Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday remembered the three Baton Rouge police officers who were shot to death July 17 as courageous men he wished he had known.

     Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday assured the California delegation that after four days in Philadelphia, the Democratic party is unified behind Hillary Clinton. But deep rifts continued to divide those in the room, even as Holder delivered his feel-good message.

     Charlie Christian was born 100 years ago today.
     He was the most influential guitarist of the 20th century, though no one but musicians remembers him now.
     He was a great artist. He died of tuberculosis at 25.
     Today, as we glorify vile mediocrities around the clock, on TV-radio-internet-and-what-remains-of-our-newspapers, and dump billions of dollars on "musicians" who couldn't carry a tune in a basket, let me say a few words about Charlie Christian.
     Born in Bonham, Texas, raised in Oklahoma City, Charlie made his first guitar from a cigar box. No way to stop a guy like that.
     Talent-spotter John Hammond insisted that Benny Goodman bring him on stage at a club date in a Los Angeles hotel in August 1939. Hammond said that Benny, who had no patience for fools, shot him a venomous look as Charlie Christian walked onto the stage in yellow pants and a green shirt and plugged in his guitar.
     Benny — the top musical act in the country — called "Rose Room," a tricky little tune. But as Hammond said later, "Charlie had ears like radar."
     Charlie played about 20 solo choruses, improvising in a style that was later named bebop. Benny hired him on the spot, bumping Charlie's paycheck from $2.50 a night to $150 a week.
     Charlie Christian turned the musical world around before Charlie Parker did. Parker, our country's greatest and most influential musical artist, outlived Charlie Christian by only 12 years. He died at 34.
     The world remembers Charlie Parker today, thanks in part to the recently released double CD, "Unheard Bird," a terrific find, whose second disc is dominated by Latin tunes.
     Charlie Parker would have been a great artist without Charlie Christian. But on the centennial of the guitarist's birth, in a country whose guitar-dominated music has captivated the world for 60 years, and sucked billions of dollars from all of us, it's sad that virtually no one today, except for a few lonely musicians, remembers Charlie Christian, or listens to his music.
     I realize that in this time of global unrest — when the United States is staring at the real possibility that we may elect a fascist president — readers may howl that on a page devoted to legal news I devote space to a long-dead jazz musician.
     Surely, some readers will think, there are more important things to write about.
     I don't think so.
     "Jazz is freedom," Thelonious Monk said. "Think about that. You think about that."
     One reason among many that the United States has become the most powerful country in the world is that even before we were powerful, the world loved us. For our freedoms, of course, but also for our creative artists.
     More than anyone else, Mark Twain did this. He made fun of everyone. He traveled around the world making people laugh, and think, and the world fell in love with the United States.
     Now we are the most powerful country in the world, and though billions of people around the world still like us, billions more hate us.
     Why is that?
     Could it be that we are crushing the creative spirit, around the world, with bombs, drones, torture, and so on? And that we are doing it here at home, above all in our black communities?
     Now, before my many right-wing friends fire up their email — oh, yes, I have right-wing friends, even in Texas — I know that China and Russia and every other country in the world does this too.
     But I thought that one reason we are so proud of our country is that we are not like every other country in the world. For instance, Charlie Christian was born here. He lived and died here — when he was 25.

     Hillary Clinton — the first female presidential candidate from a major party — made her plea to voters and the vocal supporters of Bernie Sanders: "Your cause is our cause."

     What Democrats and Republicans lack in ideological common ground they make up for in bitter distrust among their internal factions, an intense love-hate relationship with the press and a prolific propensity for dishing out lanyards.

     Attorney General Ken Paxton says in a lawsuit that Austin is violating Texas' open carry laws by banning handguns at its city hall. 

     The European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellite captured this image of erosion, seasonal water accumulation and farmland outside the town of Bajestan, Iran.

     The FBI is investigating a previously undisclosed hack into computer systems at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

     Environmental groups voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after it deemed the Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin is in compliance with particulate matter pollution standards. 

     As the government contends with opposition to its guidance on transgender bathroom rights, 10 states and Washington, D.C., urged courts to deny the challenges.

     A Florida man sued the maker of Pokemon Go, claiming the popular game uses a "deceptive" terms-of-service contract to lure players into surrendering their personal information. 

     A decision this week to dismiss felony charges related to videos that painted Planned Parenthood as selling fetal tissue for a profit came as a surprise to the man behind the videos, who says he's ready to advance his anti-abortion crusade once again.

     A once-reviled predator is now being seen as a valuable fish in its own right, and as a potentially potent weapon against a more threatening intruder: the invasive Asian carp, which have swum almost unchecked toward the Great Lakes.

