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Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell on What Her Husband John Is Not Telling Her

Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell on What Her Husband John Is Not Telling Her

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, is no stranger to the halls of the Congress. Her husband, the 88-year-old dean of the House, Rep. John Dingell, has served on the Hill since 1955.

But now, Rep.-elect Dingell, 61, is set to take on the U.S. Congress herself -- representing her retiring husband’s old district in the 114th Congress.

On the campaign trail, she said, the two were careful to maintain a “concrete wall.”

“I needed to earn the respect of everybody in the 12th and have them to get to know me,” she told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny.

Asked if her husband would act as an adviser during her tenure, Dingell told ABC, “I think that he’s really afraid to give me advice -- and I hope he gets over that.”

Rep.-elect Dingell, who just chose her new office last week, said she’ll likely use her husband’s desk. It also belonged to Dingell’s father, Rep. John Dingell Sr., who served in the House for 22 years.

“If I could have the desk that the man who authored Social Security and the man who sat in the chair and helped author Medicare and the Civil Rights Act [used], maybe it’ll inspire and help me to do good things while I’m here," Dingell said.

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Republicans Could Complicate Iran Extension

Republicans Could Complicate Iran Extension

Architect of the Capitol(VIENNA) -- Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he was confident President Obama and he could convince a skeptical Congress that an additional seven months of nuclear negotiations with Iran could lead to a deal they could support, but that confidence may be challenged by Congress.

“We have earned the benefit of the doubt,” Kerry said at a press conference in Vienna, Austria, just before getting on a plane back to Washington.

But back home on Capitol Hill, Republican critics of the administration’s position, bolstered by an incoming majority in both houses of Congress, seem to have already decided to take matters into their own hands to penalize the regime in Tehran if negotiations fail or lawmakers think whatever deal is reached is too weak.

Kerry said Congress should avoid passing judgment on the interim deal announced Monday until he’s able to brief top members behind closed doors, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP from flexing its soon-to-be-strengthened legislative muscles.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who will assume the gavel in the new session, released a statement after Kerry’s announcement indicating that Republicans – and some Democrats – could soon vote on additional Iran sanctions. He also insisted that Congress vote on any final deal before it can be implemented.

“With so much riding on these talks for the security of our nation and that of the region, Congress must have the opportunity to weigh in before implementation of any final agreement and begin preparing alternatives, including tougher sanctions, should negotiations fail,” Corker said.

The new extension would seek to reach an agreement on the broad political dimensions of a deal by March and work out the technical details by July 1. Iran is also still bound by an interim deal reached last year that froze its nuclear activity in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

A bill introduced early this year by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., would have imposed additional sanctions on Iran if it walked away from negotiations or violated the terms of that interim deal, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked senators from voting on it in February.

One of the concerns that prompted Reid to pull the bill was the administration's contention that holding a vote on additional sanctions before Iran did anything bad could scare off the Iranians from continuing to negotiate.

No such roadblock, however, will exist come January, something incoming majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted earlier this month. “What we ought to do, if we can’t get an acceptable agreement with the Iranians, is tighten the sanctions,” McConnell said, noting that while Reid prevented such a vote the last time, “that’s the kind of thing a new Senate would be voting on.”

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a skeptic of the negotiations, said he expects Republicans to vote quickly on a trigger for strict new sanctions on Iran, but that such a measure might get slightly tempered by the need for Republicans to get a handful of less hawkish Democrats on board in order to surpass a presidential veto -- which requires at least 67 votes.

“Republicans are going to be in a position where they’re going to have significant leverage to negotiate a tough bill. But the reality of the numbers is such that they still need at least 14, 15 Democratic senators to overcome any veto,” Dubowitz said.

That calculus, Dubowitz suggested, could lead to a rare moment of bipartisanship in 2015.

“I think those numbers are there but I also think that they’re probably only there if Republicans are willing to compromise,” he said.

