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July 3, 2014
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The latest unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are out, and they're pretty rosy.

The U.S. added 288,000 jobs in June, crushing economists' expectations for an addition of 215,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest reading since September 2008. Expectations were for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 6.3 percent. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8 percent.

The rosiest figure of all is the number of long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or more, which declined by 293,000 in June to just 3.1 million.

The latest data suggests that even though GDP plummeted in the first quarter — prompting calls for stronger stimulus — the economic recovery remains mostly on track, and the GDP slump in the first quarter had more to do with the unseasonably cold weather and firms drawing down inventories than economic weakness. John Aziz

12:39 p.m. ET

The North Carolina GOP was not happy about Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine blatantly wearing a Honduras flag pin on his jacket at the Democratic National Convention "but no American flag." "Shameful," they tweeted, only to be corrected — it wasn't the flag of Honduras Kaine was wearing; it was a Blue Star Service pin honoring his son, a deployed Marine.

WNYT reporter Ben Amey caught the embarrassing mistake:

The North Carolina GOP might have been confused because decades ago Kaine had been a missionary in Honduras. But compared side-by-side, well…

(Flag of Honduras)

(Blue Star Service Banner)

The North Carolina GOP deleted their tweet and thanked Amey for setting them straight. Jeva Lange

12:15 p.m. ET
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Rounding off a week of endorsements from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, running mate Time Kaine, and former opponent Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton will formally accept the Democratic Party's nomination on Thursday after a night of speeches addressing issues that effect women, such as equality in pay and the workplace. And just as Donald Trump was introduced by his daughter, Ivanka, Clinton will be ushered onto the stage at the end of the evening following an introduction by Chelsea Clinton.

Under the theme of "Stronger Together," the President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin and the Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) will also be giving speeches. See the full schedule here. Jeva Lange

11:06 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert is no longer allowed to play Stephen Colbert. Or at least not that Stephen Colbert, the hilarious conservative patriot of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. After Colbert broke out the old Colbert character in a version of "The Word" on CBS's Late Show, apparently Comedy Central got in touch to say they own the "intellectual property" of Stephen Colbert. The character, that is.

"Which, is surprising, because I never thought of that guy as much of an intellectual. So it is with a heavy heart that I announce that thanks to corporate lawyers, the character of Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, will never be seen again," Colbert told his audience to loud boos. "The lawyers have spoken. I cannot reasonably argue that I own my face or name."

But fear not — Colbert might have found a loophole. He introduced the audience to Stephen Colbert's identical twin cousin, Stephen Colbert. "Our moms were identical twins, who married identical twin husbands, then had sex at the exact same moment and gave us the same name," Stephen Colbert (the twin) explained.

Confused? Let the Stephen Colberts explain it all, below. Jeva Lange

10:42 a.m. ET

In the Jewish faith, a young woman's bat mitzvah is an important rite of passage, marking the transition from childhood to adulthood. But in the realm of political party fundraising, well, attending a bat mitzvah is probably low on the list of priorities for a party's heavy-hitters.

However, Politico reports Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, thought differently when she was tasked with enlisting Vice President Joe Biden to help raise money for the Democratic Party:

Democratic National Committee staff had sent [Wasserman Schultz] to the vice president armed with four specific requests for getting him involved in raising money for the party.

She decided to scrap them for two of her own.

First, she asked Biden to do a fundraiser for her own reelection to her House seat in Florida in the primary challenge she's facing next month. He agreed.

The second was to get down to Boca Raton for [her daughter's] bat mitzvah.

Biden's staff balked. They offered to tape a video message from him instead, hoping that would satisfy her. [Politico]

Wasserman Schultz "eagerly" accepted the video offer, Politico says — but the out-of-turn request was just one more reflection of the chairwoman's reportedly increasingly disruptive leadership of the DNC. The Florida congresswoman was forced to resign from her post Sunday after a leak of internal emails revealed some party officials had attempted to influence the Democratic primary race against Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton's main rival for the presidential nomination. Read more about the DNC's internal chaos — including Wasserman Schultz's allegedly defiant response to criticism of her and her staffers on social media — at Politico. Kimberly Alters

10:35 a.m. ET

Megyn Kelly's contract at Fox News will expire after the election, and the star anchor has publicly confessed that she doesn't know what's going to happen after that. "I've had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But, you know, there's a lot of brain damage that comes from the job," she told Variety this spring.

Speculation about Kelly's next move is really ramping up now that Kelly has admitted she hung out at the CNNGrill in Philadelphia in the wee hours of Thursday morning, The Washington Post reports:

Politico also wrote that while she was there, Kelly apparently spoke with "CNN chief Jeff Zucker" — who does the hiring at CNN — as well as "Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, according to several tipsters." Kelly is in Philadelphia covering the Democratic National Convention for Fox News.

Hmmm. It's enough to raise eyebrows — but when asked for comment by The Washington Post, Fox News did not immediately reply. You can read the Post's whole scoop here. Jeva Lange

10:17 a.m. ET
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Pentagon has opened a formal inquiry into a coalition airstrike on the village of Tokkhar, Syria, on July 19 that left at least 74 civilians dead. The decision comes just days before an internal Department of Defense deadline to launch the investigation.

Carried out by the U.S. Air Force, the strike allegedly mistook civilians for Islamic State fighters. Casualty estimates vary, with one United Kingdom-based group positing that as many as 203 innocents may have been killed. Most recently, a 14-year-old girl died from injuries sustained in the attack, which "pulverized entire families."

The devastating reports out of Tokkhar were "credible enough" to convince the Pentagon to investigate, U.S. Army Col. Christopher Garver announced Wednesday. Garver said he'd seen data claiming only 10-15 civilians had been killed. Bonnie Kristian

10:10 a.m. ET
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Melania Trump's website has mysteriously vanished, and her former URL now reroutes to her husband's business website, Trump.com, New York reports. As if a recent plagiarism scandal wasn't bad enough, some are now alleging that Melania actually made up a detail in her biography, which might be why her website has been thoroughly erased.

Apparently Trump's Slovenian wife stated in her biography that she holds a degree in design and architecture from a university back in her native country; biographers Bojan Pozar and Igor Omerza have argued that in fact Melania only attended school for a year before she dropped out.

Adding to the intrigue, Trump's campaign has repeatedly said Melania has a degree, with the program at the Republican National Convention claiming: "After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York in 1996."

Politico reporter Julia Ioffe has also called the claim that Melania graduated from university false. Jeva Lange

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