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August 19, 2015

The latest Public Policy Polling numbers show a surprising presidential hopeful overtaking Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Scott Walker in North Carolina — and he's dead even with Marco Rubio, too. The independent candidate, registered as "Deez Nuts," is officially polling at 9 percent in North Carolina.

"Deez Nuts," according to Know Your Meme, originated as "a video remix series containing a clip of internet personality WelvenDaGreat saying the phrase 'deez nuts' into a phone, which is often added as the punch line into a variety of videos on Instagram and Vine." The phrase actually dates back to Dr. Dre's 1992 studio album, The Chronic, which features a track titled "Deeez Nuuuts." In the song's intro, Snoop Dogg tells the titular "deez nuts" joke to a woman on the phone. The phrase was added to Urban Dictionary — and thus made truly official — in 2004, Know Your Meme reports.

Deez Nuts filed a statement of candidacy in late July with the Federal Election Commission, which means he's shown surprising momentum in just a few weeks. It all just goes to show — only in America. Jeva Lange

3:32 p.m. ET

Americans largely think President Trump is a "strong and decisive leader" — but that doesn't mean they like him.

New data from a June Gallup poll shows that about half of Americans think Trump is intelligent and able to bring about necessary change, while smaller proportions of people find him honest, trustworthy, or likable. Fewer than one-third feel the president "works well with both parties in Washington to get things done."

Fewer and fewer people are saying that Trump keeps his promises, dropping from 62 percent in February to 47 percent in June, but performance-related traits are consistent with his overall ratings, in the 40 percent range. Forty-five percent of those polled likely agreed when Trump called himself a "very stable genius," perceiving him as someone who "understands complex issues."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, evaluations of Trump are split down the party line. Among Democrats or people who lean Democratic, Trump's brains got the highest score: 30 percent of them agreed he is intelligent. Wide majorities of Democrats didn't find many other attractive qualities in Trump, with only 8 percent agreeing that he has chosen good Cabinet members and 10 percent considering him "a person you admire." Republicans, on the other hand, had positive perceptions of the president overall. Eight in ten say Trump cares about their needs, and 75 percent feel he can manage the government effectively.

The poll was conducted June 1-13, among a random sample of 1,520 American adults reached by phone. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. See more results at Gallup. Summer Meza

2:58 p.m. ET
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The opioid crisis has been steadily growing more dire for years, and new evidence has surfaced suggesting there are unexpected consequences even to treating the harmful addiction epidemic. CNN reported Monday that more and more young children are being unintentionally exposed to buprenorphine, a drug commonly used to treat opioid addiction.

Between 2007 and 2016, over 11,000 calls were made to U.S. poison control centers regarding children's exposure to the drug, a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday revealed. Eighty-six percent of those calls were about children under 6 years old.

Buprenorphine is "never prescribed" for children that young, and poses "a significant risk" to them, said Henry Spiller, one of the authors of the study. While 89 percent of the cases in the study concerned unintentional exposure, Spiller notes that intentional use is especially common among adolescents, with the intent of intoxication or even suicide.

The rate of exposure to buprenorphine almost doubled over the course of the study. With an increasing number of people misusing prescription opioids or otherwise battling addiction, misuse of treatment drugs like buprenorphine is likely to rise even more in the coming years.

The study shows that even the most well-intentioned methods for curbing the opioid epidemic can be harmful to "those who are most vulnerable," said Dr. Jason Kane, an associate professor of pediatrics and critical care with the University of Chicago. Read more at CNN. Shivani Ishwar

2:44 p.m. ET

The biggest soccer news right now has nothing to do with the World Cup.

In a moment definitely stolen from a rejected early-2000s Disney movie, a kangaroo invasion delayed a soccer game in Australia for more than half an hour Sunday, per The West Australian. The marsupial easily cleared the fence around the field, lounged in front of the goal, and even stopped a few balls kicked his way.