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Dow and S&P Continue to Climb to Record Highs

Dow and S&P Continue to Climb to Record Highs

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 reached new record highs on Monday.

The Dow climbed 7.84 points to 17,817.90, and the S&P jumped 5.91 points to 2,069.41. The Nasdaq went up 41.92 points to 4,754.89.

Retailers were among the biggest gainers as traders hoped for a solid holiday shopping season. The consumer "discretionary" sector, which includes Coach, Urban Outfitters, and The Gap, led blue-chip gains.

Merck has entered a partnership with a small drug developer to research and manufacture a potential Ebola vaccine. The vaccine is under early development by BioProtection Systems, a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corp.A third of employees have to work on Thanksgiving, which is down slightly from 37% last year. The percentage of employees who work on Thanksgiving has been dropping over the past 15 years, as nearly half worked on Thanksgiving in 2000.

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Hagel Issues Statement to Defense Department on Resignation

Hagel Issues Statement to Defense Department on Resignation

Department of Defense/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo(WASHINGTON) -- Chuck Hagel announced on Monday that he is stepping down as secretary of defense.After President Obama accepted his resignation, Hagel issued the following statement to the men and women of the Defense Department:

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that this morning, President Obama accepted my letter of resignation.  I have agreed to continue to serve as Secretary of Defense until my successor is confirmed by the United States Senate.You should know I did not make this decision lightly.  But after much discussion, the President and I agreed that now was the right time for new leadership here at the Pentagon.  I want you to know that I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together.  We have prepared ourselves, our Allies and the Afghan National Security Forces for a successful transition in Afghanistan.  We have taken the fight to ISIL and, with our Iraqi and coalition partners, have blunted the momentum of this barbaric enemy.  We have come to the aid of millions of people around the world who have suffered the ravages of natural disaster and of disease.  We have worked tirelessly to sustain our all-volunteer force that has given so much during 13 years of war.  And we have bolstered enduring alliances and strengthened emerging partnerships, all the while setting in motion important reforms that will prepare this institution for the challenges facing us in the decades to come.  Most importantly, we have helped keep this country and our fellow citizens safe.  We have sustained the blessings of liberty our ancestors secured and upheld the oath we took.That work will continue.  It must continue.  The world is still too dangerous, the threats too numerous, for us to lose focus.  And even as I promised the President my full support going forward, so, too, do I promise that I will work hard to support you right up until my last day in office.  I owe you that. There will be time later to say farewell.  For now, please know how much I respect and admire your service and that of your families.  As I gather with my own family this Thanksgiving holiday -- a luxury I realize not all of you will enjoy -- it will be the privilege of having worked with you these last two years for which I will be most grateful.Thank you for all you do for this country.  God bless you. Happy Thanksgiving.Chuck HagelSecretary of Defense

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Governor Pleads for Calm Hours Before Ferguson Grand Jury Ruling

Governor Pleads for Calm Hours Before Ferguson Grand Jury Ruling

The Brown Family / Facebook(ST. LOUIS) --  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon pleaded for calm Monday night just hours ahead of a grand jury's decision whether to indict a Ferguson police officer in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.Nixon made a brief statement as the region waited tensely for the grand jury's ruling on Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9. Earlier in the evening officials aid the panel had concluded its deliberations.The decision is expected to be announced at 9 p.m. ET.

"Regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," the governor said.Nixon said he was in Ferguson earlier Monday. "It is understandable that, like the rest of us, they are on edge waiting for a decision."He said authorities were making sure the "best and most experienced officers" would be on the street tonight. "The Grand Jury hearing the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson investigation has reached a decision and it will be announced later today," the office of the prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County said on Monday.The panel must decide whether to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Brown on Aug. 9.The grand jury has been working on the case since Aug. 20 -- less than two weeks after the shooting -- meeting at least once every week.The question that the jurors had to answer was whether or not there was probable cause to believe that Wilson committed a crime when he shot Brown. If they decided that he was guilty of a crime, they could consider charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter up to first degree murder, the state prosecutor's office previously reported. The jury was also informed of the state statutes towards self-defense and the use of force by law enforcement officers.Authorities have been preparing for the decision for days and fear that the protests could turn violent, as some did in August following Brown's death. The Ferguson-Florissant School District canceled after-school activities on Monday because of news reports that the grand jury has reached a decision and canceled classes for Tuesday. Schools are closed for the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The FBI sent about 100 agents to the St. Louis area to help deal with any problems that could arise from the grand jury decision. They also released a memo earlier last week warning that extremists "will likely" try to infiltrate the demonstrations not only in Ferguson, but elsewhere around the country, and may use the verdict as an excuse to hack public utilities and other sites.Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had declared a state of emergency last week and called out the National Guard.Brown's parents have made repeated calls for peace and President Obama reiterated that message this weekend."Using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to the rule of law and contrary to who we are," Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday.

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List of Potential Host Cities for 2016 DNC Shortened

List of Potential Host Cities for 2016 DNC Shortened

Keith Spaulding/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The list of potential host cities for the 2016 Democratic National Convention has been narrowed down to three.Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., announced on Monday that Columbus, Ohio, New York and Philadelphia are the remaining contenders.“We are fortunate to have such a diverse and vibrant group of cities interested in hosting this special event and we thank Phoenix and Birmingham for showcasing their special communities," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia as we go forward.”

We're getting closer to a final decision on where we'll host @TheDemocrats' 2016 convention! Narrowed it down to Columbus, NYC, and Philly.

— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) November 24, 2014

The announcement came after a round of site visits by the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group to five cities.

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CPSC Chair Challenges Craigslist: It’s Time to ‘Step Up’

CPSC Chair Challenges Craigslist: It’s Time to ‘Step Up’

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark speaks with ABC News outside his San Francisco home in 2014. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a challenge to Craigslist to make its site safer for consumers following a joint investigation between ABC News and ABC affiliates across the country, which showed potentially hazardous recalled products for sale on the popular online ad site.

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement over the weekend that the ABC News investigation “independently corroborated the fact that Craigslist allows the sales of dangerous, recalled products.” He also wrote that the network’s reporting "also appears to have contributed to a potential new stance on safety by Craigslist.”Kaye called Craigslist’s current efforts to thwart dangerous product resales “clearly not sufficient” but said that he looks forward to meeting with company representatives.“To the extent that Craigslist is finally ready to step up in a genuine fashion to protect children from the sale of recalled products, my team is more than willing to work together with [Craigslist CEO] Mr. [Jim] Buckmaster's team. I look forward to receiving his letter and communicating with him directly on a possible path forward that will protect consumers, especially children,” wrote Kaye.

The joint investigation conducted by ABC News' 20/20 and 17 local affiliates revealed the Craigslist site is loaded with items that are illegal to sell because they have been recalled for safety defects. Other major reseller sites, like eBay and Amazon, employ robust technological safeguards to flag or block posts of recalled products -- measures Kaye said Craigslist refuses to match.But after ABC News started asking questions, Kaye said it appears Craigslist may be changing their stance.“I am aware that Craigslist has posted a letter regarding some new steps they finally plan to take to prevent the sale of recalled products -- many of which can be deadly to children,” said Kaye. “I am hopeful that CPSC and Craigslist can work together to make the online marketplace far safer.”Kaye’s statement was partly in response to an open letter posted online Friday by Buckmaster, which said that while he agrees the consumer product recall system is deeply flawed, he was “dismayed” by Kaye’s remarks in the ABC News reports, like when Kaye called the company “morally irresponsible” for not doing all it can to prevent the sale of recalled products.“You rightly lamented to ABC [News] that for a typical recall, 95 [percent] of the recalled items are still in the hands of consumers 5 years after the recall notice…These figures are utterly shocking,” the letter from Buckmaster says. “Imagine our dismay when you and ABC ‘came out shooting’ at craigslist. Last we knew from your representatives, earlier this year, we were taking all appropriate steps to reduce the number of free classified ads for recall items by craigslist users.”Buckmaster invited Kaye to San Francisco to “discuss how craigslist can further assist the CPSC in addressing product recalls.”Kaye's full statement is below:

