Monty Brinton/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved(WASHINGTON ) — Aside from his acting and comedy career, Robin Williams, who died Monday, will be remembered for his generous USO tours to entertain the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement Monday night, “The entire of Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of servicemen and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD – so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.”

Retired Army General Carter Ham, who accompanied him on those tours, says the comedian will long be fondly remembered by the servicemen and women.

“He had this uncanny ability to make an instantaneous personal connection whether he was talking to a young soldier one-on-one or whether he was talking to an audience of several thousand,” Ham said. “I think he earned the love and the respect of the uniformed services and I know that personally I’ll miss him dearly.”

“During his performances I think what he hoped to bring was a couple of minutes of humor, a couple of minutes away from the seriousness of the mission that they were embarked upon and a moment to reflect, to bring a little bit of home to them,” Ham added. “Those who were able to see him and meet him in person I think detected that generosity of his spirit, the genuine nature of his, his love for the troops, his respect for them. I think that will long endure.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — While tighter security is in place in metro Atlanta school districts, the schools are in no rush to arm school employees under Georgia’s new open-carry gun law.

John Zauner, the executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, says most metro Atlanta school districts likely won’t make a move to arm their employees with guns. Besides the issue of liability, Zauner says arming staffers would require costly intensive training.

“Most school systems are probably not going to do that under the current circumstances in the law, because there’s probably too many issues and problems that could occur arming somebody who would need some extensive training,” Zauner said.

“That’s an issue that local boards are probably going to leave to the local law enforcement officials or their school resource officers,” he added.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Lawmakers in California are debating a law that could be used in investigating sexual assault allegations at universities.

The first-in-the-nation measure would require all colleges receiving public funds to set a standard for when “yes” means “yes.”

Each party would have to make an unambiguous decision to engage in sexual activity — silence, lack of resistance, or if the person is drunk, drugged, or asleep, would not constitute consent.

This new law consideration follows a White House task force report that found that one in five female college students is a victim of sexual assault.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — It’s not just celebrities mourning the death of Robin Williams — politicians are also reflecting on the life of the actor and comic.

Obama said in a statement, “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, “San Francisco mourns the profound loss of Robin Williams who inspired us with his comedy and art. His legacy has had a deep and inspiring impact on our City and on our residents.

His ties to San Francisco were deep, having found early success in our City’s comedy clubs with his popular stand-up routines and where he was destined to launch a successful career that included starring roles in classic television shows and big screen success including an Academy Award.

Despite his success, he has never forgotten San Francisco. He was a philanthropist who gave generously, and he was a friend of the City. San Francisco is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Robin Williams who forever changed the world with laughter and joy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of mourning.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted, “We will never forget how you made us laugh. Rest in peace, Robin Williams.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter, “Rest in peace, Robin Williams—a tragic ending to an inspired life and illustrious artist.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. government is taking steps to avoid repeating the rocky rollout of the Obamacare enrollment website.

On Monday, the White House announced it has assembled the ultimate Geek Squad, what it calls “a small team of America’s best digital experts” to rescue U.S. government websites.

The point: to make sure there will be no more embarrassments like Healthcare.gov’s debut, when thousands of applicants could not enroll.

The U.S. Digital Service “will work in collaboration with other government agencies to make websites more consumer friendly, to identify and fix problems, and to help upgrade the government’s technology infrastructure,” the White House said in a statement.

Mikey Dickerson, a former site reliability engineer at Google and one of the team members that helped fix Healthcare.gov, will head the new squad.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Mass.) — The president on Monday lauded Iraqi President Fouad Massoum for naming Haider al-Ibadi as Iraq’s new prime minister-designate, calling it an “important step” on the path towards a more inclusive government.

Mobilizing international support to combat terrorism in the region would be “easier” once a new government was put into place, the president said.

“I urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead,” Obama said during a news conference while vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard.

The president also reiterated his commitment “to partner in Iraq against…terrorist forces” in Iraq.

With the militant group ISIS poised to attack the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, President Obama authorized several rounds of airstrikes late last week.

The strikes, deemed necessary to protect the U.S. consulate in Erbil as well as locals fleeing ISIS, wiped out militants’ arms and equipment. Meanwhile, accompanied by U.S. fighter jets, Air Force cargo planes dropped food and water to refugees stranded on a nearby mountain.

Obama once again promised that U.S. ground troops, which were withdrawn in 2012, will not be sent back, saying on Monday that “the only lasting solution…is for Iraqis to come together to support a new and inclusive government.”

Though critics remain skeptical that the president can accomplish his goals in Iraq without the use of ground forces, Obama insists there is no U.S. military solution to Iraq’s slew of problems. Instead, the U.S. will let the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces take the lead in pushing back against the ISIS surge and working to create a more inclusive government.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t afraid to be called a socialist. In fact, the Vermont Independent proudly labels himself a Democratic socialist.

“Do you hear me cringing? Do you hear me running under the table?” Sanders said rhetorically when asked if Democratic socialist is an accurate description.

Sanders is so delighted with his brand of politics that he said in an interview with ABC News that it would be a “damn good platform” on which to run for president.

