John Wayne Day gets Nixed Due to the Fact He was a Raging Racist A-hole

by Jen Hayden – California Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper proposed a resolution to declare May 26, 2016 as John Wayne Day in California. He got more than he bargained for when many California lawmakers loudly objected due to the fact that John Wayne was a raging racist asshole: The state Assembly defeated the official ode to John Wayne Thursday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities and his support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society. He was outwardly racist and homophobic. Look no further than this 1971 interview John Wayne did with Playboy Magazine: PLAYBOY: Angela Davis claims that those who would revoke her teaching credentials on ideological grounds are actually discriminating against her because she’s black. Do you think there’s any truth in that? WAYNE: With a lot of blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully...

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The World Is Terrified Of Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech, Here’s What They Had To Say

by Sarah – One thing has been made abundantly clear: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to foreign policy and diplomatic leadership. And whoever is in his ear and/or writing his speeches clearly doesn’t either. After Trump made his “foreign policy” speech on Wednesday, not only did America react, but so did the rest of the world, with a number of foreign dignitaries speaking up and out against the real estate mogul’s ineptitude. Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality… The world’s security architecture has changed and it is no longer based on two pillars alone. It cannot be conducted unilaterally. No American president can get round this change in the international security architecture…. ‘America first’ is actually no answer to that.” Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt believes...

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Trump Promotes Shooting Muslims With Bullets Dipped In Pig’s Blood, Gets An Ovation (VIDEO)

by Kerry-Anne – During a rally in California, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump praised a bogus historical incident where Muslims were shot by bullets dipped in pig’s blood – to rapturous applause. It appears that neither Donald Trump, nor the crowd in Costa Mesa, are aware that there is no evidence this historical incident actually happened. Given the campaign’s focus on rhetoric over fact to date, t’s unlikely anyone would care either. But for the record, Trump was praising the vile actions of U.S. General John Joseph Pershing. The story goes that the General cracked down on Islamic terrorism in the early 20th century with a single act of terror of his own. As Trump delights in telling the crowd, reciting it as if historical fact, the General dipped bullets in pig’s blood, then shot 49 Muslims – letting the 50th off to act as a cautionary tale. Trump’s point? That only the most...

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“If Hillary Were a Man.. She’d Have Been President 25 Years Ago.”

by floridageorge – This is an oped written for CNN by Patti Solis Doyle about Trump’s ridiculous comment that if Hillary were a man she would get no more than 5% support. If Hillary Clinton were a man On Tuesday night, Donald Trump argued that, “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. … The only thing she’s got going on is the women’s card.” My immediate reaction? I threw the plum I was eating at the TV, then tweeted, “If Hillary were a man, she’d have been president 25 years ago.” Trump’s misogynistic comments about Hillary sure have made a lot of waves, and it is safe to say that Trump is shooting himself in the foot (again) with a strong majority of women and a majority of reasonable men as he makes his highly sexist remarks that prove what a disaster as a general...

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Climate Change Action Emerges As Winning Wedge Issue In 2016

by JOE ROMM – A new public opinion survey finds that “Americans across political lines, except conservative Republicans, would support a presidential candidate who strongly supports taking action to reduce global warming.” The survey of 1,004 registered voters by the Climate Change Communication programs at Yale and George Mason University yielded a number of important findings consistent with earlier polling this year by Gallup. The new survey found a growing number of registered voters understand global warming is happening: “Three in four (73%, up 7 points since Spring 2014) now think it is happening. Large majorities of Democrats — liberal (95%) and moderate/conservative (80%) — think it is happening, as do three in four Independents (74%, up 15 points since Spring 2014) and the majority of liberal/moderate Republicans (71%, up 10 points).” The researchers point out “only 47% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening.” But then they immediately...

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5 Things We’ve Learned About Republicans

by bobburnett – The 2016 presidential campaign drags on and on.  As we grit our teeth at the prospect of six more months of Donald Trump tweets, it’s useful to look back on the past 12 months and consider what we’ve learned about Republicans. 1. Each of their candidates is deeply flawed.  In April of 2015, according to a CNN/ORC poll, the ranking of Republican presidential candidates was former Florida governor Jeb Bush (17 percent), Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (12 percent), Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (11 percent), Florida Senator Marco Rubio (11 percent), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (9 percent), Texas Senator Ted Cruz (7 percent), followed by surgeon Ben Carson (4 percent) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (4 percent). At the time, pollster fivethirtyeight.com/… >Nate Silver observed that most of these candidates had approval ratings that are “net-negative,” unfavorability ratings greater than favorable. Even though Donald Trump subsequently emerged...

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Supreme Court Quietly Approves Rule to Give FBI ‘Sprawling’ Hacking Powers

by Nadia Prupis – Absent action by Congress, the rule change will go into effect in December The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday quietly approved a rule change that would allow a federal magistrate judge to issue a search and seizure warrant for any target using anonymity software like Tor to browse the internet. Absent action by U.S. Congress, the rule change (pdf) will go into effect in December. The FBI would then be able to search computers remotely—even if the bureau doesn’t know where that computer is located—if a user has anonymity software installed on it. The rule changes, which the FBI said were necessary to combat cybercrime, come amid escalating tensions between the intelligence community and technology and privacy advocates, and just a day after the U.S. House of Representatives advanced a bill that would require the government to obtain a probable cause warrant from a judge before seizing...

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Medicare Is Getting A Serious Makeover

by CORY HERRO – Medicare wants to shift away from paying doctors according to number of visits, procedures, hospitalizations, and tests — and toward paying for performance. This week, Medicare officials unveiled an ambitious plan to do just that. The nearly thousand-page report proposes an opt-in track for doctors called the “merit-based incentive payment system” (MIPS), designed to reward or penalize them based on their performance. The proposal would also pay doctors to try out Medicare’s alternative payment models — non-traditional (and hopefully money-saving) new ways for the public health program to reimburse doctors. The proposal is the first step toward what could be the biggest update to Medicare in its 50-year history. It’s part of a bigger plan to tie as much as half of doctor payments to patients’ health outcomes by 2019. Proponents of the proposed “pay-for-performance” system say that Medicare’s traditional “fee-for-service” system is too costly and...

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On This Day, Apr, 30, 1945 – Adolf Hitler commits suicide

On this day in 1945, holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule and shooting himself in the head. Soon after, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied forces, ending Hitler’s dreams of a “1,000-year” Reich. Since at least 1943, it was becoming increasingly clear that Germany would fold under the pressure of the Allied forces. In February of that year, the German 6th Army, lured deep into the Soviet Union, was annihilated at the Battle of Stalingrad, and German hopes for a sustained offensive on both fronts evaporated. Then, in June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed at Normandy, France, and began systematically to push the Germans back toward Berlin. By July 1944, several German military commanders acknowledged their imminent defeat and plotted to remove Hitler from power so as to negotiate a more favorable peace. Their attempts...