I commend Brian Ross, his investigative unit at ABC News, and ABC affiliates across the country, which independently corroborated the fact that Craigslist allows the sales of dangerous, recalled products. The network's reporting also appears to have contributed to a potential new stance on safety by Craigslist.I am aware that Craigslist has posted a letter regarding some new steps they finally plan to take to prevent the sale of recalled products—many of which can be deadly to children. I am hopeful that CPSC and Craigslist can work together to make the online marketplace far safer.To the best of our knowledge, as confirmed by ABC News, Craigslist has programmed their system to stop only one recalled consumer product (the Nap Nanny infant recliner, which is responsible for numerous infant deaths) from being posted for sale on their website. By monitoring CPSC's weekly postings of recalls on our website, as many online retailers do, Craigslist staff can actively identify dangerous products that should be blocked on their site. If they can stop the recalled Nap Nanny from being resold, we believe that Craigslist can keep children and consumers safe by stopping transactions involving other hazardous products.After the reports by Brian Ross and ABC affiliates started airing, it appears that Craigslist added a caution notice when a seller selects the “baby and kids stuff” category. The warning states, ‘no illegal sales of recall items, e.g. drop-side cribs, recalled strollers.’ This is a positive step forward. Yet, even with the caution notice and link to CPSC’s website, sellers can still post most recalled items. Thus, that step alone is clearly not sufficient.To the extent that Craigslist is finally ready to step up in a genuine fashion to protect children from the sale of recalled products, my team is more than willing to work together with Mr. Buckmaster's team. I look forward to receiving his letter and communicating with him directly on a possible path forward that will protect consumers, especially children.Elliot F. Kaye Chairman U.S. CPSC

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Save Cash on Thanksgiving Dinner Despite Higher Food Costs

Save Cash on Thanksgiving Dinner Despite Higher Food Costs

John E. Kelly/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The price of Thanksgiving dinner might be going up, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank to get turkey and all the fixings on the table.This year, various foodstuffs popular around the holiday are more expensive -- including sweet potatoes, cream, milk and pumpkin pie mix.

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will cost $49.41, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, up 37 cents from last year.Chef Candice Kumai told ABC News that when it comes to deal-hunting around the holidays, she turns to her mom, Miho Kumai Gwiazdowski, to find out how to cut corners without sacrificing taste. If you're pinching pennies but also hosting, here's how to get the most bang for your buck:Skip the Sweet PotatoesThe price of sweet potatoes is up this year, but most guests will be plenty happy with an alternative starchy side: garlic mashed potatoes or potatoes au gratin, for example."Look in the ads and see which place has the best prices. Usually, you can get a 10-pound bag of russet potatoes during the holidays for a couple dollars!" Kumai said, noting that it's one of her mom's favorite money-saving tricks.If you're really craving the sweet potato side dish, consider mixing them with regular potatoes."You could take the sweet potatoes and combine them with a little bit of russet as well, and make a sweet potato mash," Kumai said. "If you're really on a budget you can combine things like that to bulk them up. And that way, you can still incorporate a little cinnamon and sugar, and do a sweet mash."Get Creative with DairyDairy is also more expensive this year, but there's a clever shortcut if you don't already have cream on hand."So everybody today usually has Greek yogurt or regular yogurt in their fridge," Kumai said. "And I typically put a little Greek yogurt in my mashed potatoes to keep them creamy, without adding extra milk or cream. So it saves on calories and you won't actually have to go out and buy milk.""That can take the place of everything from sour cream to milk and heavy cream," she added.Stock Up on TurkeyTurkeys are actually cheaper this year, so no need to skimp on the main part of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, Kumai recommends stocking up on the birds."Most shopping centers have this deal where if you spend $25 or $50 at the store, they give you a discounted turkey," she said. "They basically want you to buy your whole meal there.""My mom got a 20-pound turkey for $12 this year by doing that! She loves the deal so much that she buys two turkeys during Thanksgiving, because it's always cheaper, and then she freezes one for Christmas," she said.

