President Obama blurred his own “red line” on Syria’s chemical weapons, saying the ultimatum belonged to the world.
On the international stage, Iran indicated that it might unleash Hezbollah or possibly kidnap Americans if the president ordered military strikes on Syria.
Here’s a recap, or wrap, of the week that was from The Washington Times
• Obama says ‘red line’ on Syria belongs to the world
Seeking to enlist more global partners for a U.S. military strike against Syria, President Obama on Wednesday found himself in a fresh debate over whether he was backing away from his own “red line” on the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
After strongly criticizing the foreign policy of President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama suddenly finds himself in a position similar to that of his predecessor: potentially leading a largely isolated U.S., minus many of its key allies and against the will of other countries and of the United Nations, into armed conflict in the Middle East.
• Christian bakers who refused cake order for gay wedding forced to close shop
A husband-and-wife bakery shop team in Oregon were forced to close their shop doors and move to cheaper digs — their home — after gay-rights activists hounded them and drove away contract business because they refused for Christian reasons to bake for a same-sex wedding.
Aaron and Melissa Klein own and operate Sweet Cakes by Melissa. In the past few months, they’ve faced heated scrutiny — some in the form of physical threats — from those in the gay-rights crowd who decried their May refusal to bake for a lesbian couple who wanted to marry.
• Texan who killed man raping his daughter will not face murder charge
A Texas father will not face murder charges for killing a man with his own bare hands after he discovered the suspect raping his 5-year-old daughter in a remote barn.
A Lavaca County grand jury decided not to charge the 23-year-old father, whose name was withheld, in the June 9 death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47, citing Texas state law where deadly force is authorized and justified in order to stop an aggravated sexual assault, the Daily Mail reported.
• Obama’s foot on Oval Office desk sends shockwaves around the world
Shock, outrage and mocking criticism is building among conservatives — and those of other political stripes who put the White House and its possessions on a historical pedestal – over a photograph showing President Obama in an informal pose, with his foot on his Oval Office desk.
The desk hails back from 1880, a gift from Britain’s Queen Victoria. And even its construction is special: It was built with wood from the sunken Arctic Rescue Ship, the HMS Resolute. But to Mr. Obama, it’s a good place to rest his feet, as The Daily Mail reported.
• Liberals reject Obama’s case for Syria strikes; believe Obama and Kerry are lying
President Obama’s liberal activist base is adamantly opposed to military strikes in Syria, according to a new survey the Progressive Change Campaign Committee released Wednesday.
PCCC says more than 57,000 of its activists weighed in, and 73 percent of them opposed the U.S. taking action in Syria. Just 18 percent supported strikes, and just 14 percent said the U.S. should go ahead unilaterally if it can’t find any allies.
• KKK and NAACP secret meeting ends with membership ties
In what’s being billed as a historical first, the president of the Casper, Wyo., NAACP met recently behind closed doors with an organizer of the KKK chapter from Great Falls, Mont. — and the meeting actually ended with a crossover membership.
The Ku Klux Klan organizer actually paid $50 to join the NAACP, in order to learn more about the civil rights group’s views, The Associated Press reported.
• James Carville: It’s Bush’s fault liberals aren’t backing Syria strike
James Carville went toe-to-toe with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Wednesday night, suggesting that the reason President Obama hasn’t received overwhelming support from liberals is because of former President George W. Bush’s “incompetence” in Iraq.
• Mystery drone seen hovering over Virginia warehouse fire
It wasn’t flying for long and it’s unclear what it was doing, but at least one witness spotted a drone hovering over a six-alarm fire at a warehouse in Alexandria, just miles from the Pentagon.
Robert Rapanut of Alexandria said he was near the scene of the blaze that destroyed a warehouse in the 800 block of South Pickett Street when he saw an object rise. He took out a camera and photographed it.
“I just saw some black thing go up” Mr. Rapanut said. “It was up maybe two or three minutes. It hovered over the roof of the Red Lobster” a few hundred feet east of the fire.
• Toy helicopter kills teen in Brooklyn: report
A model helicopter hobbyist was killed Thursday when a remote controlled helicopter cut off the top of his head in a Brooklyn, N.Y., park.
Victim Roman Pirozek, 19, “was known to be aggressive in his flying and often executed tricks. He was executing a trick when he was struck,” the official said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Pirozek was flying the remote-controlled helicopter at Calvert Vaux Park when it struck him, killing him instantly. His father was with him at the time of the accident, the official said.
“He was the best person ever he had the biggest heart,” Mr. Pirozek’s sister, Amy Pirozek, told the Journal. “I think he was just doing it because it was his day off.”
• Senate-crafted Syria resolution riddled with loopholes for Obama
Senators on Wednesday tried to write a tight resolution authorizing President Obama to strike Syria under very specific circumstances, but analysts and lawmakers said the language still has plenty of holes the White House could use to expand military action well beyond what Congress appears to intend.
“Wiggle room? Plenty of that,” said Louis Fisher, scholar in residence at the Constitution Project and former long-time expert for the Congressional Research Service on separation of powers issues.
• Ariel Castro dead: Ohio man who held 3 women captive for a decade kills self in prison
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio corrections officials say Ariel Castro who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade has committed suicide at a state prison facility.
Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says 53-year-old Castro was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
• U.S. accused of ‘betraying the Internet’ for NSA encryption cracking
The U.S. government stands accused of “betraying the Internet” by using financial incentives, secret courts and outright theft to acquire the digital keys to widely used computer encryption technologies upon which e-commerce and Web privacy depend.
“By subverting the Internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the [National Security Agency] has undermined a fundamental social contract” between web users, the companies that connect them to the Internet, and the governments that hold the ring in that relationship, said Bruce Schneier, a computer engineer who writes a widely read blog, Schneier on Security.
• Iran’s fury: Ready to unleash Hezbollah, kidnap Americans if U.S. strikes Syria
The debate over whether Congress approves the Obama administration’s plan to strike Syria for its use of chemical weapons is being watched nowhere more closely than in Iran, where the notoriously opaque political leaders are wrestling over whether — and how — to retaliate.