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 Congress Today
House - meets at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Senate - meets at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
 Breaking News
From washingtonpost.com:
Another man jumps White House fence, is apprehended on lawn by K-9 squad
A man jumped the White House fence Wednesday night and was taken into custody after being bitten by a guard dog, officials said, just weeks after another fence jumper made it deep into the executive mansion amid a series of security failures.
As researchers develop Ebola vaccine, early human clinical trials show promise
Researchers racing to develop a vaccine that could help halt the Ebola epidemic are getting good news: Early human clinical trials of one leading candidate, involving small groups of volunteers in the United States and Europe, suggest that the vaccine is safe.
FBI investigating South Dakota EB-5 program, a potential blow to Senate GOP
The FBI is still "actively" probing South Dakota's EB-5 program, it was reported Wednesday -- a new detail that could further complicate the Senate campaign of former governor Mike Rounds (R).
Parliament shooting shocks Canada
OTTAWA - A sudden spasm of violence jolted the government center of Canada's capital on Wednesday morning, as a gunman killed an honor guard soldier at a war memorial and then opened fire inside the nearby Parliament building, triggering a lockdown and hours of confusion in Ottawa.
Syrians to be trained to defend territory, not take ground from jihadists, officials say
The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.
Federal Eye: Can the nation's oldest veterans groups attract younger veterans?
The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are fighting back against perceptions that they are "unwelcoming and out of touch with the needs of post-Sept. 11 veterans," as the Washington Times said in a recent article.
The Fix: 9 percent of likely 2014 voters are 'enthusiastic' about President Obama
We've written plenty on this blog about Democrats' enthusiasm deficit in the 2014 election. This gap was, is and will almost definitely continue to be real through Nov. 4.
Federal Eye: Transgender federal employee wins historic discrimination case
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Thursday plans to announce a landmark determination that the Department of the Army engaged in "frequent, pervasive and humiliating," gender-identity discrimination against Tamara Lusardi, a veteran and civilian Army software specialist who transitioned from male to female.
Fact Checker: Alison Grimes doubles down on a 4-Pinocchio claim
"I am Alison Lundergan Grimes and this is the Big Sandy power plant in Louisa, Kentucky. They are shutting down half the plant and laying off their workers because Mitch McConnell didn't fight to get the scrubbers it needs to reduce coal emissions. Instead, Mitch and his wife pocketed $600,000 from enemies of coal, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I approve this message because the difference between Mitch and me is I will fight for these jobs and no New York anti-coal billionaire will ever buy me off."
A company that profits as it pampers workers
VENTURA, CALIF. - It's nearly noon on a beautiful Friday at the global headquarters of outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Workers gather around laptops on picnic tables nestled under a grape arbor. Some lift their voices to be heard over the sounds of children squealing with laughter on the grassy playground at the company's on-site child development center. Others munch on company-subsidized, locally grown organic snacks from the employee cafe.
A company that profits as it pampers workers
VENTURA, CALIF. - It's nearly noon on a beautiful Friday at the global headquarters of outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Workers gather around laptops on picnic tables nestled under a grape arbor. Some lift their voices to be heard over the sounds of children squealing with laughter on the grassy playground at the company's on-site child development center. Others munch on company-subsidized, locally grown organic snacks from the employee cafe.
Evidence supports officer's account of shooting in Ferguson
Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer's gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown's body.
Obama 'cautiously more optimistic' on Ebola
President Obama said Wednesday that he was "cautiously more optimistic" that the chances of additional infections in the U.S. stemming from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan are ebbing." "A number of things make us cautiously more optimistic about the situation here in the United States," Obama said after holding his first Oval Office meeting with newly-appointed Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain and other senior aides. "First of all, we now have seen dozens of persons who had initial interaction with Mr. Duncan, including his family and friends, and in some cases people who have had fairly significant contact with him, have now been cleared and we're confident that they do not have Ebola."
The Fix: Another poll shows Cory Gardner ahead in Colorado. Is the seat slipping away from Democrats?
For weeks, Rep. Cory Gardner (R) and Sen. Mark Udall (D) have been statistically tied in polls of the Colorado Senate race, with Gardner in the lead but well within the margin of error. Now a new poll, taken over the last four days, shows Gardner leading by seven points.
The Fix: Chris Christie versus Rand Paul, part 19: Ebola
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) don't like each other. This isn't "news," as such; the two got into a feud in July 2013 over foreign policy and government spending and who was better, Springsteen or Rush (probably).
The Fix: 2014 will be the most expensive midterm election ever
The total price tag for the 2010 midterms -- an election which almost no one is paying attention to -- will be nearly $4 billion, according to projections released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics. That would make it the most expensive midterm election in history and set the stage for a 2016 presidential contest that could approach double-digit billions in spending.
WorldViews: Relax, North Korea has given us something new to speculate about
Conspiracy theorists disappointed with the re-appearance of Kim Jong Un earlier this month can breathe a sigh of relief. North Korea has provided new fodder for unchecked speculation, wild rumors and frenzied tea leaf-reading.
Turkey's president steps up criticism of U.S. airdrops to aid Islamic State foes in Syria
BEIRUT - Turkey's president sharpened criticism of U.S. airdrops to aid Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, but promised on Thursday that Kurdish reinforcements would soon arrive in the embattled border town of Kobane.
Shots fired at Canadian War Memorial, Parliament; soldier killed, police scouring downtown Ottawa
A soldier was killed during a shooting at Canada's National War Memorial on Wednesday morning, which was followed quickly by additional gunfire inside the nearby Parliament, according to police. A gunman has also been killed, Ottawa police said. In the hours after the shooting, there were still concerns about possible additional shooters, as police continued to scour the area and had not arrested anyone, authorities said. "This is an ongoing operation," Charles Bordeleau, Ottawa's police chief, had said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
WorldViews: State Department suggests Syrian regime soldier a hero in stray retweet
In the struggle to win hearts and minds from the Islamic State, much of the focus has been on the online battle: Extremists and their supporters have taken to mediums like Twitter and YouTube to spread their message, a relatively new and worrying tactic for terrorists and one that is tough to counter.
As U.S. attacks Islamic State, Syria steps up assaults on moderate rebels
BEIRUT - Syrian government forces have dramatically intensified air and ground assaults on areas held by moderate rebels, attempting to deliver crippling blows as world attention shifts to airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
WorldViews: China says Kenny G's visit with Hong Kong protesters was not a smooth move
China loves Kenny G. But the Chinese government's love affair with the gratingly ubiquitous smooth jazz saxophonist could be coming to an end.
On Leadership: Remembering Ben Bradlee's leadership
I remember it as if it were yesterday, being ushered into the great Ben Bradlee's glass-walled office in The Washington Post's giant newsroom. It was the fall of 1987 and I was an editor at Inc. magazine and a long shot candidate to be the deputy business editor of the Post. Most of the other senior editors had pretty much decided I wasn't ready for prime time (not enough newspaper experience).
How Twitter and Google want to move beyond the password
Nearly everyone hates passwords -- they're hard to remember and can lead to major security headaches when users don't practice good digital hygiene such as using a unique password for each service.
Leidos to pay Justice Department $1.5 million to settle False Claims Act charges
Leidos is paying the government $1.5 million to settle long-standing charges that it had conflicting business relationships while performing work for a government agency, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. The work was performed by the Reston-based services contractor when it was still known as Science Applications International Corp.
On Leadership: A classic Ben Bradlee letter to 'flacks'
Former Washington Post executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, who died Tuesday at age 93, had a reputation for speaking truth to power. He also had a reputation for speaking truth to spin doctors, powerful or not.
General Dynamics reports higher profits, sales while Northrop posts declines
Three of the nation's largest defense contractors released their financial results this week and offered hints of improvement despite a slowdown in federal spending. General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin all performed much better in the quarter than Wall Street expected, said Michael Lewis, managing director of McLean-based Silverline Group.
 stateline.org - State and Local Issues