Delegate DessertsThe price of pumpkin pie mix is up this year, but another popular sweet -- cranberries -- is cheaper. So keep that in mind when making desert.You might swap pumpkin pie for ice cream or sorbet topped with leftover cranberries, or cranberry cheesecake, Kumai said.Or, you can always ask someone else to bring the pie.Dilute Booze, But Don't Skimp on CoffeeIf the American Farm Bureau Federation's price estimate sounds cheap to you, it's probably because the group doesn't take alcohol into consideration.Drinks could end up being the priciest part of hosting dinner, Kumai said. She suggests offering wine spritzers instead of wine to save cash and stretch your supply. Plus, you'll reduce your risk of drunk guests."Especially because you don't want to drink and drive during the holidays," she added.The AFBF notes coffee prices are up this year, too, but that doesn't mean you can get away with only serving post-dinner tea."It's a personal preference thing," she said. "It's best to have both on hand. You can offer tea, but don't push."

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Two ISAF Troops Killed in Enemy Attack in Afghanistan

Two ISAF Troops Killed in Enemy Attack in Afghanistan

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Derec Pierson/Released(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two service members of the International Security Assistance Force were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday.ISAF said in a statement that the troops "died as a result of an enemy attack."Per ISAF policy, the identification of both service members has been deferred to national authorities.No other details were provided.

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US Military Conducts 24 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

US Military Conducts 24 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Stocktrek/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military continued its attack against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria over the weekend, launching 24 more airstrikes on Nov. 21-24.According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), seven of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed three fighting positions and two staging areas, damaged another staging area and suppressed four fighting positions. Two more airstrikes in Syria hit a headquarters building near Ar Raqqah.In Iraq, the remaining 15 airstrikes were spread out near al-Asad, Baghdad, Ramadi, Tal Afar, Fallujah and Hit, and destroyed various targets in those areas.CENTCOM said all the aircraft used in the attacks managed to exit the areas safely.

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Five Thanksgiving Health Hazards to Avoid

Five Thanksgiving Health Hazards to Avoid

Tetra Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Along with turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving serves up plenty of health hazards.

While the deadliest day of the year is Christmas, according to one University of California San Diego study, Thanksgiving has more than its share of pitfalls.

Read on for five big ones:Car AccidentsThis year, the National Safety Council predicted, there will be 418 traffic fatalities and another 44,700 injuries from car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That’s down from a high of nearly 500 crash-related deaths in 2008.More than 40 percent of holiday car accidents involve alcohol, according to the National Highway Safety Association. But more than 150 lives will be saved by seatbelts, the NSC said.Holiday Heart SyndromeOver-indulging on turkey day wine, especially if you’re older and obese, can disrupt regular heart rhythms leading to “Holiday Heart Syndrome” an American Heart Journal study showed way back in 1978.Further strain on the ticker comes from digesting a massive meal. As a recent University of California study found, cheering for a losing football team resulted in a 15 percent spike in heart attacks among men and a 27 percent spike among women.FiresMore than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, U.S. Fire Administration statistics revealed.One culprit: Deep-fried turkeys. Each year, they cause approximately five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and more than $15 million in property damage, the National Fire Protection Association reported.Food SafetyAmericans will consume 51 million turkeys on Thursday, Food Safety News reported. And if the bird isn’t fresh or properly cooked, many of them also risk serving up a side of salmonella.Cooking to an internal temperature of 165 degrees is the best way to avoid poisoning, FSN advised. As for leftovers, store them within two hours or toss them.PetsBecause turkey bones splinter, they can may choke dogs or cats, the Veterinary Medical Association warned.Dogs should also be kept away from any dish that contains onions, leeks or garlic because they are known to damage canine red blood cells. Likewise, raisins and grapes can induce kidney failure. And chocolate, especially vast amounts of the dark variety, can lead to serious gastrointestinal symptoms and even death in dogs.

