African American Church In South Carolina, Once Burned Down By The KKK, Again On Fire

CREDIT: TWITTER/@MBOUGHTONPC By JUDD LEGUM, ThinkProgress – The Mt Zion AME in Greelyville South Carolina was ablaze on Tuesday evening. Photos were posted by local firefighters and journalists on social media. The prominent African American church was burned down by the KKK in 1995. The cause of this latest fire is unknown. There have been a string of fires at African American churches throughout the south since 9 people were gunned down at Emanuel A.ME. Church in Charleston, allegedly by a 21-year-old tied to white supremicists. At least three of the incidents have been determined to be the result of arson. From Twitter: Carter Jones‏@SCFireCarter Heavy fire at Mt Zion AME church near Greeleyville in Williamsburg County. Mutual aid dept’s on scene. Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress 

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Alabama Bans Same-Sex Marriage Licenses In Disgraceful Defiance Of Supreme Court

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – Once again, Alabama is standing in front of progress, yelling “stop!” in a disgraceful defiance of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Alabama is literally repeating its bigoted history after all probate judges were ordered not issue any marriage licenses to same-sex couples for 25 days in a desperate ploy to drag out and delay their compliance with the law. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, therefore legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation in all 50 states. In response to the decision, Alabama Probate Judge Wes Allen of Pike County effectively ended marriage licenses for everyone in a temper tantrum against same-sex marriage. If gay people can get married across the nation, then nobody can get married in his county. Other judges have followed Allen’s bigoted lead, while some have adhered to...

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Ted Cruz Defends Donald Trump’s Comments On ‘Rapist’ Mexicans

by JAMESON PARKER – Perhaps a bit jealous that fellow Republican candidate got all the glory of defending a child molester, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has leapt to Donald Trump’s defense after the billionaire blowhard claimed Mexicans were “rapists” who were “bringing drugs crime” into the United States. Then walked back his comments by saying he didn’t mean just Mexico, it was really all of Latin America. Republican Latino outreach at its finest! On what is becoming Cruz’s almost daily visit to Fox News, the senator told Fox and Friends that Trump is “terrific” and his comments would have been fine if it weren’t for those meddling kids in the PC police. “I like Donald Trump. I think he’s terrific, I think he’s brash, I think he speaks the truth,” Cruz told the group. “And I think NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong.”...

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The Surprising Environmental Reason Weed Should Be Legal

by SAMANTHA PAGE – Marijuana has a strange legal status. In California, it’s been medically legal for almost two decades, but growing it and selling it for recreational purposes is in a gray area of law enforcement, with federal law prohibiting it altogether and state and local laws cobbled together in a patchwork of regulation. But according to a new study, this pseudo-legalization is bad news for the environment. The $31 billion marijuana growing business is draining local streams and allowing pesticide runoff to poison fish and wildlife, and it’s “high time” to include environmental regulations in the legalization conversation, states the report, published this week by a team of scientists from the Nature Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and University of California Berkeley. “Illegal marijuana production in California is centered in sensitive watersheds with high biodiversity,” the authors write in the report, which appeared in the...

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After 13 Years of Hell, Man Held Without Charges Has One Question for US

by Jon Queally – Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here? If the war in Afghanistan is now over, as he has heard President Obama and other lawmakers say many times, the Yemeni national wonders what possible reason could the U.S. have in keeping a man like himself—guilty of no crime—locked away on an island prison for nearly thirteen years. Despite the protests of dedicated human rights and legal activists in the U.S. and around the world, the fact that the U.S. government continues to justify the “indefinite detention” of human beings for a war that has become detached from geographical boundaries and has no...

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Feds Say Police In Ferguson Violated Protesters’ Rights And Unnecessarily Escalated Violence

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Almost one year ago, the shooting death of Michael Brown sparked a wave of protests over the teen’s death and the general mistreatment of black lives in Ferguson. Police responded with riot gear and tear gas, leaving many demonstrators wounded — including an 8-year-old boy. Now, a DOJ document obtained by the Post-Dispatch faults Ferguson police for their aggressive response to protesters last August. In a summary of its third Ferguson report, which is soon to be released, the DOJ contends officers from Ferguson, St. Louis County, St. Louis and Missouri Highway Patrol “violated citizens’ right to assembly and free speech, as determined by a U.S. federal court injunction.” According to the document, “vague and arbitrary” orders, combined with a “highly elevated tactical response,” including the use of military-grade equipment, resulted in “limited options for a measured, strategic approach.” For instance, several tactics exacerbated tensions during...

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ISIL ‘Beheads Women for the First Time in Syria’

Monitor says ISIL killed two women and their husbands in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province after they sought health remedies The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has beheaded two women and their husbands in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, a monitoring group said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that ISIL beheaded the couples after accusing them of using “magic for medicine”. It is not known what non-traditional health remedy the two couples had sought. “It is the first time that the beheading of women, by the use of sword in public, has taken place in Syria,” the Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera cannot confirm whether the executions represent the first time that women have been beheaded in Syria. Last year, ISIL reportedly beheaded at least three women who were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Kobane. The more recent...

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Justice Kagan’s Blistering Response To The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Mercury Pollution

by NATASHA GEILING – In a 5-4 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court found fault with the EPA’s regulation of toxic heavy metal pollution from coal and oil-fired plants, claiming that the agency failed to prove the regulations “appropriate and necessary” because they did not initially take costs into consideration. To Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the Court’s dissent, that reasoning failed to acknowledge all the other times the EPA took cost into consideration throughout the regulatory process. As Kagan wrote: That is a peculiarly blinkered way for a court to assess the lawfulness of an agency’s rulemaking. I agree with the majority — let there be no doubt about this — that EPA’s power plant regulation would be unreasonable if ‘he Agency gave cost no thought at all.’ … But that is just not what happened here. Over more than a decade, EPA took costs into account at multiple stages...

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Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – “And Lord, we lifted over the delta, feelin’ alright, carried together on the broad, unbroken back of the blues.” —Rebecca Meredith A couple of weeks ago, I was on a planet called Earth, a citizen of the United States, and a prisoner of sorry judgments levied by fools whose political existence is funded through the extravagant largesse of those who sup on hate and greed. That was my Earth, and my country, and if I despised the manner in which the pieces of what passes for “culture” and “justice” and “government” came together like a jigsaw puzzle left out in the rain, at least I recognized it. It was familiar. …and then something like last week happens, and all of a sudden, I don’t know what planet I’m on anymore. In a small space of days, this nation’s highest court confirmed...

