It’s another first in a week of firsts. If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s chief law enforcement official. The top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn had been touted as the leading candidate to succeed Eric Holder. Twice confirmed by the Senate to serve as a U.S. attorney, Lynch, 55, appears to enjoy widespread support in Congress. She’ll need all of that goodwill and more, coming after Holder’s contentious tenure.
The Presidential Daily Brief
We’re digging in deeper. The president approved Friday the deployment of an additional 1,500 American military advisers to Iraq, doubling the number of U.S. troops who are helping to defeat Islamic extremists in the Middle East. The move significantly expands the U.S. involvement in the battle against ISIS, a campaign that could take years to resolve. That’s not all: The White House is also requesting $5.6 billion to fund the fight, including $1.6 billion to train and equip Iraqi troops.
Next stop: the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has upheld four states’ bans against same-sex unions, breaking with every other circuit court that has ruled on the issue. Unsurprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union has already announced its intention to appeal. But judges shouldn’t have control of the question at all, argued Judge Jeffrey Sutton in the Ohio ruling, claiming that the judicial branch shouldn’t be responsible for “such a fundamental change to such a fundamental social institution.”
It’s good news across North America. The U.S. enjoyed an additional 214,000 jobs in October, making it nine months in a row the economy has added more than 200,000 workers to payrolls. For job growth, this is the strongest run we’ve enjoyed since 1999. Canada has reason to celebrate too, with unemployment there falling to a surprisingly low 6.5 percent. Indications are the trends will continue. And with the holiday season rolling in, that’ll be a welcomed gift.
Jean-Claude Juncker, new President of the European Commission, is already under pressure in his first week on the job. A mass of newly leaked documents highlight the extent to which Juncker’s native Luxembourg — once described as the “death star” of financial secrecy — acts as a haven for companies attempting to slash their tax bills. Juncker aims to fight disenchantment with the E.U., but unless he wants to have the opposite effect he’ll have to answer tough questions about the country he led for almost 19 years.
From 17 to 629. An initial investigation by The New York Times has ballooned into a Pentagon admission: Since 2003, hundreds of troops in Iraq were likely exposed to leftover chemical warfare agents from the 1980s. The Pentagon investigation revealed “a stunning oversight,” where officials ignored reports by service members, foreign soldiers and private contractors. While no active weapons of mass destruction program was discovered in Iraq, degraded chemical weapons and toxic materials were hidden in caches and used in makeshift bombs.
A backdoor provided by a third-party vendor, coupled with a “vulnerability” in Microsoft’s Windows software, allowed entrance into the big box chain’s network of private customer information. Not only was more than 50 million customers’ credit info nicked, but a similar number of email addresses were snagged too. The hackers couldn’t get your password from just the addresses, but it still opens up those addresses to phishing attacks – those fake emails claiming to be from a utility, for example, that asks for “proof” of identity. Brace for the flood.
A debate about the special ops code of silence has broken out after former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill officially revealed himself as the man who killed the terrorist leader in his Pakistan hideout in 2011. Another former SEAL on the same mission, author Matt Bissonnette, claims a second unnamed commando fired the first shot, seriously wounding or killing bin Laden. The embarrassing squabble suggests there’s a good reason SEALs are supposed to keep quiet about operations.
Supreme Court agrees to hear new challenge to Obamacare. (NYT)
Speaker cautions Obama against immigration reform. (WSJ)
Libyan court dissolves UN-backed parliament. (Al Jazeera)
U.S. opens talks with Iran over ISIS. (CNN)
Charges against AC/DC drummer dropped. (ABC)
First Japanese nuclear plant since Fukushima reopens. (The Guardian)
He did everything to protect them. New York attorney and author Lawrence Otis Graham gave his three children all of the “accoutrements of success” — an apartment on Park Avenue, private school educations, preppy clothes and a quiet confidence. Those trappings weren’t enough to shield his 15-year-old son from getting the n-word thrown at him at a New England boarding school. “My kids and I had it all figured out,” Graham writes in a personal essay. “Or so we thought.”
You knew bats were cool — echolocation, tiny fangs, inspiring moody superheroes — but they just got cooler. A new Wake Forest University study shows that Mexican free-tailed bats jam each other’s sonar when they’re trying to catch and eat the same prey. It’s the first time such behavior has been detected. The researcher observed “amazing aerial dogfights” during which bats battle for bugs by blocking each other’s ability to locate them sonically.
The FBI has shut down the “deep web” drug marketplace and busted the former SpaceX engineer who reportedly ran the site, which went live a year ago and had $8 million in monthly sales. The arrest of 26-year-old Blake Benthall in San Francisco and two men in Ireland was part of a joint U.S.-Europol operation. There’s now an opening for someone to fill Benthall’s shoes, but a U.S. attorney warns that authorities will never get tired of shutting down “noxious online criminal bazaars.”
Apparently buying $300 champagne isn’t enough for Jay-Z — he had to buy the whole company. The rap artist has purchased Armand de Brignac, arguably the flashiest champagne brand in the world, whose iconic gold bottles featured in one of his videos. Also known as “The Ace of Spades,” the bubbly traces its roots back to family-run vineyards from 1763. Jay-Z was a Cristal drinker until 2006, when the company chief suggested that rappers were tarnishing the brand.
What did Roger Goodell know and when did he know it? Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome testified under oath Thursday that former running back Ray Rice told the commissioner in June that he had hit his then-fiancée in a casino hotel elevator. That account directly contradicts Goodell’s contention that he wasn’t aware of the full story until much later. Rice is appealing his indefinite league suspension, forcing Goodell to endure hours of tough questioning.