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Donald Trump Sweeps the 5 ‘Acela Primaries,’ But the Republican Party Will Continue to Fracture

by Anthony L. Fisher – One thing Trump is right about: party politics is a “corrupt enterprise.” Donald Trump appears to be the big winner in this latest installment of Super-ish Tuesday, sweeping the so-called Acela Primary of 5 Northeastern states. Immediately as the polls closed at 8p ET, Trump was projected to win the primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut, according to MSNBC. About 25 minutes later, the network called Rhode Island and Delaware for Trump, too. However, just like last week when Trump trounced his rivals Gov. John Kasich (Ohio) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) in the New York primary, it will take some time before the allotment of delegates becomes clear. Only Delaware’s system is simple: all 16 delegates are awarded to the winner. Maryland’s 38 delegates are also winner-take-all, but 24 are reserved for the winner of each congressional district and 14 for the statewide popular vote. Rhode Island’s...

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Watch Men Struggle to Read Mean Tweets Directly to the Faces of Female Sportswriters (NSFW Language)

by Jen Hayden – Women in media tend to face intense harassment online. The Guardian recently did an extensive examination of the comments on their site and the findings were stunning: New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.  Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the “top 10”, one was Muslim and one Jewish. Women who work in the male-dominated...

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Roy Blunt Blames Students’ Lifestyle Expectations for High Debt

by Joan McCarter – Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, of course a Republican, thinks the problem with student loan debt is that those damned college students just have too high expectations for their standard of living, and that’s why they’re drowning in debt. If they didn’t take out so much damned money to live high on the hog, then they wouldn’t be so far in debt. No, really. That’s what he said at a recent Senate hearing on student debt. At the hearing, Blunt pointed to the “personal living standard” of students as a significant factor in rising levels of student debt.“I’m pretty confident over the years that the student expectations for their personal living standards often have increased from where they would have been just a few years ago,” Blunt told Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan seemed a bit taken aback by the suggestion, not at all sure that it was...

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Cop Convicted in Death of Unarmed Black Man

by gossamer1234 – I will keep this fairly brief. I’m sure many of you have heard of the Eric Harris case. An unarmed black man shot and killed by a “reserve” deputy. To be clear, Eric Harris was no saint. He had a rap sheet and was the victim of a sting gone awry.  He was caught on camera illegally selling guns and fled when deputies arrived.  He was eventually caught and cuffed. That’s when the crap hit the fan.  Elderly Robert Bates (72 at the time) shot the handcuffed Harris. Well, he was charged with 2nd degree manslaughter and faced a maximum of four years in prison. He faced a jury of his peers. He was lucky enough that somehow the jury ended up all white. Today he was found guilty, jury recommends 4 years in prison. Elderly white man. Dead scary black man with a record. All white jury. Deep...

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Glenn Beck’s Bullsh*t Defense Of Bigoted Bathroom Bills Is Pure Stupidity (AUDIO)

by Kerry-Anne – Glenn Beck has shared his opinion on the bigoted Bathroom Bill in North Carolina which forces transgender people to use toilets contrary to their gender identity. Beck’s bullsh*t defense of the plans is just about the stupidest thing you’ll hear all day – and we’re in an election cycle. Beck argues that his support of the bathroom bills popping up across the nation’s red states is absolutely nothing to do with bigotry and transphobia. According to Beck: “It has nothing to do with hate. It has everything to do with common sense. But we have detached from common sense.” He then, of course, launches into the same entirely hateful, ignorant, fear-mongering which Ted Cruz and Curt Schilling have engaged in during the course of the debate. He creates the specter of his young daughter being confronted by a man pretending to be a woman in the bathroom –...

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The Controversial Topics Trump Avoided During His Big Foreign Policy Speech

by AARON RUPAR – Donald Trump’s big Wednesday afternoon foreign policy speech didn’t feature the type of controversial rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to from him — he didn’t call Mexicans “rapists” or cite hoax email chains as inspiring his national security policy, for instance. The Republican presidential frontrunner, who uncharacteristically delivered the speech by reading off a teleprompter to a subdued audience in Washington D.C., did say some notable things, however. He warned against “the false song of globalism” and discussed how “America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.” But also worth mentioning were some of the things he didn’t see fit to include during a speech that may have previewed the toned-down Trump we’ll see during the upcoming general campaign. His Support For War Crimes With regard to ISIS, Trump said, “I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell...

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The Supreme Court Reacquainted This Police Department With The First Amendment

by IAN MILLHISER – With only a few exceptions, Justice Stephen Breyer explains in an opinion handed down Tuesday morning, “the Constitution prohibits a government employer from discharging or demoting an employee because the employee supports a particular political candidate.” The police department in Paterson, New Jersey, however, allegedly did not get this memo. The plaintiff in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, a former police detective, claims that he was demoted to patrol officer because his supervisors thought that he backed the wrong political candidate. In reality, Officer Heffernan had no involvement with the political campaign at issue in the case, and was allegedly demoted solely due to a mistake by his supervisors. Heffernan’s case turned upon whether a government employee loses their constitutional rights if their employer lashes out at them in error. The case allegedly began when Heffernan’s bedridden mother asked her son to pick up a sign...

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On This Day, Apr 29, 1974 – Nixon Announces Release of Watergate Tapes

On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon announces to the public that he will release transcripts of 46 taped White House conversations in response to a Watergate trial subpoena issued in July 1973. The House Judiciary committee accepted 1,200 pages of transcripts the next day, but insisted that the tapes themselves be turned over as well. In his announcement, Nixon took elaborate pains to explain to the public his reluctance to comply with the subpoena, and the nature of the content he planned to release. He cited his right to executive privilege to protect state secrets and stated that the transcripts were edited by him and his advisors to omit anything “irrelevant” to the Watergate investigation or critical to national security. He invited committee members to review the actual tapes to determine whether or not the president had omitted incriminating evidence in the transcripts. “I want there to...

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U.S. Attorney General Launches Effort To Reduce Recidivism

by CARIMAH TOWNES – When Attorney General Loretta Lynch was confirmed last April, questions remained about if and how she’d pick up where Eric Holder left off on criminal justice reform. One year later, Lynch announced a comprehensive plan to make it easier for former prisoners to reintegrate into society and reduce recidivism. The Roadmap to Reentry unveiled Monday tackles the “crippling barriers” that make it difficult to find employment, housing, education, and treatment upon release. But it also confronts a challenge that comes up regularly for people behind bars: connecting to family and keeping strong relationships with children. Under the plan, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will expand video visitation to its women’s prisons by June 2016, and eventually expand video conferencing to all of its facilities. At four prisons, parents will have the chance to participate in “youth development activities” using a $1.3 million grant. And BOP staff...

