Firefighter Brilliantly Shuts Down Cop Who Attempts To Violate His Rights

By Cassandra Fairbanks, The Free Thought Project – Philadelphia, PA– Tony Soto, Pennsylvania fire fighter was pulled over for his tinted windows, and stood his ground brilliantly in a series of videos uploaded on March 25 which quickly went viral. “Look, I pay my taxes. You work for me.” In the first video which was captured via personal dash cam, the officer claims that he pulled Soto over for a couple of reasons.  The first reason being his tinted windows- which Soto quickly invalidates by showing him his tint permit.  The officer next claims that the man’s headlight is out, which Soto asserts it was not and he’s right. Upon receiving the information proving Soto broke no laws, the officer attempts to illegally open the marshall’s door. Soto requests a supervisor as the officer is attempting to violate his constitutional rights, and pulls out his identification as well as his fire...

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FBI at Texas Health Commission Asking About 21CT Deal

By Terri Langford and Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune – FBI agents have interviewed employees at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission about its problematic contract with Austin firm 21CT, Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek told The Texas Tribune, marking the first time an official with direct knowledge of the federal probe has confirmed it. “I can tell you what I know. I’ve heard they were here talking to people. They have not talked to me,” Janek said late Thursday. How little-known 21CT landed a $20 million Medicaid fraud tracking software deal with HHSC, a whale of a state agency that spends billions each year on contracts, has become the center of three very public investigations launched since December. The probes began after news reports detailed how the commission failed to seek competitive bids before awarding the contract to 21CT, and how the commission’s then-deputy inspector general, Jack Stick, was once a business partner of the company’s lobbyist, James Frinzi. HHSC had selected 21CT...

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Scientists Developing Healthier, Better-Tasting Chocolate

By Richard Moss, Gizmag – Good news if you’re hooked on chocolate. Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium and the University of Ghana have developed a new technique for making chocolate that results in it being both healthier and more flavorful. The technique differs from conventional chocolate production in that cacao beans are roasted at a lower temperature and bean pods are left unopened for five days rather than split open right away. It is expected to be particularly useful in countries where cacao beans have less natural flavor and antioxidant activity. Cacao beans/seeds are normally removed from their pods shortly after these get cut from cocoa trees. The beans then go through a fermentation process that basically involves them sweating in baskets for a number of days, which causes a series of chemical changes that break down the sugar and plant embryo and prepare them for the next...

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World’s Largest Contiguous Marine Reserve Created to Stop Illegal Fishing

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government announced the creation of the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve on Wednesday, protecting 322,000 square miles around the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific. To put that in perspective, that’s three and a half times the size of the United Kingdom and bigger than the state of California, according to National Geographic. Pitcairn’s residents implored the UK government to protect the area, which is threatened by illegal fishing. “No fishing or seafloor mining will be allowed in the reserve, except for traditional fishing around the island of Pitcairn by the local population,” according to Enric Sala, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence who led an expedition to the area in 2012 that helped make the scientific case for the area’s protection. The UK leads the world with the highest percentage of its territorial waters (30 percent) under protection (it, of course, helps to be...

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Governor Christie Told This Man To ‘Sit Down And Shut Up’ But He’s Running For Office Instead

by KIRA LERNER – During a Belmar, New Jersey press conference last October, Gov. Chris Christie famously told Jim Keady to “sit down and shut up” when Keady and others protested the governor’s failed Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. Keady is not listening to the governor. Instead, he announced last week that he’s running to represent New Jersey’s 30th District in the state Assembly. While reexamining the state’s hurricane recovery efforts would be a priority, the restaurant owner and activist with the New Jersey Organizing Project told ThinkProgress he would use the position to advocate for fixing the state’s failing pension plan, reforming the education system and advocating for the environment of his hometown — all with input from constituents. “The devastation of the storm was visceral to me — I saw it, I smelled it, I crawled through it — which is why I took particular umbrage with the governor yelling...

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Revulsion and Revolt: Backlash Against Indiana’s Pro-Discrimination Law Grows

‘To see folks actively speaking out and taking a stand, people you never thought would say something about it, it says a lot.’ by Jon Queally – If you want to see the band Wilco play this Spring, you won’t be doing it in Indiana. Joining other artists, businesses, sports fans, municipal and state governments, and untold numbers of individuals, the popular rock band’s decision to cancel an upcoming concert in the state was an explicit move to support the #BoycottIndiana movement which has sprung up in response to a new pro-discrimination law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence last week. Wilco’s decision comes as equality and civil liberties advocates continue to mobilize against Indiana’s recently passed ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),’  and is now part of a wider revolt against the controversial law, and others like it, across the country. “We’re canceling our...

