troops all day Friday."

---NBC News, June 21, 2014

Reuters: ISIS Takes Border Crossing Point Between Iraq and Syria

"Sunni fighters seized a border post on the Iraq-Syria frontier, security sources said on Saturday, smashing a line drawn by colonial powers almost a century ago with the aim of creating an Islamic Caliphate stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran.

The militants, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), first moved into the nearby town of al-Qaim on Friday, pushing out security forces, the sources said.

Once border guards heard that al-Qaim had fallen, they left their posts and militants moved in, the sources said."

----Reuters, June 21, 2014

CNN: Four More Iraqi Towns Fall BBC: Four Towns Fall to ISIS CBS News: Four Towns in Two Days

ISIS Continues Conquests in Western Iraq

June 22, 2014:

Above: Associated Press map of northwestern Iraq identifying towns controlled by or assaulted by the guerrilla group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria); ISIS flag

BBC: ISIS Gains in Western Iraq Reuters: ISIS on the March Reactionary ISIS Rule in Mosul, Iraq

"Iran's supreme leader accused the United States on Sunday of trying to retake control of Iraq by exploiting sectarian rivalries, as Sunni insurgents drove toward Baghdad from new strongholds along the Syrian border."

---Reuters, June 22, 2014

AP: ISIS Makes Gains in Western Iraq

"Sunni militants on Sunday captured two border crossings, one along the frontier with Jordan and the other with Syria, security and military officials said, as they pressed on with their offensive in one of Iraq's most restive regions.

The fall dealt Iraq's embattled Shiite prime minister a further blow and brought the war to the doorstep of Jordan, a key ally of the United States that also borders embattled Syria to its north.

The blitz by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq's vast western desert take the al-Qaida-breakaway group closer to its dream of carving out a purist Islamic state straddling both Syria and Iraq."

---Associated Press, June 22, 2014

CNN: June 22, 2014 Article on Iraq Reuters: The Iraq Civil War in Pictures

2014 FIFA World Cup: The United States and Portugal Battled to a Draw, 2-2

June 22, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for the United States and Portugal

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Visited Iraq; CBS-NYT Poll: 75% of Americans Say Iraq War Not Worth It

June 23, 2014:

Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki; Secretary of State John Kerry

Time: John Kerry Visits Iraq AP: John Kerry in Iraq Voice of America: Kerry in Iraq

Above: CBS and New York Times Poll indicating that, in June 2014, 75% of Americans say that the Iraq War was not worth it

CBS News: Three-Fourths of the American Public Say the Iraq War was Not Worth Doing Washington Post: Cities in Iraq, Then and Now

2014 FIFA World Cup: Mexico Defeated Croatia, 3-1

June 23, 2014: In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Mexico defeated Croatia, 3 goals to 1. Mexico ended group play with 7 points, having defeated Cameroon, tied Brazil, and defeated Croatia.

Above: Soccer crests of Mexico and Croatia

ESPN: Mexico Defeats Croatia, 3 to 1 Mexico Advances to the Round of 16

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Mississippi Republican Primary Run-Off for U.S. Senate Seat: Incumbent Thad Cochran Defeated Tea Party Insurgent, Chris McDaniel

June 24, 2014:

Above: Incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi; Tea Party Republican candidate Chris McDaniel of Mississippi

Time: Anger on the Right over the Tea Party Defeat Salon: Analysis of Cochran's Defeat of the Tea Party Insurgency

Slate: Black Voters Make a Key Difference in Re-Nominating Cochran The Daily Beat: Right-Wing Radio Freak-Out Over McDaniel Loss

AP: Thad Cochran Defeats Tea Party Insurgent

2014 FIFA Word Cup: France and Ecuador Battled to a Draw, 0-0, thus Propelling France to the Round of 16

June 25, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for France and Ecuador

Census Bureau Population Estimates: Continued Diversity in an Era of Declining Fertility Rates

June 26, 2014: The United States Census Bureau released its annual population estimates for the nation as a whole, by states, and by counties.

Above: Pew Research Center chart at left indicating that, in the year ending mid-2013, U.S. Non-Hispanic Babies born during that year outnumbered minority babies by only about 3,000; Pew Research Center at right showing the relative percentages of Non-Hispanic Whites versus racial-ethnic minorities within incremental five-year age brackets from <5 years to 85+

Census Bureau: Population Estimates for United States as of Mid-2013

U.S. Census Bureau Press Release on Mid-2013 Population Estimates

Al-Jazeera: Non-Hispanic U.S. Whites Experienced Natural Decline for 2nd Consecutive Year

Christian Science Monitor: American Young People More Diverse Than Ever

2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany Defeated the United States, 1-0, with Both Teams Advancing to the Round of 16

June 26, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Germany and the United States of America

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Republican Civil War in Mississippi and the Suicide of a Tea Party Activist

June 27, 2014:

Above: Mark Mayfield

New York Times: McDaniel Remains Defiant and a Tea Party Activist Commits Suicide Tea Party Suicide in Mississippi

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Colombia Defeated Uruguay, 2-0

June 28, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Colombia and Uruguay

FIFA: Match Results

ISIS Proclaims the Establishment of a Sunni Caliphate

June 29, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of an ISIS supporter in Raqqa, Syria on June 29, 2014; Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS declared to be Caliph

Above: Wikipedia map of Syria; Wikipedia map of Iraq

CBS News: ISIS Declares a Caliphate

Reuters: ISIS Declares a Caliphate AP: ISIS Declares a Caliphate

"The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northeastern Syria and huge tracts of neighboring Iraq formally declared the establishment of a new Islamic state on Sunday and demanded allegiance from Muslims worldwide.

With brutal efficiency, the Sunni extremist group has carved out a large chunk of territory that has effectively erased the border between Iraq and Syria and laid the foundations of its proto-state. But the declaration, made on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, could trigger a wave of infighting among the Sunni militant factions that formed a loose alliance in the blitz across Iraq and impact the broader international jihadist movement, especially the future of a-Qaida.

The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared the group's chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the leader of the new caliphate, or Islamic state, and called on Muslims everywhere, not just those in areas under the organization's control, to swear loyalty to al-Baghdadi and support him."

---Associated Press, June 29, 2014

Is ISIS Perhaps on the Verge of Decline?

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Netherlands Defeated Mexico, 2-1

June 29, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Netherlands and Mexico

FIFA: Match Results

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Costa Rica Defeated Greece, 1-1, a Match Decided by Penalty Kicks

June 29, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Costa Rica and Greece

FIFA: Match Results

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Women's Rights and the Culture War: In the Hobby Lobby Case the ACA Contraception Mandate Narrowed by the U.S. Supreme Court

June 30, 2014:

Above: The five justices in the majority in the Hobby Lobby decision were Samuel Alito (author of the majority decision), Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy

Huffington Post: Narrowing of the Obamacare Contraception Mandate

Discovery of the Bodies of Three Israeli Teenagers, Each Being Kidnap and Murder Victims

June 30, 2014:

Above: Composite photos of the three Israeli teenage boys who were kidnapped and murdered

New York Times: Bodies of Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers Discovered

"Israel’s intense 18-day search for three abducted teenagers ended Monday when their bodies were found buried under a pile of rocks in an open field about 15 miles from where the youths were last seen in the occupied West Bank.

A nation that had been enmeshed in hopeful prayer was instantly engulfed by a mix of grief and anger and vowed retaliation against the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which Israel says was behind the killings."

---Associated Press, June 30, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: France Defeated Nigeria, 2-0

June 30, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for France and Nigeria

FIFA: Match Results

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Germany Defeated Algeria, 2-1

June 30, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Germany and Algeria

FIFA: Match Results

July 2014

Iraq's Parliament Fails to Form a New Government

July 1, 2014:

Above: Members of Iraq's Parliament in session on July 1, 2014; Wikipedia map of Iraq

New York Times: Chaos in Iraq's Parliament

"Iraq’s major parties initially thought they had a deal ready when they sat down Tuesday to form a new government, but the effort collapsed in factional acrimony in less than half an hour."

---New York Times, July 1, 2014

Reuters: Iraq's Parliament Fails to Form a New Government

"Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of Iraq's new parliament on Tuesday after Shi'ites failed to name a prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki, dimming any prospect of an early national unity government to save Iraq from collapse.

The United States, United Nations, Iran and Iraq's own Shi'ite clergy have pushed hard for politicians to come up with an inclusive government to hold the fragmenting country together as Sunni insurgents bear down on Baghdad."

---Reuters, July 1, 2014

American Culture War and Anti-Immigration Nativism: Protesters in Murieta, California Turn Away Transfer of Undocumented Immigrants

July 1, 2014:

Above: Anti-Immigration Protesters in Murrieta, California block buses of Homeland Security, vehicles that were transferring undocumented immigrants

Anti-Immigration Protesters in Murrieta, California, July 1, 2014

Associated Press: Anti-Immigration Protesters in Murrieta, California Turn Away Buses of Undocumented Immigrants, Many of Them Being Children

"Homeland Security buses carrying migrant children and families were rerouted Tuesday to a facility in San Diego after American flag-waving protesters blocked the group from reaching a suburban processing center.

The standoff in Murrieta came after Mayor Alan Long urged residents to complain to elected officials about the plan to transfer the Central American migrants to California to ease overcrowding of facilities along the Texas-Mexico border.

Many protesters held U.S. flags, while others held signs reading 'stop illegal immigration,' and 'illegals out!'"

---Associated Press, July 1, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Argentina Defeated Switzerland, 1-0

July 1, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Argentina and Switzerland

FIFA: Match Results

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Belgium Defeated the United States, 2-1

July 1, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Belgium and the United States of America

FIFA: Match Results

Body of Slain Palestinian Teenager Found

July 2, 2014:

Above: Muhammad Abu Khdeir

Guardian: July 2, 2014 Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

New York Times: Body of Palestinian Teenager Found

"The abduction and killing of a Palestinian teenager whose burned body was found in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday further poisoned relations between Israelis and Palestinians and prompted international outrage as the police investigated the death as a possible Israeli revenge killing.

The death of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, came a day after the burial of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed in the occupied West Bank last month. The killing of the teenager set off fierce riots in the ordinarily quiet and relatively well-to-do East Jerusalem neighborhood where he lived, threatening to ignite broader unrest and underlining deep fissures in Israeli society."

---New York Times, July 2, 2014

Monthly Jobs and Unemployment Numbers: The U.S. Economy Added 288,000 Jobs in June 2014

July 3, 2014:

Above: Associated Press graph showing the U.S. Unemployment Rate from 2008 to June 2014, along with monthly job creation from 2008 to June 2014

AP: 288,000 U.S. Jobs Created in June 2014 as Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.1%

"The 5-year-old U.S. recovery is gaining momentum from a surprisingly robust job market and moving the economy closer to full health.

Employers added 288,000 jobs in June and helped cut the unemployment rate from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008. It was the fifth straight monthly gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom.

The stock market signaled its approval. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 92 points to top 17,000 for the first time."

---Associated Press, July 3, 2014

Bull Market: The Dow Jones Industrial Average Rises above 17,000, Closing at a Record High of 17,068

July 3, 2014: In the wake of a favorable June jobs report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged above 17,000, closing at 17,068--a record high for the Dow

Above: CNN chart showing the Dow closing above 17,000 on July 3, 2014

Above: CNN meme commemorating the Dow's July 3, 2013 closing above 17,000; President Barack Obama

CNN: The Dow Closes at a Record High of 17,068 CNN: DJIA at 17,068

"All three major indexes closed higher Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at an all-time high of around 17,068 (up nearly 1.3% for the week). The S&P 500 also closed at a record level, hitting 1,985 for the first time. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rounded up the week up 2%."

---CNN, July 3, 2014

Associated Press: The Dow Closes Above 17,000 on July 3, 2014

"The Dow has climbed more than 10,500 points since its Great Recession low of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009."

---Associated Press, July 3, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 8: Germany Defeated France, 1-0

July 4, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Germany and France

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 8: Brazil Defeated Colombia, 2-1

July 4, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Brazil and Colombia

Video Released Purporting to Show ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

July 5, 2014: In the wake of rumors that the ISIS leader ISIS-designated Caliph had been killed, ISIS supporters released a video on purporting to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Mosul, Iraq. Evidently, he gave the sermon the prior day, on July 4, 2014.

Above: Purported image of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaking at a Mosque in Mosul, Iraq; Image taken from a video released on July 5, 2014 purported to be of ISIS leader and ISIS-designated Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi--reportedly during a July 4, 2014 sermon in Mosul, Iraq--exhorting Muslims to take up Jihad

BBC: Video Released of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi The Independent: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Leader of ISIS

Al-Jazeera: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Speaks out

New York Times: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Shown on Video Associated Press: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Reportedly Shown on Video

"A man purporting to be the leader of the Sunni extremist group that has declared an Islamic state in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria has made what would be his first public appearance, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq's second-largest city, according to a video posted online Saturday.

The 21-minute video that is said to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State group, was reportedly filmed on Friday at the Great Mosque in the northern city of Mosul."

---Associated Press, July 5, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 8: Argentina Defeated Belgium, 1-0

July 5, 2014:


Above: Soccer crests for Argentina and Belgium

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 8: Netherlands Defeated Costa Rica, 0-0, a Match Decided by Penalty Kicks

July 5, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Netherlands and Costa Rica

Iraq's Parliament Fails to Form a New Government, and an Iraqi General is Killed

July 7, 2014:

Above: Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq; Wikipedia map of Iraq

New York Times: Iraqi General Killed in Attack

Reuters: Iraq's Parliament Postpones Meetings and Iraqi General is Killed

"Iraq's new parliament postponed its next session for five weeks on Monday, extending the country's political paralysis in the face of a Sunni Islamist insurgency which claimed the life of an army general on the northwestern outskirts of Baghdad.