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Obamacare Is Making A Real Difference In People’s Lives. A Lot Of Research Proves It

by LAUREL RAYMOND – Six years after passing through the House and Senate without receiving a single Republican vote, the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) remains a hotly contested piece of legislation. But outside of the political arena, there’s much less debate. A mountain of evidence confirms the law’s effectiveness — particularly in its primary goal of expanding health care coverage to some of America’s neediest populations. Several recent studies have confirmed that Obamacare is positively affecting Americans, particularly those who previously couldn’t obtain health insurance or who struggled to pay their medical bills. Here’s how Obamacare is making a real difference in Americans’ lives: America’s most vulnerable now have health insurance In the years since Obamacare passed, many of the largest gains in coverage rates have been in communities that have previously faced barriers to health care access — such as low-wage workers, immigrants, people of color,...

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Israeli PM Rejects Obama’s $40 Billion Aid Offer, Demands More While America’s Children Go Hungry

by Marcus Aurelius – The state of Israel currently receives a staggering $3 billion a year in so-called aid, much of it for its military, which is then used to brutalize the Palestinian people in the form of a military occupation and a settlement apparatus of land theft that is illegal under international law. With the current agreement set to expire in 2017, Israel wants a raise. They are now asking for an estimated $5 billion a year over the next ten years, for a total of more than $50 billion. Despite the fact that we can use this money at home to help America’s 16 million children who live below the poverty level, Israel’s prime minister not only is asking for more money, but he had the nerve to reject President Obama’s offer of $40 billion over the next ten years. Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israelis are using their pull in Washington to get the...

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This Graphic Completely Undermines Donald Trump’s Nuclear Policy Claims

by ANNA PERINA & TIM HEGEDUS – On Wednesday, Donald Trump will lay out his foreign policy vision in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The speech has been advertised by the Trump campaign and others as an opportunity for the candidate to begin to discuss his policy proposals on international affairs and nuclear weapons proliferation. However, in prior appearances and interviews throughout the campaign, Trump has shown that he is erratic and reckless in temperament, unfamiliar with the basic responsibilities of American security and global leadership. For one, he has put forward the idea that, despite U.S. efforts to prevent further nuclear proliferation, it is probably “going to happen anyway.” Trump has suggested that the U.S. is currently too economically and militarily weak to effectively deter allied nations facing regional threats (such as Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia) from developing nuclear weapons of their...

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Carly Fiorina Bursting Into Song At Cruz Rally Is The Most Bizarre Thing You’ll Ever See (VIDEO)

by Sarah – Just when you thought things couldn’t get weirder, Carly Fiorina bursts into song. It all happened during the Ted Cruz rally where he named Fiorina his vice presidential choice if he were to somehow magically secure enough delegates for the GOP nomination. The entire publicity stunt of adding Fiorina just reeks of desperation from the Cruz campaign. It’s very reminiscent of what President McCain John McCain did in 2008 to try to appeal to voters in a last-ditched effort to try to become president, and we all know how that turned out. Nonetheless, Fiorina accepted his request to run on his imaginary ticket, so she spoke to the crowd at his latest rally in Indiana. She spoke in fluent conservative-speak, saying things like: “A President Ted Cruz will restore power back where it belongs in the hands of citizens,” and “This is the fight of our time, and I believe...

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On This Day, Apr 28, 1967 – Muhammad Ali Refuses Army Induction

On April 28, 1967, boxing champion Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted into the U.S. Army and is immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 14, 1942, the future three-time world champ changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after converting to Islam. He scored a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and made his professional boxing debut against Tunney Husaker on October 29, 1960, winning the bout in six rounds. On February 25, 1964, he defeated the heavily favored bruiser Sonny Liston in six rounds to become heavyweight champ. On April 28, 1967, with the United States at war in Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces, saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Viet Cong.” On June...

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Longest-Serving GOP Speaker In History Is A Liar And Serial Child Molester, Federal Judge Says

by LAUREL RAYMOND – Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced in federal court today to 15 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, in addition to two years of supervised release, on the condition that he get treatment as a sex offender. Last year, Hastert pled guilty to breaking banking laws by making illegal withdrawals — which he then lied about to the FBI. Hastert took out $1.7 million in small amounts to avoid suspicion, according to the indictment, which he then used as hush money to prevent a victim of sexual abuse from going public. The victim, identified only as “Individual A” in the court papers, was a 14-year-old on Hastert’s wrestling team when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High school in Illinois. When the allegations become public, three other victims came forward and said that they had been molested by Hastert...

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Bernie has Basically Conceded the Race with his Press Release. Could Open Door for Early Unity

by floridageorge – The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a press statement, and it reads like a concession of the nomination.   Mind you, Bernie will stay in the race until California, that looks to be clear.   The press release makes the point that they are going to try to get as many delegates as possible, take them to the convention to make claims on the party platform. Here is the press release: berniesanders.com/… PRESS RELEASE Sanders Statement on Primary Elections APRIL 26TH, 2016  HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday issued the following statement:  “I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victories tonight, and I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come.  “I am proud that we were able to win a resounding victory tonight in Rhode Island, the one state with an open primary where independents had a say in the outcome....

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Trump’s Clean Sweep Of Northeast Exposes Failure Of ‘Stop Trump’ Movement

by AARON RUPAR – On Tuesday, Donald Trump pulled off a clean sweep of the northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. His dominant performance — at press time, it appears a majority of Republican voters cast ballots for him in all five states — came on the same day the Republican frontrunner broke 50 percent support in a reputable national poll of Republicans and Republican-leaners for the first time. Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing. More so than ever before, he’s now the presumptive Republican nominee. The #NeverTrump movement has failed. Establishment pundits have been powerless to stop him. Mitt Romney couldn’t either. Once-promising GOP candidates such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were run over by the Trump Train. And the last-minute alliance of remaining contenders Ted Cruz and John Kasich? A total failure almost as soon as it was announced. Trump has a chance to hit the...

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Australian Politician Sets Methane-Laden River on Fire to Protest Fracking

by Nadia Prupis – ‘This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers.’ An Australian elected official set fire to a river in Queensland this weekend in an act of protest against the coal seam gas industry, stating that fracking causes methane to seep into the river. In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham can be seen leaning over the side of an aluminum boat on the Condamine River, touching a barbecue lighter to the water and setting it instantly ablaze. Buckingham recoils. “A river on fire! Don’t let it burn the boat.” “This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers, who want to spread across all states and territories,” Buckingham says in the video, which subsequently went viral, hitting 3.3 million views by Monday morning. “The fracking just a kilometer away, methane...

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Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Gay Baker’s Claim Of Religious Freedom

by ZACK FORD – The Colorado Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal brought by a man who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple — upholding lower court rulings that concluded this decision was in violation of the state’s sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections. Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has argued that declining to sell a cake to David Mullins and Charlie Craig (as well as other same-sex couples) was an expression of his religious freedom to refuse to contribute his “artistic expression” to a same-sex wedding, noting that his shop otherwise serves gay people. So far, the courts haven’t found this argument compelling. Phillips lost his case at a lower court in 2013 and then again at the Colorado Court of Appeals last August. As the Court of Appeals ruled, refusing to serve a same-sex wedding cannot be distinguished from discrimination on the...