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The Big Lie The Media Tells About Indiana’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

by JUDD LEGUM – On Friday, the Washington Post published an article titled “19 states that have ‘religious freedom’ laws like Indiana’s that no one is boycotting.” The article snarks about organizations like the NCAA that have protested Indiana’s law, noting “the NCAA didn’t say it was concerned over how athletes and employees would be affected by Kentucky’s RFRA when games were played there last week.” The piece concludes “Indiana might be treated as if it’s the only state with a bill like this, but it’s not.” The piece has been shared over 75,000 times on Facebook. The Washington Post article largely mirrors the argument advanced by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Pence claimed “Then state-Sen. Barack Obama voted for . The very same language.” The same argument is parroted on Fox News and elsewhere. It’s not true. The Indiana law differs...

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Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents Causing Dire Consequences, Expert Warns

By Cole Mellino , EcoWatch – Climate scientists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf announced the findings of their new study yesterday, which shows that the rapid melting of the polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly since 1970. The scientists say “the slowdown in ocean currents will result in sea level rise in cities like New York and Boston, and temperature changes on both sides of the Atlantic,” reports NPR’s Jeremy Hobson. Mann, who is a professor and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, joined Hobson yesterday on Here and Now to discuss the study and the implications of its findings. Mann explains the consequences of the Gulf Stream shutting down and how it would drastically alter the climate in Europe and North America. The last time this happened, about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America and Europe went back...

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‘No Worse Than Bombing An Abortion Clinic’: Anti-Vaxxers Celebrate Murders Of Four Polio Vaccinators

by VALERIE BEAUMONT – The anti-vaccine crowd may be dangerously and irreparably stupid, but it is surprising that even this particular mob of willful scientific illiterates and conspiracy theorists would stoop to actually celebrating the deaths of other humans. Unfortunately, this is the point the anti-vaccine movement has reached. Last week, gunmen opened fire on a team of polio vaccinators in southwestern Pakistan. Four of the workers died, and police were forced to halt a much-needed immunization drive. Pakistan is one of the few countries left where polio is a regular threat and, while vaccination teams have helped the situation some, violent extremists have seized upon the opportunity to lash out against what they view as a  “conspiracy of Jews and Christians to make Muslims impotent and stunt the growth of Muslims.” Anti-vaxxers have long touted supposed “sterilization agents” in vaccines — false claims that could only be believed by the...

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State Attorneys Tell Supreme Court That Gay People Are Too Powerful To Have Equal Rights

by IAN MILLHISER – Gay Americans simply have too much political power to be afforded equal rights under the Constitution, according to a brief filed by the state of Ohio asking the Supreme Court to permit that state to continue to practice marriage discrimination. Ohio’s claim comes as part of a greater effort to convince the justices that laws which discriminate again gay men, lesbians and bisexuals should not be treated with skepticism by courts applying the Constitution’s guarantee that everyone shall be afforded “the equal protection of the laws.” Under this provision of the Constitution, most forms of discrimination are entirely permissible. It is acceptable, for example, for the government to discriminate against unqualified job applicants when making hiring decisions, or to discriminate against people who commit serious crimes in deciding who to incarcerate. When the government discriminates against groups that have historically been subject to unequal treatment that...

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I’m Running for Senate (VIDEO)

by TammyDuckworth – Ten years ago, I nearly lost my life when an RPG tore through the cockpit of my Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq. The only reason I made it home was because of the heroism of my courageous buddies who risked their lives to save mine. I have an obligation to honor their sacrifice by making the most of this second chance in my life – this bonus time – and continuing to serve our nation, in any way I can. That’s why I’m announcing today that I’m running to represent Illinois in the United States Senate. Watch the announcement video below to learn more about why I’m running, then sign up to join the campaign from Day 1. We deserve elected officials who will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me in Iraq: look out for our hardest hit and most vulnerable, work together...

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Willie Nelson Plans To Sell You Weed In 2016

By DEBORAH MONTESANO, Addicting Info – Willie Nelson has an act to top anything he’s done yet. He’s going to open his own chain of marijuana stores in 2016. Who else to trust with delivering a primo product than the man who, at 81 years of age, is America’s best-known pot smoker and legalization advocate? The man who sang “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.” The man who famously smoked a doobie on the roof of the White House. Nelson’s stores are going to include his own brand, Willie’s Reserve, as well as other carefully selected varieties — brands of weed that meet his high standards. He’s hired pot lobbyist Michael Bowman to be the spokesperson for Willie’s Reserve. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bowman said: This is a culmination of Willie’s vision, and his whole life. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted how fast the dominoes...

