His Holiness
March 13, 2014
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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has invited Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress. If Pope Francis accepts, he would be the first head of the Catholic Church to ever address the legislative body.

"The Holy Father's pastoral message challenges people of all faiths, ideologies, and political parties," Boehner said in a statement. "His address as a visiting head of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions. It would also offer an excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full." Jon Terbush

campaign 2016
8:14 p.m. ET
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Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is calling on his fellow reporters to start asking Donald Trump tougher questions, especially concerning his immigration policy.

"He hasn't been challenged enough," Ramos told Time. "He hates to be challenged and it is time that we start doing it." Ramos had a run-in with the GOP presidential frontrunner Tuesday in Iowa, when he asked him a question about immigration and deportation. Trump told Ramos he hadn't called on him and he needed to sit down, and added, "Go back to Univision." Ramos was escorted out of the room by security, and although he returned a few minutes later, his question went unanswered. Ramos said he's particularly bothered by the fact that Trump had not explained how he will implement deportations or the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. When Time asked Trump how he would deport undocumented immigrants, he replied, "It's called management."

Ramos said that response isn't helpful. "If he wants to do it in the short term, he would need to use the army, use stadiums, public places," he said. "The only way to do that would be to use trains and buses and airports to deport millions of people. It's in a scale never seen before in the world. And it is incredibly dangerous." Ramos, who reaches an audience of 2 million viewers nightly, hopes Trump will agree to an interview soon. "If it happens, it will be an uncomfortable interview for him for sure," Ramos said. "He can't and he should not get away with empty promises. At stake is the future of this country." Catherine Garcia

6:57 p.m. ET
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In a 3-2 ruling split down party lines, the National Labor Relations Board revised its "joint employer" standard, which could have huge ramifications for franchise businesses like McDonald's.

The board decided that the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries is a joint employer alongside one of its subcontractors, the staffing firm Leadpoint Business Services. The Teamsters wanted Browning Ferris to be named a joint employer so they would have to join Leadpoint at the bargaining table.

The ruling makes it difficult for a company like McDonald's to stay one step removed from the workers employed at its franchises. About 90 percent of the fast food chain's locations are run by franchisees, and they are considered the employers of their workers, not McDonald's, The Huffington Post reports. Under these new loosened standards, McDonald's could end up having to bargain with workers employed by a franchisee.

The Democratic members of the board wrote in their decision that it is "not the goal of joint-employer law to guarantee the freedom of employers to insulate themselves from their legal responsibility to workers, while maintaining control of the workplace. Such an approach has no basis in the [National Labor Relations} Act or in federal labor policy." Labor unions say it only makes sense for a parent company to be legally responsible for employees who represent their company, even if they don't necessarily sign their paychecks. Franchisers argue it will give the parent company too much control over their business. Catherine Garcia

Katrina at 10
6:16 p.m. ET

President Obama traveled to New Orleans on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on Aug. 29, 2005. The president spoke before a crowd at a community center in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, which was decimated by the storm. "The world watched in horror," Obama said. "The music in the air suddenly was dark and silent."

Obama called Hurricane Katrina an example of what happens "when government fails," but praised the city's recovery as an "example of what's possible when governments [at every level] work together." He specifically noted areas in which New Orleans emerged from Hurricane Katrina stronger than before the storm, citing improved education statistics and new, advanced environmental infrastructure. "The project of rebuilding here wasn't just to restore the city as it had been — it was to build the city as it should be," Obama said.

He also congratulated New Orleans for being the first major city to end veteran homelessness, and credited the city with being the inspiration for a number of national accomplishments, such as improved jobs numbers, the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the legalization of gay marriage. The president did note that the city still has weaknesses, like the racial income gap and child poverty, but said working toward such advancements should be a collaborative effort. "For all of our differences, in the end, what matters is we're all in the same boat," he said. "We'll leave behind a city — and a nation — that's worthy of generations to come. That's what you've gotten started. Now we've got to finish the job." Kimberly Alters

4:41 p.m. ET

Darryl Dawkins, an NBA legend famous for breaking backboards with his powerful dunks, has passed away at age 58. The news was confirmed to local Pennsylvania station WFMZ-TV by the Lehigh County Coroner's Office in Pennsylvania. No cause of death has been reported.