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Man Sentenced To Die After ‘Expert’ Testified That Black People Are Dangerous

by IAN MILLHISER – Duane Edward Buck’s lawyers were a disaster. After Buck was convicted of murder, his own attorneys retained a now-discredited psychologist who testified that Mr. Buck is more likely to be a danger to society in the future because he is black. This testimony then went unchallenged at a later, crucial state court proceeding even though Buck was then represented by a new lawyer. The only new claim that lawyer raised at this proceeding was “based on a non-existent provision of the penal code.” Now, nearly two decades after his conviction, no court has considered whether the racist testimony elicited at Buck’s trial caused him to be sentenced to death. Moreover, thanks to errors committed by his previous lawyers and an array of laws and legal doctrines that often elevate the finality of convictions ahead of the need to ensure that innocents are not punished and that...

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Trump Fearmongers In Rhode Island With Misleading Claims About Syrian Refugees

by AARON RUPAR – During a Monday afternoon rally in Warwick, Rhode Island, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned Ocean State residents to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees, some of whom he thinks might be associated with ISIS, are being resettled in the state. While reading off Rhode Island factoids from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trump said, “Here’s one I don’t like… Syrian refugees are now being resettled in Rhode Island.” The audience responded with loud boos. “We don’t know where they’re from, we don’t know where they’re from, they have no documentation,” Trump continued. “We all have hearts and we can build safe zones in Syria — and we’ll get the Gulf states to put up the money, we’re not putting up the money — but I’ll get that done.” “Lock your doors folks, okay, lock your doors,” Trump concluded. “There’s no documentation, we have our incompetent...

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Obama Finally Weighs In On His Vote For President With Explicit Message For Democrats

by Sarah – If you’ve been on the email list for President Obama, as well as the Democratic National Committee, then you probably woke up to an email this morning from the president. For the most part, he’s kept quiet in regards to who he would like as the person to come after him as commander-in-chief. There’s been speculation, but nothing definitive, and to be honest that’s really best. Whoever wins should win on their own merits. However, in the email sent out, President Obama told it like it is. He gets directly to the point and lets us know that we cannot, no matter what, allow a Republican to win the White House. Their divisive and hateful rhetoric is absolutely un-American. Yet, more to the point, the president points out that the Democrats have two fantastic choices, and that no matter what their differences may be, they actually share more in...

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Missouri GOP Throws Away $8.3 Million To Block Planned Parenthood From Getting $400K

by Charles Topher – In a growing trend to keep backwards-thinking idiots voting on the issues that really matter, like a woman’s right not just to choose but her right to accessible, affordable healthcare, the GOP is going to even more ridiculous lengths than ever to enshrine their antiquated beliefs into law. Between that and teaching your children to love God and worship him like the founders intended and making sure what happens in your personal life is regulated by overwhelmingly Christian beliefs, the zealots of the right have their hands full. To prove they can be bought with taxpayer money, Missouri Republicans are willing to spend $8.3 million so Planned Parenthood doesn’t get $400K. It’s so simple it’s stupid, which is why it’s the perfect play for the GOP. First, you decline all federal funding for healthcare costs associated with women’s health care, which in this case is $8.3 million....

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Federal Judge Upholds ‘Discriminatory’ NC Voter ID Law

by Nika Knight – ‘The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans. This ruling does not change that reality.’ North Carolina’s sweeping and controversial election reform law, HB 589, was upheld on Monday by a federal judge in Winston-Salem, prompting vows to appeal from the plaintiffs who allege that the legislation’s dramatic voting restrictions widely disenfranchise minority voters. “The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans. This ruling does not change that reality. We are already examining an appeal,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, in a statement. Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote (pdf) that the law’s controversial cutbacks on early voting, elimination of same-day registration and pre-registration for 17-year-olds, and notoriously strict voter ID requirement served a “legitimate state interest” by attempting...

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Polls Show Millennials Hate Trump, Would Overwhelmingly Back Clinton

by Ryan Denson – The notion that millennials are stupid, spoiled, uninformed voters who only care about themselves was shredded today after a new poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics showed millennial voters would overwhelmingly back Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup with Donald Trump. Collecting responses from over three thousand 18-29 year old voters showed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would garner 60 percent to Trump’s 25 percent, an astonishing 36 point lead, while 14 percent remain undecided. So, in other words, the “selfish, uninformed, spoiled” millennials wouldn’t back the actual selfish, spoiled, uninformed Republican front-runner. Go figure. Not only do millennials overall have a highly unfavorable view of Trump overall, he isn’t all that popular amongst young Republicans, either. His bombastic, hateful nature has rubbed some young Republicans the wrong way: Thirteen percent of Republicans would back Hillary Clinton verses 5 percent of Democrats who would back Trump. Clinton leads...

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On This Day, April 27, 1989 – Student protesters take over Tiananmen Square

  1989 – Student protestors took over Tiananmen Square in Beijing. April 27, 1989 is arguably the most glorious day of the 1989 student movement. On this day, hundreds of thousands of college students in Beijing walked out of their campuses, despite that the demonstration was canceled at the last minute under the pressure and in the face of the new People’s Daily editorial which accused their movement as a deadly turmoil. The Chinese government condemned the protests as a “counter-revolutionary riot”, and has prohibited all forms of discussion or remembrance of the events since. Due to the lack of information from China, many aspects of the events remain unknown or unconfirmed. Estimates of the death toll range from a few hundred to the thousands. 1509 – Pope Julius II excommunicated the Italian state of Venice. Venice had taken control of the cities of Faenza, Rimini and Ravenna to extend...

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Captors Kill Canadian Hostage in the Philippines

Canada confirms head dumped in a street in Jolo was that of John Ridsdel, who was seized by Abu Sayyaf last September The severed head of a Canadian hostage has been found on the streets of Samal Island in the Philippines. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has confirmed the news that a plastic bag containing a decapitated head and dumped in a street on Monday night by two men on a motorcycle in Jolo, a town in Sulu province of the Philippines, was that of John Ridsdel of Calgary. Ridsdel, 68, was abducted along with three other tourists – fellow Canadian Robert Hall, a Norwegian man and a Filipino woman – last September by the Abu Sayyaf armed group from a marina on Samal Island, also known as Islam Garden. Abu Sayyaf had earlier threatened to kill one of the three male hostages if a large ransom was not...

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The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

by NEAL GABLER – The top journalists covering the elections are out of touch. No wonder they’re missing this year’s big stories To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. That is no small thing when you consider those two are the big stories this campaign season. It’s like a weatherman missing a Category Five hurricane. Of course, if a weatherman had blown that call, he probably would be fired. With pundits, getting it wrong never seems to matter. To their credit, a few of those Big Feet have fessed up to their errors. New York Times columnist David Brooks, one of the most contrite, admitted that he realized he had been living in a bubble and had to...