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‘This Must End Now’: Web Companies, Rights Groups Call for Immediate Halt to Bulk Data Collection

In letter sent to President Obama and other officials, coalition demands urgent reform to US Patriot Act by Lauren McCauley – More than 50 technology companies, privacy and human rights advocates on Wednesday sent a letter (pdf) to U.S. President Barack Obama, members of Congress, and other executive  and intelligence officials demanding immediate curbs to government surveillance and an end to the bulk collection of citizens’ communications under the U.S. Patriot Act. “It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability,” reads the letter. The diverse coalition—which includes groups such as the Brennan Center for Justice, Mozilla, Center for Media and Technology, Wikimedia Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American-Arab...

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Opposition Grows as Shell Drilling Fleet Heads to Arctic Waters

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says “there is a 75% chance of one or more large spills” occurring By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams – Marking 26 years since the Exxon Valdez ran aground spilling as much as 38 million gallons of oil into the Port William Sound in Alaska, activists last week protested the Obama administration’s continued support for Arctic oil exploration. Despite the known threat to the fragile Arctic ecosystem and high risk of a devastating oil spill, the Department of the Interior is expected as early as Wednesday to sign off on the revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for Shell’s Chuckchi Sea lease, which would clear a major hurdle for the company to restart its Arctic drilling program this summer. Interior Secretary Sally Jewel’s formal announcement will follow last month’s approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which was given despite the agency’s own EIS finding that “there...

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Georgia Legislature Drops Plans For ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill After Watching Indiana Implode

by JAMESON PARKER – Let nobody tell you that your voice doesn’t matter. Nowhere is that more clear than in Georgia this week where the state’s Republican-majority legislature quietly killed their very own “religious freedom” bill after watching their fellow conservatives in Indiana go down in spectacular fashion for passing a similar law. According to WXIA in Atlanta, the Georgia House Judiciary Committee cancelled a scheduled meeting meant to discuss the pending legislation. The bill is effectively tabled, with support dissolving at an almost hourly rate. Sensing shifting sands, the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Joshua McKoon frantically called on his fellow lawmakers to vote on the bill “as-is” as soon as possible before it was too late. So far, no one – left or right – has seemed eager to take him up on his offer. If you want to understand what happened in Georgia, we need look no further...

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Republicans Call Obama A Greater Threat To America Than Putin And Assad (VIDEO)

by KERRY-ANNE – President Barack Obama poses an imminent threat to the United States greater than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, say a third of Republicans responding to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month. 2,809 Americans were asked to rate the threat level posed to the U.S. by several countries, organizations and individuals on a scale of 1 to 5 (one being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat). There were some bizarre results. 34% of Republicans ranked Obama as an imminent threat to America (equal to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) – scoring him higher than Putin (25%), Assad (23%) and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini (27%). While Putin’s Russia has been accused of annexing the Ukraine, and Assad stands accused of using chlorine gas against his own people, GOP voters see a greater threat coming from the Obama White House. The only things Republicans found...

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Syria’s President Assad: US Airstrikes a Recruiting Bonanza for ISIS

The Americans would like to ‘sugar coat’ the situation, says Bashar al-Assad, but the situation in his country is only being made worse by airstrikes and the funding of extremist groups by outside forces by Jon Queally – In an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on CBS News’ 60 Minutes Sunday night, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said American airstrikes that began last year against Islamic State (or ISIS) inside his country are doing little to benefit his own fight against the militant force but are having the undesirable side effect of increasing the number of fighters from across the region (and the world) who are flocking to join the group. “How much of a benefit are you getting from American airstrikes in Syria reducing the power of ISIS?” Rose asked in the interview that took place just days ago in Damascus. Al-Assad responded by pointing out that the U.S. government...

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Hillary’s Challengers – and the Anti-Wall Street Wave

by Richard Eskow – Former governor Martin O’Malley and former senator Jim Webb spoke at a firefighters’ union event earlier this month. Both are the subject of renewed press interest as they contemplate entering the presidential race. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been publicly weighing a run. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is being encouraged to enter the race. All four have criticized Wall Street’s unethical practices and undue political influence. Leading contender Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has not. Should that worry Democrats? O’Malley Moves In On a swing through Iowa last week, former Maryland governor and presumed presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said that “we must not allow another Wall Street meltdown to bring down hard-working families.” He once again called for reinstating Glass-Steagall, the bill that prevented big banks from investing (some would say gambling with) customers’ savings, adding “that too many Democrats have been complicit in the backslide toward less regulation.” “Seven years after the Wall Street meltdown,” added O’Malley, “Americans are still experiencing the fallout.” O’Malley has been circumspect about challenging Hillary Clinton, the presumptive frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. But the implications of his words weren’t lost on insiders. The bill, which effectively repealed Glass-Steagall, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Citigroup, the megabank...

