AP Top Political News At 7:21 a.m. EDT

Russia's gains cloud Obama's assurances to Baltics
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security. But his objectives will be clouded by the West's inability to halt the Russian aggression in Ukraine that has stoked fears in other former Soviet republics....

US military targets Islamic extremists in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- U.S. military forces attacked the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation in Somalia on Monday, the Pentagon said, in a strike a Somali official said targeted the group's fugitive leader....

Blackwater legacy: a faint memory of Nisoor Square
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The summer-long trial of four Blackwater security guards in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqis has been a grim retelling of lives snuffed out and the daily life-and-death decisions amid the chaos of war....

Surly 2014 electorate poised to 'keep the bums in'
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to "keep the bums in," with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted Nov. 4....

Obama seeks to do no harm to Democrats in midterms
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hampered by low approval ratings and an unfriendly electoral map, President Barack Obama enters the fall campaign as a liability to some vulnerable Democrats and a target for Republicans trying to fire up conservatives and appeal to disillusioned independents....

2016ers jockey even before congressional elections
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- One set of elections ends in early November as another begins when presidential hopefuls cross the unofficial starting line in the 2016 race for the White House....

Buyer's remorse on Common Core for policymakers?
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Millions of students will sit down at computers this year to take new tests rooted in the Common Core standards for math and reading, but policymakers in many states are having buyer's remorse....

50-state look at how Common Core playing out in US
A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards:...

Marijuana's hazy contribution to highway deaths
WASHINGTON (AP) -- New York teenager Joseph Beer smoked marijuana, climbed into a Subaru Impreza with four friends and drove more than 100 mph before losing control. The car crashed into trees with such force that the vehicle split in half, killing his friends....

5 things to know about driving on marijuana
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The legalization of recreational marijuana in two states - Colorado and Washington - and medical marijuana in more than 20 others has raised concern that there will be more drivers stoned behind the wheel. What's not clear is whether that will translate into an increase in fatal crashes. Five things to know about marijuana and driving:...

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Blackwater legacy: a faint memory of Nisoor Square

Russia's gains cloud Obama's assurances to Baltics

5 things to know about driving on marijuana

Marijuana's hazy contribution to highway deaths

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

Obama notifies Congress of airstrikes in Iraq

Surly 2014 electorate poised to 'keep the bums in'

US trained Alaskans as secret 'stay-behind agents'

Lawmakers: Islamic State groups wants to hit US


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