It's a tragedy almost too horrible to comprehend: Sixteen people, out for a breezy balloon ride on a sunny summer morning, killed in a fiery crash
. It happened this weekend in Texas, just south of Austin. The death toll -- 15 passengers and a pilot -- is the worst in U.S. history for a hot air balloon crash. And it just gets sadder as we learn more about the victims, including a newlywed wife who bought the balloon ride as a birthday gift for her husband. Officials believe the balloon hit power lines before it went down.
Donald Trump spent his weekend tamping down a fire: his criticism of the Muslim parents of a slain American soldier. Khizr Kahn memorably slammed Trump
during the Dems' convention last week, saying while his son gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, Trump had sacrificed nothing. Trump fired back, saying yeah, I've sacrificed
, like when I've hired people and built buildings. Um, OK. And to top things off, Trump suggested that Kahn's wife wasn't permitted to speak during their DNC appearance because of her Muslim faith. Wow. The blowback was harsh, especially from fellow Republicans, but there was still another round of what-he-said-is-awful-but-he's-still-better-than-Hillary-Clinton nonsense from some GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
3. Campaign 2016
The Trump campaign's throwing a flag on the upcoming presidential debate schedule. Two of the three debates scheduled for this fall
conflict with NFL games (just like in 2012). So Trump wants the debates moved
and accused the Clinton camp and Democrats of "trying to rig the debates." He even said he got a letter from the NFL complaining about it, something the league denies. But the debates are controlled by a nonpartisan group, not the political parties, and it said yesterday that, nope, it wasn't changing the schedule.
It's a matter of "when, not if" terrorists will hit Great Britain. That's the grim terror threat assessment
from London's top cop. Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said yesterday he has a "greater sense of fear" that the UK will be the next victim in a wave of seemingly never-ending terror attacks that have plagued Europe. But Hogan-Howe wasn't all gloom and doom. He said the UK's climate of tolerance and acceptance, good intelligence and strict gun control laws were helpful in keeping the bad guys at bay.
Yes, in the run-up to the Rio Games there's been nothing but stories about Zika
, crime fears
and Brazilian political turmoil.
But ready or not, the 2016 Olympic Games start this week. Over 10,000 athletes from 206 countries will compete for 4,924 medals across 42 sports over the next couple of weeks. So who should you keep an eye on as the Olympic flame is lit? We have a handy-dandy guide
that will get you up to speed, including sprinting superstar Usain Bolt's attempt at something called the "Triple-Triple."
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Somebody in New Hampshire is whole lot richer this morning. That's where the only winning ticket
for the $487 million Powerball jackpot was purchased.
When's the last time you saw a firefly? Yeah, it's been a while for us too. Spotting them is a lot harder now
, thanks to light pollution and other ills.
Drop it like it's hot
Who needs landing strips? The U.S. Air Force can just drop Humvees from a plane
5,000 feet in the air.
Harry Potter's back! A new book in the series
, based on the new London stage play, was released over the weekend. Pottermania predictably resumed.
Jon Stewart's back! Well, maybe in cartoon form. The ex-"Daily Show" host's next project is an animated parody
of a cable news network.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH
Here's what's coming up later
President Obama address the Disabled American Veterans national convention this afternoon in Atlanta.
Number of the day
What will be the final season
of HBO's mega-hit "Game of Thrones," the cable network announced over the weekend. The show just wrapped up season 6.
AND FINALLY ...
We can think of better things to do than jumping out of a perfectly good plane without a parachute. But that's exactly what this daredevil did this weekend.