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HBO’s Scientology Documentary Uses The Church’s Own Tricks On Viewers

by ALAN PYKE – It has been mocked repeatedly and accused of a variety of abusive practices toward its members over the years, but Scientology’s ability to attract devoted, decades-long followers has never quite made sense in previous depictions of the organization. Now, the source of that mysterious power to attract sensible people and retain them for a lifetime is laid plain — and for a lot less than the suggested donation at an entry-level Scientologists’ meeting. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief debuts March 29 on HBO. It is no small thing to take on the Church of Scientology, as Anderson Cooper, the Internal Revenue Service, the creators of South Park, and many others have learned over the years. So when HBO decided to engage the esoteric, cult-like group in a documentary, the network didn’t skimp. Going Clear is the product of a collaboration between lauded, veteran...

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New Bill Would Have Teachers Diagnose Psychological Issues in Children and Report them to Police

By Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project – Dallas, Texas – Texas State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) is once again in the spotlight after submitting yet another Orwellian proposal, H.B. 985. Villalba first raised the ire of civil libertarians by proposing a bill, H.B. 2006, which would have eliminated the religious exemption for vaccination, essentially creating a forced government vaccination program without exception. More recently, Villalba was thrust into the national spotlight when he proposed H.B. 2918, which would usurp citizens of the ability to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions. The bill would negate the people’s ability to create an accurate and impartial record of police interactions by restricting citizens from filming within 25 feet of an officer. Now with H.B. 985, Villalba intends to give school officials the authority to force psychological screenings of students that teachers and staff diagnose as having mental health issues. Once...

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Rise and Shine

 

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Lindsey Graham Tried Defending The 1% And He Failed – Badly

by WENDY GITTLESON – After Mitt Romney’s disastrous run for president in 2012, instead of running directly toward the 1%, Republicans have been doing a waltz. On one hand, they try to be the party of good ole’ boys and on the other, they tell the good ole’ boys to ignore the fact that the Republican (and many of the Democratic) candidates are still being led by 1%. Lindsey Graham, who hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, told a crowd in Concord, NH that it isn’t the 1% we should care about at all. Instead of taxing the 1% at a greater rate, Graham said we should have a flat tax. Graham said a system in which the wealthiest 1 percent pays 20 percent of the taxes, the top 10 percent pays 65 to 70 percent and the bottom half of taxpayers pays less than 10 percent “is going to fail.”...

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Renowned Scientists Urge Museums to Drop Climate-Denier Donors, BP Dumps ALEC

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – The Natural History Museum is a New York-based organization that provides online and mobile programming, and exhibits intended to “affirm the truth of science” and call attention to the “political /funding climate” in the science museum community. It has no multimillion-dollar signature building, expensive exhibits with benefactors’ names next to them on gold plaques or an admission price that will set a family back $100. But it’s taking aim at those science and natural history museums that do, questioning the integrity of accepting funding from donors with an interest in and history of refuting scientific research on issues like climate change—donors like the Koch Brothers of the fossil fuel-driven Koch Industries. The group has issued an open letter to these museums from members of the scientific community, urging them to cut such ties. It points to the Code of Ethics for Museums, adopted in 1991 by the Board of...

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“A Letter to Christians in Indiana, From Jesus” (VIDEO)

by DocDawg – These are dark, difficult times in which to be a follower of Jesus. Not because, as in some times past, we are persecuted by Pharisees, or by Roman emperors, or by those who would suppress heresy, or by Nazis, or by imaginary demons. Rather, these are difficult times in which to be a follower of Jesus because so many who claim to be our fellows have moved so far, so publicly, from our faith’s teachings, and in doing so have tainted the rest of us, in the world’s eyes, with the same poison they themselves have succumbed to. As a North Carolinian in this new Dark Age, there are two fellow North Carolina Christians I increasingly often turn to for comfort and inspiration when I find myself sickened by and despairing over the actions of some of those who call themselves my brothers. One is Rev. William J....

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Schumer’s Choice: To Succeed Reid, He Must Back Iran Deal

by Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed – Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has announced that he will not run for re-election. Reid has endorsed Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) to succeed him as Democratic leader. But in order to succeed Reid as Senate Democratic leader, Schumer is going to have to pay a price: he’s going to have to back President Obama’s multilateral diplomacy with Iran, which Bloomberg reports could produce a “framework agreement” this weekend. Some of Senator Schumer’s New York constituents might not like that, but as the soldiers say, they’ll just have to “embrace the suck.” Senate Republicans may think it’s ok for them to try to undermine a diplomatic agreement. But the prospective leader of Senate Democrats isn’t allowed to do that. On Thursday, Schumer officially became a co-sponsor of the main Republican bill in the Senate designed to blow up the Iran talks: the Corker-Menendez...

