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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:
WashingtonPost.com  
Alibaba, China's king of web retail, to debut on stock market and world stage
China's massive Alibaba Group will start selling shares to the public this morning under the ticker symbol BABA. The world's biggest retail giant, which dominates China's web and is making moves on American shores, is expected to raise more than $21.8 billion in the deal, making it the biggest U.S. stock debut ever.
White House call to end sexual assaults on campuses enlists star power
When President Obama and Vice President Biden urge Americans Friday to end sexual assaults on college campuses, the event will include a standard feature for this White House: celebrities. In a video, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, actors Jon Hamm and Connie Britton and other big names will tell their fans to heed the president's call, suggesting that people need to take responsibility for preventing rape among U.S. college students.
Pentagon program seeks to retain U.S.'s technological edge against foreign rivals
Concerned that America is losing its technological edge as defense budgets shrink, the Pentagon is launching a new initiative to encourage industry innovation. The Defense Department plans to make greater use of prototypes in future research and development efforts, develop technology incrementally and encourage companies to experiment more.
Senate votes to approve Obama's plan to fight Islamist militants
President Obama's plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels exposed a deep rift Thursday among Democrats over waging war, with a large bloc of liberals staunchly opposed to the modest mission, fearing another long-term engagement in Iraq.
Japan's Abe must deal with grim economic news and a muddled strategy
TOKYO - Soon after Shinzo Abe, who practiced archery in his college days, returned for his second stint as Japan's prime minister in late 2012, he promised to unleash "three arrows" to fix the economy.
French fighter jets strike Islamic State supply depot in northeastern Iraq
BAGHDAD - France conducted its first airstrike Friday against Islamic State targets in Iraq, the French president said, joining the United States as part of an emerging international military coalition against the militants.
In decisive vote, Scotland rejects independence, sticks with the U.K.
EDINBURGH, Scotland - Given a historic chance to go it alone as an independent nation, Scottish voters chose to stick with the United Kingdom following a campaign that was marked by extraordinary turnout and profound division.
Federal Eye: Auditor report says DHS headquarters project faces more delays, cost overruns
The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, already more than $1.5 billion over budget and 11 years behind schedule, may face even more overruns and missed deadlines because the government has still not developed reliable cost estimates, federal auditors said Friday.
Federal Eye: Navy Yard staff remember with sadness and pride
This week marks the first anniversary of the Washington Navy Yard shootings that resulted in the deaths of 12 federal employees and contractors, plus the gunman who was killed by police.
In the Loop: CIA performance review: 'He is endowed with a certain lethal gentleness' and other outtakes
The Central Intelligence Agency declassified hundreds of documents Thursday from its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence. Among the articles was a compilation of quotes, apparently from the 1980s, culled from years of real CIA performance reviews where the supervisor clearly failed to fully articulate the intended critique.
The Fix: Pat Roberts just got some very bad news. It's pretty unlikely it'll decide the Senate.
The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday dropped the latest variable into the 2014 battle for the Senate, ruling that Democrat Chad Taylor, who dropped out of the state's Senate race but was initially kept on the ballot, must now be removed from said ballot.
Monica Wehby and the biggest plagiarism offenders of the 2014 election
The latest 2014 candidate to get busted for plagiarism is Monica Wehby, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Oregon.
The Fix: The three maps you need to see to understand the Scottish independence vote
We will be updating results from the vote for Scottish independence over the course of the night, including maps showing results, turnout, and population. Update, 12:30 a.m.: Most news outlets have understandably called it for the "no" vote. We'll update the maps with final results in the morning.
Michelle Obama urges Democrats to the polls, praises Debbie Wasserman Schultz
In one of her first campaign stops of the midterm cycle, a women's political gathering in Washington Thursday evening, Michelle Obama implored Democrats to engage in the 2014 election. The first lady hit many familiar themes, including the need to encourage women, minorities and young people to vote, and she railed against "Washington" -- saying midterm losses for Democrats would lead to "more conflict, more obstructionism, more lawsuits and talk about impeachment."
