Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters, talks with Steve Kornacki about the options being considered by the White House to address the problem of ISIS in Iraq while keeping any military action "limited in scope." watch
Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent, reports on the successful completion of a U.S. mission to send C-17s, escorted by F-16s, to drop humanitarian aid to refugees in Iraq fleeing aggression from ISIS forces. watch
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent talks with Steve Kornacki about the incursion of ISIS into Kurdish territory in Iraq, the relationship between the United States and the Kurds, and what's at stake if ISIS remains unchecked. watch
Breaking: U.S. military airdrops food and water for Iraqi citizens threatened by ISIL. The aircraft has now safely exited.
Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent, reports on the U.S. actions outlined by President Obama in his address to the nation regarding addressing ISIS aggression in Iraq and the humanitarian crisis of refugees fleeing deadly violence. watch
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of the IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, talks with Steve Kornacki about the concerns of American service members and veterans as they watch the response to the ISIS terror campaign in Iraq. watch
Patrick Murphy, former congressman and Iraq war veteran, talks with Steve Kornacki about concerns that the American military will be asked to deal with a problem in the ISIS terrorist group that really requires a political and diplomatic solution. watch
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, talks with Steve Kornacki about how the ISIS terrorist group has gained power and territory as it has progressed in a deadly campaign, and how they are likely to respond to U.S. threats. watch
Steve Clemons, Washington editor for The Atlantic, talks with Steve Kornacki about White House concerns of a genocide by ISIS in Iraq and the context of the Sunni and Shia tensions as they exist across international borders. watch
* Iraq: "President Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 members of religious minorities in Iraq, who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop where they took shelter after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, administration officials said on Thursday."
* Related news out of Iraq: "Sunni Muslim extremists punctured Kurdish defenses in a major offensive in northern Iraq on Thursday, seizing control of the country's largest Christian town and sending thousands of civilians fleeing in panic."
* Hawaii: "Hurricane Iselle continued to weaken but is still on track to slam into Hawaii island Thursday with damaging winds, torrential rain and coastal flooding.... Julio strengthened into a category 2 hurricane Thursday as it approached the Central Pacific and is following a similar path as Iselle, although its track is a little more northerly."
* A surprise trip to Afghanistan: "The Obama administration kept up pressure on the squabbling political rivals vying to be Afghanistan's next leader, dispatching Secretary of State John F. Kerry to Kabul on Thursday as an audit of disputed presidential election results ground on."
* Gaza: "A three-day ceasefire in Gaza that has brought relief to millions entered its final stretch on Thursday with Israel ready to extend the calm but Hamas hedging its bets."
* CDC: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said it is confident the United States would not experience an Ebola outbreak."
* Greene returns home: "The body of Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, the highest-ranking American officer to die in the Afghanistan War, was retuned to the U.S. on Thursday. The two-star general was shot and killed Tuesday by an Afghan soldier at the country's National Military Academy in Kabul."
* Related news: "The gunman who killed a U.S. Army major general and wounded several others at a military university in Afghanistan was identified by officials Wednesday as an Afghan soldier in his 20s who was carrying a NATO-issued assault rifle."
* VA: "President Obama on Thursday signed a $16.3 billion bill to overhaul the troubled Veterans Affairs Department, saying the country had a "sacred duty" to protect its military service members."
* Michigan murder case: "A jury found Theodore Wafer, the Michigan man who shot and killed unarmed black teen Renisha McBride, guilty Thursday of all charges in her death. Wafer, 55, was found guilty of second-degree murder, homicide, and one count of felony firearm."
* A $16-billion settlement: "After months of lowball offers and heels dug in, it took only 24 hours for Bank of America to suddenly cave in to the government, agreeing to the largest single federal settlement in the history of corporate America."
It's been two weeks since the public learned that Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) plagiarized much of a paper he submitted in 2007 while working on his master's degree at the United States Army War College. The controversy has done significant damage to his public standing, and this week, the Billings Gazette's editorial board urged the appointed senator to give up and stop seeking a full term this fall. The paper said quitting would be "the honorable course."
Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he is pulling out of the Senate race because his campaign was distracted by the controversy over allegations that he plagiarized a U.S. Army War College research paper.
Walsh, a Democrat, said he decided to drop out of the race. He had canceled campaign events this week as he and his family discussed what he would do.
Walsh will serve the remainder of his appointed Senate term, which ends in January.
It's a disappointing end to a promising political career. Walsh, a decorated veteran and the only Iraq war veteran currently in the Senate, also served as the adjutant general of the Montana National Guard and as the state's lieutenant governor.
To be sure, the Democrat, appointed to the seat after Max Baucus became the U.S. ambassador to China, faced a tough election campaign, and polls showed Rep. Steve Daines (R) as the favorite. That said, polls showed the race tightening a bit last month -- one poll showed him within seven points -- right up until the plagiarism story broke.
Stepping back, there are a couple of broader questions to this story to consider.
Last year, with the national debate over gun policy still raging and with the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre still fresh in Americans' minds, Stevie Wonder suggested he might try to buy a gun just to help demonstrate the ways in which current laws defy common sense. "Imagine me with a gun," the blind musician said. "It's just crazy."
As it turns out, not everyone agrees.
NRA commentator Dom Raso released an interesting video this week arguing that just because someone is blind, that doesn't mean he or she should be unarmed.
"The biggest concern I hear is having blind people carrying in public," Raso said. "Are you envisioning the person waving the gun around or pointing it at anybody for no reason? Because that's what it sounds like. Do you think because they're blind, they're going to start shooting in every direction and kill everyone? Fact is, it's been proven that people that lack vision have an increased awareness of their hearing and spatial surroundings."
Raso went on to describe a scenario in which a blind person might want to shoot an attacker trying to kill or rape him or her.
As it turns out, the NRA, which posted the video to its site and YouTube on Monday, took the commentary down this morning.
[O]n Thursday, the two-minute video was replaced by a six-word message: "This video has been removed by user."
An NRA spokesman did not immediately respond to a question Thursday about why the video had disappeared.
If you were eager to see the video the NRA quietly removed, you're in luck.