Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. How will President Obama combat ISIS?
That’s the big question when the president goes prime-time Wednesday night to outline a plan against the jihadist extremists in Syria and Iraq. Here’s what we know he won’t do: call ISIS a “JV team,” categorize Iraq as a “stable” and “self-reliant” country, or delineate a “red line” in U.S. foreign policy that could haunt his administration again. As part of the White House’s effort to drum up regional support, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to meet with the new Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. He tweeted that an “inclusive government is a big step for Iraq.” Obama, meanwhile, will address the nation from the White House at 9 p.m. ET. Read more in POLITICS.
2. More Americans believe U.S. is less safe: poll
With the recent killings of American journalists by ISIS, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll shows we’re a nation on edge. According to the poll, 47 percent of Americans believe the country is less safe than before 9/11, and just 26 percent of Americans now feel the nation is actually safer than before the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. “The beheadings [of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff] are so chilling to the American public,” said one Republican pollster. “The only things I think of equal impact are the self-immolations back in Vietnam.” Read more in POLITICS.
3. NFL commish says he never got full Rice video
Commissioner Roger Goodell is under fire to resign after full video released Monday showed disgraced Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his now-wife in a casino elevator. Most calls for Goodell to step down have arisen from the suspicion that the NFL saw the video before suspending Rice only two games. Goodell claims that wasn’t the case, but there are still questions about whether the NFL legitimately launched a full investigation or took the earlier video — which didn’t show the full incident — at face value. Rice, meanwhile, who was suspended indefinitely by the league Monday, released a statement to ESPN saying he “has to be strong for my wife.” Read more at NBC SPORTS.
With all of the fallout over Rice, the Ravens said Tuesday it will hold a Rice jersey exchange:
4. Dad detained in deaths of five children
The father, Timothy Ray Jones, could be charged in the deaths of his five children, ages 1 to 8. The siblings had gone missing a week ago in South Carolina, and officials said they found a grisly scene Tuesday: five tiny bodies left off the side of an Alabama highway. Prosecutors say Jones, who was allegedly high on synthetic marijuana when he was tracked down in Mississippi, confessed and gave investigators the information that led them to the bodies. Notes allegedly referring to violence against the children were also found. Read more in NEWS.
5. Missouri man executed despite last-minute appeal
The state executed its eighth inmate this year — convicted murderer Earl Ringo Jr. After the recent controversy over the use of lethal injections, Ringo’s lawyer questioned Missouri’s use of the sedative midazolam prior to executions, claiming it could dull the inmate’s senses, leaving him potentially unable to express any pain. A three-judge panel late Tuesday refused to halt the execution, and Gov. Jay Nixon decided not to grant clemency. Read more in NEWS.
6. Apple unveils bigger iPhone and smartwatch
The tech giant made a splash Tuesday with its newest iPhone — two of them, in fact. The iPhone 6 is thinner with improved Wi-Fi connection, Apple said, while the iPhone 6 Plus boasts a bigger 5.5-inch screen. But it’s the Apple Watch getting a lot of the buzz. The smartwatch still relies on the iPhone to operate, and will go on sale “early next year” for $349. Read more in TECH.
… What’s trending today?
The Great White Way went dark for Joan Rivers on Tuesday night after the Broadway League reversed its earlier decision not to have Broadway theaters dim their lights. That initial announcement led to an outcry from fans of the Tony-nominated comedienne, who died last Thursday at age 81. While Rivers was a fan of the theater, her funeral on Sunday was “Hollywood all the way.”