America the Beautiful
July 3, 2014
Mark Davis/Getty Images

Just in time for Malia Obama's 16th birthday, Pitbull will be gracing the White House with a special concert to celebrate Independence Day.

The Washington Post reports that the singer will serenade the Obama family at an annual picnic on the White House's South Lawn. Troops and their families, as well as White House staff members, will also be guests at the event.

If you're not among the lucky few to attend the White House event, The Washington Post also has lists where other Washington bigshots will be celebrating the Fourth, including a roof party at the National Museum of American History and a party at the Kennedy Center that's complete with fried chicken. Politicians: They're just like us! Meghan DeMaria

fashion you can use
8:01 a.m. ET

It's now after Memorial Day, so you can wear that linen suit to work, if you so choose. But that's not the kind of fashion advice Donna Rosato, Money's Careerist columnist is offering for workers. "Here's a rule of thumb that you need to keep in mind," she explains in the video below: "You want to keep things covered. The more skin you show, the more likely you're going to distract people in the office." No short skirts, no showing off chest hair on men, and no flip-flops. If you didn't know any of that, or you want to be amused by a career specialist having to spell it out (and more), watch below. —Peter Weber

ISIS
7:53 a.m. ET
Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

American intelligence analysts believe the U.S. could be making better progress against ISIS if they weren't trying to prevent civilian deaths.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. has avoided targeting seven key buildings in Raqqa, Syria, that serve as ISIS headquarters. And last week, U.S. forces didn't stop ISIS from overtaking Ramadi, Iraq. American officials have admitted they avoid the large ISIS targets because the attacks could kill civilians.

The Times notes that many Iraqi commanders, and some American officers, think the U.S. is using too much judiciousness with its air power. "The international alliance is not providing enough support compared with ISIS’ capabilities on the ground in Anbar," Maj. Muhammed al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi officer in the Anbar Province, which contains Ramadi, told the Times. "We lost large territories in Anbar because of the inefficiency of the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes."

The plan is backfiring, too: ISIS militants are using civilian areas to avoid being bombed by U.S.-led airstrikes. Meghan DeMaria

Iraq
7:26 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Iraqi state television announced that Iraqi security forces, Shiite militias, and Sunni paramilitary forces have launched an expected offensive to dislodge Islamic State from western Anbar province. ISIS captured the provincial capital Ramadi, 70 miles from Baghdad, earlier in May.

Iraq is putting a brave face on the setback, with Shiite militia spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi predicting that the counter-offensive will "not last a long time" and saying that Iraqi forces have Ramadi surrounded on three sides, and are using new weapons "that will surprise the enemy." Iraqi commanders are also complaining that the U.S. isn't using its air power boldly enough, The New York Times reports, specifically as ISIS was attacking Ramadi. The U.S. says it has been limiting its aerial targets to prevent civilian casualties. Peter Weber

veterans affairs
5:58 a.m. ET
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images/Comedy Central

For the past three years, Daily Show host Jon Stewart has been quietly running five-week-long boot camps aimed at getting interested war veterans into the television industry. On Monday, The New York Times made the program public, publishing an interview in which Stewart explained why he hasn't been touting the program — he didn't want Daily Show fans as much as vets looking to break into Hollywood, for example — and why he is talking about it now: He's retiring, and he wants other TV shows to create similar programs.

"This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea," Stewart told The Times. “It isn't charity. To be good in this business you have to bring in different voices from different places, and we have this wealth of experience that just wasn't being tapped." Stewart said that veterans face a special challenge when it comes to getting jobs in the TV business:

There are well-worn channels into this industry that are closed off to veterans.... You get into the television industry generally by going to certain colleges known for having good television programs, getting internships, and getting to know people who work in the industry. A lot of veterans never had that opportunity because they were busy at war. This is a way to give them that chance. [Stewart]

Stewart has hired at least two vets for the show, and says they are “way less whiny” than most of his employees. Read more about the program at The New York Times.

Mergers and acquisitions
5:30 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Charter Communications confirmed its bid to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55.33 billion in cash and stock. If the deal is approved, Charter would pay about $195 a share, which is about 14 percent more than Time Warner Cable's closing stock price on Friday. If you include debt, the deal is worth about $78.7 billion. The combination of Charter, Time Warner, and Bright House Networks would have 23 million customers in the U.S., second only to Comcast's 27 million. Comcast dropped its bid for Time Warner Cable last month, amid regulatory scrutiny. Peter Weber

ISIS
5:02 a.m. ET

Islamic State controls a chunk of territory about the size of Belgium, and that territory doesn't govern itself. You probably already know about the self-proclaimed "caliph," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but if you've ever been curious about the rest of ISIS's organizational chart, BBC News tries to fill in the blanks. Given the nature of ISIS, the BBC isn't able to provide a complete chart — al-Baghdadi's "inner circle is secretive and keeps changing as members are killed," BBC News notes — but it's an interesting look at the big picture, and in just 90 seconds. Watch below. —Peter Weber

Quotables
4:28 a.m. ET
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

If you are wondering how Art Garfunkel feels about erstwhile musical partner Paul Simon, Nigel Farndale at Britain's The Telegraph has a pretty candid interview with the singer-poet. "He's a hard man to get the measure of, Art Garfunkel," Farndale writes. "On the one hand he still seems eaten up by bitterness about his divorce from Paul Simon, yet he also talks about his old friend (they were at school together) with deep affection."

"I want to open up about this," Garfunkel told Farndale when he asked about Simon breaking up Simon & Garfunkel in 1970, at the height of their popularity.

I don't want to say any anti–Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry. But a rest of a year was all I needed. [Garfunkel]

Later in the interview, Garfunkel said that he is absolutely willing to tour with Simon again, as he has been since 1971. Then he seemed to rhetorically address Simon: "How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What's going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?"

Read the entire interview for Garfunkel's jaundiced views of Paul McCartney, his 1970s math-teaching career, and his fail-safe pickup line, among other revelations. But Garfunkel ended with a bang, suggesting that Simon has a Napoleon complex, that he befriended him in grade school because he felt sorry for his short stature, and that "that compensation gesture has created a monster." Peter Weber

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