The Fix: At Politico, we'll finally learn what 'Editing While Female' means
There has always been an open secret about Politico: They've had a woman problem, or maybe even more specifically, they have had the perception of a woman problem. (Full disclosure: I worked at Politico for almost two years from 2008 to 2010).
The Fix: At Politico, we'll finally learn what 'Editing While Female' means
There has always been an open secret about Politico: They've had a woman problem, or maybe even more specifically, they have had the perception of a woman problem. (Full disclosure: I worked at Politico for almost two years from 2008 to 2010).
From humble Mexico City origins, boxing gloves of champions
MEXICO CITY - One day about 10 years ago, a package from China landed on Alberto Reyes's desk. Inside was a knock-off pair of his company's signature Cleto Reyes boxing gloves. The copies looked identical, but the Chinese factory offered to make them for Reyes for just $15 a pair, far less than what he spends on manufacturing in Mexico.
Heartache for those dreaming of Scottish independence
GLASGOW, Scotland - Liz Quinn's longtime dream of a fully independent Scotland was shattered early Friday after Scots voted overwhelmingly to stay within the United Kingdom. "I am deeply disappointed, but you know, we're still standing," said Quinn, 75, a retired school principal who has spent decades campaigning for independence. "We will not get another bite at that cherry, not in my lifetime."
WorldViews: Don't forget: Liberia, ravaged by the Ebola epidemic, was created by the U.S.
In the grips of history's worst ever Ebola outbreak, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appealed to the international community on Wednesday. "This disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem. The entire community of nations has a stake in ending this crisis," she said in a written statement read out by her information minister.
Here's one Iraqi town where the Islamic State has no friends
THULUYAH, Iraq - The metal-hulled boats carry out the wounded for treatment, as well as fruit to sell at market. In, they bring supplies of cooking gas, medicine and ammunition. Cocooned in a bend in the Tigris River, this town shaded by orange trees and date palm groves has long relied on the waterway. But since Islamic State militants blew up the last bridge into Thuluyah last week, the river is the only way in or out - complicating efforts to resupply and reinforce beleaguered fighters here.
Buzzard Point neighbors seek benefits from D.C. United stadium
Residents and community organizers near the proposed site of a new stadium for D.C. United have asked the team and the District government for a community benefits agreement providing $5 million initially and future payments over the project's 30-year lease.
What defense contractors should know about the Pentagon's new program
The Pentagon has rolled out its latest program targeted at defense contractors: Better Buying Power 3.0. This is the third iteration of the government's effort to streamline how it purchases defense programs, following the release of version 1.0 in 2010 and version 2.0 in 2012. The policies outlined in Better Buying 3.0 are expected to guide the Defense Department's acquisition efforts going forward.
What's keeping Crystal City from becoming a tech hub? How about a bar
Mitchell N. Schear is responsible for 20 million square feet of real estate in the Washington area, but on a recent morning, he was sitting at a sidewalk cafe near his Crystal City office in loafers, talking about how excited he was about the new neighborhood bar.
Web-retail titan Alibaba took over China. Could America's web be next?
Alibaba Group, the Chinese Web juggernaut that has become the world's biggest online retailer, will sell its first shares to the public Friday in one of the most lucrative debuts in stock market history.
Bankrupt contractor Truland Group auctions off furniture, equipment
The offices of Truland Group, the Reston-based electrical contractor that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, are about to get a little emptier. Rasmus Auctions has begun selling off desks, chairs, coffeemakers, televisions, bookcases, conference tables and other items from Truland's corporate headquarters and warehouses. The online auction for the office furniture, part of the liquidation of Truland's assets as the company winds through bankruptcy, began this week and will close Tuesday.
Apple strengthens its user-privacy tools
Apple announced Wednesday that it's now technically impossible for the company to turn over customer data on most iPhones and iPads to law enforcement. But the tech giant also released a slew of information on how its security systems work - and how its millions of users can use those tools to their advantage.
 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
    Governing.com
    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
    Articles:
  • 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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