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After National Church Makes A Move On Marriage Equality, Presbyterian Congregations Receive Threats

by JACK JENKINS – Last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA), or PC(USA), officially voted to fully embrace marriage equality as a denomination, a historic move celebrated by LGBT advocates and lay Presbyterians alike. But just a few days after the pivotal vote, four different Presbyterian churches in southeast Missouri received an unsigned letter condemning homosexuality and threatening to attack congregations that embrace same-sex marriage. The letter, written in all capital letters and riddled with typos, opened by citing a passage from the biblical book Leviticus condemning same-gender sex. The author then issued a chilling warning to area churches who host same-sex weddings. “People U (sic) had better turn around or your soles (sic) are going down…” the letter read, which was photographed by local news affiliate 12 KFVS. “Any church that accepts this , should be burned to the ground, any pastor who performs such marriage (sic) should be...

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Monsanto Hit With Fine for ‘Genetically Contaminating Wheat Supply’

By ANTHONY GUCCIARDI, NaturalSociety – After paying an original sum of $2.4 million to reimburse farmers for contaminating their fields with genetically modified wheat that had not even yet been approved for farming, Monsanto has been forced to pay another $350,000 in order to settle a class action lawsuit brought upon by numerous farmers from over seven different states. The news comes amid economic struggles for the biotech juggernaut that have resulted in the loss of share value and poor projections for the long-term future. In last year’s fourth quarter, Monsanto reported a loss of $156 million. And for the multi-billion dollar company, it’s not about the monetary figure, but the future of its genetically modified creations that the public just simply isn’t buying. In the latest legal settlement, we find that Monsanto’s new method of simply paying off farmers just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to international...

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The Political Legacy Of Steve Nash

by TRAVIS WALDRON – Steve Nash, two-time NBA MVP and future Hall of Famer, formally announced his retirement, writing in The Players’ Tribune that after 19 years in the league it is finally time to hang it up. “I will likely never play basketball again,” Nash wrote. “It’s bittersweet. I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else. This letter is for anyone who’s taken note of my career. At the heart of this letter, I’m speaking to kids everywhere who have no idea what the future holds or how to take charge of their place in it. When I think of my career, I can’t help but think of the kid with his ball, falling in love. That’s still what I identify with and did so throughout my entire story.” The 41-year-old Nash is in the final season of a contract...

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It’s Time to Rethink America’s Relationship With Israel

Maybe Israeli politicians will act more responsibly if they don’t have the American people to fall back on by Sheldon Richman – The Benjamin Netanyahu on display in the days before and after the Israeli election is the same one who has been in power all these years. Right along, he was there for all to see, so no one should have been surprised by his performance. I seriously doubt that anyone really is surprised. Americans who slavishly toe the Israeli and Israel Lobby line may act surprised, but that’s really just their embarrassment at having to answer for the prime minister of the “State of the Jewish People.” Democrats especially are in a bind. They can’t afford to distance themselves from Netanyahu and alienate Jewish sources of campaign donations, yet they are visibly uncomfortable with his so openly racist fear-mongering about Israeli Arab voters—”The right-wing government is in danger. Arab...

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Carly Fiorina Blames Economic Struggles On Workers ‘Watching Porn All Day Long’ (VIDEO)

By SHANNON BARBER, Addicting Info – Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and likely GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is following in the footsteps of her fellow Republicans by going on television and saying stupid things. On Sunday, Fiorina went on the favorite network of the right to opine on the economy after telling Fox host Chris Wallace that the chances of  her running for president are “higher than 90 percent.” Fiorina used her technological experience as a reason she’d be a great candidate, saying that it was “because I understand technology: a transformational tool, because I understand bureaucracies, how they work and how you need to change them. And our government is a huge bureaucracy.” Okay, I’ll give her that. What she said about technological knowledge is true – that is most definitely important in this day and age. However, what she Fiorina said after that files her firmly into the camp of morons...

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Indiana’s New Anti-Gay Law Made Company Cancel $40M/1000 Job Expansion

By SARAH, Addicting Info – Ever since Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a “religious freedom” bill allowing businesses to turn away LGBT customers, many companies have taken this as a cue to take their business out of Indiana. One business in particular, Angie’s List, a $315 million company based out of Indianapolis, Indiana is canceling expansion, and may even be thinking about moving out of the state altogether. The company, which allows users to review businesses online so that people know what they’re getting when they hire someone into their home for repair work, care-giving, and other in home services, is in disagreement with the passage of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” CEO Bill Oesterle is canceling a $40 million deal that was going to expand their headquarters and add 1,000 jobs over five years. Oesterle said: “We’re going to be very vocal on this issue and I don’t feel we can do that...

