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Crisis in Iraq
August 8, 2014

In video released by Vice News on Thursday, a representative of the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared the organization's intention to continue its brutal sweep all the way to Washington, D.C. He also labeled cowardly the American use of drone strikes in the Middle East:

"I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established. Don't be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House." [Vice News]

The video also depicts ISIS militants doing doughnuts in a tank, and a child who may be as young as nine declaring his desire to join the terrorist group. ISIS' brutal sweep through Iraq has prompted President Obama to renew American engagement there after announcing the completion of the War in Iraq, a move which critics have suggested could ultimately do more harm than good. Watch the video in full below. --Bonnie Kristian

one state, two state, red state, blue state
10:01 a.m. ET

A new YouGov poll asked Americans to rate their feelings — positive or negative — toward each state, and then correlated those results with participants' party affiliations. Not surprisingly, Republicans tended to prefer states which vote GOP, while Democrats generally favor blue states.

There were, however, some interesting anomalies. For instance, several reliably Democratic states in the Midwest and New England received fairly high ratings from both parties, coloring them purple.


(YouGov)

And then there were the states no one likes: a handful which couldn't net much approval from Republicans or Democrats. New Jersey led this pack as the least popular state in the union, apparently fulfilling its reputation as the "armpit of America." Bonnie Kristian

Bernmentum
10:00 a.m. ET
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe today, largely, it seems, to deal with the fallout of some truly cringe-worthy images of Team Clinton literally corralling the press in New Hampshire over the weekend. But perhaps more interesting was what Palmieri had to say about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is drawing huge crowds and polling impressively well in New Hampshire.

"We're worried about him, sure," Palmieri said. "He's a force. He'll be a serious force for the campaign... I don't think that will diminish."

She continued:

Of course we're worried about him. This is an election. And he is doing well. She'll have to make her case. But we knew this was going to happen... It's gonna be a slog, but I feel like she will win. [Palmieri]

Watch the video here. Ben Frumin

cybersecurity
9:46 a.m. ET
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

At a holiday weekend event in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton warned that the U.S. must be "fully vigilant," since China is "trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America" in an effort to win the rise to global eminence. On Monday, China caught wind of Clinton's accusation and simply shrugged it off. The country apparently wasn't too concerned that the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination was spreading the rumor that it was "stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information — all looking for an advantage."

Beijing's seemingly blasé response to the accusations was a departure from reactions past. Previously, China has been outraged at U.S. claims that it supports information hacks. This time, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying simply said that both the U.S. and China have assumed a "constructive spirit" to address the issue. "China and the U.S. have taken a constructive spirit and approach to strengthening dialog and cooperation to jointly face various challenges in line with the interests of both sides in a way that is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region and the world," Hua said at a news briefing.

Clinton's remarks come just three months after the U.S. government discovered a federal database breach that is believed to have disclosed 18 million social security numbers. The U.S. government suspects that China is responsible for the attack. Becca Stanek

For those who have everything
9:40 a.m. ET
Courtesy photo

This is perhaps "the most important bikini ever," said Meredith Lepore at Food and Wine. Each suit ($167) in the debut swimwear line from Spinali Design of France features a removable sensor to help sunbathers avoid overexposure to UV rays. The waterproof sensor monitors temperature and sun conditions, adjusts its calculations to the wearer's skin tone, then sends an alert to her smartphone whenever it's time to apply more sunscreen. The customer can also choose a "valentine" alert, encouraging her partner to rub on more lotion. The Week Staff

Are you still watching?
9:34 a.m. ET
Getty Images Latam/Getty Images

Beginning in September, the city of Chicago will level a 9 percent "cloud tax" for online entertainment services like Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu — basically, any "paid television programming" or "electronically delivered music."

Previously, the same tax applied only to real life entertainment, including movie tickets and sports events. When applied to online services, it will be collected based on billing information which locates users in Chicago's jurisdiction.

The tax expansion is expected to collect some $12 million annually, but it's a revenue increase which appears negligible in light of the city's tens of billions of dollars in debts and pension obligations. In May, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Chicago's credit to junk status. Bonnie Kristian

Greek crisis
9:15 a.m. ET
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

No one knows for sure — but in the wake of Greek voters' decisive rejection Sunday of a European bailout referendum, the Obama administration is certainly worried. Here's Ben White at Politico:

The overwhelming "no" vote pushes Greece closer to a potentially messy exit from the eurozone common currency union. It also sets up possible global market chaos and presents a fresh headache for the White House, which has had little success pushing for a deal that would prevent a Greek exit.

Some in the administration fear that if Greece leaves it could lead to the eventual collapse of the entire eurozone, a destabilizing event that could crush markets and damage a U.S. economy that is growing at only around 2 percent a year and is vulnerable to outside shocks. [Politico]

Edward Luce adds this at the Financial Times:

Although the Greek economy is only the size of the state of Oregon — and its population the same as that of Ohio — a full-blown default would weaken growth in America's main trading partners. In addition to dampening U.S. export growth, a Grexit could spill over into global markets. Nobody can predict how or to what extent. But the risk of Grexit contagion weighs on the U.S. Federal Reserve. The biggest question over its return to normal interest rates sits in the Aegean. [Financial Times]

How likely is all this to come to pass? Many analysts peg the odds of a Greek exit at 75 percent or higher. Ben Frumin

Grexit
9:10 a.m. ET
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

On Sunday, Greek voters decisively rejected a European bailout referendum. And now, a "Grexit," or Greek exit from the eurozone, seems more likely than ever for the debt-saddled nation.

Wolfgang Piccoli, the managing director at Teneo Intelligence, told CNBC that the likelihood of a Grexit is now 75 percent, up from 15 percent. Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse agree with that 75 percent figure. Others are guessing the chances could be even higher: Oxford Economics Ltd. believes the possibility is closer to 85 percent. "Exit now is the most likely scenario," Barclays analysts warned in a report.

Citigroup, however, reminded readers of its report that a Grexit could still take many months. And as Goldman Sachs says, there are still ways for Greece to strike a deal with its creditors and remain in the eurozone. Jeva Lange

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