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Fox Host Shatters Conservative Claim That Bathroom Bills Are Needed To Stop Predators (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – A Fox host actually debunked a conservative talking point by doing what a real journalist does best: research. An anti-LGBT conservative columnist appeared on Fox News Sunday to defend anti-LGBT laws that ban transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Ben Domenech argued that such laws are necessary to protect women and children from predators whom right-wingers claim will use transgender protections to get into women’s restrooms to sexually harass and assault victims. “That’s actually what people are concerned about,” The Federalist columnist claimed. “They’re less concerned about transgender people coming into bathrooms than they are about men using this as a way to get into locker rooms with women and to exploit that opportunity to participate in some kind of criminal act.” Of course, predators can already do that and no law will stop them from doing it anyway...

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“No Such Thing as Closure”: Tamir Rice’s Family Settles for $6M with Cleveland

by Nadia Prupis – “Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” the family’s attorneys said on Monday The family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot to death by police while playing in a park in November 2014, has settled a federal lawsuit with the city of Cleveland for $6 million. “Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement on Monday. “Nothing will bring Tamir back. His unnecessary and premature death leaves a gaping hole for those who knew and loved him that can never be filled.” The settlement, which admits no wrongdoing on the city’s part, also lets Cleveland officials off the hook in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Rice’s family over the death of the “young boy,...

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Pages Said to Detail Saudi Arabia’s Involvement in 9/11 to be Made Public

by Lauren McCauley – As Obama administration and Gulf ally try to evade accountability, 28-page document may be declassified by June Confidential and deeply controversial documents said to reveal the support network behind the 9/11 hijackers may soon be made public, according to the Obama administration’s head of national intelligence. James Clapper, who is charged with overseeing the declassification, reportedly said that it is a “realistic goal” that the 28-page section of the 9/11 Commission Report would be available as early as June. “We are in the position of trying to coordinate interagency position on the declassification of the 28 pages,” he told attendees of an event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor,The Hill reported on Monday. Clapper’s statement followed similar remarks made Sunday by Sen. Bob Graham (R-Fla.), who was co-chairman of the bipartisan congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attack. Graham and others familiar with the report have alleged that...

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On This Day, April 26, 1865 – Union Troops Track Down and Kill John Wilkes Booth

1865 – John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him down to a Virginia farm, 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Twenty-six-year-old Booth was one of the most famous actors in the country when he shot Lincoln during a performance at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., on the night of April 14. Booth was a Maryland native and a strong supporter of the Confederacy. As the war entered its final stages, Booth hatched a conspiracy to kidnap the president. He enlisted the aid of several associates, but the opportunity never presented itself. After the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, Booth changed the plan to a simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward. Only Lincoln was actually killed, however. Seward was stabbed by Lewis Paine but survived, while the...

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Fed Up With Officer Violence, San Francisco Residents Go On Hunger Strike Against Police Chief

by CARIMAH TOWNES – “I’ve reached 48 hours now. After the 24-hour mark, you kind of get over the pain of hunger. We get distracted, kind of, with the people that are visiting. We’re trying to stay dry. It was raining last night,” Edwin Lindo told ThinkProgress by phone Friday morning. “I’m hanging in there.” Lindo is one of six hunger strikers currently sitting in front of the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, alongside local rapper Equipto, preschool teacher Maria Cristina Gutierrez, local resident Ike Pinkston, and two others. Lindo, who is also running for District 9 supervisor, is one of the four people who initiated the action on Wednesday in protest of Police Chief Greg Suhr, the embattled leader of the San Francisco Police Department. Under Suhr’s leadership there’s been a spate of fatal police shootings of residents of color, including Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, and Amilcar Perez-Lopez....

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Crimes & Punishments

by Christopher Brauchli – Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. — Theodore Roosevelt, Third Annual Message (1903) A number of readers have written inquiring whether it is acceptable to have state attorneys general continue to serve in that capacity when they have been charged with criminal conduct and/or have lost their licenses to practice law. The reason for the inquiry is that readers know that the attorney general of a state is the chief law enforcement officer of the state, serves as the state’s principal legal advisor, and represents the state in litigation. Those tasks have to be done by someone who is licensed as a lawyer. Those are good questions and, happily, there are two real life examples that enable me to provide the answers to both those questions. The first comes to us from Texas, where the attorney general is Ken...

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We Fact-Checked A High-Profile Article On Climate And Energy. It Wasn’t Pretty

by JOE ROMM – Foreign Affairs has run one of the most confused, out-of-date and error-riddled pieces ever seen on clean energy and climate change. I will fact check it here, since the editors apparently didn’t. Despite the title, “The Clean Energy Revolution: Fighting Climate Change With Innovation,” it’s not about how the clean energy revolution of the last several years has been a game-changer for near-term climate action. Quite the reverse: It’s mostly an outdated rehashing of the oddly pessimistic “We need an energy miracle” myth, which has been debunked here and elsewhere so many times I’ve lost count. Bloomberg New Energy Finance: The “energy miracle” has arrived Indeed, earlier this month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich, one of the world’s leading experts on the state of emerging clean energy, devoted his entire keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference to debunking the myth. His data- and...

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Meet The ‘Jewish Terrorist Network’ In The West Bank

by JACK JENKINS – Israeli police and security officials have announced the discovery of a right-wing network of “Jewish terrorists” in the occupied West Bank, saying they have arrested several accused of plotting and enacting attacks against Palestinians and their homes. On Wednesday, representatives of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet revealed they had apprehended several members of a “Jewish terrorist network” in the Palestinian territories over the past few weeks. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier who reportedly confessed to tossing a tear gas grenade into the home of a Palestinian family and throwing firebombs at another house in Mazraa al-Qabliyah. “ widespread terrorist activity,” Shin Bet said in a statement. “…Including attempted terrorist attacks on homes of Palestinians while the occupants were inside, attacking minorities, arson and vandal assaults on Palestinian vehicles, and stone throwing from a...

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This New Bill Wants To Regulate Viagra To Fight Against Anti-Abortion Measures

by Brianna Acuesta – A bill proposed by South Carolina Representative Mia McLeod seeks to regulate the administering of Viagra for men in an effort to prove how ridiculous anti-abortion measures are. The bill has several stipulations for obtaining a Viagra prescription, such as presenting a sworn statement from the patient’s sexual partner, a 24-hour wait period, and a psychiatric evaluation by a sexual therapist. McLeod has stated that she doesn’t expect the bill to pass the full House or become an actual law, and that the main purpose for the bill is to draw attention to the hypocrisy of a male-dominated legislature attempting to regulate women’s bodies. She explained, “This bill isn’t really about erectile dysfunction, but it is about gender equity.” Similarities between anti-abortion laws and these proposed stipulations are present in the bill, as some women must wait 24 hours before getting an abortion after they make their...