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On This Day, Mar 30, 1981 – President Reagan Shot

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by a deranged drifter named John Hinckley Jr. The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahaney was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital. The president was shot in the left lung,...

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Schumer’s Road to the Top Greased by Donations to Colleagues

By John Dunbar, Center for Public Integrity – It’s not what they teach in civics class, but the best way to snag a leadership position in Congress is by giving generously to one’s colleagues. By that measure, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is well-positioned to be the next Senate Minority Leader. Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democratic leader in the Congress’ upper chamber,  said this week he will not run for re-election in 2016, prompting speculation as to his potential successor. Two senators — Schumer and Dick Durbin of Illinois — have risen to the top of the list. Schumer’s leadership political action committee, known as “IMPACT,” doled out almost $1.5 million from 2010 through 2014, according to data gleaned from the Federal Election Commission by the Center for Public Integrity. The total includes at least $720,000 donated to Senate Democrats. Durbin’s Prairie PAC gave away $1.3 million from 2010...

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Charles Barkley And Reggie Miller Condemn Indiana Anti-Gay Law, Urge NCAA To Move Final Four

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his fellow Republicans are facing one hell of a backlash over the anti-gay law passed they passed on Thursday, and now former NBA greats Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller are blasting them for it. Charles Barkley has made many ignorant statements on the issue of racism over the last few months, but he may have redeemed himself at least a little bit by slamming Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act in a statement to USA Today in which he urges the NCAA to move the March Madness Final Four tournament out of the state. “Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me. As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.” But an even bigger condemnation of the anti-gay law...

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Rooibos Preserves Wine Naturally Without the Use of Synthetic Chemicals

By Radha McLean, EcoWatch – Wine just got healthier. The African vintner Audacia has invented an all-natural way to preserve red wine using rooibos wood taken from the eponymous tea-producing plant that is native to Africa. Sulphur dioxide and other synthetic materials are traditionally added to wine to act as preservatives that lengthen the shelf life of the alcoholic beverage. This plant-based preservation method eliminates the need for artificial additives. “I see it being drunk all over the world,” Audaicia owner Trevor Strydom told Reuters. “We registered the patent in 83 jurisdictions worldwide, we are already exporting the wine to China.” Strydom first tried rooibos in the form of tea — rooibos tea has grown in popularity in the past decade as health-minded tea drinkers have discovered its rich, earthy taste that is 100 percent caffeine-free. He began experimenting with the preservation process by putting tea bags in wine, which led to the...

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Evangelical Compares Transgender Individuals To Pinocchio: They Need To ‘Repent’ Identity

 By  SARAH, Addicting Info – There are a lot of things I can read on the internet and just brush off as crazy talk. However, with transgender individuals taking their own lives at such an alarming rate this nonsensical article needs to be combated. A man by the name of Owen Strachen, who is the President of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (who knew that was a thing?) decided he would write a piece titled, “Transgender Identity — Wishing Away God’s Design.” Well, first off, he’s Southern Baptist, so we already know he very male-centric, because women aren’t even allowed to have leadership roles within their church. In fact they write in their position statement: “While Scripture teaches that a woman’s role is not identical to that of men in every respect, and that pastoral leadership is assigned to men, it also teaches that women are equal in value to men.” You just said...

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National #BoycottIndiana Movement Drives Officials to Backpedal on Anti-LGBTQ Law

‘It feels like we’re going back 50 years in time,’ one protester said of state-sanctioned discrimination by Lauren McCauley – Indiana lawmakers are scrambling to backpedal as a fierce backlash has taken hold against Republican Governor Mike Pence since he signed into law legislation that effectively permits discrimination against people thought to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Under the handle #BoycottIndiana, LGBTQ activists and supporters across the nation are vowing economic retribution against the state. The so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” signed into effect on Thursday, prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations. Critics say that the measure protects individuals or businesses that violate anti-discrimination laws. Across the state, stickers have already begun appearing in storefront windows that read: “This business serves everyone.” On Saturday, hundreds of activists rallied outside...

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Renewable Energy Growth Mitigates Climate Change While Boosting Economy, IEA Reports

By Steven Cohen, EcoWatch – The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced this month that 2014 carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector leveled off — the first time in 40 years this has happened without being linked to an economic downturn. According to the IEA: “Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The preliminary IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth — including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy — are producing the desired effect of...