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Ferguson Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Got Married Last Month

Ferguson Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Got Married Last Month

Dorling Kindersley/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The police officer who has been in hiding since fatally shooting a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in August has married his girlfriend.Officer Darren Wilson, who has not been seen in public since the Aug. 9 shooting, obtained a marriage license in October.Little is known about Wilson other than the fact that he was 28 years old at the time of the shooting and had been working as a police officer for six years.He had worked for the Ferguson police department for four years and had never received a disciplinary complaint.

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How Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Affected “Hunger Games Mockingjay 1″

How Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Affected “Hunger Games Mockingjay 1″

Lionsgate(LOS ANGELES) -- When Philip Seymour Hoffman died this past February, he was in the middle of shooting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.His death, of acute mixed drug intoxication, rocked his co-stars and colleagues."It was about as horrible a thing that can happen. It was just completely tragic. It threw us all," director Francis Lawrence told Vulture. "There were two substantial scenes that he had left, scenes with dialogue. All the other scenes he had were appearances in scenes where he had no dialogue."Hoffman, who was 46 at the time of his death, played Plutarch Heavensbee in the franchise films -- a role he originated in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Recreating him digitally was never even a consideration, Lawrence said."We decided to rewrite the scenes and give his dialogue to other [actors]," he explained. "There's a scene in Mockingjay Part 1 that Elizabeth Banks took over for, and there's a scene in Mockingjay Part 2 that Woody Harrelson took over for."Still, the loss of Hoffman created deep sense of sadness for everybody working on the project. Going to work became difficult."It was a really tough, emotional time," Lawrence said, "and tough getting back into work and trying to find a groove again."

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Can You Guess the State with the Biggest Spenders?

Can You Guess the State with the Biggest Spenders?

Tetra Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Americans approach prime shopping season, the impulse to spend beyond one's means will inevitably creep into some households. But some states are apparently more addicted to debt than others -- and they aren't necessarily the regions one might expect.An analysis of all 50 states and the District of Columbia released by personal finance network WalletHub that compared personal spending against cost of living and income revealed that the state blowing the most cash is Mississippi."Mississippi ranked highest due to a combination of spending more per capita than most other states on food, gas and health care, as well as ranking fifth in auto and credit card debt and third in percentage of population spending more than they make," said Raz Daraban, a spokesperson for WalletHub.Surprisingly, New York is at the opposite end of the spectrum in all but average home size and percentage of population spending more than they make, he added, categories in which the Empire State ranked 12th and 26th, respectively.But while those in the Magnolia State may be living large and accruing debt, the most moneyed individuals in the country actually reside in California.According to Wealth-X, a prospecting firm that focuses on ultra-wealthy intelligence, 13,445 ultra high net worth individuals -- defined as having $30 million and above in net assets -- reside in the Golden State.

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How Chuck Hagel’s Resignation Might Affect ISIS Fight

How Chuck Hagel’s Resignation Might Affect ISIS Fight

Department of Defense/Glenn Fawcett(WASHINGTON) -- Chuck Hagel’s departure as Defense Secretary will probably have a minimal impact on the administration’s three-part strategy to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria that is expected to take years.