“If the American people understand what goes on in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and other countries, they will say, ‘Whoa, I didn’t know that!’” he said, pointing out that health care is considered a right, “R-I-G-H-T,” among even the most conservative politicians in Denmark.

Sanders described his credo as a fight to protect America’s working class from what he sees as the threat of an approaching “oligarchic form of society.”

“You have today in America more income and wealth inequality than any time in this country since 1928 and more than any major country in the world,” he said. “So, you got the top 1 percent owning 38 percent of the wealth in America. Do you know what the bottom 60 percent own? 2.3 percent.”

“You know what that is?” he continued. “That’s called oligarchy.”

Though Sanders isn’t making any secret of his possible 2016 presidential bid, he said he’s still determining whether he could generate a sufficient level of grassroots support on which to build a campaign.

“Look, it’s easy for me to give a good speech, and I give good speeches,” he said. “It is harder to put together a grassroots organization of hundreds of thousands of millions of people prepared to work hard and take on the enormous amounts of money that will be thrown against us.”

One of Sanders’ most likely competitors, should he choose to seek the Democratic nomination, is Hillary Clinton. And while Sanders praised Clinton for a successful career, he was critical of the Democratic Party’s seeming coronation of the former secretary of state.

“She has accomplished a lot of very positive things in her career, but I’m not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people,” Sanders said.

Though he stopped short of criticizing Clinton directly, he said she is not a sufficient champion of his message for the middle class.

“What I’m telling you is that this country has more serious problems today than any time since the Great Depression,” he said. “Those are the real issues that we’ve got to start dealing with.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t afraid to be called a socialist. In fact, the Vermont Independent proudly labels himself a Democratic socialist.

“Do you hear me cringing? Do you hear me running under the table?” Sanders said rhetorically when asked if Democratic socialist is an accurate description.

Sanders is so delighted with his brand of politics that he said in an interview with ABC News that it would be a “damn good platform” on which to run for president.

“If the American people understand what goes on in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and other countries, they will say, ‘Whoa, I didn’t know that!’” he said, pointing out that health care is considered a right, “R-I-G-H-T,” among even the most conservative politicians in Denmark.

Sanders described his credo as a fight to protect America’s working class from what he sees as the threat of an approaching “oligarchic form of society.”

“You have today in America more income and wealth inequality than any time in this country since 1928 and more than any major country in the world,” he said. “So, you got the top 1 percent owning 38 percent of the wealth in America. Do you know what the bottom 60 percent own? 2.3 percent.”

“You know what that is?” he continued. “That’s called oligarchy.”

Though Sanders isn’t making any secret of his possible 2016 presidential bid, he said he’s still determining whether he could generate a sufficient level of grassroots support on which to build a campaign.

“Look, it’s easy for me to give a good speech, and I give good speeches,” he said. “It is harder to put together a grassroots organization of hundreds of thousands of millions of people prepared to work hard and take on the enormous amounts of money that will be thrown against us.”

One of Sanders’ most likely competitors, should he choose to seek the Democratic nomination, is Hillary Clinton. And while Sanders praised Clinton for a successful career, he was critical of the Democratic Party’s seeming coronation of the former secretary of state.

“She has accomplished a lot of very positive things in her career, but I’m not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people,” Sanders said.

Though he stopped short of criticizing Clinton directly, he said she is not a sufficient champion of his message for the middle class.

“What I’m telling you is that this country has more serious problems today than any time since the Great Depression,” he said. “Those are the real issues that we’ve got to start dealing with.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is warning against fitness trackers such as FitBit, citing privacy concerns.

The senator has called on the Federal Trade Commission to regulate the massive quantity of data tracked by wearable fitness devices.

“Personal fitness bracelets and the data they collect on your health, sleep and location, should be just that — personal,” Schumer said in a statement on Sunday.

“The fact that private health data — rich enough to identify the user’s gait — is being gathered by applications like FitBit and can then be sold to third-parties without the user’s consent is a true privacy nightmare,” he said.

FitBit stores data on users’ walking, exercise and sleep habits, encouraging users to reach activity benchmarks, such as 10,000 steps per day. The San Francisco-based company claims its users “take 43% more steps with FitBit.”

A representative for FitBit told Business Insider the company is “committed to our users’ privacy and [welcomes] the opportunity to work with Senator Schumer on this important issue.”

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Kendra Helmer/USAID(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton is attempting to separate herself from some perceived foreign policy missteps by the Obama administration, including the decision not to provide arms to moderate Syrians early during their conflict with President Bashar al-Assad.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time Assad’s forces began their crackdown on pro-democracy advocates, said that the administration’s failure to provide weapons “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

At the time, the White House was concerned that heavy artillery and other lethal arms would fall into the hands of al Qaeda groups who are also fighting in Syria to depose Assad’s government.

Clinton, a possible candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said she also disagrees with Obama’s light-handed approach on U.S. foreign involvement following 13 years of fighting in two overseas wars.

However, Clinto was quick to praise the president as well, saying, “He’s thoughtful, he’s incredibly smart, and able to analyze a lot of different factors that are all moving at the same time.”
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