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The Kids Are Alright As Washington Judge Delivers Youth Climate Win

‘We may have won a battle, but we’re still fighting a bigger war,’ says 14-year-old petitioner By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” a judge in Washington state handed a group of eight young petitioners a landmark win this week, ordering the Department of Ecology (ECY) to consider statewide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based on best available science. “The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners, who are in elementary, middle, and high school. The kids acted with the help of a...

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The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision Is The Biggest Possible Win For The Obama Administration

by IAN MILLHISER – The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell is not simply a victory for the Obama administration — and for the millions of Americans who depend upon the Affordable Care Act for their health coverage. It is a sweeping, crushing blow for conservatives who seek to use the courts to undo what President Obama and a Democratic Congress accomplished. “In a democracy,” Chief Justice John Roberts implicitly scolds the activists behind this litigation, “the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people.” He then offers a broad statement to future judges called upon to interpret the Affordable Care Act: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.” The message here is clear:...

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Governor Chris Christie Wants To Be President. Here’s How He Hurt New Jersey

by KIRA LERNER – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will announce on Tuesday at his former high school in Livingston, New Jersey that he will enter the already-crowded pool of Republican candidates vying for the presidency. While the two-term governor and former chair of the Republican Governors Association gained a national reputation early in his tenure for his brash demeanor and tendency to say whatever comes to mind, his leadership of the Garden State should be a better indication of how he would lead the country. Christie’s administration drew widespread criticism when it closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge as an act of retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election bid. Christie continues to maintain that he was not involved, although aides have said he was aware of the incident that caused massive traffic jams and impeded public safety for...

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Reprieve in Texas, But Assault on Reproductive Rights Continues Nationwide

by Jon Queally – US Supreme Court orders stay against Texas law, but host of anti-abortion laws in states around the country leave defenders of reproductive freedom fighting battles in multiple states with no end in sight Advocates for reproductive rights welcomed the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday which put a block on a Texas law that would have shuttered nearly every abortion clinic in the state. In a 5-4 decision, the ruling came in the form of a stay that will delay enforcement of the law—originally passed in the Texas legislature as H.B. 2 and signed into law in 2013—until a full challenge to it is taken up by the court. The stay, in effect, suspends a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this month which upheld specific provisions of the law that would have likely resulted in the closure of all...

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Lindsey Graham: GOP Needs to Drop Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment from Platform

by Ed Krayewski – Says he’d defend religious freedom as President S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of more than a dozen Republicans running for president, told NBC’s Meet the Press this morning that he believed the GOP should drop a plank supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman from its national platform. Via NBC News: “What I want to do is protect the religious liberties of those who believe that opposing same-sex marriage as part of their faith. So no I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court’s ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American.” Graham says not changing the platform would hurt Republicans’ prospects in 2016. Graham was already staking out this position on the day of the gay marriage ruling, when he said he would respect the Supreme Court’...

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NYPD Officer Gets Fabulous Instead Of Furious At Gay Pride Parade

By SHANNON BARBER, Addicting Info – Here lately, it seems all we hear and read about police officers is negative. We see horrific stories of brutality, sexual assault, and even murder, on a regular basis. To that end, the general public’s view of law enforcement is currently less than favorable, and that is putting it mildly. However, there is a good police story to be had from New York City’s Gay Pride celebration – a fun one of a cop dancing with a pride partier. A priceless video was shot and uploaded to YouTube by Paige Ponzeka, who was marching with the Big Apple Softball League, which is an LGBT sports group in New York City, according to Buzzfeed.  In the clip, an otherwise unemotional New York City police officer can be seen dancing with an enthusiastic Pride-goer, Aaron Santis, who says he had been trying to get the many...

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Pope Francis vs. Washington

by John Cavanagh – Lawmakers and the White House are at odds with the pope’s vision for protecting the planet Pope Francis, the humble yet bold leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, has offered an inspiring 21st century vision to all people. It’s a vision that’s been sorely missing in the halls of power. In an encyclical focused on the environment, he details how we can save the planet while helping billions of the world’s poor in this life — not just in heaven. The letter isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a wake-up call that if we continue fueling our lifestyles with oil, gas, and coal, we’ll end life as we know it. He asks us all to think and act big, to replace our dig, burn, and dump economy with one that creates dignified work for people who can rebuild our inner cities, retrofit our buildings to make them energy-efficient, and...

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Meet the Bionic Lens: This 8-Minute Surgery Will Give You Superhuman Vision

By Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project – An optometrist from British Colombia, Dr. Garth Webb, is currently developing a bionic lens, that once implanted would give a person 3x 20/20 vision, regardless of their age. The bionic lens, called the ‘Ocumetics Bionic Lens’, would end the need for glasses, contact lenses, driving glasses or progressive lenses and would allow for optimal eyesight regardless of an individual’s age or health, according to CBC. Additionally, those that elect to get the bionic implant will be assured of never getting cataracts, as the new lens actually replaces that of the natural eye. Webb developed the lens as a means of optimizing eyesight, and says that anyone over 25 is a good candidate for the procedure, as that is when the eye has become fully developed. “This is vision enhancement that the world has never seen before,” he says, “If you can...

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Religious Group Hires Mexican Laborers To Protest Pride Parade To Avoid Seeing Gay People

By JAMESON PARKER, Addicting Info – Anti-gay Christian organizations like the Family Research Council have gotten the lion’s share of the mockery in their ongoing meltdown over the national recognition of gay marriage; however, an orthodox Jewish group may have just taken the cake. In the middle of New York’s Gay Pride Parade, a massive celebration of gay rights and the recent victory at the Supreme Court, a group of Hispanic men held up signs saying things like “G-D created Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve” and “Judaism prohibits homosexuality.” There was only one problem: These men weren’t Jewish, they were Mexican day laborers hired by the orthodox Jewish group calling itself the “Jewish Political Action Committee” to protest gay rights so impressionable Jewish people wouldn’t have to. Heshie Freed, a member of the political action committee, an Orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn, said that the men were supplementary troops,...

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It’s ‘The Chemical Equivalent Of Being Burned At The Stake.’ And Now It’s Legal

by CARIMAH TOWNES – By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the use of the lethal injection drug midazolam does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling comes more than a year after the botched executions of several inmates who remained conscious and experienced pain as they were put to death. According to the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, “petitioners have failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the use of midazolam violates the Eighth Amendment. To succeed on an Eighth Amendment method-of execution claim, a prisoner must establish that the method creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain and that the risk is substantial when compared to the known and available alternatives. Petitioners failed to establish that any risk of harm was substantial when compared to a known and available alternative method of execution. Petitioners...