Citing the inability of political camps to reach 'understanding and agreement' on nominations for the top three posts in government, the office of acting speaker Mehdi al-Hafidh said parliament would not meet again until Aug. 12." *

---Reuters, July 7, 2014

*Note: The decision to postpone Iraqi parliamentary meetings until August 12th was reversed. Iraq's Parliament would meet briefly on Sunday, July 13, 2014.

Legalized Marijuana in the State of Washington

July 8, 2014: One election day in November 2012, voters in the state of Washington approved in a referendum the legalization of marijuana sales for recreational use. The consequences of that referendum outcome came to fruition on July 8, 2014 when legalized sales began.

Above: Cale Holdsworth, on July 8, 2014, became the first person in the state Washington legally to purchase marijuana

Seattle Times: Pot Sales Now Legal in the State of Washington

Associated Press: Marijuana Sales for Recreational Use Now Legal in the State of Washington

"Washington on Tuesday became the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally in the U.S. without a doctor's note as eager customers who lined up outside stores made their purchases and savored the moment.

People began buying marijuana at 8 a.m. at Top Shelf Cannabis, one of two Bellingham stores that started selling the drug as soon as it was allowed under state regulations. Several dozen people waited outside before the doors opened at the shop in this liberal college town of about 80,000 north of Seattle."

---Associated Press, July 8, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 4: Germany Defeated 2014 World Cup Host Team Brazil, 7 to 1

July 8, 2014:

Above: Soccer Crests for Germany and Brazil

FIFA: Match Results

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 4: Argentina Defeated Netherlands, 0-0, a Match Decided by Penalty Kicks

July 9, 2014:

Above: Soccer crests for Argentina and Netherlands

FIFA: Match Results

The Iraqi Parliament Fails Again to Form a New Government

July 13, 2014:
Above: map of Iraq; Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

CBS News: Another Failure of Iraq's Parliament to Choose Leaders for a New Government New York Times: Political Impasse in Iraq

ABC News: (AP Story) Parliament Quickly Adjourns on July 13, 2014

"Iraq's deadlocked parliament failed Sunday to overcome the deep divisions hampering the formation of a new government, making no progress on choosing new leaders who could help hold the nation together and confront the Sunni militant blitz that has overrun much of the country.

The legislature is under pressure to quickly choose a new speaker of parliament, president and prime minister — the first steps toward a new government. The international community has pressed lawmakers to put their differences aside, while the United Nations has warned of chaos if the political impasse drags on for too long."

---Associated Press, Article Posted at ABC News Website, July 13, 2014

Reuters: Another Failure to Form a New Iraqi Government

"Iraq's parliament failed on Sunday to break a political deadlock that is holding up the formation of a new government to tackle an Islamist-led insurgency raging less than 50 miles (80 km) from Baghdad.

After a brief session, parliamentary officials put off until Tuesday efforts to reach agreement between Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians on the posts of prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose State of Law coalition is the largest individual list in parliament, is seeking a third term but faces opposition from Sunnis and Kurds who say he has ruled for the Shi'ite majority at the expense of minority communities. Even rival Shi'ite parties want to unseat him."

---Reuters, July 13, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Final: Germany Defeated Argentina, 1-0, Winning the FIFA 2014 World Cup in a Match Decided in Extra Time

July 13, 2014: In the world's biggest sporting event, soccer power Germany won its fourth FIFA World Cup Championship, defeating Argentina, 1-0, in a match that was scoreless in regular time, with the single goal being scored second period of extra time. The 2014 championship was Germany's first since reunification between West and East Germany in the early 1990s.

Germany's Mario Goetze scored the one and only goal of the match. He entered the game as a substitute and likely left the pitch as a German sports icon.

Both Germany and Argentina possessed storied soccer histories prior to the 2014 World Cup. Prior to reunification, West Germany won World Cup titles in 1954, 1974, and 1990. Argentina, in turn, won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986.

Above: Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil overlooking Maracana Stadium, the venue for the 2014 FIFA World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany

Above: Soccer Crests for Germany and Argentina

Above: Mario Goetze scored only goal of the World Cup championship match; At right, he celebrates what became the decisive goal

Above: Members of Germany's soccer team celebrate their 2014 FIFA World Cup Championship

FIFA: Match Results CNN: Germany Defeats Argentina to Win the 2014 World Cup ESPN: Germany Wins the 2014 World Cup

Sports Illustrated: Thoughts on the World Cup Final BBC: Coverage of the World Cup Final

Slate: Soccer and Head Injuries Slate: Mario Goetze's Winning Goal Mario Goetze Scores the Winning Goal

Iraq's Parliament Chooses a New Speaker

July 15, 2014:

Above: Wikipedia map of Iraq; Salim al-Jabouri, Newly-elected Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament

Iraqi Parliament Chooses a New Speaker Reuters: Iraq's Parliament Chooses a Speaker

"Iraqi politicians named a moderate Sunni Islamist as speaker of parliament on Tuesday, a long-delayed first step towards a power-sharing government urgently needed to save the state from disintegration in the face of a Sunni uprising.

A Shi'ite leader suggested the naming of Salim al-Jabouri as speaker was part of a broader political deal, but gave no clue as to whether that meant Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had managed to secure backing for a third term.

The vote came as Iraq's army and allied Shi'ite militia launched an assault to retake former dictator Saddam Hussein's home city Tikrit from the al Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State and allied militants, who seized it in mid-June during a lightning assault through the north."

---Reuters, July 15, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-Winner and Undocumented Immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas

July 15, 2014:

Above: Jose Antonio Vargas detained by U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas airport; Jose Antonio Vargas on a June 2012 cover of Time

Associated Press: Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter Jose Antonio Vargas, an Undocumented Immigrant, Detained in McAllen, Texas

"Prominent immigration activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has lived and worked in the U.S. without legal documentation for years, was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents on Tuesday at a South Texas airport.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said Vargas was in custody after being stopped going through security at the airport in McAllen, a city only a few miles from the Mexico border."

---Associated Press, July 15, 2014

Culture War: Immigration Protest in Oracle, Arizona

July 15, 2014:

Above: Anti-Immigration Protesters in Oracle, Arizona

CNN: The 2008 Law Signed by Bush at the Core of the Controversy Salon's Joan Walsh: Anti-Immigrant Bigotry on Display in Arizona

CNN: Immigration Protests in Oracle, Arizona Reuters: Protests in Oracle, Arizona

"Waving U.S. flags and playing patriotic music, dozens of people protested in southern Arizona on Tuesday against the arrival of undocumented immigrant children for processing at a center near the border before being sent home.

In a scene reminiscent of similar protests in California, about 65 demonstrators gathered near the small town of Oracle to complain that the federal government's response to a surge of new arrivals from Central America was putting their communities at risk.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who has been a sharp critic of the Obama administration's border policy, had said about 40 immigrant children were to be bused to an academy north of Tucson, even though residents did not want them there."

---Reuters, July 15, 2014

Associated Press: Anti-Immigration Protest in Oracle, Arizona

"Protesters carrying 'Return to Sender' and 'Go home non-Yankees' signs faced off with immigrant rights activists Tuesday in a small Arizona town after a sheriff said a bus filled with Central American children was on its way.

The rallies demonstrated the deep divide of the immigration debate as groups on both sides — and in similar numbers — showed up in Oracle to speak out on the issue.

It turned heated at times, with shouting matches and a group of mariachi musicians getting shoved before the skirmishes were quelled. At one point, protesters temporarily blocked off a bus on the road before realizing it was just a school bus carrying children from a YMCA."

---Associated Press, July 15, 2014

ISIS Holds Tikrit as Violence Continues in Iraq

July 16, 2014: By Wednesday, it appeared that ISIS had retained control over the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

Above: Girl in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq walks near a spot where a bomb had exploded; July 16, 2014 Reuters photo showing the site of a bomb blast in Sadr City in Badhdad, Iraq

Reuters: ISIS Defends Tikrit as Violence in Iraq Continues Iraqi Government's Military Offensive in Tikrit Falls Short

"Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held city of Tikrit after their new offensive met heavy resistance, in a blow to the government effort to push back Sunni insurgents controlling large parts of the country.

The failure highlights the difficulties of Baghdad's struggle to recapture territory from the insurgents who seized Mosul, Tikrit and other cities last month in a rapid offensive which threatens to fragment Iraq on ethnic and sectarian lines.

The setback came as Iraqi politicians named a moderate Sunni Islamist as speaker of parliament on Tuesday. That was a long-delayed first step towards a power-sharing government urgently needed to confront the militants, who are led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State."

---Reuters, July 16, 2014

New York Times: A Trap in Tikrit

Bull Market: Dow Jones Industrial Average Hits Record High at 17,138

July 16, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time record high of 17,138.

Above: CNN charts showing the Dow hitting a record high of 17,138 on July 16, 2014

CNN: Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes at 17,138 on July 16, 2014 CNBC: Dow at Record High of 17,138

Reuters: Record High for the Dow ABC News: (AP Article) Record-Setting Day for the Dow

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down in Ukraine

July 17, 2014:

Above: Associated Press photo of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that came down in Ukraine on June 17, 2014; Associated Press map showing the path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Associated Press: Coverage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Catastrophe

"A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.

As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Hrabove, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border."

---Associated Press, July 17, 2014

Above: BBC illustration of the type of Boeing 777 aircraft in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17

Links to Coverage of the Malaysia Airlines Catastrophe New York Times: Maps Pertaining to Flight 17 AP: Coverage of the Downing of Flight 17

"Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down a Malaysian jetliner with 298 people aboard Thursday, sharply escalating the crisis and threatening to draw both East and West deeper into the conflict. The rebels denied downing the aircraft.

American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down but were still working on who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukrainian side of the border, a U.S. official said.

Bodies, debris and burning wreckage of the Boeing 777 were strewn over a field near the rebel-held village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border, where fighting has raged for months.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden described the plane as having been 'blown out of the sky.'

The aircraft appeared to have broken up before impact, and there were large pieces of the plane that bore the red, white and blue markings of Malaysia Airlines — now familiar worldwide because of the carrier's still-missing jetliner from earlier this year."

---Associated Press, July 17, 2014

Israel Engages in Military Excursion into Gaza in a Battle Against Hamas

July 17, 2014:

Above: Gaza City on July 17, 2014 during an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza to combat Hamas, the Sunni Palestinian ruling group over Gaza

Associated Press: Israel Invades Gaza in a Military Operation Against Hamas

"The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel.

Flares lit up the night sky before dawn and the wail of ambulance sirens mixed with the Muslim call to prayer from mosque loudspeakers as thick smoke rose into the air from sites where shells and missiles struck.

'There is a tank shell every minute,' said an official in the Gaza security operations room, who said all of the seaside strip's border areas were being shelled and that Hamas fighters were exchanging fire with Israeli troops near a northern Gaza town.

'There is also fire from the sea toward police checkpoints.'

Israel launched the offensive late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week. Palestinian militants have fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israeli cities since fighting began."

---Associated Press, July 17, 2014

Bombings in Baghdad

July 19, 2014:

Above: AP photo showing a bombing site in Baghdad, Iraq on July 19, 2014; Wikipedia map of Iraq

Time: (AP article) Bombs Explode in Baghdad MSNBC: Chaos in Iraq The Daily Beast: The Red Skull of Baghdad

Reuters: July 22, 2014 Article on Islamic State (aka ISIS) and its Conquests

New York Times: Five Bombs Explode in Bagdad, Killing 30

"Five bombs exploded in the Iraqi capital on Saturday, killing 30 people, as tensions continued between Baghdad and Jordan, signaling the inexorable spillover of Iraq’s troubles to the region.

The dispute between the two nations centered on a meeting held in Amman, the Jordanian capital, on Wednesday evening by 11 Iraqi Sunni groups, including some that are actively fighting the Iraqi government.

The Jordanian government was not involved in the meeting, but after the groups put out a strident statement asking other nations not to side with the Iraqi government in its conflict with Sunni militants, the Iraqis were angry that Jordan had allowed the meeting to take place.

Iraq recalled its ambassador and the Jordanians apologized on Friday, but Iraqi Parliament members are accusing Jordan of knowing the groups were there and not arresting them."

---New York Times, July 19, 2014

Deadly Day as Israel's Invasion of Gaza Continues

July 20, 2014:

Above: Gaza City experiences combat, July 20, 2014

Reuters: Deadly Day in Gaza

"More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed as Israel shelled a Gaza neighborhood and battled militants on Sunday in the bloodiest fighting in a near two-week-old offensive.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a massacre in Shejaia in the eastern suburbs of the city of Gaza and declared three days of mourning.

Israel's army said it was targeting militants from Gaza's dominant Hamas group whom it alleged had fired rockets from Shejaia and built tunnels and command centers there. The army said it had warned locals two days earlier to leave.

It was the Israeli military's highest one-day death toll since a 2006 war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon."

---Reuters, July 20, 2014

Associated Press: Israeli-Hamas Conflict Becomes Deadlier

"The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive would continue 'as long as necessary' to end attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians.

But Hamas seems defiant, international cease-fire efforts are stalled, and international criticism is becoming more vocal as the death toll among Palestinian civilians rises."