Hagel had raised questions about the strategy’s lack of focus on the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad, but not about the president’s decision that American troops sent to Iraq will not serve as combat troops.Online supporters of the Islamic terror group ISIS have taken to Twitter to cheer the resignation of Hagel, claiming it was ISIS that forced him out.An Arabic-language hashtag that roughly translates to “ISIS toppled American Defense Secretary” has been used dozens of times on the social networking site, sometimes alongside images mocking Hagel and the Obama administration. It’s unclear if the social media-savvy terror group actually started the campaign, or if it was the just product of the group’s online supporters.Regardless of how ISIS supporters may want to interpret Hagel’s resignation, it does not mean the administration’s strategy to combat ISIS is about to change.

The three-part strategy is focused initially on pushing back ISIS’ territorial gains in Iraq by providing material support, and sending American military advisers to advise and train Iraq’a military forces.

There are currently 1,400 U.S. troops in Iraq and President Obama has authorized that those numbers could grow to 3,100 specifically for an advisory and training mission. The administration has been emphatic that these U.S. military personnel are not “boots on the ground” who will serve on the front lines as combat troops.The U.S. and some of its coalition partners are also conducting airstrikes in Syria to hold ISIS in check by attacking its logistical operations and training facilities that support ISIS fighters inside Iraq.The third part of the strategy plans to train as many as 5,000 Syrian moderate rebels to fight ISIS inside Syria. However, that training program in Saudi Arabia is going to develop slowly with the first trainees not returning to Syria until well into 2015.It is the administration’s policy that the American troops sent to Iraq will not be “boots on the ground” serving on the front lines as combat troops that has drawn the most criticism on Capitol Hill.Members of Congress like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have criticized the Obama administration’s strategy for locking itself into the concept that American ground troops will not be needed.Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has told Congress that there may come a time when U.S. military personnel may have to accompany Iraqi front line troops in the future. He has explained that major complex fights like the Iraqi effort to retake Mosul from ISIS might require U.S. forward air controllers who could help call in airstrikes.Hagel also raised concerns internally with the president’s national security team that the administration’s strategy did not address what to do about Assad's regime.In late October, Hagel would not confirm to reporters that he had sent a letter to National Security Adviser Susan Rice laying out those concerns. But he did acknowledge that the president’s advisers owe him their honest and direct advice.“We are constantly assessing and reassessing and adapting to the realities of what is the best approach -- how we can be most effective,” said Hagel. “That's a responsibility of any leader." And he said that advice has “to be honest and it has to be direct.”At that same briefing with Pentagon reporters, Hagel expressed concern that "Assad derives some benefits" from the coalition’s focus solely on ISIS. The strategic focus on ISIS has also disheartened moderate Syrian rebel groups who say the real threat to security in Syria is the Assad regime’s grip on power, not ISIS.But in a congressional hearing in November, Hagel said the administration was not considering a change to the ISIS strategy that would include action against the Assad regime.

“There is no change and there is no different direction,” Hagel told the House Armed Services Committee.Just last week, Dempsey acknowledged that the administration’s strategy will meet its long-term goals by adapting where needed.“The objective is not going to change, but I'm not obsessing so much about what's in the middle, because the middle is going to change,” Dempsey said.

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Google Maps Features to Ease Thanksgiving Travel

Google Maps Features to Ease Thanksgiving Travel

Google(NEW YORK) -- Google Maps released a few new updates this month that could come in handy just in time for the Thanksgiving rush.The latest iteration of the Google Maps app for Android now offers users the weather. While it's not necessarily that helpful for traveling to Grandma's house 20 miles away, having the extra guidance could make all the difference for holiday road trips.Another subtle but helpful Android update: Tap the pin that comes up for your destination, and you'll be treated to more details about the area.The small changes, which were first noticed by Android Police, come shortly after Google unveiled an aesthetic overhaul of the Maps experience.Aside from the new bold colors and layered experience, the latest Google Maps also includes Open Table integration, making it that much easier to make reservations.