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On This Day, June 30, 1962 – Sandy Koufax Pitches His First No Hitter

1962 – Sandy Koufax strikes out 13 batters and walks five to lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets 5-0 with his first career no-hitter. Koufax went on to throw three more no-hitters, including a perfect game on September 9, 1965, in which he allowed no hits and no walks. Sandy Koufax was a talented all-around athlete from Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. His first love was basketball, and he attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. His impressive left arm, however, attracted the attention of major league ball clubs and in 1954 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his promising talent, Koufax won just 36 games to 51 losses from 1955 to 1961, and was incredibly inconsistent, blowing hitters away one game and walking runs in the next. Finally, advice from veteran catcher Norm Sherry turned Koufax around. As...

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NBC Ditches Donald Trump Over His Anti-Immigrant Comments

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – NBC is cutting ties with real estate mogul and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing controversial comments in which Trump said that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “rapists” who “are bringing drugs” to the United States. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” the company, which has aired Trump’s show “Celebrity Apprentice” for 14 seasons, said in a statement released on Monday afternoon. Earlier this month, when Trump officially announced his run for president, he said that the people who immigrate from Mexico “have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us,” such as drug trafficking and sexual assault. He also suggested that, if he were elected, he would build a “great, great wall on the southern border.”...

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First Openly Gay Pro Baseball Player Makes History, Pitches Shutout

By KILEY KROH, ThinkProgress – Sean Conroy pitched a complete game shutout on Thursday night, striking out 11 and allowing just three hits, to lead the Sonoma Stompers to a decisive 7-0 victory over the Vallejo Admirals. He also made history, becoming the first openly gay active professional baseball player. “He wanted to be that guy, and coming out here and doing this shows you what kind of man he is,” remarked Tim Livingston, the team’s radio broadcaster, as the game came to an end. “To see this little field here in the middle of nowhere, when we look back it will have been the perfect setting for this.” The Stompers, part of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball, play in a small 370-seat field in Northern California wine country. When the 23-year-old right-hander was announced with the rest of the starting lineup, Conroy received the loudest cheers. “It’s great they...

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Pastor Chickens Out: I Didn’t Actually SAY I Would Self-Immolate Over Gay Marriage

by JOHN PRAGER – Apparently, Pastor Rick “The Human Torch” Scarborough‘s convictions mean nothing to him. Just before the landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide that conservatives think will usher in a new age of darkness, complete with plagues of toads and blood rain, Scarborough made an oopsie: He said that, should gay marriage be legalized nationwide, he would set himself ablaze. “We’re simply being preemptive and saying, no matter what the cost, we are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and we will burn,” Scarborough said during a recent National Emergency Coalition conference call hosted by fellow homophobic bigot E.W. Jackson. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favor of marriage equality must have been difficult on the pastor. This, unfortunately (for him), left Scarborough with only a few options: In an extreme act of cowardice, he could abandon his convictions and attempt to explain away his remarks. He could just...

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Dalai Lama Endorses Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – The Dalai Lama endorsed the Pope’s encyclical on climate change Sunday while speaking at Glastonbury festival, a massive five-day festival that takes place in Somerset, England. The Buddhist leader spoke at a panel on climate change, praising the encyclical and saying it was the duty of everyone to “say more. We have to make more of an effort, including demonstrations.” Several Republican politicians have criticized the Pope for speaking out about environmental and economic issues, including Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum and James Inhofe. But at the Glastonbury panel on climate change, the Dalai Lama said Pope Francis was “very right,” and he appreciated him releasing the papal document. The Dalai Lama called on fellow religious leaders to “speak out about current affairs which affect the future of mankind.” He also called for increased pressure on governments around the world to stop burning fossil fuels, end deforestation and transition to renewable...

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Six Black Churches Have Been Destroyed by Fires in Southern States this Past Week

by FaithGardner – In the week after nine African Americans were shot and killed by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, six predominantly black churches have now been burnt to the ground. Arson was determined to be the cause of at least three of these fires. David A. Love at Atlanta Blackstar writes: As the nation grapples with the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest Black churches in the South, other Black churches have become recent targets of arson. From slavery and the days of Jim Crow through the civil rights movement and beyond, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a pillar of the Black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social and political development and organizing to fight oppression. Strike at the Black church, and you strike at the heart of Black American life....

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Greece in Shock as Banks Shut After Creditor Talks Break Down

Less than 48 hours to pay back $1.77 billion of IMF loans Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday and asked for help in securing a short extension of the country’s bailout to allow time for a referendum on its terms, a government official said. Previous requests for such an extension had been refused. Greeks struggled Monday to adjust to to shuttered banks, closed cash machines and a climate of rumors and conspiracy theories on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its creditors plunged the country deep into crisis. Tsipras told Juncker that “obstructing the Greek people’s democratic expression by closing banks goes against the democratic tradition of Europe,” according to a Greek official. Tsipras asked Juncker to help get the program “extended by a few days and help restore the Greek banking system’s liquidity.” The Greek prime minister...

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Victory for Democracy as Court Sides with Voters over ‘Self-Dealing Legislators’

by Deirdre Fulton – SCOTUS upholds ‘the right of We the People to take redistricting out of secret backrooms run by politicians and into the public light of citizen-driven commissions.’ In a decision hailed as a “major victory for voters,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony Kennedy serving as the swing vote, allows redistricting commissions to remain in place across the country and in turn works to curb the practice known as gerrymandering—the manipulation of electoral districts so as to favor one political party. “This decision reaffirms the people’s authority to rein in self-dealing legislators,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which submitted an amicus...

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminates A Homophobe With An Epic Line

By STEPHEN D FOSTER JR, Addicting Info – The Terminator himself personally took down a homophobic fan on his Facebook page after the actor showed his support for the LGBT community on Friday. On Friday morning the Supreme Court finally released their ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and decided in favor of marriage equality, making same-sex marriage officially legal in all 50 states. After the historic ruling, Arnold Schwarzenegger changed his profile picture by adding a rainbow over his Terminator character to show his support for gay people across the country and to celebrate their victory. An overwhelming majority of Arnold’s fans liked his post and appreciated his stance on equality, but not all of them did. A fan and apparent homophobe named Jakub Bielawski commented on the post by asking Schwarzenegger what’s wrong with him and declared that he now has to unlike the legendary actor’s page because of his support...

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What Caused the Charleston Massacre?

by John Kiriakou – Relentless racism and a powerful anti-gun control lobby make for a deadly combination The recent mass murder of worshippers in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina raises troubling questions for all Americans. First among them: How could this have happened? I think the answer to that one is easy. We live in a heavily armed society. And hundreds of groups in our country still openly proselytize violence against people of color and other minorities. So perhaps a better question is, how could this not have happened? Most Americans were outraged in December 2012 when a mentally ill teenager murdered 26 people — including 20 first-graders — in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. What happened afterward? Almost nothing. President Barack Obama signed a handful of executive orders calling for background checks for gun purchasers, but Congress rejected new federal legislation to restrict guns. Indeed, in the...