     A federal judge handed a major victory to Oracle in its copyright fight with another titan of the technology sector, Hewlett Packard. 

     Three former senior bankers were sent to prison Friday for their roles in concealing the loss of billions in deposits at the defunct Anglo Irish Bank, the biggest accounting fraud in Irish corporate history.

     A Texas man with a similar name as a high-ranking Sinaloa drug cartel member who was indicted in 2012 with "El Chapo" Guzman cannot prevail on his false arrest claim, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. 

     A server at California Pizza Kitchen who identifies as black-hispanic claims to have suffered race-based discrimination, including criticism of her "ethnic hair."

 

     Airbnb says in Federal Court that an ordinance in Anaheim requiring the home-sharing giant to screen hosts for short-term rental permits is unfair, and that the city should be going after the hosts instead. 

     A Utah woman claims in Federal Court that her use of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup caused her to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  

     The unemployment rate in the 19-state eurozone held steady at 10.1 percent in June and the jobless rate across the full European Union remained at 8.6 percent, Eurostat said Friday. 

     Eurostat estimated Friday that July's inflation rate in the eurozone will tick up a tenth of a point to 0.2 percent, driven by increases in the food, alcohol and tobacco sector. 

     The Fourth Circuit on Friday struck down North Carolina's restrictive voter ID law, ruling that it was enacted with "discriminatory intent." 

     Kansas must count potentially thousands of votes in state and local races from people who've registered without providing citizenship documents, a county judged ruled on Friday.

     Federal regulators asked a court to affirm their imposition of $38 million in fines against a defunct Pennsylvania energy firm they say manipulated the electricity market. 

     A Texan must remain in the former prison where the state houses civilly-committed sex offenders, a state appeals court ruled, reversing an order that found his detention unconstitutional and released him. 

     Courts shook up political bribery cases Friday as the Third Circuit advanced charges against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez while the Fourth Circuit put a pin in Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's retrial. 

     Six state employees are the subject of new criminal charges Michigan's attorney general announced Friday related to Flint's lead-contaminated-water crisis.  

     WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning could face indefinite solitary confinement for the rest of her 35-year sentence for charges stemming from a suicide attempt earlier this month, her lawyers said.

     The former general counsel for the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada must stop destroying digital evidence related to a fraud complaint, a federal judge ordered Wednesday. 

     More women have come forward claiming to have been sexually molested by a former dental assistant while they were under anesthesia, joining a dozen other victims identified by the San Diego District Attorney's Office.

     Carrier IQ's $9 million settlement with smartphone users who accused it of collecting their personal information is in limbo after a federal judge questioned how many people were informed of the settlement.

     A Hong Kong-based enterprise is exploiting the contract-based discounts available to cellphone consumers, Sprint claims in a federal complaint 

     Though the multibillion settlement tobacco companies reached with Minnesota in 1998 precluded their claims, consumers who tried to sue Philip Morris over Marlboro Lights claim in a federal class action that they are still awaiting compensation from the state. 

     New York City police officers "brutalized and killed" Denis Reyes in his apartment on May 14, 2015, the man's mother claims in court. 

     Storing massive amounts of carbon dioxide underground may be a more effective tool for limiting global climate change than previously thought, a study released Thursday says.

     A San Diego Police Department gang unit officer is dead and another being treated for injuries after the two were shot in the chest during a traffic stop late Thursday night.

     Three nephews of the late pop star Michael Jackson sued celebrity gossip website Radar Online for $100 million on Wednesday, claiming the site falsely accused their uncle of molesting them and then buying their silence to avoid a criminal investigation.

     Price Chopper's attempts to sell undersized lobsters in New York netted more than 1,100 pounds of seized goods since March, state regulators said Thursday.

     The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is seeking to block construction of a 1,000-mile pipeline in North Dakota that it says threatens its culture and promises to foul its waterways and sacred lands. 


     Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that the state likely has the first cases of Zika transmitted by mosquitoes on the U.S. mainland.


     After CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert told viewers that lawyers representing his old Comedy Central show said he couldn't be "Stephen Colbert" anymore, he thumbed his nose at them with a transparent dodge.

     The U.S. economy grew at a sluggish pace in the spring, with robust consumer spending offset in part by a dip in new housing construction.

     A judge dismissed all charges Thursday against the man convicted of killing Capitol Hill intern Chandra Levy, after prosecutors abandoned the high-profile case that ended the career of a popular California congressman. 

     Russia is to launch a last-ditch legal bid to reinstate 19 of its rowers who were banned from the Rio Olympics because of insufficient drug testing.

     Worried that Swedes aren't having enough sex, the government wants to analyze the bedroom activities of its citizens in a major new study.