Latest state and local issue stories and analyses from stateline.org and the Pew Center on the States.

States move slowly toward digital textbooks
Despite enthusiasm for digital textbooks at the national level, states have been slow to get on board. But the movement is gaining strength.
Indiana gov squashes vp speculation
TODAY'S TAKE: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is the latest GOP governor who says he's not interested in becoming Mitt Romney's running mate.
Note to readers: A new Stateline is coming soon
Stateline and the Pew Center on the States are launching a new website at Pewstates.org
AZ: Arizona's immigration law gets its day in U.S. Supreme Court
When Paul Clement walks into the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday he's going to try to convince at least five justices that Arizona has an inherent right to enforce federal immigration laws.
NC: North Carolina judge vacates death penalty under racial justice law
In a landmark ruling, a North Carolina judge on Friday vacated the death penalty of a black man convicted of murder, saying prosecutors across the state had engaged in deliberate and systematic racial discrimination when striking black potential jurors in death penalty cases.
NJ: New Jersey drops out of lawsuit against EPA over ozone
New Jersey has dropped out of a lawsuit challenging the White House decision to bypass strict ozone standards that the EPA had recommended as necessary to protect human health.
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  •  Governing.com - State and Local News
    The Way We Tax: A 50-State Report
    The vast majority of state tax systems are inadequate for the task of funding a 21st-century government. Most of those tax systems are also unfair. They break the golden rule of tax equity: collect the lowest possible rates on the widest possible base of taxpayers.
    Governing February Issue
  • Assessments: Alan Ehrenhalt on living with "lifestyle centers"
  • Potomac Chronicle: Donald F. Kettl on the states as beggars
  • Technology: Thomas R. Davies on outside resources for new IT leaders
  • Tax Talk: David Brunori on the principles of sound tax policy
  • Economic Development: William Fulton on how a city's size affects its competitiveness
  • Environment: Tom Arrandale on the risks of weakening longstanding laws

  •  White House Update
    White House schedule information and recent statements and news releases.

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