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Eco-Friendly Designer Grows Trees that Become Chairs, Tables and Lampshades

By Mihai Andrei, ZMEScience – Taking a radically opposite stance on how we design our furniture, designer and innovator Gavin Munro has come up with a unique way to create furniture. Instead of cutting wood and joining the pieces together, he simply grows trees into chairs or tables. The idea is simple, yet innovative: let nature do all the work, and enjoy your eco-friendly furniture. Munro now spearheads a project called Full Grown, which currently grows 400 tables, chairs and lampshades which he hopes to harvest next year. He explains the process: “You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece – I’m interested in the way this is like a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material. After...

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Owners to Reduce Emissions at Navajo Nation Four Corners Power Plant

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a federal Clean Air Act settlement Wednesday with several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies to install control technology to reduce harmful air pollution from the Four Corners Power Plant located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico. The settlement requires an estimated $160 million in upgrades to the plant’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution controls.  The settlement also requires $6.7 million to be spent on three health and environmental mitigation projects for tribal members and payment of a $1.5 million civil penalty.  EPA expects that the actions required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by approximately 5,540 tons per year. “This settlement is a significant achievement for air quality and the health of the people of the Navajo Nation and the surrounding region,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for...

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Bree Newsome Is Out On Bond And Money Is Pouring In For Legal Fees in SC Confederate Flag Takedown

By ELIZABETH PRESTON, Addicting Info – Over the weekend, the internet was a frenzy with #FreeBree, the hashtag that began trending after Brittany (Bree) Newsome did what the majority of Americans wanted done, but few had the guts to do: Actually take down the confederate battle flag at the South Carolina State Capitol. The 30-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina woman and her accomplice James Ian Tyson were arrested after Newsome climbed the 30-foot steel flagpole and removed the flag. Both have since been released after posting $3,000 bond. However, in typical fashion, the internet blew up with support of the activist whom we all lived through vicariously, cheering her on while watching the video of her skillful climb. Through the fundraising site Indiegogo, CREDO Action has raised over $100,000 in online donations for the courageous woman and the cause. The site says: “We need to bail out Bree and James Tyson, the activist who was arrested with her...

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Wingnut Congressman Tells Fox News Americans Were ‘Just Fine’ Before Obamacare (VIDEO)

by WES WILLIAMS – Out of all of the crazies and fanatics that make up the current Republican party, there are few, if any, who are crazier than Iowa Congressman Steve King. King is on record making statements that make most sane people cringe, such as his defense of dog fighting, or his claim that most immigrants are drug smugglers. Now King is upset about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, and of course he had some stupid things to say. King appeared on Fox’s America’s News HQ on June 27, to talk about the Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and marriage equality. Host Elizabeth Prann starts out by asking him to weigh in on the Obamacare ruling. Never one to avoid hyperbole, King says that he thinks Obamacare is “a malignant tumor that is metastasizing, and feeding on God-given American liberty.” Gosh, and here we thought it was a program that has...

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Iceland Just Jailed 7 Bank Executives For Market Manipulation

By True Activist In one of the biggest cases of its kind, seven executives from the Kaupþing bank have been handed prison sentences for market manipulation this week. According to The icelandmonitor: “By fully financing share purchases with no other surety than the shares themselves, the bank was accused of giving a false and misleading impression of demand for Kaupþingi shares by means of deception and pretence.” They were accused of trying to artificially inflate share prices in 2008 by using the bank’s funds to buy shares. The Iceland Reveiew reported: The court case began in late April, and the hearings were the most wide-ranging and complex in Icelandic legal history. Over 50 witnesses were called, and testimony lasted for many weeks. They were quizzed on the nine defendants’ suspected illegal trade in their own bank’s shares in the lead up to its collapse. Charges laid by the Special Prosecutor claimed...

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High School Students Come Up With Brilliant Way To Detect Sexually Transmitted Infections

By SAM P.K. COLLINS, ThinkProgress – Even with the availability of condoms, many young people unknowingly contract and spread sexually transmitted infections, creating what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns may be a public health emergency in the making for millennials. But some young people are taking matters into their own hands. A group of high school students in the United Kingdom have invented a condom that changes color when it comes into contact with the bacteria associated with the presence of STIs. The trio — 14-year-old Daanyaal Ali, 13-year-old Muaz Nawaz, and 14-year-old Chirag Shah of Isaac Newton Academy in Iflord, Essex — said their invention, appropriately named the “S.T.EYE,” allows sexually active people quickly and privately address issues of sexual health in the privacy of their home without the awkwardness of a visit to the clinic. Colors include yellow for herpes, blue for syphilis, and purple for...

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Man On His Third Wife Has No Good Defense For His Support Of ‘Traditional’ Marriage

by JACK JENKINS – Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump locked himself into a painfully awkward conversation about marriage equality this weekend, when CNN called him out for citing the idea of “traditional marriage” while attempting to decry the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide — this, from a man in his third marriage. While speaking with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Trump was asked to respond to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in all 50 states. When Trump invoked the conservative conception of marriage, Tapper pushed back. Tapper: You said a few years ago that you were evolving. Where are you? Trump: Yeah, I’m for traditional marriage. It is changing rapidly— Tapper: But what do you say to a lesbian who is married or a gay man who is married who says, “Donald Trump, what’s...

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States Eye Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy, Transportation Infrastructure

By Cathleen Kelly, Center for American Progress – Ask 50 governors or 100 mayors or 1,000 city council members to name their biggest challenges in serving their constituents and it’s a safe bet that a lack of money will top the list. Across the country, state and local leaders face budget shortfalls that, in some cases, are preventing them from accomplishing even the most basic tasks, from repairing roads, to training first responders, adequately maintaining schools, and providing critical social services. The need to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure looms large. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s aging energy and public transit infrastructure grades of D+ and D, respectively. In the nation’s first Quadrennial Energy Review, or QER, released in April 2015, federal energy experts highlight the growing vulnerability of the nation’s electrical grid to extreme weather and terrorist threats and the need for public and...

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List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

by CHRISTINA SARICH – Many pesticides have been found to cause grave danger to our bees, and with the recent colony collapses in Oregon, it’s time to take a hard look at what we would be missing without bee pollination. In just the last ten years, over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bees either become so disoriented they can’t find their way back to their hives and die away from home, or fly back poison-drunk and die at the foot of their queen. There are many arguments as to what is causing CCD, but the most logical and likely culprit is the increased usage of pesticides by the likes of Monsanto and others. A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S....