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US Torture Lawsuit: CIA Contractors Head to Court (VIDEO)

Torture survivors sue psychologists who designed programme described as brutal, physically harmful and not effective For the first time since the US launched the so-called War on Terror, two former CIA contractors are in federal court. Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who designed the CIA’s torture programme, are trying to get a judge to throw out the lawsuit filed on behalf of some of the men who were tortured. More than 100 men say they were subjected to waterboarding and beatings during interrogations in Afghanistan. According to the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report on the torture programme, Mitchell and Jessen, who had no experience in interrogations, were paid $81m to teach the CIA how to break the detainees during questioning. The Senate report called the programme “brutal” “physically harmful” and “not effective”.   Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info

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“It’s Possible”: Koch Brother Says Hillary Clinton Might Be Best Choice for Him

by Jon Queally – ‘We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,’ says billionaire industrialist and far-right ideologue When the oligarchs speak, take it with a grain of salt. Or a wheelbarrow full. But in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” which aired Sunday morning, billionaire industrialist and philanthropist of the far-right Charles Koch says given the performance of former president Bill Clinton and her own record, he thinks “it’s possible” that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be better at fulfilling his libertarian and pro-business agenda than any of the Republicans currently in the running. Asked by journalist Jonathan Karl if he could actually see himself supporting Clinton in a hypothetical general election against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or John Kasich – Koch smiled, but didn’t say no. “We would have to believe her actions would be quite different...

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Want to Fight the Terrorist Enemy? Start With Allies Like Saudi Arabia

by Matt Purple – “With friends like these” It began, as these things usually do, with a carrot. After President Obama assailed Saudi Arabia for being a “free rider” in an interview with The Atlantic, Prince Turki al Faisal published a rejoinder at Arab News where he trumpeted Saudi-American cooperation. The message was clear: Lay off the criticism and we’ll stand by you. The stick came a month later. Stung by the introduction of a bill in Congress that would open their government to lawsuits from 9/11 victims, the Saudis threatened to divest in $750 billion of U.S. government assets. You expose us and we’ll damage your economy. It was a superfluous move—Obama has already vowed to fight the legislation—and, for the typically reserved Saudis, an unusually brusque one. You might even call it geopolitical blackmail, which several of the 9/11 families did. The Saudi-American friendship has hit a breaking point....

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On This Day, April 25, 1953 – Watson and Crick Propose Double Helix DNA Structure

1953 – Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick suggested the double helix structure of DNA. In the early 1950s, the race to discover DNA was on. At Cambridge University, graduate student Francis Crick and research fellow James Watson (b. 1928) had become interested, impressed especially by Pauling’s work. Meanwhile at King’s College in London, Maurice Wilkins (b. 1916) and Rosalind Franklin were also studying DNA. The Cambridge team’s approach was to make physical models to narrow down the possibilities and eventually create an accurate picture of the molecule. The King’s team took an experimental approach, looking particularly at x-ray diffraction images of DNA. In 1951, Watson attended a lecture by Franklin on her work to date. She had found that DNA can exist in two forms, depending on the relative humidity in the surrounding air. This had helped her deduce that the phosphate part of the molecule was on the...

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Doctor Is Changing Thousands of Lives (VIDEO)

One man’s passion of providing medical treatment to homeless individuals has grown to be a national phenomenon Dr. Jim Withers received simple instructions: “do not dress like a doctor, act like a jerk”. These stipulations were the only ones provided by Mike Sallows 24 years ago, when Withers joined him to provide healthcare to the most ostracized population in Pittsburgh. Since then, the pair has transformed their visits to bridges, back alleys, overpasses, and riverbanks into Operation Safety Net. This national network consists of homeless outreach workers and medical volunteers and is recognized as the country’s first targeted, full-time street medicine program. It boasts of reaching more than 10,000 individuals and aided in transitioning more than 1,200 into housing. According to an interview published by The Huffington Post, Withers described how he actually “started dressing like a homeless person and sneaking out at night with a guy who...

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Obama Forced To Reassure U.K. That Republicans Haven’t Completely Ruined United States Yet

by Jameson Parker – In yet another unforced error committed by the Republican Party that hurts America’s reputation, the recent surge in discriminatory laws against the LGBT community has caused alarm to the rest of the world. The U.K. even issued a travel alert to its citizens warning them of the risk of vacationing in places like North Carolina and Mississippi, given the new so-called “bathroom laws” and other forms of legislated bigotry. “The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” the advisory stated. “LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before traveling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community.”  The advisory encouraged travelers to avoid potentially risky situations and “excessive physical shows of affection,” and to “exercise discretion” in rural areas. President Obama, who happens to be in...

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Victory: Kinder Morgan Nixes New England Pipeline Plan

by Nika Knight – ‘This is a project that no one wanted, and this is a fitting end to the story’ Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has suspended its plans to build a fracked gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, citing poor demand for its gas in a statement (pdf) released late Wednesday. Pipeline opponents are cheering the decision. The pipeline would have cost over $3 billion and spanned nearly 200 miles, according to theBoston Globe. “I read the announcement from Kinder Morgan that they had suspended their process” for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, said Bob Hamilton, chairman of the board of selectmen in Rindge, N.H., which was on the pipeline’s route. “I led the room in a happy dance.” “They said that we would welcome them with open arms, and it was the opposite,” Elisa Benincaso of Rindge told New Hampshire’s WMUR. Kinder Morgan had threatened to seize private...

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Republicans Just Made A Decision That Probably Means They’ve Given Up On Winning The White House

by Oliver Willis – Faced with the prospect of campaigning with Donald Trump at the top of the Republican presidential ticket, the Republican National Committee appears ready to do something unprecedented eight months before the first ballot is cast and give up on the election . The Republican National Committee is scaling back its financial commitments to some of the most hotly contested states because of flagging fund-raising, the most concrete evidence yet of how the party’s divisive and protracted presidential race is threatening the party’s entire ticket in November. Sean Spicer, the RNC’s head strategist, admitted to the New York Times that the party was not yet ready to have field organizers in place in key swing states like Florida and Ohio because the money isn’t there yet, thanks to the contentious presidential contest. Even stranger, the Republicans are setting up a fund so that the party’s wealthiest supporters can...

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Florida Supreme Court Halts 24-Hour Waiting Period For Women Seeking Abortions

by CASEY QUINLAN – The Florida Supreme Court put legislation mandating a 24-hour waiting period for abortion on hold on Friday, according to the Tampa Bay Times. It is latest salvo in a legal battle that began after the measure passed last year. The ruling was 5-2 in favor of temporarily stopping the waiting period from going into effect while the court decides if it will hear a case on whether the waiting period is unconstitutional. The law requires a woman to see a doctor in person an entire day before she gets an abortion. The ACLU and Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic based in Gainesville, sued the state last year, claiming that it infringes on privacy rights under the state constitution. This recent ruling is a win for those groups, which were dealt a legal blow in February when a three-judge panel of the First...