Nicknamed "Chocolate Thunder," Dawkins was drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1975 and played seven seasons (including three NBA Finals appearances) with the Sixers before being traded to the New Jersey Nets. During the 1979 season, Dawkins famously shattered a backboard on two separate occasions thanks to a powerful dunk:

He nicknamed the first of the two glass-shattering slams the "Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam." He retired from the NBA for good in 1989, but continued playing overseas and even spent a year with the showy Harlem Globetrotters. But in the end, as Mike Chiari notes at Bleacher Report, Dawkins was perhaps best known for his "larger-than-life personality." Kimberly Alters

3:22 p.m. ET
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On Thursday, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton slammed the 2016 Republican candidates for their "out-of-date and out-of-touch policies" on women's health issues, even going so far as to compare some Republicans to "terrorist groups."

"Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world," Clinton said at a campaign stop in Ohio. "But it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States."

Clinton's comments earned her an immediate rebuke from the right.

The national press secretary for the Republican National Committee (RNC) also reproached Clinton for her "inflammatory rhetoric," saying, "For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign." Becca Stanek

Trump's take
2:18 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump's latest comments earned him a rebuke from a Jeb Bush spokesman for "trafficking in false conspiracy theories" about the former investment bank Lehman Brothers, where Bush worked for a stint after leaving the governor's office in Florida in 2007. Amid Trump's 33 attacks against the Bush family in a 35-minute interview with The Washington Post, he managed numerous times to drop his suspicions that Bush's high salary from Lehman was a "reward for helping direct Florida state funds to the firm, whose collapse in 2008 helped kick off the Great Recession," The Post reports.

"That’s a Hillary Clinton kind of situation," Trump said. "This is huge. Let me ask you: Why would you pay a man $1.3 million a year for a no-show job at Lehman Brothers — which, when it failed, almost took the world with it?" Trump then went on to offer Lehman's crash as evidence that Bush lacks business savvy. When asked whether he thought Bush could "steer the economy," Trump responded: "Steer it? He can't steer himself. Look what he did with Lehman." Trump surmised that the state of Florida "lost a lot of money after Lehman went bad, thanks to Jeb Bush."

In response, Bush spokesman Tim Miller pointed out Trump's attendance at "New York liberal cocktail parties" and his "trashing of conservatives and Republican presidents any chance he got." Miller wrote in an email to the Post, "The only 'Hillary Clinton situation’ is Trump thinking she'd be a good negotiator with Iran and supporting her campaigns." Becca Stanek

In a galaxy far, far away
1:53 p.m. ET

There's a new teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and while it's very brief, it does contain one very interesting moment for Star Wars fans to puzzle over: a shot in which John Boyega draws a lightsaber, which seems to set him up as the latest Star Wars movie's first new Jedi.

There has been an awakening... #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

The image of John Boyega holding a lightsaber hints at a very dramatic arc for his character. In the first teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he was seen wearing a Stormtrooper outfit, which seems to hint at a past with the Galactic Empire. But Boyega is wielding a blue lightsaber, which recalls the one used by Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars (and might even be the same one). If he's drawing it against the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), he must be a good guy, right?

And okay, okay, we can't be absolutely sure Boyega is playing a Jedi. — as reliable a source as you'll find for the answers to such questions — says that a non-Jedi can technically wield a lightsaber, but that it's not a very good idea; without the power of the Force to guide you, you can't use a lightsaber to deflect blaster shots, which means a single well-placed laser blaster shot from many yards away could take you down. If Boyega isn't playing a Jedi, he definitely shouldn't be pulling a lightsaber on as dangerous a villain as Kylo Ren.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters in December. Scott Meslow

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