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Why Jeb Bush’s Wealth is a Problem in the GOP Primary

by TDDVandy – Being rich.  In the party of the rich, you would think it wouldn’t be a problem, but it is. At least, it’s a problem if you’re actually running for office.  Jeb Bush has a Mitt Romney problem, though maybe it’s not the one you think. Well, okay, maybe he does have that problem.  It’s not a big jump, after all, from suggesting that maybe we ought to repeal the minimum wage to Mitt’s infamous 47 percent comments.  Both Jeb and Mitt seem like they’re totally out of touch with average Americans who are struggling to make ends meet. But being an out-of-touch rich guy is a problem for the out-of-touch rich guys who constitute the GOP’s donor base.  Remember, a lot of them were looking for alternatives to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to John McCain in 2008.  And was there ever a more out-of-touch rich guy than...

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A Constructive Role for Congress on Iran

by Ken Sofer – The United States and its negotiating partners—known collectively as the P5+1—are just days away from a potential agreement to halt Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. This is a critical moment that could peacefully resolve one of the most vexing national security threats the United States has faced over the past two decades. On such a critically important national security issue, the president must lead. Congress should also continue to play a role, but it must be a constructive one. Iran came to the negotiating table because President Barack Obama and Congress worked together to impose some of the most restrictive and effective economic sanctions the world has ever seen, such as the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. President Obama simultaneously assembled an international coalition—including Russia, China, and some of Iran’s biggest customers, such as India and Japan—to stand united against Iran’s nuclear...

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Leap Luxury Buses Start Rolling in San Francisco

By Paul Ridden, Gizmag – This past week, natural gas-fueled buses from private transport company Leap started making their way through San Francisco along the company’s first route, dubbed the Lombard Express. Rather than squeeze as many people as possible into a mobile sweat box, the high-end Leap buses are decked out like a swanky coffee shop and include a number of technologies to support today’s gadget obsessed commuter. Leap says that its buses are specifically aimed at making the commute from home to office a stress-free and comfortable one. Its first route stretches from the Marina district to downtown San Francisco, with four stops along the Lombard Street corridor and four more between Clay Street and Howard Street. The service doesn’t follow a strict timetable, passengers can find the nearest stop and track each bus in real time using an iOS/Android companion app. Information on the number of...

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Florida Man Accused Of Killing His Grandmother Tells Judge He’s a ‘US Agent’

By RANDA MORRIS, Addicting Info – A 27-year-old Florida resident who is accused of killing his grandmother on March 18, appeared in court on Friday. During the hearing, Patrick Campbell told Circuit Court Judge Terence Perkins that he is a “United States Agent.” “I have completed a sanctioned target and I have a sanction in hand for the matter at hand,” Assistant public defender Matt Phillips asked the judge to appoint him to represent Campbell, following the odd statement. Campbell replied: “I have a sanction, I’m fine. Thank you, sir.” Campbell is accused of killing 64-year-old Darlene Robertson, before driving off with her car. Robertson was his grandmother. Neighbors say he was either living with or visiting her, in recent weeks. According to family members, Patrick Campbell suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. An attorney who previously represented Campbell on a driving offense charge, also said she believes he is mentally ill. Here’s video...

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Is the F-35 Fighter Jet a Trillion-Dollar Fiasco?

By Bryan Myers & Sheila MacVicar, Al Jazeera – SUNRISE MANOR, Nev. — On the outskirts of Las Vegas, the full array of U.S. airpower is on display at Nellis Air Force Base — from proven workhorses like the F-15 and F-16 to more modern aircraft like the F-22. Parked alongside the runway, you’ll also find the latest addition to America’s military arsenal. Billed as the future of manned airpower in the U.S., the F-35 is a product of the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history. According to one Pentagon report, the price tag will reach $1.4 trillion. The Pentagon has bought about 150 F-35s, even though the plane isn’t cleared for combat — in military speak, operationally capable. Eventually, the Air Force is expected to buy more than 1,700 F-35s, with the Navy and Marine Corps purchasing nearly 700 more F-35s modified for them. Congress and the military believe...

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The Sunday Funnies & Factoids

by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, 03/29/15 – Happy Sunday.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope this week’s edition of my SF&Fs finds you happy and healthy. Spring has finally arrived after a brutal winter and moods seem to be elevating some….. have a great rest of your weekend and week ahead and, in the meantime, jump into some absolutely useless facts.   1) In 1891, London built a structure designed to surpass the Eiffel Tower in height. It was unsteady, never completed and demolished in 1907. 2) King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love, the daughter of a cloth merchant. She became the Queen of Norway. 3) African-American men were not deemed equal members of the Mormon Church until 1978…… Really?  That would imply that The Church of Jeeeebus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are somehow archaic….. tell me it isn’t so. 4) A safe...

