Two more NBC News/Marist polls paint a mixed picture for Democrats in the race for the Senate, with a tie in one state, and a strong Democratic lead in another over a one-time Republican star.
In Iowa, where longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst are tied at 43 percent each. The poll was conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads former Sen. Scott Brown — who moved to New Hampshire and has launched a comeback bid, after he lost re-election in Massachusetts in 2012 — by a solid margin of 50 percent to 42 percent. The poll was also conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
The polls show that in Iowa, Braley leads among women by a margin of 45 percent to 37 percent, while Ernst leads among men by a similar 48 percent to 40 percent. In New Hampshire, though, Shaheen leads among women by a huge 59 percent to 34 percent, more than balancing out Brown's lead among men of 51 percent to 42 percent. From NBC's analysis: "In this current environment, successful Democratic campaigns are going to need to win female voters by double digits; single digits probably won't cut it." Eric Kleefeld
Famed Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner on Friday came out as transgender in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, saying he is transitioning from male to female.
"For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," Jenner said.
"Bruce lives a lie," the 65-year-old Jenner added. "She is not a lie. I can't do it anymore."
Jenner said his struggles with gender identity began as a child when he would try on his mother's clothing, and it continued in private for decades even as he became a masculine icon while winning gold in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. In recent months, tabloid rumors abounded surrounding Jenner's then-alleged transition. Jon Terbush
A powerful earthquake on Saturday struck Nepal near the capital Kathmandu, killing hundreds of people and leaving extensive damage across the area. Rescuers are picking through the rubble, and the death toll, which rapidly rose to around 700 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, is expected to rise further.The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the initial quake's magnitude at 7.8, with at least 15 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or above. Jon Terbush
If there's one person who's glad the Senate gridlock over Loretta Lynch's attorney general nomination is over, it's the man she's set to replace.
The Senate finally voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general yesterday, five months after President Obama named her his nominee. Eric Holder, the outgoing attorney general, had announced he would stay at the Justice Department until a successor was named when he resigned in September — but he probably didn't anticipate another half-year in Washington. As months passed and Holder's term dragged on, some of his staff started circulating black rubber wristbands with the message "Free Eric Holder" as a protest of Lynch's protracted nomination.
Now, seven months after announcing his resignation, Holder finally made his goodbye speech Friday. In it, he proclaimed: "I think we can officially say now that Eric Holder is free." He then reportedly took the "Free Eric Holder" wristbands off his wrist and threw them into the audience.
Consider Eric Holder's mic dropped. Kimberly Alters
Robert Downey Jr. walked out of an interview with London's Channel 4 News earlier this week, and the rest of his Avengers: Age of Ultron press tour hasn't fared much better.
In an interview with The Guardian on Thursday, Downey was asked about a 2014 statement by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who said that superhero films were a form of "cultural genocide" for promoting a right-wing agenda.
Downey's response? "Look, I respect the hell out of him, and I think for a man whose native tongue is Spanish to be able to put together a phrase like 'cultural genocide' just speaks to how bright he is," he told The Guardian.
Cosmopolitan for Latinas has deemed Downey's remarks "racist," and E! Online adds that the comment suggests "that native Spanish speakers couldn't be as smart as native English speakers." Downey isn't the only one struggling on this press junket, though: His co-stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner called Scarlett Johansson's Avengers character, Black Widow, a "slut" and a "whore" in an interview this week, for which they have since apologized. Meghan DeMaria
Texas commissioner: Having deep fryers in public schools is 'not about French fries, it's about freedom'
It turns out the real threat to America's children is that they don't have enough deep-fried food.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) wrote a letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle on Thursday, calling for a 10-year ban on deep-fat fryers and soda machines in Texas public schools to be overturned. Miller wrote that the fight is "not about French fries, it's about freedom."
In response to arguments about childhood obesity and health, Miller stated that school districts, not the state, should have the freedom to make these decisions. "I will always support decision-making at the local level," Miller wrote.
Miller officially proposed reinstating deep fryers in public schools in March, and The Texas Tribune reports that he is expected to announce this summer whether the Texas Department of Agriculture will repeal the ban. Meghan DeMaria
Ohio middle-school officials erased the word "feminist" from an eighth-grader's T-shirt in a class photo to "prevent any unintended controversies."
— KTVU (@KTVU) April 22, 2015
Sophie Thomas was shocked to see that her shirt had been photoshopped to erase the word, but the principal explained it might be "offensive" to some people. "I just want to spread equality," Thomas said.
American history teachers will soon have a powerful tool in their arsenal.
Paramount Pictures' Home Media Distribution division announced that it will provide a complimentary copy of Ava DuVernay's Selma to every public and private high school in the U.S. Selma chronicles the march that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led from Selma to Montgomery for equal voting rights.
"By providing DVDs to all of the high schools in the country, we hope to reach all 18 million high school students with the film's powerful and inspiring story," Megan Colligan, a Paramount executive, said in a statement. "With many of these students preparing to vote for the first time in next year's elections, it is especially fitting that they witness the bravery and fortitude of those who fought to establish the Voting Rights Act of 1965." Meghan DeMaria