The very down-under incident happened during a National Premier League game between Australia's two best women's teams, says The Associated Press. The Socceroo's first appearance delayed kickoff for the second half, and his return paused the game again. One team's coach got in a truck and eventually steered the kangaroo off the field for good — but not before a Kangaroo Jack/Air Bud crossover was born. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:21 p.m. ET
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Immigrant parents detained at the border could soon face a difficult choice: be placed in a tent city to await the asylum process as a family, or relinquish custody of their children to the government.

Two sources familiar with the plan told McClatchy that President Trump's administration is putting together a proposal for allowing immigrants to make this choice, in a hasty attempt to patch up holes left in Trump's executive order. The president last week signed an order to no longer require families to be separated while seeking asylum in the U.S., but his administration is still seeking to challenge a law prohibiting child migrants from being detained for more than 20 days at a time. After that time is up, parents will have to choose whether to keep their children with them in detention centers, or have the Department of Health and Human Services place them with a U.S.-based family member or sponsor.

The executive order moved to detain families together, but put no time frame on how long immigrants might need to be held in camps on military bases before their asylum requests are processed. McClatchy notes that only 20 percent of asylum requests were eventually granted in 2017, and only 15 percent have been approved this year. Families seeking asylum would be held a minimum of six weeks, and likely much longer, reports Vox.

Proponents of giving parents a choice in their child's fate say it could give more flexibility and speed asylum cases along. Others say it's not a fair solution and that it's coercive to force parents to make such a choice. Read more at McClatchy. Summer Meza

2:16 p.m. ET
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There is a creeping feeling at the State Department that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not be a marked improvement over his widely disliked predecessor, Rex Tillerson, who departed almost two months ago, Politico reports. "Pompeo at least has a more open process," said former State Department official Ilan Goldenberg. "You're not hearing as much that everything goes through policy planning or the secretary won't talk to anybody."

Still, Pompeo's lack of pushback against President Trump's demands has left some staffers "worried that he won't defend the department's interests," Politico writes. Staffers were watching, for example, when Pompeo didn't argue at a congressional hearing against Trump's attempts to cut their funding by approximately 30 percent. Officials are also concerned about where Pompeo will stand on Trump's nomination of Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration — a man Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has branded unfavorably as a "virulent opponent of immigration."

"People are still hopeful about Pompeo," said the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ronald Neumann. "But they're getting a dose of reality." Added Goldenberg: "It's a low bar because of how terrible Tillerson was on all of these things." Read more about Pompeo's reception in the department at Politico. Jeva Lange

1:38 p.m. ET

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had Republicans up in arms when she called for her supporters to physically harass White House officials. But even Waters' own party isn't necessarily on her side.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted a calm response to Waters' message Monday, calling instead for measured responses to President Trump's "lack of civility."

Waters channeled America's recent habit of confronting Trump officials at restaurants at a rally Saturday, telling supporters to "create a crowd" and "push back" if they see Cabinet members in public. Republicans including The View co-host Meghan McCain, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), and Donald Trump Jr. all predictably fired back. So did the president, again using his "low IQ" insult for Waters.

But Pelosi's response was rare, tweeted political journalist Yashar Ali. CNN's congressional correspondent Manu Raju broke down why Pelosi had to tiptoe in her response to the Congressional Black Caucus member and fellow Californian:

You could call that thinking ahead — or maybe just politics. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:12 p.m. ET
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever prescription drug made from marijuana Monday, The Associated Press reports. The medication, Epidiolex, is an oral treatment for seizures associated with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. "This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies," said the FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb.

Epidiolex uses cannabidiol (CBD), one of the chemicals in the cannabis plant, not tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the "high" associated with the drug.

"The difficult-to-control seizures that patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience have a profound impact on these patients' quality of life," said Billy Dunn, the director of Division of Neurology Products at the FDA's research wing. "In addition to [Epidiolex being] another important treatment option for Lennox-Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition."

The medication, which comes in the form of a strawberry-flavored syrup from Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals, was tested in trials with more than 500 patients. Read about its common side effects and the approval process at the FDA's website. Jeva Lange

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