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On Marriage Equality, Another Bend Toward Justice

by Isaiah Poole – Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with the name of a popular gay sports bar in Washington, were on a strategic street corner singing “The Impossible Dream,” the Supreme Court to their front and the Capitol to their rear. Following that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. If there ever were an impossible dream, marriage equality was it just a few short years ago. Even some of the most ardent crusaders for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality believed that demanding recognition for same-sex marriage was a fool’s errand. But people in love can be the most audacious of rebels. So it was that seven same-sex couples sued the state of Massachusetts in 2001, at a time when some Democrats in the state legislature were helping to lead the anti-marriage-equality effort and much of the gay rights establishment...

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300+ Wildfires Rage in Alaska

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – Thousands of firefighters are working to put out wildfires in Alaska as they blaze across the state. The Alaska Division of Forestry reported that as of today there are 317 wildfires burning in the Last Frontier. On Wednesday alone, there were 40 new fires and Thursday saw an additional 28 new fires, bringing the total acreage burned to 624,496 acres. Alaska is no stranger to wildfires, but climate change has drastically increased the frequency of wildfires. On Wednesday, Todd Sanford, a climate scientist at Climate Central, released a report on how Alaska is entering a new era for wildfires. This map shows the current active fires in Alaska. That’s a lot of fires. Photo credit: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center The report says: In the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the country, with average temperatures up by nearly three...

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Sarah Palin And The New $10 Bill — First She Insults The Idea, Then Uses It For Herself

by SARAH – Failed Vice Presidential nominee, quitter half-term governor, Fox News contributor and “author” Sarah Palin decided she was going to weigh in on the Treasury’s decision to put a woman on the $10 bill beginning in the year 2020. She could’ve just been excited about it, seeing as she likes to brag about being a strong woman. And as much as anyone can dislike her, she is strong-willed and usually gets what she wants — that is, of course, unless what she wants is to be Vice President, or respected by the general public at large. Palin recently put up a Facebook post that asked people to vote for who they think should be the woman on the new $10 bill. Seems fair enough. However, she did two things that seem to defeat the purpose of the new $10 bill completely. First, is Palin’s Facebook post that brought up...

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Louisiana Has A Lot Of Problems. This Is How Bobby Jindal Made Them Worse

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has spent much of his final year in office outside of Louisiana, with frequent trips to Washington, D.C. and the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — trips funded by the disgruntled taxpayers of his state. On Wednesday, he confirms the ill-kept secret that he is joining the growing pack seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2016. As Jindal makes headlines for his controversial remarks about Islam and racial inequality, his record running Louisiana has gotten less attention from voters around the country. Since Gov. Jindal took office in 2008, Louisiana has earned some dubious honors. The state has the largest gender pay gap in the country, with women making 66 cents for every dollar a man earns. A study by the Violence Policy Center published in late January found the state also has the second-highest rate of...

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Amid Drought and Flooding, States and Localities Look to Harness the Rain

By Sarah Breitenbach, Stateline – As drought grips California, floods overpower Texas and Eastern cities grapple with crumbling sewers that pump contaminated runoff into waterways, state and local governments are revisiting how they get, use and manage water. One method is to harness the rain. Some governments are doing this through massive systems that treat and pump stormwater back to residents, while others are looking to the installation of rain collection systems for homes and businesses. A few cities are introducing green infrastructure designed to put water back into the ground rather than letting it flow down the street. Sally Brown, an associate professor at the University of Washington, said the last time governments spent significant amounts of money on water issues was after the Clean Water Act in the 1970s, when they had to change how they treated water and wastewater. Today, environmental factors coupled with water availability...

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When Barack Obama Leaves Office, the Next President Will Have Giant Shoes to Fill

by NedSparks – Yesterday at the funeral of South Carolina state senator the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine African Americans gunned down while at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Barack Obama transcended the plaudits of being one of America’s greatest presidents, to being a national treasure. If Barack Obama had only passed a healthcare reform law that, five years after its passing, has not only made it possible for tens of millions of people to acquire healthcare, but has also made it possible for more than a hundred million people to secure their existing coverage from being taken away, he would have already secured a place as one of America’s great presidents. Rachel Maddow, during the June 25 broadcast of her MSNBC program discussed the President’s place in history for passing the Affordable Care Act, and stated from the outset: We now know…basically for sure, about what is...

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Huckabee Calls On States To Disobey Law On Same-Sex Marriage, Likens Them To MLK

by JACK JENKINS – Former Arkansas governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is calling on opponents of marriage equality to engage in acts of civil disobedience, saying that conservative Christians don’t “have a choice” but to directly challenge the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. While appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning, Huckabee was asked expand on his vocal opposition to the recent Supreme Court decision in support of same-sex marriage, which he called an example of “judicial tyranny.” After Huckabee chastised the court for supposedly overruling the legislature, Stephanopoulos interrupted him, asking him to clarify how he thinks opponents of LGBT rights should respond. Stephanopoulos: Are you calling for civil disobedience? Huckabee: I don’t think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice. They’re either going to follow God, what they truly believe, or they will follow...

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Greek Parliament Gives Green Light to Tspiras’ Bailout Referendum

Greek lawmakers on Sunday authorized Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ proposed July 5th bailout referendum, setting Greece on course for a direct vote by citizens that has enraged international creditors and increased Greece’s chances of exiting the eurozone. The government easily passed the 151-vote threshold needed to authorize the referendum, with deputies from the far right Golden Dawn voting with the government and pro-European opposition parties New Democracy, Pasok and To Potami and the KKE Communist Party voting against. Greeks are due to vote on whether to accept or reject the latest terms offered by creditors to Athens in order to unlock billions of euros in bailout funds. European partners have reacted negatively to the announcement of the referendum. On Saturday, they rejected a request by Tsipras to extend the current bailout in order to cover the period leading up to the referendum. Athens asked for an extension of Greece’s bailout program beyond...

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After Palestinians Submit Formal Complaint with ICC, US Backers of Israel Lash Out with Threats

by Sarah Lazare – Palestinian officials filed evidence of Israel’s war crimes and human rights violations to International Criminal Court For the mere act of submitting documents to the International Criminal Court detailing Israel’s ongoing human rights violations and history of war crimes on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority is now facing a barrage of threats and rebukes from U.S. lawmakers and the White House. The warnings followed the PA Foreign Ministry’s submission of documents to the ICC in the Hague on Thursday which provided prosecutors with information regarding Israel’s policies relating to last summer’s seven-week military assault on Gaza, the existence of illegal settlements, and continued mass detention of Palestinians living under occupation. “The United States has made it clear that we oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive,” White House National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said in response to the filing. A handful of congressional representatives have already...