----Associated Press, July 20, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Suicide Car Bombing in Baghdad

July 22, 2014:

Above: BBC map conveying the degree of Islamic State (aka ISIS) conquest and/or agitation in Iraq and Syria as of July 2014

BBC: Suicide Car Bombing in Baghdad ABC News: Deadly Bombing in Baghdad Al Jazeera: The De-Christianization of Mosul, Iraq

Associated Press: Suicide Car Bombing in Baghdad

"A suicide driver rammed his explosive-laden car into a police checkpoint in the Iraqi capital killing 21 people, including more than a dozen civilians en route to a Shiite shrine in the final days of the Islamic holy month.

At least 13 people killed in the attack were civilians, according to police and hospital officials. At least 35 people were wounded — more than half of them civilians."

---Associated Press, July 22, 2014

Bull Market: The S&P 500 Closes at 1987, a Record High

July 23, 2014:

The S&P 500

Above: CNN chart showing the S&P 500 closing at 1987 on July 23, 2014

CNN: Market Report for July 23, 2014

"The bulls on Wall Street wasted little time, nudging the S&P 500 to a fresh intraday record right out of the gate. The broad index celebrated its 26th record close of the year, landing at 1,987. That tops the previous record set on July 3."

---CNN, July 23, 2014

Palestinian Authorities Claim Israeli Military Forces Shell a United Nations School in Gaza, Killing Several

July 24, 2014:

Above: AP photo of Israeli tank near Gaza-Israel border on July 24, 2014; AP photo of wounded child in Gaza, July 24, 2014

Associated Press: Palestinian Authorities Claim Israeli Military Forces Shell UN School in Gaza

"Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory's Hamas rulers.

Pools of blood stained the school courtyard in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit. Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed.

The strike occurred during a day of heavy fighting throughout the coastal territory. Israel says the war is meant to halt rocket fire from Palestinian militants in Gaza and destroy a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels. International efforts to bring about a truce appeared elusive, with the violence continuing and Hamas reiterating its demand for a cease-fire that a crippling Egyptian and Israeli blockade on Gaza be lifted."

---Associated Press, July 24, 2014

NFL Domestic Abuse Scandal: Commissioner Roger Goodell Suspends Ray Rice for Two Games

July 24, 2014:

Above: Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

New York Times: Coverage of the Ray Rice Suspension, July 24, 2014

"With training camps opening across the N.F.L., Commissioner Roger Goodell has begun handing out suspensions to players for various instances of unacceptable behavior in the off-season. Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens drew the first punishment, receiving a two-game ban Thursday in connection with an incident in which he was accused of assaulting a woman who was then his fiancée and is now his wife."

---New York Times, July 24, 2014

Escalation in the War Between Israel and Hamas

July 29, 2014:

Above: Israeli attacks in Gaza City, Gaza

Associated Press: Israel Escalates its Attacks in Gaza on Hamas

"Israel unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip's only power plant.

The fighting came as diplomatic efforts to forge a truce remained stalled despite a death toll that Palestinian officials said rose above 1,200 on Tuesday. The shadowy leader of the Hamas military wing said his group will not cease fire until its demands are met.

On Tuesday evening, residents of the sprawling Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza reported intense tank shelling. Ten members of an extended family were killed and 50 other people wounded in the area, Palestinian health officials said. Two brothers driving in a car with markings of a U.N. aid agency were killed by shrapnel, an area resident said."

---Associated Press, July 29, 2014

Iraq-flag.pngUSA-flag.pngUnited-States-Presidential-Seal.pngGOP Elephant Symbol.jpgDemocratic-Party-Symbol.jpg
The Broadcasting of Losing Iraq, a Frontline Documentary on PBS

July 29, 2014:

Above: Promotional images for the Frontline documentary, Losing Iraq, broadcast July 29, 2014 on PBS

PBS: Losing Iraq PBS: Key Moments in the Unraveling of Iraq

U.S. Economic Growth: GDP Grew at 4% Annualized Rate During the 2nd Quarter of 2014

July 30, 2014:

Above: CNN chart chronicling Quarterly U.S. Annualized GDP Growth Rates from 2011 through the second quarter of 2014

CNN: July 30, 2014 Article on GDP Growth Rate

"New data released Wednesday show the U.S. economy bounced back in the spring, growing at a 4% annual pace in the second quarter. That was even better than the forecast of 3% growth, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by CNNMoney."

---CNN, July 30, 2014

The Dow Loses 317 points, Closing at 16,563

July 31, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 317 points on July 31, 2014, closing at 16,563. The losses on the last day in July put the Dow in negative territory for calendar year 2014.

Above: CNN chart chronicling a 317 point loss for July 31, 2014; The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,563; New York Times graph chronicling Dow closings from July 2013 to July 2014

CNN: Market Report for July 31, 2014

August 2014

Monthly Jobs Report: The U.S. Economy Added 209,000 Jobs in July 2014

August 1, 2014:


Above: CNN chart showing U.S. monthly job creation over the past 13 months. In July 2014, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added over 200,000 jobs, thus continuing a 200,000-plus streak for 6 consecutive months

CNN: U.S. Jobs Report for July 2014

"The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday."

---CNN, August 1, 2014

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jobs Report for July 2014, Released August 1, 2014

Associated Press: 209,000 Jobs Created in the U.S. in July 2014

"U.S. employers extended their solid hiring into July by adding 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year-old recovery.

July's gain was less than in the previous three months, though, and probably wasn't strong enough to suggest that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates to curb inflation.

But the Labor Department's monthly jobs report Friday pointed to an economy that has bounced back with force after a grim start to the year and is expected to sustain its strength into 2015. Along with the consistent job growth, consumer spending is rising, manufacturing is strengthening and auto sales are up.

The unemployment rate ticked up in July to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent as more Americans started looking for work. Most didn't find jobs, but the increase suggests that they're more optimistic about their prospects. The jobless aren't counted as unemployed unless they're actively seeking work.

Average job gains over the past six months reached 244,000 in July, the best such monthly average in eight years."

---Associated Press, August 1,2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Sunni Militants Make Gains in Northern Iraq

August 3, 2014:

Above: BBC Map of the Iraqi Civil War situation for August 3, 2014; The Islamic State (aka ISIS) banner

Associated Press: Sunni Militants Continue to Make Gains in Iraq

"Militants with the Islamic State extremist group on Sunday seized two small towns in northern Iraq after driving out Kurdish security forces, further expanding the territories under their control, officials and residents said.

The fresh gains by the Sunni extremist militants have forced thousands of residents to flee from the religiously mixed towns of Zumar and Sinjar, toward the northern self-ruled Kurdish region, the United Nations said. Some of them were trapped in an open rugged area, it added.

Mosul Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, who fled to the largely autonomous Kurdish region when the Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants seized Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul in June, told The Associated Press that the two towns fell after fierce clashes that erupted the day before."

---Associated Press, August 3, 2014

New York Times: Islamic State Seizes Three Towns in Northern Iraq

"The seizure of the three towns in a triangle that stretches north and west from Mosul to the borders of Syria and Turkey allowed the extremists to expand their territory, but the capture of the Mosul Dam would be a bigger prize, and could give the militants the ability to unleash a deadly flood on large populations.

On Sunday afternoon, conflicting reports emerged about who was in control of the dam, with some local news media reporting that ISIS had captured it. But Kurdish officials and an official at the Ministry of Water Resources in Baghdad denied those reports."

---New York Times, August 3, 2014

Washington Post: The Fall of the Northern Iraqi Town of Sinjar

"Al-Qaeda-inspired extremists seized control of the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar on Sunday, advancing against overstretched Kurdish forces and sending thousands of residents running for their lives."

---Washington Post, August 3, 2014

Reuters: Mosul Dam Reportedly Falls to Islamic State (ISIS)

CNN: ISIS Reportedly Takes Mosul Dam

The Iraqi Civil War: Iraqi Kurds Declare Intent to Engage in a Counter-Offensive Against Islamic State Forces

August 4, 2014:

Above: AP photo of Mosul Dam in northern Iraq; Wikipedia map of Iraq

Associated Press: Residents Flee in Parts of Northern Iraq

Reuters: Kurds Claim Counter-Offensive in the Works

"Kurdish peshmerga forces are planning a counter-offensive against Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq after being routed by the radical Sunni insurgents on Sunday, senior Kurdish officials said on Monday.

One of the officials told Reuters the Kurds had been overstretched in a vast region but were now calling in a large number of fighters to hit back. 'It is a very dangerous situation for the region. Something needs to be done soon.'

The Islamic State inflicted its first major defeat on the Kurds with a dramatic advance through three towns to reach the Mosul Dam, acquiring a fifth oil field to fund its operations along the way.

State television and witnesses said on Sunday that the Islamic State had seized Iraq's biggest dam. Kurdish peshmerga officials said they have pushed Islamic State militants from the Dam area. This could not be immediately confirmed."

---Reuters, August 4, 2014

USA-flag.pngGOP Elephant Symbol.jpgAlabama-flag-shaded.jpgTea-Party-Gadsden-Flag.png
Republican Congressman from Alabama Claims Democrats are Waging a "War on Whites"

August 4, 2014:

Above: Representative Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama

Real Clear Politics: Mo Brooks Claims Democrats are Waging a "War on Whites"

"REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): 'This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It's part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true, okay?'"

---Representative Mo Brooks, Quoted by Real Clear Politics from Brooks' appearance on the Laura Ingraham Show, August 4, 2014 Interview with Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama

"U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks accused blacks and Hispanics in the Democratic Party today of waging a 'war on whites' by invoking race to split the nation.

'In effect, what the Democrats are doing with their dividing America by race is they are waging a war on whites and I find that repugnant,' Brooks, R-Huntsville, said this afternoon in an interview with", August 4, 2014

Politico: Republican Mo Brooks Twice Claims Dems are Waging a "War on Whites"

"Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks repeatedly accused Democrats of waging a “war on whites” in a pair of interviews Monday, saying they use the tactic in campaigns and on the issue of immigration."

---Politico, August 4, 2014

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Major General Killed by Hostile Gunfire, and a German General Wounded

August 5, 2014:

Above: U.S. Army Major General Harold J. Greene, killed in Afghanistan on August 5, 2014

Reuters; Two Star American General Killed by Hostile Gunfire in Afghanistan

"A U.S. general was killed and more than a dozen people were wounded on Tuesday, including a German general, in the latest insider attack by a man believed to be an Afghan soldier, U.S., German and Afghan officials said.

The U.S. Army said late on Tuesday the slain general was Major General Harold Greene, a senior officer with the international military command ISAF. He was the most senior U.S. military official killed in action overseas since the war in Vietnam, military officials said."

---Reuters, August 5, 2014

Iraqi Civil War: Islamic State Continues its Rampage in Northern Iraq

August 7, 2014:

Above: The Guardian map of parts of northern Iraq, August 7, 2014; The Guardian map highlighting Mt. Sinjar in northern Iraq, a mountain where perhaps 40,000 Iraqi Yazidi (an ethnic minorities) refugees have fled to escape Islamic State (ISIS) militants

The Guardian: Christian City Falls to Islamic State CBS News: ISIS on the Move Again in Iraq

The Guardian: Perhaps 40,000 Iraqi Yazidi Refugees on Mt. Sinjar

Reuters: Islamic State Advances in Northern Iraq

"Islamic State militants extended their gains in northern Iraq on Thursday, seizing more towns and strengthening a foothold near the Kurdish region in an offensive that has alarmed the Baghdad government and regional powers."

---Associated Press, August 7, 2014

Associated Press: More Reports of Mosul Dam Falling to Islamic State

"Sunni militants from the Islamic State group on Thursday seized Iraq's largest dam, placing them in control of enormous power and water resources and access to the river that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

After a week of attempts, the radical Islamist gunmen successfully stormed the Mosul Dam and forced Kurdish forces to withdraw from the area, residents living near the dam told The Associated Press. They spoke anonymously for safety concerns.

The Islamic State group posted a statement online Thursday, confirming that they had taken control of the dam and vowed to continue 'the march in all directions,' adding that it will not 'give up the great Caliphate project.' The group added that it has seized a total of 17 cities, towns and targets — including the dam — over the past five days. The statement could not be verified but it was posted on a site frequently used by the group.

Officials from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region that has the only forces opposing the extremists in the north did not respond to calls."

---Associated Press, August 7, 2014

New York Times: Mosul Dam Might Have Fallen to Islamic State Forces

"Sunni militants appeared on Thursday to have captured the Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq, as their advances in the country’s north created an onslaught of refugees and set off fearful rumors in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital.

An official in the office of Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish regional government, said Thursday afternoon that Kurdish forces, or pesh merga, were still fighting for control of the dam. But several other sources, including residents of the area and a Kurdish security official, said it had already been captured by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, a potentially catastrophic development for Iraq’s civilian population."

---New York Times, August 7, 2014

Iraqi Civil War: As Iraq Deteriorates, the West Considers Responding

August 7, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo, August 7, 2014, showing the aftermath of a bomb blast in Baghdad, Iraq; 2007 AP photo of Mosul Dam

Reuters: ISIS Surge

"Islamist militants surged across northern Iraq towards the capital of the Kurdish region on Thursday, sending tens of thousands of Christians fleeing for their lives, in an offensive that sparked talk of Western military action."

---Reuters, August 7, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: President Barack Obama Authorizes Humanitarian Aid to Refugees and U.S. Military Airstrikes Against ISIS Forces

August 7, 2014:

Above: President Barack Obama speaking about Iraq, August 7, 2014; Wikipedia map of Iraq

Associated Press: Obama Authorizes Military Airstrikes Against ISIS Forces in Iraq

"President Barack Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq Thursday night, warning they would be launched if needed to defend Americans from advancing Islamic militants and protect civilians under siege. His announcement threatened a renewal of U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.

