Will U.S. Act Alone Against Syria? - The administration insisted Thursday that President Obama has both the authority and the determination to make his own decision on a military strike against Syria, even as a growing chorus of lawmakers demanded an opportunity to vote on the issue and Britain, the United States’ closest ally, appeared unlikely to participate.
Britain’s sudden withdrawal came after Prime Minister David Cameron, deserted by rebels in his own Conservative Party, lost a parliamentary vote for provisional authorization for military action in Syria. The Washington Post has more here.
Bill de Blasio Leads Among Democratic Candidates for NYC Mayor - A New York Times/Siena College poll released Friday showed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio with a large lead in the Democratic primary of the New York City mayor's race. The poll found de Blasio in first place with 32 percent of likely Democratic voters compared to 18 percent for former Comptroller Bill Thompson and 17 percent for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. About one in six voters remains undecided ahead of the September 10 primary.
De Blasio was up 18 points from the last New York Times/Siena College poll, which was released August 9 and showed him in third place. His lead in the poll was slightly more modest than it was in a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday that showed him with 36 percent of the vote, just shy of the 40 percent threshhold necessary to avoid a runoff with the second place finisher.
Along with an amNewYork-News 12 poll released Thursday, this was the first poll to find Quinn in third behind de Blasio and Thompson. Apart from Anthony Weiner's brief time atop the polls in, Quinn had been leading the pack until de Blasio's numbers began surging earlier this month. The New York Times/Siena College poll also found Quinn with the highest unfavorability ratings of the three top candidates. TPM.com has more here.
Obama Uses Executive Action on Gun Control - With no chance remaining for a legislative solution on gun control, President Barack Obama on Thursday targetted the issue for the first time in months with a pair of executive actions.
The moves, along with the morning swearing-in of Todd Jones, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, mark a fresh push to spotlight presidential efforts to fight gun violence in the face of congressional inaction.
The ATF will now require background checks for all guns that will be registered to a corporation or a trust, the White House said.
One Obama order, the White House said, will close a loophole that allowed felons and other people prohibited by federal law from purchasing a gun by registering it to a corporation or a trust.
The White House said more than 39,000 requested to register a gun to a corporation or a trust last year.
Obama’s second order will stop authorization that allows the re-importation of military-grade firearms that had been sold to allies or given as military assistance.
The White House said the government has approved requests to re-import more than 250,000 military-grade firearms since 2005. Politico.com has more here.
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