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CNN Mistakes Dildo Flag at London Pride Parade for Flag of ISIS

In breaking news, CNN crack national security analysts took snapshots of this terrorist flag at the London pride parade today. Lucy Pawle, CNN London correspondent, had this to say: This man dressed in black and white was waving what appears to be a very bad mimicry but a clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag, the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering. If you look at the flag closely, it’s clearly not Arabic, in fact it looks like it could be gobbledygook. Pawle goes on to say: “I seem to be the only person who has spotted this.” I suppose it’s an easy mistake. Both flags are black and white. One simply has Arabic symbols and one has pictures of dildos. Except you’re a news organization. And the anchor talks about having CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen on the phone. Maybe they should have consulted their...

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World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Unveiled in Fukushima

By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch – Japan officially unveiled its 7 megawatt (MW) wind turbine this week, the world’s largest offshore turbine to date. It is slated to be operational by September. The Fukushima Wind Project, located about 12 miles off the coast of Fukushima, installed a 2 MW wind turbine in November 2013. The turbines are part of a pilot project led by Marubeni Co. and funded by the Japanese government with research and support from several public and private organizations, including the University of Tokyo and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The new turbine, which will tower 220 meters above the sea, will transmit electricity to the grid via submarine cable, according to The Japan Times. The government has allocated 50 billion yen ($405 million) for the project, which allows turbines to float in areas that are “too deep for traditional towers fixed to the seafloor,” says Bloomberg News. There are plans to add a third floating...

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Earthquakes Tied to Fracking Boom, Two New Studies Confirm

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch – Oklahoma was never big earthquake country, but in the last six years their numbers have surged, going from an average of two a year over 3.0 magnitude to 538 last year, surpassing California as the U.S.’s most seismically active state. Regions in Texas and Ohio that rarely felt an earthquake are now seeing wave after wave of them; eight states overall have seen big increases. Clusters of earthquakes in Oklahoma have occurred in the areas with multiple injection wells. Image credit: Science Advances Studies keep showing that the earthquakes start happening when wastewater from fracking is injected underground. Scientists say it’s because those large quantities of water, forced underground by heavy pressure, activate dormant fault lines. Now two more such studies have been added to the pile of evidence. One of the studies, published in the journal Science, comes from a team of scientists from the University...

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2 Sneaky Ways Women’s Rights Are Being Threatened Right Now

by Georgeanne M. Usova – The House has been hard at work in recent weeks passing spending bills to fund the government — but it’s no secret that these bills are about more than just setting funding levels. As has been the case historically, these bills are a chance for Congress to show the American people where its priorities really lie. And this year, the agenda includes discriminating against women in the name of religious liberty. Two harmful new policy riders make that crystal clear. One is a sweeping provision called the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which would allow any employer or insurance company to deny health insurance coverage for any health care service they have a religious or moral objection to, even if it’s required by law. Under this exceptionally broad language, companies could deny coverage for a wide range of important preventive care, like mental health screenings, vaccines,...

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Texas Governor Appoints Christian Homeschooler To Lead Its Board Of Education

by JAMESON PARKER – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has decided that the perfect person to run the state’s Board of Education, which is responsible for designing school curriculum, standards, and managing the state’s massive public school system is a woman who homeschools her children. Great. Abbott seems to have hand-chosen Donna Bahorich as the new board chair based on her conservative and religious values rather than her experience in dealing with public schools. As Michael Stone at the Progressive Secular Humanist blog noted, Bahorich’s kids never set foot in a public school. A graduate of the ultra-conservative Liberty University, Bahorich homeschooled her own children before sending them to a private religious high school. Bahorich, who was once communications director for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also served as president of the Daughters of Liberty Republican Women, and is currently a member of the pastor’s council at Houston Vineyard Church. The move...

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Scotland Got Half Its Electricity From Renewables In 2014

By ARI PHILLIPS, ThinkProgress – New data from the Scottish government shows that the country generated 49.8 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2014, effectively meeting its target of generating half of electricity demand from clean sources by the end of this year. The milestone means the 50 percent target was met a year early, with overall total renewable generation up 5.4 percent from 2013. The next benchmark in the government’s plan is to generate enough renewable energy to power 100 percent of the country’s demand by 2020. Results from the first quarter of 2015 show that growth is continuing at a rapid rate. Scottish wind farms produced a record amount of power in the first three months of this year, up 4.3 percent from the first quarter of 2014. The wind farms produced a total of 4,452 gigawatt hours (GWh), enough to power some one million U.K. homes...

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Electronic Voting Fraud: A Real Threat to Any Democrat Running for President

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Truthout | News Analysis – The way our electoral process now stands, electronic voting machines guarantee a Republican victory in 2016. No matter what she does, Hillary Clinton – or any other Democratic nominee – cannot be elected without a fundamental change in the basic mechanics of how our votes are cast and counted. It is a profoundly disturbing reality that casts a long shadow over all that’s wrong with our electoral system, no matter who one favors for public office. Just 15 years after the theft of the 2000 election, the Democrats have finally begun to talk about voter rights and various methods to guarantee public access to the polls. But for a non-Republican to win the White House in 2016, one of two virtually impossible things must happen: The Democrat must win by absolutely indisputable margins far beyond simple majorities –...

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Dan Savage: If Bristol Palin’s Last Name Was ‘Obama’ Fox News Would Slut-Shame Her

by JOHN PRAGER – Teen abstinence advocate Bristol Palin recently made a very important point about the viability of abstinence as opposed to birth control and other means of preventing pregnancy as she announced she has gotten knocked up out-of-wedlock for the second time: It doesn’t work. Palin, who nets $262,500 a year as an abstinence speaker, made it clear on her blog that she and her family are all displeased with the news — and why not? After all, this is just one more example of a Palin being a hypocrite as the clan dwindles into irrelevance: “I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant. Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one. At the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is...

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Euro Ministers Reject Greek Bid for Bailout Extension

by Simon Marks – Eurogroup finance ministers say Athens’ bailout programme will expire on Tuesday, regardless of Greek referendum Brussels, Belgium – Eurozone finance ministers have said they are discussing ways to prevent financial fallout across the region after Greece refused to accept a proposal from its European partners on how to close its $268bn bailout programme. The announcement, made by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Saturday night in Brussels, came after the Greek government surprised its partners in the early hours of the morning, by calling for a July 5 referendum on whether or not to accept the reform proposals presented by its creditors. Greece must pay the International Monetary Fund $1.7bn by Tuesday or risk defaulting on its obligations. Athens now finds itself in the position where it will have no financial assistance programme in place after Tuesday night, as eurozone ministers also rejected a request to extend its...