In a televised late-night statement from the White House, Obama said American military planes already had carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities surrounded by militants and desperately in need of food and water."

---Associated Press, August 7, 2014

New York Times: President Obama Authorizes Military Airstrikes Against ISIS Forces in Iraq

"President Obama on Thursday announced he had authorized limited airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, scrambling to avert the fall of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and returning the United States to a significant battlefield role in Iraq for the first time since the last American soldier left the country at the end of 2011.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday night, Mr. Obama also said that American military aircraft had dropped food and water to tens of thousands of Iraqis trapped on a barren mountain range in northwestern Iraq, having fled the militants, from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who threaten them with what Mr. Obama called 'genocide.'"

---New York Times, August 7, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: U.S. Military Airstrikes in Iraq

August 8, 2014:
Above: AP photo of Pesh Merga Kurdish soldiers in the Irbil area of Kurdish Iraq; map of Iraq

Reuters: American Airstrike in Iraq, August 8, 2014

"U.S. warplanes bombed Islamist fighters marching on Iraq's Kurdish capital on Friday after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent 'genocide.'

Islamic State fighters, who have beheaded and crucified captives in their drive to eradicate unbelievers, have advanced to within a half hour's drive of Arbil, capital of Iraq's Kurdish region and a hub for U.S. oil companies."

---Reuters, August 8, 2014

Associated Press: U.S. Airstrike in Iraq, August 8, 2014

"U.S. fighters dropped bombs on Islamic militants in Iraq Friday, the Pentagon said, carrying out President Barack Obama's promise of military force to counter the advancing militants and confront the threat they pose to Iraqi civilians and Americans still stationed there.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it. Kirby said the fighters had taken off from the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush in the Persian Gulf to conduct the mission. He said it wasn't clear how many militants might have been killed in the strike.

The Pentagon said the militants were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Irbil.

For the United States, it was a re-engagement in the long sectarian war from which American combat forces had been withdrawn — on President Barack Obama's orders — in late 2011."

---Associated Press, August 8, 2014

CNN: Iraq Coverage, August 8, 2014

"Meanwhile, a senior Kurdish official told CNN that ISIS militants captured Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam, just north of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. According to the official, the militant fighters have been using U.S.-made weapons seized from the Iraqi army, including M1 Abrams tanks."

---CNN, August 8, 2014

Associated Press: ISIS Reportedly Holding Many Yazidi Women in Captivity

"The U.S. has confirmed that the Islamic State group has kidnapped and imprisoned Yazidi women so that they can be sold or married off to extremist fighters, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information came from classified intelligence reports. There was no solid estimate of the number of women victimized, the official said."

---Associated Press, August 8, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: President Barack Obama Addresses the Iraq Situation

August 9, 2014:

Above: Associated Press photos of President Barack Obama addressing reporters on his assessment of the situation in Iraq

Associated Press: President Obama Speaks on Iraq, August 9, 2014

New York Times: President Obama Speaks on the Iraq Situation, August 9, 2014

"President Obama sought to prepare Americans for an extended presence in the skies over Iraq, telling reporters on Saturday that the airstrikes he ordered this week could go on for months as Iraqis try to build a new government."

---New York Times, August 9, 2014

USA-flag.pngUnited-States-Presidential-Seal.pngGOP Elephant Symbol.jpg
40th Anniversary of the Resignation of President Richard M. Nixon

August 9, 2014:

Above: Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States from January 20, 1969 to August 9, 1974; Nixon departing the White House grounds on August 9, 1974; Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States from August 9, 1974 to January 20, 1977

The Killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer

August 9, 2014:

Above: Michael Brown, 1996-2014; Lesley McSpadden, the grieving mother of Michael Brown, August 9, 2014

Above: Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014

CBS News: Unarmed Missouri Teenager Shot and Killed by Cop

Associated Press: August 10, 2014 Article on the Killing of Michael Brown

"The fatal shooting of a black teenager by police sent hundreds of angry residents out of their apartments Saturday in a St. Louis suburb, igniting shouts of 'kill the police' during a confrontation that lasted several hours.

A St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP called for the FBI to look into the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis."

---Associated Press, August 10, 2014

CNN: Who Killed Michael Brown?

The iraqi Civil War: U.S. Airstrikes Continue as Nouri al-Maliki Tries to Retain Political Power

August 10, 2014:
Above: map of Iraq; Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

New York Times: Profile of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Leader of Islamic State

"At every turn, Mr. Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’ involvement in Iraq — most of the political changes that fueled his fight, or led to his promotion, were born directly from some American action. And now he has forced a new chapter of that intervention, after ISIS’ military successes and brutal massacres of minorities in its advance prompted President Obama to order airstrikes in Iraq."

---New York Times, August 10, 2014

Reuters: Iraqi Claims of ISIS Atrocities Against Yazidi

"Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq's minority Yazidis, burying some alive and taking women as slaves, an Iraqi government minister said on Sunday, as U.S. warplanes again bombed the insurgents and a political deadlock dragged on."

---Reuters, August 10, 2014

Associated Press: Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki Makes Accusation Against Iraqi President

"Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says he will file a legal complaint against the country's new president for committing 'a clear constitutional violation.'

Al-Maliki made the announcement in a surprise speech late Sunday night, plunging the government into a political crisis at a time it is battling advances by Islamic State militants."

---Associated Press, August 10, 2014

Reuters: Al-Maliki Deploys Military Forces in Parts of Baghdad

"Special forces loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on Sunday night after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term, police sources said.

Pro-Maliki Shi'ite militias stepped up patrols in the capital, police said. An eyewitness said a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses government buildings."

----Reuters, August 10, 2014

Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki Struggles to Maintain Power

August 11, 2014:

Above: Pro-Maliki demonstrators in Baghdad, August 11, 2014

Associated Press: Struggle for Power in Iraq, August 11, 2014

"Iraq's largest coalition of Shiite political parties chose Monday the deputy prime minister to be its candidate lead the government in a major defeat for incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki just hours after he declared himself the rightful candidate and put troops on the street.

The Iraqi National nominated Haider al-Ibadi to replace al-Maliki and to form a new government to unify the country against the growing threat of radical militants, alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in a statement.

Al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated bloc won the most parliament seats in April elections and the prime minister sees himself as rightfully keeping the post. He accused Massoum of neglecting to name a prime minister by Sunday's deadline.

Critics say the Shiite al-Maliki contributed to the crisis by monopolizing power and pursuing a sectarian agenda that alienated the country's Sunni and Kurdish minorities."

---Associated Press, August 11, 2014

Iraq's President Names a New Prime Minister

August 11, 2014:

Above: Haider al-Abadi, the newly designated Prime Minister of Iraq; Supporters of Nouri al-Maliki

New Iraqi Prime Minister Named and Asked to Form New Government BBC: New Prime Minister Named, But Transition Uncertain

BBC: Haider al-Abadi

Reuters: New Iraqi Prime Minister Named

"Iraq's president named a new prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki on Monday, urging him to form a broad government that can stem communal bloodshed, but it was unclear whether Maliki would bow to U.S. and Iranian pressure to step aside.

A Shi'ite Muslim blamed by erstwhile allies in Washington and Tehran as well as Baghdad for driving the alienated Sunni minority into revolt, Maliki deployed loyal militias and special forces in the capital on Monday after making a defiant speech accusing the head of state of abusing the constitution.

Militants from the Islamic State, who routed Maliki's army in the north in June, made new gains over Kurdish forces despite three days of U.S. air strikes and Baghdad, long braced for the Sunni fighters to attack the city, was now tensing for possible clashes between Maliki and rivals within the Shi'ite majority."

---Reuters, August 11, 2014

New York Times: New Iraqi Prime Minister Chosen

"Iraq’s president formally nominated a candidate on Monday to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The step broke a months long political deadlock, but it also seemed to take Iraq into uncharted territory, as Mr. Maliki gave no signal that he was willing to relinquish power.

The nomination of Haider al-Abadi, who is a member of Mr. Maliki’s Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, came hours after a dramatic late-night television appearance in which a defiant Mr. Maliki challenged the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, and threatened legal action for not choosing him as the nominee."

---New York Times, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

August 11, 2014: Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead. Initial evidence suggested that he took his own life. Reportedly he had been battling severe depression.

Above: Comedian and actor Robin Williams evidently committed suicide

The Iraqi Civil War: Nouri al-Maliki Takes a More Conciliatory Tone

August 12, 2014:
Above: map of Iraq; Nouri al-Maliki

New York Times: Nouri al-Maliki Takes a Milder Stance

"After two days of defiant speeches and special security units deployed in the Iraqi capital, raising the specter of a coup, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appeared to back away on Tuesday from his implied threat to use force to stay in power, issuing a statement saying that the army should stay out of politics."

---New York Times, August 12, 2014

Power Struggle in Iraq for the Office of Prime Minister: Nouri al-Maliki Promises to Challenge Haider al-Abadi in Court

August 13, 2013:

Above: AP photo (August 13, 2014) of a woman in Baghdad in the aftermath of a bombing; AP photo of supporters of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on August 13, 2014

Associated Press: Coverage of the Iraqi Political Struggle, August 13, 2014

"Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday he will not relinquish power until a federal court rules on what he claims is a 'constitutional violation' by the president to replace him with a member of his own party.

The embattled premier has grown increasingly isolated, with Iraqi politicians and much of the international community lining up behind prime minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi, a fellow member of al-Maliki's Shiite Dawa party. Al-Abadi was picked by President Fouad Massoum to form a new government that can unite the country in the face of an onslaught by Sunni militants."

---Associated Press, August 13, 2014

The Ferguson Riots: Another Day of Protest and Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

August 13, 2014:

Above: AP photo of police action in Ferguson, Missouri on August 13, 2014; Michael Brown (1996-2014), who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer on Saturday, August 9, 2014

Above: AP photo of a police device going off in Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014; AP photo of a man throwing a lit device as police advance, Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014

Salon: Coverage of Ferguson, Missouri Unrest, August 13, 2014

Associated Press: Coverage of the Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

"Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who has been the public face of the city torn by Saturday's death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, told reporters earlier in the day that the St. Louis County investigation of the shooting could take weeks to complete. In the meantime, he said, his department welcomes Justice Department training on racial relations in the suburb, where two-thirds of the 21,000 residents are black while all but three of the police force's 53 officers are white."

---Associated Press, August 13, 2014

Reuters: Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014

"Police in Ferguson, Missouri, fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters late on Wednesday, on the fourth night of demonstrations over the fatal shooting last weekend of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer.

Clouds of smoke lingered above an area hit with police tear gas police as the crowd of some 350 protesters scattered off into side streets and into cars. Someone from the crowd appeared to throw an object at police."

---Reuters, August 13, 2014

St. Louis Today: The Iconic Photo of the Ferguson Unrest

Above: St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo of a protester throwing back a tear gas canister, August 13, 2014

Power Struggle in Iraq Over the Office of Prime Minister: Nouri al-Maliki Agrees to Step Aside

August 14, 2014:

Above: Wikipedia map of Iraq; Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq; Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister-Designate

Slate: Nouri al-Maliki Concedes

New York Times: Nouri al-Maliki Agrees to Step Aside, August 14, 2014

"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Thursday night that he had agreed to relinquish power, state television reported, potentially ending a crisis in which his deployment of extra security forces around the capital had raised worries of a military coup.

While the country is not at peace, Mr. Maliki’s decision appeared to pave the way for the first truly peaceful transition of power, based on democratic elections and without the guiding hand of American military forces, in modern Iraq’s history.

In stepping aside, Mr. Maliki agreed to end his legal challenge to the nomination of his replacement, Haider al-Abadi, a member of Mr. Maliki’s own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, who was chosen Monday by Iraq’s president."

---New York Times, August 14, 2014

New York Times Editorial Board: The Pitfalls of Regime Change

"The saga of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, currently approaching its denouement in Iraq, is a recurring theme in American foreign policy. Eight years ago, the United States worked to install Mr. Maliki as prime minister of Iraq in place of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was said to favor fellow Shiites over Sunnis or Kurds in the government. Today, Mr. Maliki is blamed for the same thing, and the resulting disunity is believed to be partly responsible for the ease with which jihadists are romping through Iraq.

Under heavy pressure from the United States and members of his own party, the stubborn Mr. Maliki has agreed to step aside in favor of another Shiite politician, Haider al-Abadi, who earlier this week received President Obama’s blessing. Mr. Abadi may have better luck against the brutal forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, especially since Mr. Maliki’s departure could open the spigot to American military assistance."

---New York Times Editorial Board, August 14, 2014

Ferguson Police: Darren Wilson Named as Michael Brown's Shooter as Images are Released Purporting to Show Brown Committing a Robbery

August 15, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of the Ferguson police chief identifying Darren Wilson as the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, 2014; Reuters still images (from Ferguson P.D.) purporting to show Michael Brown, on August 9, 2014, committing a robbery at a Ferguson convenience store

Above: Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson; Michael Brown, 1996-2014

CNN: Info About Officer Darren Wilson

Reuters: Michael Brown's Shooter Identified, August 15, 2014

"Police named Darren Wilson as the officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and said the youth was the key suspect in a robbery that occurred minutes before the shooting, which sparked days of sometimes violent protests.

Wilson was the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday, police said, giving in to pressure to identify the six-year veteran officer with a clean record, and to provide details about the investigation in order to ease tensions in the largely black suburb outside St. Louis.