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Trump Starts To Walk Back His Hate-Mongering For The General Election. Don’t Fall For It

by Dartagnan – “I did some things and I’ve said some things in fun,” said the former reality television star, comparing his comments to language he used on NBC’s “The Apprentice.” “A lot of that was entertainment,” he said, adding: “I think that women will be big fans.” As expected, the cynical media creation known as Donald Trump has begun the next phase of his campaign of fleecing the American electorate,  gradually walking back the ignorant and deliberately provocative racism and hateful misogyny that has fueled his ambitions up to this point, making him the darling of Republican voters. These types of sentiments played well to his gullible base support, but Trump is well aware how toxic they are to the people he needs to sway in November.  So be warned. There will be a lot less talk anymore of a “wall” on the Mexican border, of roundups and deportations, of “punishing” women...

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Forget The Presidential Race: The House Is Key To Climate Battles

by SAMANTHA PAGE – In celebration of Earth Day, House Democrats released a video expressing their anger, frustration, and sadness over environmental issues in America and calling for action. “Speaker Ryan, as we celebrate Earth Day, it’s clear that we need to protect our natural resources, which are so precious to our generation today and to our children’s generation tomorrow,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, says in the video. He and a half-dozen other House members call on their Republican counterparts to protect the environment. But in an era when Congress is known for being gridlocked and extremely partisan, climate change is one of the starkest examples of the differences between Democrats and Republicans. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a difference that isn’t really reflected in the American public. Late last year, the House voted to kill the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks...

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On This Day, April 24, 1948 – The Berlin Airlift Starts

  1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city. When the blockade by the USSR began, the Soviets rejoiced, because they believed the Western powers had only one option, to leave Berlin.  But they underestimated the West airlift supplies.  Gen. Clay called upon General Curtis E. LeMay, commander of USAFE and asked him if he could haul supplies to Berlin.  LeMay responded, “We can haul anything”.  Two days later Gen. LeMay called upon Brig. Gen. Joseph Smith, Commander of the Wiesbaden Military Post, and appointed him Task Force Commander of an airlift operation estimated to last a few weeks.  The only US aircraft initially available were 102 C-47’s and 2 C-54 Skymasters.  On June 26, the first C-47’s landed at Tempelhof Airfield, foreshadowing the great operation that was to come.  Smith dubbed the mission “Operation Vittles”, because he said “We’re haulin‘ grub.”  The British called their...

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The Death Gap

by Sam Pizzigati – The richest Americans now live 10-15 years longer than the poorest Rich people live longer than poor people. No big news there — we’ve known that health tracks wealth for quite some time now. But here’s what we haven’t known: The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating. Since 2001, American men among the nation’s most affluent 5 percent have seen their lifespans increase by more than two years. American women in that bracket have registered an almost three-year extension to their life expectancy. Meanwhile, the poorest five percent of Americans have seen essentially no gains at all. Now a three-year gain in average lifespan might not, at first glance, seem earth-shakingly significant. But consider this: If doctors could by some miracle suddenly cure all cancer, federal health officials tell us, the average overall American life expectancy would increase by just...

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Bernie and Beyond Bernie, Candidate or Movement?

by Greg Dworkin –                                      PredictWise markets think we have a nominee                                    Kos had a terrific piece looking at NY exit polls.  Here are the actual exit polls themselves. Steve Schale with more Dem primary analysis (Steve ran the 2008 FL campaign for O): The commanding win tonight by Secretary Clinton should bring an end to the nomination fight.  Going into tonight, her delegate lead was over 200, and her popular vote lead was over 2.4 million.  We’ll see how the delegates get allocated, but her lead will significantly grown tonight, and she will add another 200,000 or more her popular vote lead.  This in a state that Sanders’ top advisor has said was one they needed to win, and...

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Why A Once Iron-Clad Alliance Is Quaking — And Why It Took So Long To Falter

by BEENISH AHMED – President Obama received a rather lukewarm reception from Saudi royals when he landed in Riyadh on Wednesday. Saudi social media commentators noted that he was met with a reception led by the city’s mayor instead of King Salman, who greeted regional leaders with a great deal more gusto right after they landed. Nor did Obama exchange kisses with the Saudi leader, as his predecessor George W. Bush once did. But the alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United States is not quite what it used to be. Tensions have reached new heights in recent weeks among suggestions that the Kingdom’s money was used to fund the 9/11 hijackers – three-fourths of whom were Saudi nationals. A proposal in Congress that might allow victims of that attack to sue the Kingdom if it’s found to have supported terrorism has further chilled relations. Saudis also feel snubbed by...

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Virginia Governor Will Allow More Than 200,000 Ex-Felons To Vote

by ALICE OLLSTEIN –   Virginia Gov. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Friday restoring the voting rights of at least 200,000 residents with a felony criminal record ahead of the presidential election in November. Speaking from the marble steps of the state capitol, he said the move was necessary for the state to move away from its slaveholder past. Starting today, those formerly disenfranchised residents can vote, run for office, and serve on a jury. “I have long struggled with the question of whether Virginia can fully address Lincoln’s call for a government by the people, of the people, and for the people, when we cut out so many people from full citizenship,” he said. “This is the essence of democracy. Any effort to erode it dilutes it for all of us. So I believe it is time to cast off Virginia’s troubled history and restore the rights...

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As we Suspected: NRA’s Myth of Defensive Gun Use is Largely Just a Myth

by xxdr zombiexx – FIREARM JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDES AND NON-FATAL SELF-DEFENSE GUN USE The cold, hard facts: In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as detailed in its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides tallied in the SHR. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year. “Gun advocates” are working from a mythical, idealized and utterly false concept that the gun is some sort of magical creator of protection. Pro-gun advocates – from individual gun owners to organizations like the National Rifle Association – frequently...

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Send Bill Pulling Licenses of Doctors who Perform Abortions to the Governor

by Meteor Blades – Abortion remains legal nationwide despite being ever more hampered by forced-birther machinations. It therefore seems impossible that the bill just passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives to pull the license of any doctor who performs an abortion will pass constitutional muster. Indeed, a few representatives—all of them Democrats—made that very argument during debate. The bill nevertheless passed the House overwhelmingly late Thursday, just as it passed by a lopsided vote in the heavily Republican state Senate last month. It now heads to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin for her signature. She has not indicated whether or not she will sign it. Under the bill, any doctor who performs an abortion—except to save the life of the woman or to preserve her health—would have his or her license taken away. The Oklahoma State Medical Association has opposed the bill, viewing it as an attempt to intimidate physicians and inject politics into the physician-patient relationship. Amanda Allen, the...