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This Week In Bad Christianity: Huckabee, Heritage Foundation, And Gun Owners Of America

by RIKA CHRISTENSEN – What is bad Christianity? It’s using a religion that’s supposed to be about peace and love to justify hate. It’s calling yourself a Christian, and then pushing for oppression of one group or another. With the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is protected under the 14th Amendment, along with the ongoing fallout from Caitlyn Jenner’s revelation, and the Charleston shooting, it has been a “banner” week for bad Christianity. Here are this week’s top 5 examples: 1. Mike Huckabee says converting to Christianity solves racism This gets a big, huge, “What the actual F**K,” because the religious right loves to use Christianity as an excuse to discriminate. Christianity used to be used to justify bans on interracial marriage, and “separate, but equal.” Of course, Huckabee believes that a black man as president means racism doesn’t exist anymore. He also believes that people who love his...

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Republicans Introduce Bill Based On The Idea That Environmentalists Caused California’s Drought

by KATIE VALENTINE – A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives is pushing for new ways to combat California’s epic drought. But it’s doing so based on the premise that environmental policy — not climate change — is making the drought so bad in the state. The bill, introduced this week by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), would direct officials to release more water through the state’s Central Valley Project, which provides irrigation and city water sources to a large portion of the state’s Central Valley. Under the bill, water flows couldn’t be limited by concerns about fish species like salmon and the Delta smelt unless there was concern over extinction of the species. By ensuring that more water moves through the project’s canals, supporters hope to make water more available to residents. The bill has the backing of California’s entire Republican House delegation, the Hill reports. Valadao’s bill...

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On This Day, June 28, 1992 – Two Strong Earthquakes Rattle California

1992 – Two of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit California strike the desert area east of Los Angeles on this day in 1992. Although the state sits upon the immense San Andreas fault line, relatively few major earthquakes have hit California in modern times. Two of the strongest, but not the deadliest, hit southern California on a single morning in the summer of 1992. Just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Landers, 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Because the Landers area is sparsely populated, damage was relatively minor given the intensity of the jolt. In Los Angeles, residents experienced rolling and shaking for nearly a minute. The tremors were also felt in Arizona, Las Vegas and as far away as Boise, Idaho. Just over three hours later, a second 6.3-magnitude tremor hit in Big Bear, not too far from the original...

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Rising Over Rainier

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After SCOTUS Marriage Ruling, Congressman King Tries To Annul His Own Marriage (VIDEO)

by NATHANIEL DOWNES – As ever, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is never one to miss out on an opportunity to demonstrate how self-centered he is. With the Supreme Court ruling that marriage equality is the law of the land, Representative King took to the airwaves to protest the decision, by ending all marriage entirely. The way he says it, that we would have “Holy Matrimony” sounds good to the ill educated, despite being for all intents and purposes Sharia Law. But without the civil side, this is the real result of eliminating marriage, getting rid of these: Sponsor husband/wife for immigration benefits. Property tax exemption for homes of totally disabled veterans. Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates Wages of an employee working for one’s spouse are exempt from federal unemployment tax. Joint filing of bankruptcy permitted. Joint parenting rights, such as access to children’s school records. Family visitation...

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Even After Supreme Court Ruling, These States Are Still Resisting Same-Sex Marriage

by CASEY QUINLAN – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is a constitutionally protected right on Friday, but some state officials were quick to resist the decision, either by delaying enforcement of the ruling or drafting legislation that would end state agencies’ involvement in issuing marriage licenses. Mississippi Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) said the decision is not yet effective in the state: “The Supreme Court’s decision is not effective immediately in Mississippi. It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order. This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue and order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R), House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and State...

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Scathing Review Says Nicaraguan Canal Project Could Offer ‘Severe Threat To Water Quality’

By SAMANTHA PAGE, ThinkProgress – Incomplete and implausible. Scientifically indefensible. Not realistic or feasible. Of insufficient quantity and quality. These are some of the phrases used by a group of scientists to describe the environmental impact assessment (EIS) for a massive proposed canal through Nicaragua. The independent panel of scientists had wide-ranging concerns about the validity of the EIS and the environmental safety of the canal, which would run from the Caribbean through Lake Nicaragua to the Pacific. The canal is being developed by the Hong Kong Nicaraguan Canal Development Group (HKND). HKND, which commissioned the EIS, began preliminary construction on the $50-billion project late last year. “This is an unprecedented project,” Todd Crowl, director of Florida International University’s Southeastern Environmental Research Center and one of the reviewers of the EIS, told ThinkProgress. “I felt like I had an ethical responsibility to get the data out.” Once it’s completed, the...

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Sick Of Waiting, Woman Takes Down South Carolina Confederate Flag Herself

by ARI PHILLIPS – Early Saturday morning a Carolina activist scaled a flagpole outside the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag. After climbing down from the 30-foot pole, the woman, identified as Bree Newsome on Twitter, was arrested. Newsome is associated with the #KeepItDown campaign aimed at removing the Confederate flag. The flag is protected by state law and was raised back up shortly thereafter. A pro-flag rally is planned at the site later this morning. “We can’t wait any longer,” Newsome said in a statement regarding the motivation behind her decision to remove the flag herself. “We can’t continue like this another day. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.” The Confederate flag is at the center of a debate on racial justice that has emerged after the murder of...

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Iran Nuclear Talks Resume Days Before Deal Deadline (VIDEO)

US Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif say “hard work” is needed to reach agreement by June 30 Top US and Iranian officials have said hard work was still needed as they met in Austria for what could be their final negotiations to bridge significant differences on an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. With a self-imposed deadline approaching on Tuesday, both sides emphasised that major obstacles remained to finalising a deal under which Iran would cut back its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. “We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, according to a US state department draft transcript. The top American diplomat arrived earlier in the Austrian capital Vienna, using crutches, after falling off his bike earlier this month. Q&A: Iran nuclear negotiations He...

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Lowest Water Levels EVER In Lake Mead May Trigger Rationing: Still Think Climate Change Is A Hoax?

by T. STEELMAN – A trip to the Hoover Dam is de rigueur for any Las Vegas tourist. Admiring the awe-inspiring structure and the reservoir behind it is a highlight for many visitors. But now that view of sparkling blue water in the desert is becoming troubling. And the view is the least of it. Here is a picture taken last month of Lake Mead: Pretty sobering. You can look at that and know that the lake is way, way below normal levels. On June 24, the readings for Lake Mead were pretty scary. Right now, Mead is 144.69 feet below full pool, about 37 percent of capacity. Inflows are at 0 percent. Yes, that’s right: ZERO percent. Outflows, however, are at about 6.5 million acre feet. You don’t have to be a math whiz to know that is not good. Now, have a look at the decline in a...