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Slain Cleveland Boy’s Toy Gun ‘Indistinguishable’ from Real Gun: Cops

Slain Cleveland Boy’s Toy Gun ‘Indistinguishable’ from Real Gun: Cops

File photo. (blackred/Getty Images)(CLEVELAND) -- The toy gun a 12-year-old was brandishing when he was fatally shot by police was "indistinguishable" from a real weapon, Cleveland police said on Monday.Tamir Rice was shot and killed on Saturday at a recreation center after reports that he had a pistol and was waving it around. It turned out to be an "airsoft" gun and the orange tip at the end of the gun to indicate it was a toy had been removed, police said."Guns are not toys, and we need to teach our kids that," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a press conference Monday. "Our community needs to understand that."Police said they have offered to show Rice's family surveillance video of what happened when he was shot. They declined, but representatives for the family viewed the footage. That video will eventually be released to the public, police said.The officer was within 10 feet of the boy when he was shot, police said.

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Obama Announces Hagel’s Resignation

Obama Announces Hagel’s Resignation

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday praised the work of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he announced his resignation, saying Hagel determined “it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service.”As the lone Republican on his national security team and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve in the position, Obama explained that Hagel “has been no ordinary Secretary of Defense.”“He understands our men and women like few others because he stood where they stood, he’s been in the dirt, and he’s been in the mud. And that’s established a special bond,” the president said in the State Dining Room. “He sees himself in them, and they see themselves in him. And their safety, their lives have always been at the center of Chuck’s service.”The president said Hagel had been critical to helping his administration during a “significant period of transition,” as U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan and the Defense Department faces a host of budgetary challenges. The president also lauded Hagel’s role in tackling the immediate threat from ISIS and shepherding the administration’s response to the Ebola crisis.“Thanks to Chuck, our military is on a firmer footing, engaged in these missions and looking ahead to the future,” Obama said. On a personal note, the president thanked Hagel for showing how the two parties can come together.Recalling that Hagel traveled with him to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, Obama said “it’s pretty rare, at a time when sometimes this town is so politicized, to have a friend who was willing to accompany a nominee from another party, because he understood that whoever ended up being president, what was most important was that we were unified when we confronted the challenges that we see overseas, and that’s the kind of class and integrity that Chuck Hagel’s always represented.”“We come from different parties, but in accepting this position you send a powerful message, especially to folks in this city. And when it comes to our national security and caring for our troops and their families, we are all Americans first,” he added.Hagel will stay on until his successor has been confirmed by the Senate. The president has yet to announce whom that may be, but he did drop Sen. Jack Reed’s name during his remarks, who is believed to be on his short list.In brief remarks following the president, Hagel said it has been the “greatest privilege” of his life to lead the Defense Department.

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Report: Red Sox Finalizing Deals with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez

Report: Red Sox Finalizing Deals with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley RamirezBananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Red Sox have made quite the splash early on in free agency. Multiple outlets report that the Boston Red Sox are close to finalizing deals with free agents Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. ESPN reports th...

Budweiser Pulling Its Clydesdales from Holiday Ads

Budweiser Pulling Its Clydesdales from Holiday Ads

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Budweiser is keeping its Clydesdales in the stable.In a bid to stop the slide in Budweiser sales to young drinkers, the brand will not be using the traditional horses in holiday advertising.“The self-proclaimed King of Beers is more of an afterthought among young consumers,” says The Wall Street Journal. “Some 44 percent of 21- to 27-year-old drinkers today have never tried Budweiser, according to the brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV.”Instead, Budweiser will be overhauling its marketing campaign, introducing new commercials and sponsoring events like food and music festivals designed to get Millennials to put down their craft beers.

Anheuser-Busch did say, however, that the Budweiser Clydesdales will "be featured in next year’s Super Bowl advertising and are also a part of upcoming holiday responsible drinking advertising.""The Clydesdales play a strong role for the brand, representing Budweiser quality and care for more than 80 years. As icons of the brand -- and relevant symbols of integrity, perfection and team spirit for all generations -- they are important to the brand and our campaigns," Anheuser-Busch said in a statement Monday.

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