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‘Family Values’ Tea Party Republican Accused Of Threatening His Wife

By JAMESON PARKER, Addicting Info – Pro-life, pro-family values conservative and former director of the South Carolina Republican Party Todd Kincannon has been investigated by police after his wife claimed he threatened her well-being and then refused to let her out of his car. How very pro-life, pro-family values of him. According to the Charleston City Paper, police were summoned to Kincannon’s house in Columbia, South Carolina, “regarding a possible domestic incident.” The deputy met with Kincannon, who said he and his wife had gotten in an argument about him “touching leg at a work function.” The report notes that Kincannon “denied any physical altercation and had no signs of such.” The officer then spoke with Kincannon’s wife, Ashely Suzanne Griffith, who said that they “have a history of unreported domestic violence.” She said she was “extremely fearful” of Kincannon and described him as being “extremely ‘traditional’ and...

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Feds Appeal Judge’s Order to Protect Gray Wolves

Crucial part of ecosystem, predators were removed from endangered list in 2011, just starting to repopulate By Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera – The Obama administration and two states plan to appeal a federal judge’s order that returned legal protection to gray wolves in the Great Lakes region. Michigan filed its appeal this month with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., a day after Wisconsin did the same. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service filed notices earlier in February to strip legal protections for the species, which it said has exceeded recovery goals. This was the latest of four attempts since 2003. In December, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said the management plans of the three states that allow sport hunting of the wolf (Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota) don’t provide enough protection, and noted that the animal had not repopulated its historic range. The gray wolf was removed from the...

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Netanyahu’s Victory Is a Victory for Palestinian Solidarity Movement

by Ajamu Baraka – The cover of respectability that obscured the brutal and immoral reality of the Israeli colonial project may have been permanently ripped away by Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry declaration that if re-elected, there would never be a Palestinian state and his racist rant on election day against his own citizens who happen to be Palestinians. Many people in the U.S. and Western Europe were shocked by Netanyahu’s comments. However, for those of us who are aware of the platform of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, the only thing that was surprising was his candor. The rejection of a viable Palestinian state has always been Likud’s position, a position well known in Israel and the basis of Likud’s appeal, but rarely acknowledged and never discussed in the U.S. corporate media. But it is not just the Likud Party – there has never been a serious commitment to a two-state solution from any...

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Anti-Obamacare Sheriff Now Says He Needs $60,000 For Medical Bills, Still Refuses To Get Insurance

by JAMESON PARKER – Not content to merely cut off his nose to spite his face, an Arizona conservative sheriff has chopped off his whole head to spite Obama. Recently, Sheriff Richard Mack, who brands himself as the “Constitutional Sheriff,” had a major heart attack. Thankfully, he survived, but was left in crippling debt from medical expenses. No problem, you might think. The new healthcare laws under the Affordable Care Act help prevent this exact thing from happening. Mack is just luckily he had his heart attack after the law was enacted. . . .but not so fast. Mack never got health insurance under the ACA. He abstained from becoming insured as an expression of protest against the “socialist” Obamacare. Or as Mack put it on a recent radio show: Well, I don’t care what you call it, it’s a socialistic program that I totally disagreed with and still do, and as...

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Climate, Rick Scott, and Mitch McConnell

by Christopher Brauchli – Blind and naked Ignorance Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed, On all things all day long. — Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Merlin and Vivien There are two ways to attack climate change. One comes from Rick Scott of Florida and the other from Mirthful Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. They attack the same problem with different weapons. It all revolves around what some people call “climate change.” For Rick Scott the words are anathema because they suggest there is such a thing. For Mitch McConnell, attempts to stop it are offensive because those attempts have an adverse financial impact on those who give him money for his campaigns. The two words are meant to describe a phenomenon that many scientists say the world is undergoing. Reports from assorted Florida sources demonstrate how Rick Scott responds to his fear of the words. The most recent example was offered by Barton Bibler, the...

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Sarah Palin Releases Insane Video Letter Rant To ISIS

By  KERRY-ANNE, Addicting Info – Sarah Palin has issued a bizarre rant to wannabe jihadists everywhere in a rambling video posted to her Facebook account. Palin wrote in the post: “As crazy as it sounds, a U.S. citizen who leaves this country to join ISIS, al Qaeda, or any other terrorist organization does not immediately lose his or her citizenship. That needs to change!” The comment accompanied a video in which the former Republican governor of Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate rambles over a montage of past terrorist acts in the U.S. (insert spooky music here) seemingly designed to leave viewers with high blood pressure, anxious sweats and a sense of impending doom. She says in the video: “It’s a simple fact that some people are drawn to ISIS’s brutality. They’re actually inspired by videos of beheadings and burnings. They actually believe ISIS’s religious message. After recent jihadist attacks on Australia,...

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