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China Blasts US for ‘Brazen’ Human Rights Abuses at Home and Abroad

‘Minority groups and Indigenous people are subject to unfairness in environment, election, health care, housing, and education’ By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – In a report that covers everything from police violence to income inequality to government surveillance, China has blasted the United States for its “grim problems of racial discrimination,” use of “cruel tortures indiscriminately,” and “terrible human-rights record.” The lengthy report, carried by the official Xinhua news agency and issued on Friday in response to U.S. criticism of China’s human rights record, says the U.S. is “haunted by spreading guns,” while suffering from “serious racial bias…in the police and justice systems.” “On June 25 local time, the State Department of the United States released its country reports on human rights practices once again, making comments on the human rights situations in many countries while showing not a bit of regret for or intention to improve its own terrible human...

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Fraud Still Plagues Medicare Drug Program, Watchdog Finds

Questionable practices were found at 1,400 pharmacies By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica – Fraud and abuse continue to dog Medicare’s popular prescription drug program despite a bevy of initiatives launched to prevent them, according to two new reports by the inspector general of Health and Human Services. The release follows the arrests of 44 pharmacy owners, doctors and others, who last week were accused of bilking the program, known as Part D. The reports issued Tuesday provide more insight into the extent of the fraud, as well as steps federal regulators should take to stop it. The first, which covers data from last year, found: More than 1,400 pharmacies had questionable billing practices last year in the drug program. Some billed for extremely high numbers of prescriptions per patient and others billed for a high proportion of narcotic controlled substances. Collectively, they billed Part D $2.3 billion in 2014. Prescriptions for...

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Sanders Sees Clinton Camp Attacks as Sign that ‘Something Must Be Working’

By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – In a move viewed as further evidence of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ continued momentum in the polls and among potential voters in the 2016 presidential election, some Hillary Clinton supporters have gone on the offense against the self-described democratic socialist. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a Clinton backer, launched what The Hill described as “the sharpest attack yet” on Sanders in a television appearance on Thursday. “Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president,” she told MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe.” McCaskill assailed Sanders for having “an extreme message” and being “unrealistic,” while complaining that the media were “not giving the same scrutiny to Bernie Sanders that they are giving to certainly Hillary Clinton and the other candidates.” Asked to name 3 issues she thinks Sanders is ‘too far left, too Socialist” on, McCaskill said: “He would like to see Medicare for all in...

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Floating Record Makes Spinning Vinyl Stand Up and Stand Out

By Paul Ridden, Gizmag – According to Nielsen, US vinyl album sales have grown by 260 percent since 2009. So, if you want to get in with the hip 12-inch disc crowd but find that your home hi-fi system doesn’t sport a turntable, some eye-catching help may be at hand. Gramovox, the Chicago-based firm behind the horny Bluetooth Gramophone from 2013, has designed a stylish new sound system that boasts audiophile-grade components and plays records vertically. “Vinyl produces a rich, warm analog sound that’s soothing to the ears,” said Gramovox co-founder and CEO Pavan Bapu. “It’s also a piece of art. With the Floating Record we’ve created a unique way for people to display their records and effortlessly play them out of the box in minutes.” Though not quite as unique an idea as the company’s CEO might think, unlike ION’s Vertical Vinyl we featured back in 2011, the Floating...

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19 Hysterical Passages From Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Dissenters

by ZACK FORD & JUDD LEGUM – More ink was spilled dissenting today’s Supreme Court marriage equality decision than the majority’s opinion required. There were four different dissents, one by Chief Justice John Roberts (joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas), plus separate dissents from Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito. The opinions are rife with criticism for the majority, including claims that they have upended the reputation of the Court, paranoia about the consequences for religious objectors, and a rejection of the idea that the benefits of marriage even constitute a liberty. Here’s a look at some of the most hysterical reactions from the dissenting justices. Roberts: No court should ever care about this issue. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people...

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New Mexico Governor Readies Tougher Food Stamp Work Rules Amid High Unemployment And Hunger

by ALAN PYKE –   With an unemployment rate well above the national average and more than one in four of its children on the brink of hunger, New Mexico is poised to make it harder to get food stamps. Like most other states, New Mexico has waived federal work requirements tied to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since about 2009. The work rules are designed to lapse when the unemployment is severe, since requiring people to find work or starve makes little sense when there’s no work to be had. But since last fall, Gov. Susanna Martinez (R) has sought to reinstate the rules limiting able-bodied people to three months of SNAP benefits unless they work or attend job training classes at least 20 hours per week. Martinez’s initial attempt was blocked by a judge who ruled the state had failed to give the required public notice about...

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2016 Republican Clown Car Occupants Weigh in on Obamacare Decision

by Barbara Morrill – Here are some of the 2016 Republican candidates for president, weighing in on Thursday’s Supreme Court decision that upheld the subsidies in Obamacare that allows more than eight million Americans to afford health insurance. Jeb! Bush: “This decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare.” Ted Cruz: “You the teenage immigrant washing dishes are paying illegal taxes right now today because of President Obama’s deception, because of the IRS’s lawlessness and because of the Supreme Court’s judicial activism, violating their oaths of office … I remain fully committed to repealing every single word of Obamacare.” Marco Rubio: “Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it …” Scott Walker: “Republicans must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this...

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Reactivation of a Single Gene Turns Colorectal Cancer Cells Back into Normal Tissue

By Richard Moss, Gizmag – Future cancer treatments may target your genes rather than the cancerous cells themselves. A new study found that reactivating a single gene was enough to stop and reverse colorectal cancer (that’s cancer of the colon, or bowels) in mice, with a return to normal intestinal functions within just four days and tumors gone within two weeks. The concept, though not the specific method, could lead to new treatments of a variety of cancers. Nearly 700,000 people around the world die from colorectal cancer each year, which makes it one of the biggest cancer killers (lung cancer is the most common, at more than 1.5 million deaths, while cancers of the liver result in around 750,000 deaths a year and deaths from cancers of the stomach stand a little over 700,000). In the United States, where colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer in men and...

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Donald Trump to Sue Univision for Canceling Miss USA Deal After Trump Called Immigrants ‘Rapists’

by Hunter – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took to Fox News to again show off his business and foreign policy credentials, by which we mean a sour-faced rant in which he threatened to sue Spanish-language network Univision for pulling out of their deal to simulcast the Trump-owned Miss USA pageant after Trump simply opined that Mexican immigrants to America were mostly drug dealers and rapists. Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson had asked Trump whether in light of all this controversy and today’s resulting Univision decision he wanted to amend his presidential announcement remarks about Mexico sending us their “rapists.” Nope. That’s a hill America’s classiest classhole is willing to die on. Greta, that’s what’s happening! You think they’re sending their best people over here? And I’m not just talking Mexico, I’m talking about all over the world, they’re coming through our southern border. You think they’re sending their best and...

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