Days of protests had cast a spotlight on racial tensions in greater St. Louis, where civil rights groups have complained in the past of racial profiling by police, of the arrests of a disproportionate number of blacks and of discriminatory police hiring practices."

---Reuters, August 15, 2014

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Culture War: Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted for Abuse of Power

August 15, 2014:

Above: Texas Governor Rick Perry, Republican

Reuters: Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted, August 15, 2014

"Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Texas on two counts of abuse of power and coercion over a funding veto he made last year that was seen as being intended to force a local prosecutor to resign.

Perry, a possible Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race, was indicted by a grand jury in Travis County with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a third-degree felony.

A probe was launched last year after Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding for an integrity unit that is part of the Travis County District Attorney's office. The move was seen as hardball politics to force out county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving."

---Reuters, August 15, 2014

The Ferguson Riots: Another Night of Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

August 15-16, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of masked individuals carrying items from a store in Ferguson, Missouri in the early hours of August 16, 2014

Reuters: Another Night of Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, August 15-16, 2014

"Racially charged protests flared overnight in Ferguson, Missouri, in an eruption of fresh anger over the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer.

Tensions had temporarily cooled on Thursday night but by Friday evening, protesters were again swarming through a residential and retail district in the small town outside St. Louis that has become the site of repeated clashes between black residents and mostly white police forces."

---Reuters, August 16, 2014

Andrew O'Hehir: Militarized Police

"What we have witnessed over the past week in Ferguson, Missouri, represents the collision of two sinister forces in American society: the widespread militarization of police forces from coast to coast, and the long and sordid history of police violence against African-Americans in particular, and any and all threats to the dominant social and economic order in general. These things are connected, to be sure. Both can be described as reflecting a paranoid and profoundly racist worldview that has long been endemic within American nationalism, the worldview that connects the Know-Nothings and slavery defenders of the 19th century to J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Strom Thurmond and the Tea Party."

---Andrew O'Hehir, Salon, August 16, 2014

The Killing of Michael Brown: Missouri's Governor Declares a State of Emergency and Curfew Amid Continued Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

August 16-17, 2014:

Above: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri Democrat; Governor Jay Nixon declared a State of Emergency and midnight curfew for Ferguson, Missouri, August 16, 2014 (Reuters photo)

Above: Reuters photo of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

CBS News: State of Emergency Declared in Ferguson, Missouri

"Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Saturday and imposed a curfew in the St. Louis suburb where a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer a week ago."

---CBS News, August 16, 2014

Reuters: Ferguson Unrest Under a Curfew, August 16-17, 2014

"Protesters and police clashed early on Sunday despite a night curfew imposed on Ferguson, Missouri to try to quell days of violence that erupted after an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by a white police officer a week ago.

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called for an end to violence and looting. A person was shot and critically wounded during the night, and it was not clear why. The shooter was still at large, police said."

---Reuters, August 17, 2014

Associated Press: Coverage of the Ferguson Unrest, August 16-17, 2014

"The first night of a state-imposed curfew in Ferguson, Missouri, ended with tear gas and seven arrests, after police dressed in riot gear used armored vehicles to disperse defiant protesters who refused to leave a St. Louis suburb where a black, unarmed teen had been shot by a white police officer a week earlier."

---Associated Press, August 17, 2014

Slate: Unrest After the Curfew Went into Effect

Culture War and the Killing of Michael Brown

August 17, 2014: Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network sponsored a rally at a Ferguson, Missouri church and called for justice for Michael Brown. Martin Luther King, III, the son of the famous civil rights leader, also spoke at he event. The rally was carried live on MSNBC, the cable news channel where Reverend Sharpton has a weekday show.

Also on Sunday, a modest-sized crowd supporting Officer Darren Wilson held a protest.

Above: The Reverend Al Sharpton speaking in honor of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old teenager who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014; Al Sharpton with Michael Brown's family

Above: Supporters of Ferguson, Missouri Officer Darren Wilson held a protest in St. Louis, August 17, 2014; Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson

Talking Points Memo: A Protest in Support of Officer Darren Wilson, August 17, 2014

"A counterprotest sprung up in St. Louis on Sunday to express support for the white Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot a black unarmed teen, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing turmoil of the last week.

Jon Swaine, a reporter for The Guardian who is on the ground in Missouri, reported that the protesters congregated outside the headquarters of KSDK, a St. Louis TV station on Sunday afternoon."

---Talking Points Memo, August 18, 2014

Fox 2 St. Louis: Rally for Michael Brown, August 17, 2014

St. Louis Today: Rally in Honor of Michael Brown, August 17, 2014

Associated Press: Al Sharpton the Michael Brown Shooting as a Pivotal Event for the USA

"The Rev. Al Sharpton called the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in suburban St. Louis a 'defining moment for this country.'

Sharpton spoke Sunday at a rally in Ferguson, where days of protest have ended with almost nightly confrontations between police and protesters."

---Associated Press, August 17, 2014

The Ferguson Riots: A Sunday Night of Protest and Tear Gas in Ferguson, Missouri

August 17-18, 2014:

Above: Reuters photos of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri on the evening of August 17, 2014

Above: Associated Press photos of police forces in Ferguson, Missouri, August 17, 2014

Associated Press: Unrest in Ferguson, August 17-18, 2014

"Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to Ferguson early Monday, hours after police used tear gas to clear protesters off the streets following a week of demonstrations against the fatal police shooting of a black Missouri teenager.

In a statement, Nixon said the National Guard would help 'in restoring peace and order' to the St. Louis suburb that has been filled almost nightly with angry, defiant crowds since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed Aug. 9."

---Associated Press, August 18, 2014

Reuters: Coverage of Unrest in Ferguson, August 17-18, 2014

CBS News: Unrest and Tear Gas in Ferguson, Missouri, August 17, 2014

"The streets of Ferguson, Mo., became chaotic Sunday night just before a curfew was to be imposed for a second night.

Tear gas was being fired at crowds as police stood in the streets holding shields at crowds chanting 'don't shoot' while holding up their arms, which has become a symbol of protest in the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Demonstrators threw rocks at police and kicked tear gas canisters back at them."

---CBS News, August 17, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Kurdish and Iraqi Forces, with U.S. Air Support, Retake Mosul Dam

August 18, 2014:

Above: Associated Press photo of President Barack Obama during a press briefing on August 18, 2014; Associated Press map of the Sinjar Mountains, Mosul Dam, and Irbil areas of northern Iraq

Time: "Mission Creep" in Iraq for President Obama?

Above: AP photo of smoke rising in the Mosul Dam area of Iraq, August 18, 2014; Wikipedia map of Iraq

Associated Press: Kurdish Forces Retake Mosul Dam, Obama Announces on August 18, 2014

"Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq's largest dam from Islamic militants Monday following dozens of U.S. airstrikes, President Barack Obama said, in the first major defeat for the extremists since they swept across the country this summer.

Militants from the Islamic State group had seized the Mosul Dam on Aug. 7, giving them access and control of enormous power and water reserves and threatening to deny those resources to much of Iraq.

Iraqi forces suffered a string of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Islamic State as the extremists took over large parts of northern and western Iraq and sent religious minorities fleeing.

The militants' battlefield victories brought U.S. forces back into the conflict for the first time since it withdrew its troops in 2011 and reflected the growing international concern about the Sunni extremist group. Washington launched attacks from its warplanes and drones on Aug. 8."

---Associated Press, August 18, 2014

The Ferguson Riots: The Evening of August 18-19, 2014

August 18-19, 2014:

Above: (AP photo) Police forces in Ferguson, Missouri, August 18, 2014; (AP photo) Police in Ferguson clash with a protester, August 18, 2014

Above: Protester throws back a tear gas canister, August 18, 2014; Armed authorities in Ferguson, August 18, 2014

Associated Press: Ferguson Coverage, Evening of August 18-19, 2014

"Police and protesters collided in the streets of Ferguson again late Monday, a day after the Missouri governor summoned the National Guard to help restore calm to the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer.

The latest clashes came at the end of a day in which a pathologist hired by the Brown family said the unarmed 18-year-old suffered a bullet wound to his right arm that may indicate his hands were up or his back was turned. But the pathologist said the team that examined Brown cannot be sure yet exactly how the wounds were inflicted until they have more information.

An independent autopsy determined that Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, the family's lawyers and hired pathologists said."

---Associated Press, August 19, 2014

New York Times: Coverage of Ferguson's Evening of August 18-19, 2014

"Violence erupted here once more overnight, even as Missouri National Guard troops arrived, the latest in a series of quickly shifting attempts to quell the chaos that has upended this St. Louis suburb for more than a week.

In the days since an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot to death by a white police officer here on Aug. 9, an array of state and local law enforcement authorities have swerved from one approach to another: taking to the streets in military-style vehicles and riot gear; then turning over power to a State Highway Patrol official who permitted the protests and marched along; then calling for a curfew.

Early Monday, after a new spate of unrest, Gov. Jay Nixon said he was bringing in the National Guard. Hours later, he said he was lifting the curfew and said the Guard would have only a limited role, protecting the police command post."

---New York Times, August 19, 2014

Above: Respective covers of Time and The New Yorker, each being the September 1, 2014 issue

ISIS Murders James Wright Foley, an American Journalist

August 19, 2014: Via online media, ISIS announced the execution of captured American journalist James Wright Foley. ISIS released video footage showing the brutal killing of Foley.

Above: Screen-shots of Islamic State's murderous execution of American journalist James Wright Foley

The Daily Mail: The Murder by ISIS of James Wright Foley

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Indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry Booked in Austin, Texas

August 19, 2014

Above: Texas Governor Rick Perry Mugshot in Travis County, Texas, August 19, 2014; Governor Rick Perry wielding a pistol

Time: Rick Perry Turns Himself in and is Booked

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry turned himself in at the Travis County Courthouse Tuesday on two felony charges of abuse of power.

Perry, who has vowed to contest the charges stemming from a threat and ultimate veto of funding to the state’s public integrity unit, surrendered himself to Sheriff’s deputies to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken. Perry is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday."

---Time, August 19, 2014

Bull Market: Record Close for the S&P 500: 1992

August 21, 2014:

Above: CNN chart showing the August 21, 2014 S&P 500 close at 1992, an all-time record high

CNN: Market Report for August 21, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Sunnis Massacred in a Mosque in Diyala Province in Eastern Iraq

August 22, 2014:

Above: Al Jazeera map of Iraq with the location of the town of Baquba identified; Wikipedia map of Iraq

New York Times: Iraqi Sunni Muslims Massacred in Mosque

"More than 50 Sunni worshipers were killed during a militant raid on a mosque in central Iraq on Friday in an attack that security officials said appeared to be revenge for a number of deadly bombings earlier in the day.

The violence in a group of villages in Diyala Province, about 100 miles northeast of Baghdad, was in a mixed Sunni-Shiite area that has become a front line between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the extremist group that has taken over parts of the country.

The rise of ISIS, and its acceptance by some Sunni populations angry at the Shiite-led government, has reignited sectarian feuds across Iraq."

---New York Times, August 22, 2014

Al Jazeera: Iraqi Sunnis Massacred in Mosque

"At least 73 people have been killed after a Shia Muslim armed group opened fired inside an Iraqi Sunni mosque in the country's eastern Diyala province, medical sources have said.

A security source said bodies had been arriving at the hospital in the city of Baquba in Diyala province on Friday.

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Erbil, said that according to local sources, the attack could have been in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack at a recruitment event organised by the same militia."

---Al Jazeera, August 22, 2014

Reuters: The Massacre of Dozens of Iraqi Sunnis, August 22, 2014

"Iraqi Shi'ite militiamen machine gunned minority Sunni Muslims in a village mosque on Friday, killing dozens just as Baghdad was trying to build a cross-community government to fight Sunni militants whose rise has alarmed Western powers.

A morgue official in Diyala province north of Baghdad said 68 people had been killed in the sectarian attack staged on the Muslim day of prayer. Ambulances took the bodies 60 km (40 miles) to the provincial capital of Baquba, where Iranian-trained Shi'ite militias are powerful and act with impunity.

Attacks on mosques are acutely sensitive and have in the past unleashed a deadly series of revenge killings and counter attacks in Iraq, where violence has returned to the levels of 2006-2007, the peak of a sectarian civil war.

Two influential Sunni politicians, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jibouri, quickly suspended participation in talks with the main Shi'ite political alliance to form a new government."

---Reuters, August 22, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Sectarian Killings Continue

August 22-23, 2014:
Above: map of Iraq; Reuters photo of the aftermath of a car bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq

CNN: ISIS Has an Iraqi City Under Siege, Per the UN

"As violence continues to wrack Iraq, the United Nations warned Saturday of another ethnic slaughter in the making by Sunni extremists from ISIS.

ISIS fighters have besieged the ethnic Turkmen Shiite town of Amerli in the north for two months, and its fewer than 20,000 residents are without power and running out of food, water and medical supplies."

---CNN, August 23, 2014

Reuters: Sectarian Killings in Iraq, August 23, 2014

"Two suicide bombers in Iraq killed at least 17 people in apparent revenge attacks after a major assault on a Sunni mosque heightened sectarian tensions.

In Baghdad, a bomber rammed a vehicle into an intelligence headquarters on Saturday, killing at least eight people, police and medical sources said. Near Tikrit, a suicide bomber driving a military Humvee packed with explosives attacked a gathering of soldiers and Shi'ite militias on Friday night, killing nine."

---Reuters, August 23, 2014

Associated Press: Iraqi Sectarian Killings, August 23, 2014

"A suicide bomber hit an Interior Ministry building in central Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 11 people, as an investigation was underway into a deadly attack on a Sunni mosque that has heightened sectarian tension amid a fragile political transition.

The suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in Karrada district in the early afternoon, killing six civilians and five security personnel, a police officer said. He said 24 other people were wounded."

---Associated Press, August 23, 2014

Culture War: Supporters of Darren Wilson Rally on Behalf of the Embattled Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer

August 23, 2014:

Above: AFP Getty photo of Officer Darren Wilson supporters rallying in St. Louis on August 23, 2014; CNN screen shot of woman speaking in support of Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014

Above: Reuters photos of supporters rallying on behalf of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014

Above: Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson who shot Michael Brown on August 9, 2014; Michael Brown, 1996-2014

The Daily Mail: A St. Louis Rally in Support of Officer Darren Wilson, August 23, 2014

News Daily: A Rally in Support of Officer Darren Wilson, August 23, 2014 Reuters: Two Rallies in Missouri, August 23, 2014

"As the crow flies the two rallies held Saturday afternoon over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman were about 10 miles (16 km) apart, but the racial divide that separated them made that distance seem infinitely greater.

In Ferguson, a crowd of around 500 people marched under a blistering Missouri August sun to protest the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown two weeks ago by Darren Wilson, on a route that took them almost to within sight of where Brown died.

Meanwhile, supporters gathered at Barney's Sports Pub well south to rally for Wilson, the officer who shot Brown dead. Some 70 people attended at the rally's peak in the dark, low-ceiling bar with dart boards, pool table and an old cigarette machine.

The stark difference between the two events was their racial composition. The crowd at Barney's, which is frequented by police officers and firemen, was entirely white, while the marchers in Ferguson were mostly black."

---Reuters, August 23, 2014 (U.S. time zones)

ISIS in Syria: Key Air Force Base in Syria Falls to Islamic State

August 24, 2014:

Above: Wikipedia map of Syria; Wikipedia map of Iraq

Reuters: Syrian Air Force Base Falls to ISIS, August 24, 2014

"Islamic State militants stormed an air base in northeast Syria on Sunday, capturing most of it from government forces after days of fighting over the strategic location, a witness and a monitoring group said.

Fighting raged inside the walls of the Tabqa air base, the Syrian army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by IS, which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq.

In nearby Raqqa city, there was celebratory gunfire and several mosques announced through their loudspeakers that the base had fallen to IS and cheered 'God is greatest', a witness in Raqqa told Reuters."

---Reuters, UK, August 24, 2014

Associated Press: Syrian Air Force Base Falls to ISIS, August 24, 2014

"Islamic State fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, eliminating the last government-held outpost in a province otherwise dominated by the jihadi group, activists and state media said.

Tabqa airfield — home to several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery, and ammunition bunkers — is the third military base in the area to fall to the extremists since last month. Those victories are part of the Islamic State group's aggressive push to consolidate its hold on northern and eastern provinces, while also expanding the boundaries of its self-styled caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border.

The jihadis launched their long-anticipated offensive last week to seize the sprawling Tabqa facility, located some 45 kilometers (25 miles) from the extremists' stronghold in the city of Raqqa along the Euphrates River."

---Associated Press, August 24, 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: More Sectarian Bombings

August 25, 2014:
Above: map of Iraq: Iraqi Prime Minister-Designate Haider al-Abadi

New York Times: Sectarian Bombings in Iraq, August 25, 2014

"Shortly after Iraq’s new prime minister-designate called for national unity at his first official news conference on Monday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a Shiite mosque here, killing 13 people and underscoring the great challenges the country’s leaders face in trying to hold the nation together.

Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister-designate, is negotiating with political blocs and has until Sept. 11 to submit a list of proposed ministers to Parliament for approval under a deadline set by the Iraqi Constitution."

---New York Times, August 25, 2014

Al Jazeera: More Sectarian Bombings in Iraq, August 25, 2014

"A wave of attacks targeting commercial areas in and outside Baghdad killed a total of 41 people on Monday, according to Iraqi officials.

In the deadliest of Monday's bombings, a suicide bomber blew up himself as Shia worshippers left a mosque in the capital's eastern New Baghdad area, officialls said, killing at least 15 people and wounding 26 others.

That was followed by back-to-back car bombings in cities south of Baghdad.

In Karbala, an explosion killed 15 civilians and wounded 31 others. In Babel, two car bombs went off in separate areas, killing 11 people and wounding 29 others.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was in Karbala at the time of the attack."

---Al Jazeera, August 25, 2014

The Michael Brown Funeral

August 25, 2014: Two weeks and two days after his death, Michael Brown was laid to rest.

Above: Reuters photo of the Michael Brown funeral service on August 25, 2014; Reuters photo of Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, grieves at her son's funeral, August 25, 2014

Above: Michael Brown, 1996-2014; Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson

Reuters: The Michael Brown Funeral Service, August 25, 2014

"Family and supporters of Michael Brown on Monday celebrated the life of the black teenager slain by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in a music-filled funeral service ringing with calls for peace and police reforms.

Brown's body lay in a black and gold casket at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, topped with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was wearing when he was killed on Aug. 9.

People jammed inside the modern red-brick church and gathered outside on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis for the celebration, a markedly different scene from the violent protests that rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after the police shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old Brown."

---Reuters, August 25, 2014

Bull Market: The S&P 500 Closes at an All-Time High of 2000

August 26, 2014:

Above: CNN chart recording the August 26, 2014 S&P 500 closing at 2000.02

The Ukrainian Civil War: Russian Invasion on Behalf of the Separatists?

August 28, 2014:

Above: BBC map of the portions of Ukraine experiencing conflict between Ukrainian separatist rebels and Ukrainian government forces

BBC: Coverage of Civil War in Ukraine, August 28, 2014

New York Times: Kiev Claims a Russian Invasion of Ukraine

"Declaring that Russian troops had crossed into Ukraine, President Petro O. Poroshenko on Thursday canceled a planned visit to Turkey and convened a meeting of the national security council to focus on the 'marked aggravation of the situation' in the southeast of his country.

The meeting of the national security council will focus on shaping a response, and Ukraine will also request a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Poroshenko made his comments as the leader of the main separatist group in southeastern Ukraine said that up to 4,000 Russians, including active-duty soldiers on leave, had been fighting against Ukrainian government forces, Russian television reported."

---New York Times, August 28, 2014

Reuters: Coverage of the Crisis in Ukraine, August 28, 2014

"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday that Russian forces had entered his country and the military conflict was worsening after Russian-backed separatists swept into a key town in the east.

Poroshenko said he was cancelling a visit to Turkey and conferring with defense chiefs because of the 'rapidly deteriorating situation' in the eastern Donetsk region, 'as Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine.'

A NATO military officer said: 'We assess well over 1,000 Russian troops are now operating inside Ukraine... They are supporting separatists (and) fighting with them.'

Russia says it has no involvement in the conflict between pro-Moscow rebels and the Ukrainian military, in which more than 2,200 people have been killed since April."

---Reuters, August 28, 2014

The Syrian Civil War: The ISIS Terror

August 28, 2014:

Above: Undated photo (AP) showing an ISIS member in a captured Syrian fighter plane; Undated AP photo of ISIS members executing captives, reportedly in Syria

Above: AP photo distance view of clashes between Syrian rebels and Syrian government forces (the Bashar al-Assad Regime) near the Golan Heights, not far from the Syrian-Israeli border

Associated Press: Upheaval in Syria, August 28, 2014

"The Islamic State group killed more than 150 troops captured in recent fighting for a string of military bases in northeastern Syria, shooting some and slashing others with knives in the past 24 hours in the latest mass killing attributed to the extremists, activists said Thursday.

In southern Syria meanwhile, gunmen detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the United Nations said. It added that another 81 peacekeepers were trapped in the area by the heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops.

The killing of government troops, combined with photos of dusty, terrified conscripts under militant guard in the desert, underscored how the extremist group uses violence — and images of violence — to instill fear in its opponents as it seeks to expand the proto-state it has carved out in Syria and neighboring Iraq."

---Associated Press, August 28, 2014

Bull Market: The S&P 500 Closes at a Record High of 2003

August 29, 2014: On the last trading day of August, the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high of 2003.

Above: CNN 5 Day Change chart showing a August 29, 2014 S&p 500 close at 2003

Above: CNN 6 Month Change Chart for the S&P 500, a chart showing a close above 2000 for the end of August 2014

The Iraqi Civil War: Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Break the Siege of Amerli

August 31, 2014:

Above: CNN map of Syria and Iraq, with the Iraqi city of Amerli shown prominently

ABC News: The ISIS Siege of Amerli is Broken

"Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen on Sunday broke a six-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, following U.S. airstrikes against the Sunni militants' positions, officials said.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday."

---Associated Press, posted at ABC News, August 31, 2014

Reuters: The Siege of Amerli is Broken, August 31, 2014

"Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants and entered the northern town, officials said.

The mayor of Amerli and army officers said troops backed by militias defeated fighters from the Islamic State (IS) to the east of the town. Fighting continued to the north of Amerli."

---Reuters, August 31, 2014

September 2014

The Ukrainian Civil War: Pro-Russian Separatists Continue to Advance in Eastern Ukraine

September 1, 2014:

Above: BBC map of eastern Ukraine showing the degree of Pro-Russian Separatist conquest, September 1, 2014

Reuters: Ukraine Claims Russia Engaging in Direct Aggression

"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of 'direct and undisguised aggression' which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance as Kiev's forces suffered a further reverse in their war with pro-Moscow separatists.

In the latest in a string of setbacks in the past week, Ukraine's military said it had pulled back from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion.

Poroshenko said in a speech there would be high-level personnel changes in the Ukrainian armed forces, whose troops fled a new rebel advance in the south which Kiev and its Western allies say has been backed up by Russian armored columns.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called on Sunday for immediate negotiations on the 'statehood' of southern and eastern Ukraine, blamed Kiev's leadership for refusing to enter into direct political talks with the separatists."

---Reuters, September 1, 2014

ISIS Claims to Have Beheaded Steven Sotloff, a Kidnapped American Journalist

September 2, 2014: News outlets reported the release of a video purporting to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. The execution was purportedly carried out by ISIS.A resident of the Miami, Florida area, Sotloff, 31, was a freelance writer. It was not initially clear as to when members of ISIS carried out the killing of Steven Sotloff.

Sotloff's death was made known to the public just over a couple of weeks after ISIS released a video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Wright Foley. The video of Foley was published on August 19, 2014.

Above: AP photo of a video image of American journalist Steven Sotloff prior to his beheading at the hands of ISIS; Banner for ISIS

Above: Images from a video purporting to show an execution carried out by ISIS of American journalist Steven Sotloff

The Daily Mail: Coverage of the Execution of Steven Sotloff Associated Press: Coverage of the Killing of Steven Sotloff

"Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, 'our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.'

The footage — depicting what the U.S. said appeared to be a sickening act of brutality — was posted two weeks after the release of video showing the killing of James Foley and just days after Sotloff's mother pleaded for his life."

---Associated Press, September 2, 2014

USA-flag.pngVirginia-flag.pngGOP Elephant Symbol.jpgTea-Party-Gadsden-Flag.png
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Wife Convicted of Corruption Charges

September 4, 2014:

Above: Washington Post Express coverage of the convictions of Bob and Maureen McDonnell; Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, shortly after being convicted of multiple corruption charges on September 4, 2014

New York Times: Virginia's Former First Couple Convicted on Multiple Criminal Charges

Associated Press: Bob and Maureen McDonnell, the Former First Couple of Virginia, Convicted, September 4, 2014

"Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted Thursday of taking bribes to promote a dietary supplement in a corruption case that derailed the career of the onetime rising Republican star and laid bare the couple's broken marriage.

A federal jury in Richmond convicted Bob McDonnell of 11 of the 13 counts he faced; Maureen McDonnell was convicted of nine of the 13 counts she faced. Both bowed their heads and wept as the court clerk read a chorus of 'guilty' verdicts.

Widely considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign, McDonnell was reduced to living with the family's priest in a church rectory during the trial. Now he and his wife face up to 20 years in prison for each conspiracy, fraud and bribery conviction. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 6.

The couple's defense strategy depended in large part on convincing jurors that their marriage itself was a fraud and that they were unable to speak to each other, let alone conspire to accept bribes. They left the courtroom separately — first Bob and then Maureen, who hugged one of her daughters and wept loudly on the way out.

Bob McDonnell was ashen as he was mobbed by TV cameras before climbing into a waiting blue Mercedes."

---Associated Press, September 4, 2014

Disappointing Jobs Report for August 2014

September 5, 2014:

Above: CNN chart showing thirteen months of U.S. job creation, August 2013 through August 2014

CNN: Jobs Report for August 2014

Bull Market: All-Time Record High Close for the S&P 500 at 2007

September 5, 2014: The S&P 500 closed at 2007.71, a new record all-time high.

Above: CNN Five Day Chart for the S&P 500 ending September 5, 2014 with a close of 2007.71

NFL Domestic Abuse Scandal: The Baltimore Ravens Release Star Running Back Ray Rice

September 8, 2014:

Above: Image from a February 2014 video--obtained and posted online on September 8, 2014 by Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his fiancee (later his wife) on a New Jersey casino elevator; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice carrying the football against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013

Above: Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh

Above: Ray Rice and wife Janay addressing his arrest during a press conference held on May 23, 2014

ESPN: Coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens Release Ray Rice

Associated Press: NFL's Baltimore Ravens Release Ray Rice, September 8, 2014

"Ray Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video was released showing the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.