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Los Angeles Mayor: Time To Quadruple Spending On Homelessness Crisis

by ALAN PYKE – Los Angeles would spend $138 million to fight homelessness in the coming fiscal year under the $8.8 billion budget Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) proposed Wednesday. The relatively small chunk of Garcetti’s overall spending plan is four times what he spent on homelessness services and housing efforts in the current budget window — and almost eight times what was initially budgeted for such work for fiscal 2016. Construction of new affordable housing units would take up $86 million of the total. To take advantage of that increase in physical housing capacity, Garcetti would spend $30 million to fund the wraparound services that are essential to the Permanent Supportive Housing model of homelessness policy. Budget documents do not offer an estimate of how many units of permanent housing and shelter housing that year-one investment would yield. But the city already anticipates spending nearly $2 billion over the coming...

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On This Day, April 23, 1778 – Harry Truman Gives Hell to the Soviet Union

1945 – Less than two weeks after taking over as president after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman gives a tongue-lashing to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The incident indicated that Truman was determined to take a “tougher” stance with the Soviets than his predecessor had. When Roosevelt died of a massive stroke on April 12, 1945, Harry S. Truman took over as president. Truman was overwhelmed by the responsibilities so suddenly thrust upon him and, particularly in terms of foreign policy, the new president was uncertain about his approach. Roosevelt had kept his vice-president in the dark about most diplomatic decisions, not even informing Truman about the secret program to develop an atomic bomb. Truman had to learn quickly, however. The approaching end of World War II meant that momentous decisions about the postwar world needed to be made quickly. The primary issue Truman faced...

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Target Shows How Simple It Is To Be Welcoming Of Transgender People

by ZACK FORD – Nothing is new at Target, but on Tuesday, the company issued a reminder that it welcomes transgender customers to use the restrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity. “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate,” the company said in a statement. “We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.” Acknowledging the anti-LGBT laws advancing in states like North Carolina and reiterating its support for the Equality Act, which would create nationwide LGBT nondiscrimination protections, Target assured, “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.” Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for the company, told...

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The Hypocrisy Behind Utah’s Move To Declare Porn A Public Health Hazard

by ALEX ZIELINSKI – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a piece of legislation on Tuesday that formally declares pornography to be a “public health hazard” in his state. This resolution, introduced in January by Senator Todd Weiler (R), rushed unopposed through the state Senate and House to make it to Herbert’s desk in a matter of months. Though it won’t impose a firm ban or criminal punishment, the legislation is a formal way for lawmakers to announce their disapproval of pornography. Sen. Weiler’s resolution focuses heavily on how pornography warps children’s understanding of sex. “Exposure to pornography often serves as children’s and youths’ sex education and shapes their sexual templates,” it reads. “It teaches girls they are to be used and teaches boys to be users. This early exposure is leading to…an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages.” Weiler, one of the majority Mormon members...

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The Steep Cost of Tax Dodging

by Jasmine Tucker, Truthout | Op-Ed – The old saying goes that there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. But do taxes actually apply to the rich and powerful? US corporations enjoy US infrastructure, talent and other resources, but they’re not giving back financially. Over the last 50 years, the corporate share of federal revenues has dropped from a high of almost 40 percent in 1943 to less than 9 percent today. And while corporations pay less, ordinary Americans are called upon to make up the difference. Individual income taxes will account for nearly 49 percent of all federal revenues in 2016. If you add payroll taxes, individual taxes will make up more than 80 percent of US government revenues this year. The US tax code is riddled with tax breaks and loopholes that cost the US Treasury more than $1 trillion every year — as much...

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4 Insanely Great Ways One Idea From Obama Just Made Life Amazing For Millions Of Americans

by Oliver Willis – The New York Times has done a major new study on the effects of the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – on the lives of Americans. The Times analyzed what happened in the first full year of the implementation of Obamacare between 2013 and 2014, and the results are mind-blowing in how they’ve fundamentally altered the lives of some of the most vulnerable Americans for the better. The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Remember, Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate, and has survived two Supreme Court challenges and other court challenges made up by the obstructionist Right. The last Republican presidential nominee ran on a platform of repealing it,...

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On This Day, April 22, 1970 – US Comes Together to Celebrate First Earth Day

1970 – Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs. Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Loads of chemicals and hazardous wastes have...

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Even Fewer Kids Are Learning Basic Things About Sex Ed

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – The United States, which has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world, isn’t exactly known for its top-notch sexual health resources. But a new study suggests that our country’s sex ed has gotten even worse in recent years. Even fewer teens are now getting basic sex ed information, like formal instruction about how to use birth control, according to researchers at the Guttmacher Institute who compared sexual health data over a seven year period. The researchers compared data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during two of the agency’s survey periods: the 2006–2010 survey and 2011–2013 survey. These surveys included questions for teens about whether they ever received formal sex education materials — like how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, how to say no to sex, how to put on a condom, and how to use different methods of contraception...

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This Simple Graph Blows The ‘Media Has A Liberal Bias’ Myth Completely Out Of The Water

by Jameson Parker – There is a popular belief among Republicans that the mainstream media is in cahoots with liberals. The theory, as they tell it, holds that liberals run the “mainstream” media, and therefore give favorable political coverage to Democrats and demonize conservatives. The belief is so common, in fact, that Fox News, the country’s most watched news network is seen by many as restoring the “balance” between the two sides. Republicans have Fox and liberals have everything else – or so the thinking goes. It’s a convenient fantasy if you’re a Republican. If the media has a “liberal bias” then what they report is inherently suspect. When, say, reporters find that there was absolutely no evidence that Hillary Clinton did anything wrong during Benghazi, conservatives can sleep well knowing that it’s just because those reporters are covering for her. If Republican lawmakers then waste millions of dollars and thousands of...

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Planned Parenthood President Can’t Believe Debate Moderators Never Ask Democrats About Abortion

by KIRA LERNER – There have now been nine Democratic presidential debates, and zero questions about abortion. Despite efforts from women’s health organizations to push debate moderators to ask the candidates about abortion access, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders still have not received a question about it during a debate. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told ThinkProgress on Monday that the omission is inexcusable. “It’s incredible, isn’t it?” she said at a Clinton campaign event in New York City. “And the Republicans seem to be talking about it every chance they get.” During the debate in Brooklyn on Thursday, Clinton mentioned the topic without prompting and called out the moderators for not bringing it up earlier. “We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care, not one question,” Clinton said. Richards, who has been vocal about her support for the former...

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‘Only the Beginning’: Three Face Criminal Charges in Flint Water Crisis

by Nadia Prupis – Two employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and one city employee charged in lead poisoning disaster Update: According to MLive, the individuals charged are Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Steven Busch and Michael Prysby. MLive reports: Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was. He is also charged with willful neglect of office. Prysby and Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and a monitoring violation of the Safe Drinking Water. “These charges are the only beginning and there will be more to come. That I can guarantee you,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “So many things went so terribly wrong, and tragically wrong,...

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