Will the U.S. Go It Alone?: New York Times: "President Obama is willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council, senior administration officials said Thursday. Although the officials cautioned that Mr. Obama had not made a final decision, all indications suggest that the strike could occur as soon as United Nations inspectors, who are investigating the Aug. 21 attack that killed hundreds of Syrians, leave the country. They are scheduled to depart Damascus, the capital, on Saturday. The White House is to present its case for military action against Syria to Congressional leaders on Thursday night."
Speaking of Britain: Associated Press: "British Prime Minister David Cameron has lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes, a stunning defeat for a government which had seemed days away from joining the U.S. in possible attacks to punish Bashar Assad's regime over an alleged chemical weapons attack. Thursday evening's vote was nonbinding, but in practice the rejection of military strikes means Cameron's hands are tied. In a terse statement to Parliament, Cameron said it was clear to him that the British people did not want to see military action."
The Black Budget: Washington Post: "U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government’s top secret budget. The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. ... The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program details the successes, failures and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, which has 107,035 employees."
NFL Settles: Wall Street Journal: "The National Football League and 4,500 former players suing the league over concussion-related brain injuries reached a settlement deal Thursday. The agreement, which came as a surprise, calls for the league to pay $765 million, mostly in medical benefits and compensation for the retired players, as well as fund medical research and litigation expenses. The settlement covers all retired players who present medical evidence of severe cognitive impairment, not just those who brought the suit."
Fast-Food Strikes: Associated Press: "Thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters beat drums, blew whistles and chanted slogans Thursday on picket lines in dozens of U.S. cities, marking the largest protest yet in their quest for higher wages. The nationwide day of demonstrations came after similar actions organized by unions and community groups over the past several months. Workers are calling for the right to unionize without interference from employers and for pay of $15 an hour. That's more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year for full-time employees. Thursday's walkouts and protests reached about 60 cities, including New York, Chicago and Detroit, organizers said. But the turnout varied significantly...."
In the Eyes of the IRS: CBS News: "Following the Supreme Court decision striking down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced Thursday it will start recognizing legally married same-sex couples for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies to couples legally married in any of the 13 states that recognize same-sex marriage (or in Washington, D.C.). It applies regardless of whether the couple in question lives in one of those states or elsewhere."
Moneybox: IRS Rolls Out Gay Marriage Stimulus
Gun Control Baby Steps: Reuters: "The White House announced two changes to federal gun rules on Thursday to help keep weapons from criminals, but said it still wants to push Congress to pass new gun control measures in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last year. The Justice Department will write a regulation requiring background checks for people who register machine guns or short-barreled shotguns through a trust or corporation, closing one loophole on background checks. The administration also will stop allowing imports of surplus military firearms that the government has provided or sold overseas."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
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