Only in America
September 5, 2013

An Arkansas state senator told attendees at a banquet that his job is to serve God, and not his constituents. "There's only one vote that matters, and that's when I stand before the Lord at the judgment seat," said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert. Samantha Rollins

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11:56 a.m. ET

Outpacing many states in the marijuana reform game, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico legalized marijuana for medical use on Sunday. Thanks to an executive order by the island's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, "some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant" are available for medical use, effective immediately.

Padilla noted in a press release that medical cannabis has been shown to be effective to "relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDS virus, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, Parkinson's, and other diseases that often do not respond to traditional treatments." However, the same release makes clear that this should not be construed as sanction for recreational marijuana use, which will stay distinct and illegal in Puerto Rican law. Bonnie Kristian

2016 Watch
11:30 a.m. ET
Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Monday announced his 2016 campaign for the White House with a kickoff event in his hometown of Detroit.

"I'm Ben Carson and I'm a candidate for president of the United States," Carson said.

The 63-year-old Carson, who has no political experience, rose to prominence in 2013 after he criticized President Obama during a National Prayer Breakfast as the president sat feet away. Though Carson ranks in the middle of the pack in early 2016 primary polls, he is considered an extreme long shot to capture the nomination.

Also Monday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for the 206 GOP nomination. The two join Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the GOP side of the race. Jon Terbush

Developing story
10:46 a.m. ET
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Authorities on Monday identified one of the two gunmen in Sunday's attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, as Elton Simpson of Phoenix.

Police, FBI agents, and a bomb squad searched Simpson's home overnight, and investigators linked him to threatening Twitter messages posted just ahead of the attack, according to ABC. Though officials have yet to offer a motive, an Elton Simpson was charged in 2010 with attempting to visit Somalia "for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad." The event at the center of the attack, the Muhammad Art Exhibit, included a contest in which contestants competed to draw the best cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

The attack left one security guard wounded and both attackers dead. Jon Terbush

Numbers don't lie
10:44 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that Americans don't think this year's racial tensions will stop with Baltimore.

A full 96 percent of respondents said that it was "likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer," the Journal reports. The respondents differed on the explanation for the events, though.

Sixty percent of black respondents agreed that recent events reflect "long-standing frustrations about police mistreatment of African-Americans," but just 32 percent of white respondents agreed. And 27 percent of black respondents agreed that people used the protests "as an excuse to engage in looting and violence," while 58 percent of white respondents said the same.

The survey of 508 adults was conducted between April 26 and April 30, before the announcement that the officers involved in Freddie Gray's death would be charged. Meghan DeMaria

In a galaxy far, far away
10:30 a.m. ET

There are few Star Wars characters — or, for that matter, few movie characters — more despised than Jar Jar Binks. The clumsy, gibbering alien, who made a splashy debut in Star Wars: Episode I in 1999, was so widely hated that an editor painstakingly cobbled together a widely-distributed recut of Episode I that eliminates Jar Jar almost entirely.

Jar Jar doesn't appear in the original Star Wars trilogy, which means his whereabouts in the decades after Star Wars: Episode III are unknown. But Jar Jar haters will appreciate the canonical solution proposed for Episode VII by director J.J. Abrams: Jar Jar is dead. "I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’s bones in the desert there," said Abrams in an interview with Vanity Fair. "I'm serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it."

Jar Jar may be doomed in the official Star Wars canon, but if you're one of his few defenders, never fear — a clever editor has already re-edited the Episode VII trailer to give Jar Jar a more prominent role.

Scott Meslow

Royal baby madness
10:14 a.m. ET
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

If you placed your money on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge naming their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, now is the time to claim your winnings.

Will and Kate left the hospital with their new princess on Saturday evening, but at the time of her birth, the baby did not have a name. Now, the U.K.'s ITV News reports that the baby's name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

Princess Charlotte is fourth in line to the throne, after Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George. According to The Guardian, Charlotte is the closest female in line for the throne since Princess Anne's birth, almost 65 years ago. Meghan DeMaria

Memory Lane
9:52 a.m. ET

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is running for president. This will be her second bid for office — in 2010, she tried and failed to win a Senate seat in California. And in the process, she released one of the most blissfully bad campaign ads in recent memory.

Watch it if you haven't. Watch it again if you have. It's that good. And bad.

The gist of the video is that Fiorina's primary opponent Tom Campbell (whom she eventually crushed by nearly 35 percentage points) is a "fiscal conservative in name only" — a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you will. But he's not actually a wolf in sheep's clothing. He's a glowing-eyed "demon sheep," as Rachel Slajda perfectly dubbed it.

The demon sheep shows up around the 2:25 mark. But really, watch the whole thing. It's great.

Fiorina went on to lose the general election to Democrat Barbara Boxer. Ben Frumin

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