The grainy video, released by TMZ Sports, shows Rice and Janay Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Each hits the other before Rice knocks Palmer off her feet and into a railing. Months ago, a TMZ video showed Rice dragging Palmer, now his wife, from the elevator at the Revel casino, which closed Sept. 2."

---Reuters, September 8, 2014

Time: An NFL Disgrace

"The NFL is drowning in disgrace. The league has faced heavy criticism on any number of issues over the past few years, but the bungling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, by both commissioner Roger Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens, is a new NFL low. Right now the actual games, given all these off-field antics, seem pretty beside the point."

---Sean Gregory, Time, September 8, 2014

The Daily Beast: The NFL and Domestic Abusers Salon: Football and the American Culture War

The Iraqi Parliament Formally Chooses Haider al-Abadi as Prime Minister

September 8, 2014:

Above: Haider al-Abadi, approved by Iraq's Parliament as Prime Minister

Associated Press: Iraq's Parliament Takes Major Steps in Forming New Government

"Iraq's parliament officially named Haider al-Abadi the country's new prime minister late Monday and approved most of his proposed Cabinet amid calls by the Arab League for its members to combat the Sunni militant group violently advancing across Iraq and Syria.

Lawmakers approved all of the candidates proposed for Iraq's new government, with the exception of a few posts, namely the defense and interior ministers. Al-Abadi requested an additional week to name them.

Outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujeifi were given the largely ceremonial posts of co-vice president. Kurdish politician and former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was named as one of three deputy prime ministers. Former premier Ibrahim al-Jafaari was named foreign minister.

The U.S. and other countries have been pushing for a more representative government that will ease anger among Sunnis, who felt marginalized by al-Maliki's administration, helping fuel the dramatic sweep by the Islamic State extremist group over much of northern and western Iraq since June."

---Associated Press, September 8, 2014

Reuters: Iraq's Parliament Approves Haider al-Abadi as Prime Minister

"Iraq's parliament approved a new government headed by Haider al-Abadi as prime minister on Monday night, in a bid to rescue Iraq from collapse, with sectarianism and Arab-Kurdish tensions on the rise.

Abadi, a Shi'ite Islamist, included members of Iraq's Shi'ite majority and its Kurdish and Sunni minorities in his cabinet as he started his uphill task to unify the country after this summer's devastating loss of territory across northern Iraq to Islamic State fighters."

---Reuters, September 8, 2014

Apple Introduces a New Generation of Products

September 9, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing an array of new Apple products, namely the iPhone 6, September 9, 2014

Above: Apple CEO Tim Cook in front of images of the new Apple Watch, September 9, 2014

Above: Time coverage of the introduction of the Apple Watch; Apple CEO Time Cook introducing Apple Pay on September 9, 2014

Above: Graphic for Apple Pay

Reuters: Apple announces the iPhone 6, September 9, 2014

"Apple Inc unveiled a watch, two larger iPhones and a mobile payments service on Tuesday as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook seeks to revive the technology company's reputation as a wellspring of innovation.

The first new product to be developed and introduced under Cook's reign is a timepiece tethered to the iPhone that will combine health and fitness tracking with communications. It will price at $349 and go on sale in early 2015."

---Reuters, September 9, 2014

Associated Press: A New Generation of Apple Products, September 9, 2014

"Apple unveiled its long-anticipated smartwatch Tuesday, introducing a device that transplants the features of an iPhone onto a smaller screen that's never more than an arm's length away.

Dubbed the Apple Watch, the gadget marks the technology trend-setter's attempt to usher in an era of wearable computing and lift its sales with another revolutionary product."

---Associated Press, September 9, 2014

Slate: The Apple Watch Slate: Apple Pay New York Times: Apple is Back, September 9, 2014

President Barack Obama Calls for Expanded Military Action Against ISIS

September 10, 2014:

Above: President Barack Obama addressing the American public, September 10, 2014

Above: President Barack Obama, in a televised address, describes his strategy for combatting Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, September 10, 2014

Associated Press: Obama Addresses the American People, September 10, 2014 AP: Highlights of Obama's Speech

Reuters: Obama's Televised Address, September 10, 2014

"President Barack Obama told Americans on Wednesday he had authorized U.S. air strikes for the first time in Syria and more attacks in Iraq in a broad escalation of a campaign against the Islamic State militant group.

Obama's decision to launch attacks inside Syria, which is embroiled in a three-year civil war, showed the seriousness of the threat American officials see from Islamic State. A year ago, the president shied away from air strikes against Syria's government for its use of chemical weapons against Syrians.

Obama laid out his emerging plan for tackling the group in a widely anticipated White House speech, two weeks after coming under fire for saying: 'We don't have a strategy yet' for the group in Syria and six months after declaring that groups like Islamic State were minor players."

---Reuters, September 10, 2014

Peter Baker of the New York Times: Commentary on Obama's Strategy

"In ordering a sustained military campaign against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, President Obama on Wednesday night effectively set a new course for the remainder of his presidency and may have ensured that he would pass his successor a volatile and incomplete war, much as his predecessor had left one for him."

---Peter Baker, New York Times, September 10, 2014

13th Anniversary of the September 11th Al Qaeda Terrorist Attacks

September 11, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden lead a commemoration of the September 11th attacks on the United States, September 11, 2014 being 13 years since the fateful attacks by Al Qaeda terrorists; Reuters of a mourning couple at the World Trade Center site in New York City, September 11, 2014

Reuters: 13th Anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks on the United States

"Led by President Barack Obama, Americans commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Thursday by observing moments of silence for the thousands killed that day at New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

In what has become an annual ritual, relatives began slowly reciting the nearly 3,000 names of the victims at a ceremony in lower Manhattan, from Gordon Aamoth Jr. to Igor Zukelman.

Readers would occasionally pause as a silver bell was rung to mark the exact times when each of the four planes hijacked by al Qaeda militants crashed at the three sites and when each of the World Trade Center's twin towers collapsed. With each bell, a moment of silence was observed."

---Reuters, September 11, 2014

Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson Indicted and Arrested for Child Abuse

September 12-13, 2014:

Above: Minnesota Running Back Adrian Peterson carrying the football against the St. Louis Rams on September 7, 2014; Adrian Peterson's mugshot in Montgomery County, Texas

Reuters: Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson Indicted and Arrested for Child Abuse

"Minnesota Vikings' star running back Adrian Peterson was briefly detained in a Texas jail early on Saturday charged with injuring a child, according to the website of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Peterson was held on a $15,000 bond early on Saturday morning and was released within about 30 minutes, jail records showed. He was indicted by a grand jury in the county north of Houston, and police issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday.

Peterson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that the charge resulted from the footballer 'using a switch to spank his son.'

The charges come on the heels of the NFL indefinitely suspending Baltimore Ravens three-time Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice for domestic violence."

---Reuters, September 13, 2014

Associated Press: Adrian Peterson Indicted

"The NFL was already under heavy criticism this week for the way it handled a domestic violence case involving a prominent player.
Now the league has another public relations problem: A charge of child abuse for an even bigger star.

Running back Adrian Peterson was indicted in Texas for using a branch to spank one of his sons and the Minnesota Vikings promptly benched him for their game Sunday against New England."

---Associated Press, September 13, 2014

CBS News: The Account as Told by Peterson's Son

ISIS Beheads British Humanitarian Aid Worker David Haines

September 13, 2014:

Above: Images from a video purporting to show the beheading of David Haines at the hands of ISIS

Above: Front page of The Sunday Times, September 14, 2014; AP photo taken from ISIS video released on September 13, 2014, an image showing British humanitarian aid worker David Haines prior to his brutal execution at the hands of ISIS

CNN: ISIS Murders British Aid Worker David Haines BBC: ISIS Beheads David Haines The Daily Mail: Coverage of David Haines Beheading

"British aid worker David Haines has been executed by ISIS militants, according to a video posted Saturday to a website associated with the group, making him the third Western captive to be killed by the Islamist extremist group in recent weeks.

The ISIS video post showing Haines' beheading called his execution 'a message to the allies of America.'

It is produced very similarly to the videos that showed the executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the last of which included Haines and the threat that he'd be killed next."

---CNN, September 13, 2014

A Day After Losing a Game, the Minnesota Vikings Reinstate Franchise Running Back Adrian Peterson

September 15, 2014:

Above: Front page of the New York Daily News, September 16, 2014; AP photo of Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman during a September 15, 2014 press conference in which he explained the rationale for reinstating running back Adrian Peterson, the star player who has been indicted for child abuse

Above: Adrian Peterson, Mugshot, September 2014; AP photo of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson carrying the football against the St. Louis Rams on September 7, 2014

Associated Press: Minnesota Vikings Reinstate Adrian Peterson

"The Minnesota Vikings have seen the details. They have seen photos of the injuries that Adrian Peterson's 4-year-old son suffered at the hands of the star running back. They have a history of punishing players who have run into trouble with the law.

The Vikings brought Peterson back to the team anyway even as the public furor over the NFL's approach to addressing domestic abuse reached a fever pitch.

The Vikings reinstated Peterson on Monday, one day after he sat out a 30-7 home loss to the New England Patriots after he was charged with a felony in Texas for using a wooden switch to spank his son. Peterson, who said he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy, is expected to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday."

---Associated Press, September 15, 2014 Additional Accusation Against Adrian Peterson ESPN: Another Allegation Against Adrian Peterson

New York Daily News: Coverage of the Adrian Peterson Scandal

The NFL in Crisis: Minnesota Vikings Suspend Adrian Peterson

September 16-17, 2014:

Above: AP photo of Adrian Peterson carrying the ball against the St. Louis Rams, September 7, 2014; Mug shot of Adrian Peterson, September 2014; Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Democrat

ESPN: Minnesota Calls for Adrian Peterson Suspension, September 16, 2014

"The governor of Minnesota has joined the chorus of those calling for the Minnesota Vikings to suspend running back Adrian Peterson.

Mark Dayton -- who spearheaded the legislative fight for the Vikings' new $1 billion stadium and stood next to team owner Zygi Wilf at the groundbreaking in November -- released a statement on Tuesday saying he believes the Vikings should take Peterson off the field until his child abuse case is resolved in Montgomery County, Texas.

Peterson was indicted on one count of reckless or negligent injury to a child Friday, stemming from an incident earlier this year when he used a switch to discipline his son, and he will make his first appearance in court on Oct. 8. His case might not go to trial until next year, however, and the Vikings announced on Monday that Peterson will be allowed to play while his case is being decided.

That move, Dayton said Tuesday, was a mistake."

---ESPN, September 16, 2014

ABC News: Minnesota Vikings Reverse Themselves and Suspend Adrian Peterson

"The Minnesota Vikings have reversed course on the handling of running back Adrian Peterson, placing him on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list -- meaning he is suspended indefinitely from all team activities amid the running back’s child-abuse case.

Peterson was indicted last week in Montgomery County, Texas, on a count of reckless or negligent injury to a child, after he reportedly used a switch, or a tree branch, to spank his son."

---ABC News, September 17, 2014

USA Today: Arizona Cardinals Running Back Arrested for Domestic Abuse

Scotland's Independence Referendum: Final Day of Campaigning

September 17, 2014:

Above: AP photo of bakery in Scotland (September 17, 2014) offering cupcakes decorated with British flags, Scottish flags, and even question marks; AP photo of supporters of Scottish independence at a September 17, 2014 rally

Associated Press: Great Britain Holds its Breath on the Eve of Scotland's Independence Referendum, September 17, 2014

"For Scots, Wednesday was a day of excitement, apprehension, and a flood of final appeals before a big decision. In a matter of hours, they will determine whether Scotland leaves the United Kingdom and becomes an independent state.

A full 97 percent of those eligible have registered to vote — including, for the first time, 16- and 17-year-olds — in a referendum that polls suggest is too close to call.

A phone poll of 1,373 people by Ipsos MORI, released Wednesday, put opposition to independence at 51 percent and support at 49 percent, with 5 percent of voters undecided.

That means neither side can feel confident, given the margin of error of about plus or minus three percentage points."

---Associated Press, September 17, 2014

The Dow Jones Industrial Average Closed at 17,156, a New All-Time High

September 17, 2014: In the wake of the Fed's decision not to raise interest rates immediately, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to close at 17,156.

Above: Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen; CNN chart chronicling the five-day trading range for the Dow from September 11 though September 17, 2014

CNN: Janet Yellen and a New High for the Dow, September 17, 2014 AP: Dow Closes at a New High, Sept 17, 2014

"The Dow Jones industrial average is closing at a record high after the Federal Reserve maintained its stance on record-low interest rates.

The Dow rose 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 17,156 Wednesday, surpassing its previous high from July by 18 points. The blue-chip average rose as much as 89 points after the Fed kept the phrase 'considerable time,' in referring to how long it would wait before raising interest rates."

---Associated Press, September 17, 2014

The NFL in Crisis: Another NFL Running Back Arrested and Charged with Domestic Violence

September 17-18, 2014:

Above: AP photo of Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants on September 14, 2014; AP photo of Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer's mugshot, September 17, 2014

Associated Press: Arizona Cardinals Running Back Arrested and Charged with Domestic Violence

"Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances, and punched her in the face the next day, police said Thursday.

The details surfaced in a law enforcement report a day after Dwyer was arrested on aggravated assault charges and deactivated from all team activities after he was taken into custody at the Cardinals' practice facility and headquarters in Tempe. He spent a night in jail and made a brief court appearance before being released on a $25,000 bond early Thursday.

The arrest came at a time when the NFL and its commissioner are under fire over a series of violent off-the-field encounters involving some of the league's marquee players, including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy."

