ISIS: Beheadings are Back… And Other News

ISIS Beheading

ISIS claims in a new video released Tuesday to have executed Steven Sotloff, the American journalist who was shown in last month’s video execution of James Foley.

In the last video, the terrorist group threatened Sotloff would be killed unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes in Iraq. Turns out, they weren’t messing around. Last week, the 31-year-old freelancer’s mother released a video plea to the group to spare her son. “As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over,” she said. Unfortunately for her, ISIS doesn’t appear to be human, so appealing to them as a mother was fruitless. Next up: a British national named David Cawthorne Haines, who ISIS threatened to execute after Sotloff’s beheading. But President Obama isn’t scared. Proclaiming the U.S “will not be intimidated” by the Islamist militants, Obama vowed that the U.S. will “degrade and destroy [ISIS] so that it is no longer a threat to Iraq, the region, and United States.” CNN

Hello KittyAnd in equally important news, it turns out Hello Kitty is not actually a cat. What!?! This is a cat-astrophe! Little girls and all of Japan were devastated to hear that the adorable little cartoon character is actually a human. Hello Kitty creator Sanrio confirmed that she’s actually a little girl who even has her own pet cat, Charmmy Kitty. Her real name is Kitty White, she has a twin sister and is perpetually in third grade. Plus, she lives in London — not Japan, despite the character’s identification with that country. I refuse to believe this. If she’s not a cat, why is she a cat? She has whiskers and cat ears. Third grader Brits don’t look like that. Case closed. People

ukraineCeasefire in Ukraine…. maybe. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president (and the Chocolate King), declared Wednesday that a “lasting ceasefire” had been agreed on in eastern Ukraine following a phone call with Vladimir Putin. But not so fast… what does Russia have to say about this? Putin said that he and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had agreed on the broad outlines of a seven-point peace settlement that would at least temporarily freeze the conflict on the ground. Poroshenko then revised his statement to say, “The parties reached mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace.” Poroshenko said he would order a ceasefire on Friday, paving the way for implementation of a “stage-by-stage peace plan” for his country. The deal between Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists is conditional on one thing though: Ukraine, Russia and Europe’s OSCE security watchdog must all attend a meeting on Friday in Minsk. The rebels also said they were ready to declare a truce Friday if an agreement with Ukraine is reached. So hopefully no one skips the Minsk meeting… Washington Post

Ted Cruz and Rafael CruzTalk about embarrassing fathers! And embarrassing sons for that matter… Rafael Cruz, the father of Tea Party darling and anti-Canadian Sen. Ted Cruz, has made some Clive Bundy-like comments. The Conservative activist argued that African-Americans need to be “educated” to oppose minimum wage laws, saying that “the average black” does not understand that the mimimum wage is bad. “If we increase the minimum wage, Black unemployment will skyrocket,” Cruz said during a speech to the Western Williamson County Republican Club in Texas last month. “See, he understands it, but the average Black does not.” The elder Cruz then went on to sell black voters on the GOP, telling the audience about the time he told a black pastor that “every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South” and blacks “need to be educated” about this stuff. I don’t think that’s the best way to reach out to the African American community and expand the GOP’s base, but I guess that’s something the average Cruz doesn’t understand. Raw Story

McBrideTurns out you can’t always shoot an unarmed black teenager and get away with it. The white suburban Detroit homeowner accused of shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride dead on his porch when she came looking for help after a car accident has been found ultra guilty. Theodore Wafer, 55, was sentenced to a mandatory two years for felony firearm usage followed by concurrent sentences of seven to 15 years for manslaughter and 15 to 30 years for second-degree murder. Translation: he will serve at least 17 years in prison before being eligible for parole. “I do not believe that you are a coldblooded murderer or that this case had anything to do with race,” Judge Dana M. Hathaway told Wafer as she handed down the sentence. “I do believe that you acted out of fear, but an unjustified fear has never been an excuse for taking someone’s life.” The Michigan man’s attorney has said he is remorseful and thought the intoxicated McBride was an intruder when he shot her through his screen door. Little did he know, intruders tend not to knock first. LA Times

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