Mark Murray, NBC News: Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. This new poll comes as Senate Republicans unveil their own health care legislation on Thursday. By a 3-to-1 margin, the American public holds a negative view of the American Health Care Act, legislation that House Republicans passed last month and that President Donald Trump supports. Just 16 percent of adults believe that House health care bill is a good idea, versus 48 percent who say it's a bad idea.
Barack Obama: I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what's really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did. We didn't fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain -- we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course. read more
Alayna Treene, Axios: Carrier, the heating and air-conditioning manufacturer, is laying off more than 600 employees from its Indianapolis plant next month, the same plant Trump vowed to keep on American soil, per CNBC. Those manufacturing jobs will go to Mexico, where labor is significantly cheaper.
One in three people has a potentially nasty parasite hiding in the body -- tucked away in tiny cysts that the immune system can't eliminate and antibiotics can't touch. But new research reveals clues about how to stop it: Interfere with its digestion during this stubborn dormant phase. If the discovery leads to new treatments, it could help prevent the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, which sickens people worldwide. ... [T]he CDC estimates that 1 in 10 Americans carries the parasite. Undercooked meat can spread Toxoplasma bradyzoite cysts, and the parasite is often transmitted to humans through cat feces that contain another cyst form. read more
America leads the world when it comes to access to higher education. But when it comes to health, environmental protection and fighting discrimination, it trails many other developed countries, according to the Social Progress Imperative, a U.S.-based non-profit. The results of the group's annual survey, which ranks nations based on 50 metrics, call to mind other reviews of national well-being, such as the World Happiness Report released in March, which was led by Norway, Denmark and Iceland, or September's Lancet study on sustainable development. In that one, Iceland, Singapore, Sweden, and the U.S. took spots 1, 2, 3, and 28 -- respectively. read more
Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency's central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century. The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup -- only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground. read more
[New York] Governor [Andrew] Cuomo has pardoned a Queens man who helped clean up ground zero after 9/11, and is now facing deportation under President Trump's stricter immigration policies. Cuomo hopes the move will bolster his case for remaining in the U.S., but Immigration and Customs Enforcement may deport him anyway. Carlos Cardona, came to the United States in 1986 and is now married to an American citizen, and has a 19-year-old daughter. read more
President Donald Trump says he did not make secret recordings of ex-FBI chief James Comey despite an earlier hint to the contrary. He said in a tweet: "I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." Days after he fired Comey, the president had tweeted: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations ... " He has been under pressure to produce the tapes amid inquiries into alleged Russian meddling in the election. The House Intelligence Committee had earlier this month asked the White House to hand over any such recordings.
The leaning al-Habda minaret that has towered over Mosul for 850 years lay in ruins on Thursday, demolished by retreating Islamic State militants, but Iraq's prime minister said the act marked their final defeat in the country's second city. "In the early morning, I climbed up to my house roof and was stunned to see the Hadba minaret had gone," Nashwan, a day laborer living in Khazraj neighborhood near the mosque, said by phone. "I felt I had lost a son of mine." His words echoed the shock and anger of many over the destruction of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque along with its famous minaret, known affectionately as "the hunchback" by Iraqis. read more
Two of the nation's top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Donald Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, according to multiple sources. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts. Sources say both men went further than they did in June 7 public hearings, when they provided little detail about the interactions. read more
Donald Trump has said he doesn't want "a poor person" to hold economic roles in his administration as he used an Iowa rally to defend his decision to appoint the wealthy to his cabinet. The U.S. president told a crowd on Wednesday night: "Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it's true. And Wilbur's [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: Because that's the kind of thinking we want.'" read more
Hadas Gold, Politico: The Wall Street Journal has fired chief foreign affairs correspondent Jay Solomon for what the paper called a "breach" and ethical lapses over his involvement with an Iranian-born arms dealer. Washington Bureau Chief Paul Beckett made the announcement to staff during a hastily called meeting on Wednesday after meeting with senior editors in New York the day before. Beckett did not elaborate on Solomon's situation, only to say that an upcoming Associated Press investigation would have more details. read more
Thomas Levenson: One sentence from today's column that captures the pure, distilled essence of the alt-hack that is our BoBo (David Brooks): "And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington." It's all there. The disembodied passive voice to give pulled-from-the-ass opinion the aura of ex-cathedra authority: "it has to be confessed ... " Oh yeah? Says who? The careful weasel phrase, a scurrying for plausible deniability when this infallible dictum falls prey to fact: "at least so far ... " The statement, presented as general consensus, that is, in fact, false. read more
During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump, a Republican, often shouted to crowds that he represented the forgotten man, the middle class worker struggling to make ends meet. Despite these words, just 42 percent of Americans in a new Pew Research poll released Tuesday feel as though Trump's party truly cares about the middle class. Fifty-seven percent, meanwhile, said Democrats care about the middle class. Fifty-four percent said Republicans are "too extreme," while 45 percent said the same for Democrats. read more