---Associated Press, September 18, 2014

All-Time Highs for the Dow and the S&P 500

September 18, 2014:

Above: Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen; Reuters 5-Day chart showing the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at 17,265 on September 18, 2014, a new all-time high for the Dow

Above: Reuters 5-Day chart showing the S&P 500 closing at 2,011 on September 18, 2014, a new all-time high for the Dow; President Barack Obama

Reuters: Market Report, September 18, 2014

"U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept intact its pledge to keep interest rates low, providing a backstop for investors that helped lift both the Dow and S&P to record highs.

The Fed said Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting it would keep interest rates near zero for a 'considerable time,' language supportive of equities which some had expected to be dropped from the statement."

---Reuters, September 18, 2014

USA-flag.pngDemocratic-Party-Symbol.jpgGOP Elephant Symbol.jpgSyria-flag.pngISIS-flag.pngIraq-flag.pngIraqi-Kurdistan.png
The U.S. Senate Gives Final Congressional Passage of Bill to Allow American Arming and Training of Anti-ISIS Syrian Rebels

September 18, 2014:

Above: President Barack Obama, Democrat; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat; Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, Republican

Reuters: U.S. Senate Passes Bill that Authorizes American Backing of Syrian Rebels

"The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants on Thursday, a major part of his military campaign to 'degrade and destroy' the radical group.

The Senate voted 78-22, in a rare bipartisan show of support for one of Obama's high-profile initiatives.

With the House of Representatives approving the legislation on Wednesday, the measure now goes to Obama to sign into law."

---Reuters, September 18, 2014

Scotland's Independence Referendum: Scotland Votes "Nay!" by a Decisive Margin

September 18, 2014:

Above: Front pages of The Daily Mirror, The Scotsman, and The Sun on September 19, 2014

Associated Press: Scotland's Voters Reject Independence

"The United Kingdom will stay united. Voters in Scotland resoundingly rejected independence in a historic referendum that shook the country to its core.

But No to a break-up doesn't mean a return to the status quo. The referendum led to promises of further powers for each of the four nations in the United Kingdom — a pledge that will change the country forever.

The vote's results announced Friday prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to Britain's economic and political establishment, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who faced calls for his resignation if Scotland had broken away.
In Thursday's referendum, 55 percent were against independence to 45 percent in favor. There was an unprecedented turnout of just under 85 percent."

---Associated Press, September 19, 2014

New York Times: Scotland Says "NAY!"

"Voters in Scotland decisively rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a referendum that had threatened to break up the 307-year union, but also appeared to open the way for a looser, more federal Britain.

With results tallied by early Friday from all 32 voting districts, the 'no' campaign won 55.3 percent of the vote while the pro-independence side won 44.7 percent. The margin was greater than forecast by virtually all pre-election polls.

The outcome was a deep disappointment for the vocal, enthusiastic pro-independence movement led by the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who had seen an opportunity to make a centuries-old nationalist dream a reality and had forced the three main British parties into panicked promises that they would grant substantial new power to the Scottish Parliament."

---New York Times, September 19, 2014

The War Against ISIS: France Bombs ISIS Targets in Northern Iraq

September 19, 2014:

Above: AP photo of a French military aerial image of an ISIS target in northern Iraq; AP photo of French Rafale fighter jet in the United Arab Emirates after conducting an airstrike on ISIS positions in northern Iraq

Reuters: France Bombs ISIS Targets in Northern Iraq

"French jets struck a suspected Islamic State target in Iraq for the first time on Friday, expanding a U.S.-led military campaign against militants who have seized a third of the country and also control large parts of neighboring Syria.

President Francois Hollande said Rafale jets hit 'a logistics depot of the terrorists' near the city of Mosul, which has been held by Islamic State for more than three months. It promised more operations in coming days.

The French military action, which follows U.S. air strikes in northern Iraq and near the capital Baghdad, appeared to win qualified endorsement from Iraq's top Shi'ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani."

---Reuters, September 19, 2014

Associated Press: France Joins the Fight Against ISIS in Iraq, September 19, 2014

"France is back at America's side in conducting military strikes in Iraq.

More than a decade after spurning President George W. Bush's war against Saddam Hussein, France on Friday became the first country to join U.S. forces pounding targets inside Iraq from the air in recent weeks — this time in pursuit of militants of the Islamic State group.

Flying from the United Arab Emirates, two French Rafale jets fired four laser-guided bombs to destroy a weapons and fuel depot outside the northern city of Mosul, part of the territory the militants have overrun in Iraq and neighboring Syria, officials said.

An Iraqi military spokesman said dozens of extremist fighters were killed in the strikes. A French military official said a damage assessment had not been completed, while showing reporters aerial images of targets hit. Officials said it was at a former military installation seized by the group."

---Associated Press, September 19, 2014

American Football in Crisis: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Disastrous Press Conference

September 19, 2014:

Above: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at a September 19, 2014 press conference; Benjy Bronk, an associate of radio entertainer Howard Stern, being forcibly taken from the Roger Goodell press conference after staging a disruption

Reuters: Roger Goodell's September 19, 2014 Press Conference

"A chastened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday that the league's poor response to its domestic violence crisis will prompt an overhaul of how it deals with player behavior and punishment in America's most popular sports league."

---Reuters, September 19, 2014

New York Post: Negative Reactions to Roger Goodell's Press Conference, September 19, 2014

"During one of the most turbulent periods in NFL history, commissioner Roger Goodell went silent for nine days. After his robotic press conference filled with too much fluff and too little substance, the league, its fans and — especially — its players probably wish he didn’t open his mouth on the 10th day.

In light of the commissioner’s slap on the wrist of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee, and the league’s loud silence on Adrian Peterson’s alleged child abuse, the NFL’s stars are tired of Goodell."

---New York Post, September 19, 2014 Howard Stern's Benjy Bronk Crashes Goodell Press Conference, September 19, 2014

"About 30 minutes into Roger Goodell’s press conference, a person who seemed to be playing a prank screamed, 'Don’t take me to the elevator!'", September 19, 2014

Above: New York Daily News front page for September 21, 2014; Cover of Time for the September 29, 2014 issue; Book cover of Against Football by Steve Almond

Another Record High Close for the Dow: 17,279

September 19, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at another record high, this time at 17,279.


Above: Reuters Chart showing a Dow Jones Industrial Average closing of 17,279, a record all-time high for the Dow

Tens of Thousands of Syrians, Particularly Kurds, Have Fled From ISIS by Crossing into Turkey

September 19-21, 2014:

Above: Reuters photo of Syrian refugees approaching the border Turkey, September 19, 2014; Reuters photo of Syrian refugees crossing into Turkey, September 19, 2014

Above: BBC map of ISIS presence in Iraq and Syria, September 20, 2014; AP photo of two Syrian refugees carrying an elderly fellow refugee at a Syria-Turkey border area

BBC: Syrian Kurds Flee into Turkey

Reuters: Syrian Kurds Flee ISIS by Crossing into Turkey

"About 60,000 Syrian Kurds fled into Turkey in the space of 24 hours, a deputy prime minister said on Saturday, as Islamic State militants seized dozens of villages close to the border.

Turkey opened a stretch of the frontier on Friday after Kurdish civilians fled their homes, fearing an imminent attack on the border town of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani. A Kurdish commander on the ground said Islamic State had advanced to within 15 km (9 miles) of the town.

Local Kurds said they feared a massacre in Kobani, whose strategic location has been blocking the radical Sunni Muslim militants from consolidating their gains across northern Syria."

---Reuters, September 20, 2014

Associated Press: Syrian Refugees Flee to Turkey, September 21, 2014

"The number of refugees seeking shelter in Turkey from the Islamic State group's advance across northern Syria has hit 100,000 in less than a week, an official said Sunday.

The head of Turkey's disaster management agency, Fuat Oktay, said the figure relates to Syrians escaping the area near the Syrian border town of Kobani, where fighting has raged between IS and Kurdish fighters since Thursday."

---Associated Press, September 21, 2014

ISIS Makes Gains in Northern Syria

September 21, 2014:

Above: BBC map showing varying degrees of ISIS presence in Iraq and Syria, September 21, 2014

Reuters: ISIS Makes Gains in Northern Syria, September 21, 2014

"Islamic State militants tightened their noose on a northern Syrian border town on Sunday as the United Nations said the number of Syrian Kurds fleeing into neighbouring Turkey may have topped 100,000 and was likely to go much higher.

Residents fleeing the frontier town of Ayn al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani, and its surrounding villages said the militants were executing people of all ages in the areas they had seized to create a climate of fear and slavish obedience.

Kurdish politicians in Turkey renewed their appeal to young people in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast to head to Kobani to help their ethnic kin push back Islamic State, which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months and proclaimed a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East."

---Reuters, September 21, 2014

The War Against ISIS: Near Baghdad, Iraq, ISIS Kills Dozens of Iraqi Troops

September 21-22, 2014:

Above: Wikipedia map of Iraq

Reuters: ISIS Kills Dozens of Iraqi Troops Near Baghdad

"Iraqi soldiers described on Monday how Islamic State fighters inflicted heavy losses in a chaotic raid on a military base just an hour's drive from Baghdad, highlighting the jihadists' ability to attack high-profile targets despite U.S. air strikes.

Soldiers, officials and tribal sources gave differing accounts of what happened on Sunday when the militants stormed the camp at Saqlawiya that they had been besieging.

However, casualties among the Iraqi government forces appear to have been very heavy, with many soldiers either dead, forced to flee or missing following the assault near the city of Falluja, which Islamic State has controlled since January."

---Reuters, September 22, 2014

New York Times: The U.S. Air War in Iraq Has Not Rolled Back ISIS, September 22, 2014

"After six weeks of American airstrikes, the Iraqi government’s forces have scarcely budged the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from their hold on more than a quarter of the country, in part because many critical Sunni tribes remain on the sidelines.

Although the airstrikes appear to have stopped the extremists’ march toward Baghdad, the Islamic State is still dealing humiliating blows to the Iraqi Army. On Monday, the government acknowledged that it had lost control of the small town of Sichar and lost contact with several hundred of its soldiers who had been besieged for nearly a week at a camp north of the Islamic State stronghold of Fallujah, in Anbar Province.

By midday, there were reports that hundreds of soldiers had been killed there in battle or mass executions. Ali Bedairi, a lawmaker from the governing alliance, said more than 300 soldiers had died after the loss of the base, Camp Saqlawiya. The prime minister ordered the arrest of the responsible officers, although a military spokesman put the death toll at just 40 and said 68 were missing."

---New York Times, September 22, 2014

The War Against ISIS: U.S. and Arab Allies Begin Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria

September 22-23, 2014:

Above: Wikipedia map of Syria; U.S. President Barack Obama; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

Above: National symbols of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain, the nations that constituted the multinational coalition that carried out airstrikes against ISIS and Al Qaeda-type targets in Syria

Above: Reuters photo of a Tomahawk Cruise Missile being launched from the USS Philippine Sea, September 23, 2014; Reuters photo of U.S. Navy F-18 jet fighters on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush, September 23, 2014

Above: Washington Post map showing the locations of U.S. and Arab airstrikes against ISIS and Khorasan Group targets, September 22-23, 2014; Defense Department map of airstrikes sites in Syria, September 22, 2014

Le Monde: U.S. Begins Airstrikes in Syria

Reuters: U.S. and Arab Allies Conduct Airstrikes Against ISIS Targets in Syria, September 22, 2014

"The United States and partner nations are carrying out the first air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday, in ongoing operations that mark the opening of a new, far more complicated front in a battle against the militants."

---Reuters, September 22, 2014

Reuters: Coverage of U.S.-Arab Airstrikes in Syria, September 23, 2014

"The United States and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war.

In a remarkable sign of shifting Middle East alliances, the attacks encountered no objection - and even signs of tacit approval - from President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government, which said Washington had notified it in advance.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in or supported the strikes against Islamic State targets. All are countries hostile to Assad but now fearful of the fighters that have emerged out of the anti-Assad rebellion they backed.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in a televised statement that the strength of the coalition, including the five Arab states, showed the United States was not alone."

---Reuters, September 23, 2014

Milestone in Space Exploration: India Successfully Sends a Satellite into Orbit Around Mars

September 23-24, 2014:

Above: India's Spacecraft Control Center in the wake of successfully placing a satellite in orbit around Mars

Reuters: India Successfully Places Satellite in Orbit Around Mars, September 23-24, 2014

"India's low-cost mission to Mars successfully entered the red planet's orbit on Wednesday, crowning what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said was a 'near impossible' push to become the only country to complete the trip on its maiden attempt.

The Mars Orbiter Mission was achieved on a budget of $74 million, nearly a tenth of the amount the U.S. space agency NASA spent on sending the Maven spacecraft to Mars.

'History has been created today,' said Modi, who burst into applause along with hundreds of scientists at the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) when it was announced the mission had been accomplished.

'We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near impossible,' said Modi, wearing a red waistcoat at the space command centre in the southern city of Bangalore.

India joins the United States, Russia and Europe in successfully sending probes to orbit or land on Mars. Apart from India, none managed to succeed on their first attempt.

The mission also makes India the first country in Asia to reach Mars, after an attempt by regional rival China failed to leave Earth's orbit in 2011.

ISRO successfully ignited the main 440 Newton liquid engine and eight small thrusters that fired for 24-minutes and trimmed the speed of the craft to allow smooth orbit. A confirmation of orbit entry was received at around 8 a.m. India time (10:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday)."

---Reuters, September 24, 2014

Chronicle of 2014, Continued