Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) isn't just a well-financed jihadist militia, it's also a real de facto Islamic State, fighting to expand into an even larger Islamic Caliphate. It has taken over the mundane tasks of providing services to its subjects, directing traffic, and meting out its own form of justice through a court system, among other civic responsibilities. As this animated video from The Wall Street Journal's Reem Makhoul explains, ISIS has its own school curriculum, too.
All schools in Raqqa and other ISIS-held cities must teach Islamic law, and students who refuse face punishment up to and including death. Females and males are split up, and girls and women have to wear full burqas, with only their eyes showing. Banned from schools are music, social studies, history, arts, sports, philosophy, psychology, and all mention of Syria or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The video has more details of this side of ISIS we rarely see in the West. --Peter Weber
Higher-paid CEOs underperform compared with their lower-paid counterparts, according to a study of 429 public companies by research firm MSCI. The average shareholder returns for firms with the lowest-paid CEOs were 39 percent higher over a 10-year period than those for firms with the highest-paid CEOs. "In fact," the MSCI report states, "even after adjusting for company size and sector, companies with lower total summary CEO pay levels more consistently displayed higher long-term investment returns."
Questions of Russian hacking were raised once again Friday when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a group that raises money for House Democratic candidates, admitted that it too had been hacked. The committee's announcement came just a week after thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were posted on WikiLeaks as a result of a hack suspected to have been sanctioned by the Russian government. The Guardian reported that "intrusion investigators" say the hack at the DCCC looks a lot like the DNC breach.
The committee said it is "cooperating with federal law enforcement with respect to their ongoing investigation." At this point, it remains unclear exactly who was behind the hack, though it's believed to have taken place from "at least June 19 to June 27, though it may have been longer," Reuters reported. That would imply the DCCC breach occurred just days after the DNC first publicly announced it had been hacked. Becca Stanek
If you wish to give your child a fairy-tale bedroom has no price ceiling, here's your chance. The Fantasy Air Balloon Bed and Sofa (approximately $25,100) turns bedtime into a joyride and dreams into fanciful journeys. Created by a Portuguese company that also manufactures beds shaped like seashells, rockets, and 1960s VW Microbuses, this piece features a fabric top that appears to be a balloon rising through the ceiling, plus a base made from a solid wood frame wrapped in hand-woven wicker. The bed includes a remote-controlled light and sound system that can generate additional magic.
Mike Pence must've briefly blanked on the fact that he's Donald Trump's running mate Friday when he decided to go after President Obama for "name-calling." Pence apparently found it distasteful that Obama dared to suggest Trump is a "demagogue" during his Wednesday address to the Democratic National Convention, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: "I don't think name-calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that."
Obama, however, didn't even directly attach the word "demagogue" to Trump's name — a precaution Trump certainly didn't take when he dubbed Hillary Clinton as "Crooked Hillary," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as "Low Energy Jeb," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as "Lyin' Ted," Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine as "Corrupt Kaine," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as "Liddle Marco," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "Goofy Elizabeth," and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as "Crazy Bernie." Becca Stanek
A Georgia appeals court ruled that a man who took pictures up a woman's skirt did not break any law, The Washington Post reports. Brandon Lee Gary admitted to "upskirting" at a store, but the court ruled that a law that prohibits photographing people "in any private place" means a physical location, not a part of the body. A dissenting judge argued that a woman should be able to expect privacy "in the area under her skirt."
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine contradicted reports Friday from both his camp and running mate Hillary Clinton's that he'd come around to supporting Clinton's stance against the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment.
Just a few days ago, Bloomberg reported that Kaine will support Clinton's plan to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from being used for abortion, and which Clinton contends is "making it harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights."
However, when CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked Kaine about that change of heart Friday, he denied it had ever happened. "I have been for the Hyde Amendment, and I have not changed my position on that," said Kaine, a Catholic who has said he's personally opposed to abortion.
So, what gives? A Kaine-Clinton spokesperson's comment to The Wall Street Journal this week might clear up the seeming contradictions. The spokesperson said that while Kaine is "not personally for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment," he is "committed to carrying out Secretary Clinton's agenda."
It seems the Democratic duo has agreed — to disagree. Becca Stanek
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled against North Carolina's voter identification law, deciding unanimously that the "North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent." Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote the opinion, which is yet another victory for civil rights and voting rights groups; the court also struck down changes the state made in 2013 to restrict early voting.
The decision noted the "new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision," and as a result the restrictions on voting and registration "disproportionately affected African-Americans." "'In essence, the State took away [minority voters'] opportunity because [they] were about to exercise it,'" the decision read, quoting the case League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.
North Carolina can appeal the decision to the 4th Circuit Court or to the Supreme Court. Becca Stanek