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The Left Column


The Conservatives Who Gutted the Voting Rights Act Are Now Challenging ‘One Person, One Vote’

(The Nation) Ed Blum, who brought the case that led to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, is now going after the historic principle of "one person, one vote." The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to hear Evenwel v. Abbott, Blum's latest case, which challenges the drawing of State Senate districts in Texas. The obscure case could have major ramifications for political representation.


NY Assembly passes bill to create single-payer health plan

(Times Union) The state Assembly approved on Wednesday evening a bill that would create a single-payer health system in New York. The bill passed 89-47.


Hillary Clinton Blasts GOP Rivals For Opposing Equal Pay: 'What Century Are They Living In?

(HuffPost) Though she did not specifically mention their names, Clinton criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) for calling equal pay a "bogus" issue, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for saying Congress was "wasting time" on the matter and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for comparing paycheck fairness to price-setting by the Soviet Union's governing body, the Politburo.

"What century are they living in?" Clinton said, drawing applause from supporters in the audience.


Watch: Hypocrite Ted Cruz Begs For Federal Relief Money For Houston Flooding

(Occupy Democrats) Ted Cruz, the same Tea Party Senator that voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy because it was “wasteful“, shows off his astonishing hypocrisy by announcing that he will work with Democrats to “stand as one in support of the federal government meeting its statutory obligations.

It turns out that Texas is the biggest recipient of federal disaster relief money in the country, as 46 counties are in a state of emergency. For all the railing that Ted Cruz does against “big government” and “wasteful spending”, he sure is quick to change his tune. The disaster in Texas is an absolute tragedy, but it’s equally appalling to see Cruz flip-flop after attempting to deny critical disaster relief to other Americans for partisan brownie points. This is a real recurring theme with Republicans, who lack the empathy and compassion to spend federal money on disaster relief for other Americans but clamor for it when bad times hit their own states.


Nebraska senators override governor's veto, repeal death penalty

(Omaha World-Herald) Nebraska has repealed the death penalty following a dramatic vote Wednesday by state lawmakers to override the governor’s veto. The high-stakes vote to override the veto of Legislative Bill 268 was 30-19. It requires at least 30 of 49 senators to overturn a gubernatorial veto.


Dan Savage wants to make Duggar the new Santorum: ‘Clearly duggary needs to be a word’

(Rawstory) Dan Savage wants to make the name Duggar synonymous with hypocrisy and child molestation – just as he helped make Santorum a descriptive noun for a byproduct of gay sex. “Clearly ‘duggary’ needs to be a word,” Savage posted Tuesday on Twitter.


Scott Walker Says Ultrasounds Are 'Just A Cool Thing'

(NPR) Republican Scott Walker dismissed any controversy over a law he signed in Wisconsin requiring women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound, referring in an interview on a conservative radio show to ultrasounds as "just a cool thing out there."


John McCain has a Democratic challenger

Arizona Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick will challenge Sen. John McCain for his Senate seat in 2016.


Descriptions of what it felt like to be at the Bernie Sander's kickoff

As CSPAN and MSNBC appear to have covered the speech -- and I hope the speeches of people who worked for him over the years, Bill McGiben, and both Ben and Jerry, I thought it might be better to describe how much fun it was talking with the other people there and then cheering for Bernie and the other speakers.

This afternoon in Burlington seemed like it does every time there is a festival at one of the two large parks. Everyone seemed happy and excited as they walked from the town or the various parking lots -- or the volunteer staffed "secure bike parking" for people arriving via the many miles of a bike path that runs along the lake...


Read Bernie Sanders’ rousing, policy-heavy speech kicking off his campaign

(Vox) On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a rousing speech kicking off his campaign in his home state of Vermont.


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Latest Breaking News

Great Barrier Reef spared 'in danger' listing - for now

23 min ago - The Great Barrier Reef should not go on a World Heritage danger list, according to a United Nations draft report. However, it says Australia must carry out commitments to protect the reef, including restoring water quality and restricting new port d ... (BBC)

Gay Hotelier Who Hosted Ted Cruz Made a Campaign Donation, Too

27 min ago - When the gay hoteliers Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass found themselves under siege for hosting a dinner for Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who is running for president and has been vociferously opposed to same-sex marriage, they repeatedly stressed tha ... (New York Times)

Access to Iran's Military Sites Religiously Banned: Cleric

31 min ago - A senior Iranian cleric dismissed the West’s call for access to the country’s military sites under a nuclear deal with Tehran, saying the religious jurisprudence bars any scheme that would result in the enemy’s control over a Muslim country. Deliver ... (Tasnim)

UN nuke agency report shows Iran probe essentially stalled

35 min ago - Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the U.N. atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element — an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms — remains essentially stalled. The report ... (Associated Press)

Oneida Tribe legalizing same-sex marriage

1 hr ago - Same-sex marriage is about to be legal among members of the Oneida Tribe. Effective June 10, the Oneidas will recognize marriages between members of the same sex, the tribe said in a news release Thursday afternoon. Same-sex marriage became legal in ... (Green Bay Press Gazette)

U.S. GDP Fell 0.7% in First Quarter

1 hr ago - Economy U.S. GDP Fell 0.7% in First Quarter Harsh weather and a strong dollar sapped demand for American goods By Josh Mitchell And Jeffrey Sparshott joshua.mitchell@wsj.com @JMitchellWSJ Jeffrey.Sparshott@wsj.com @jeffsparshott May 29, 2015 8:3 ... (The Wall Street Journal.)

7.0 magnitude quake strikes offshore Alaska: USGS

1 hr ago - An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck off the southwest coast of Alaska late on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The USGS said the quake's epicenter was 104 km (64 miles) south-southeast of Ugashik and 61.7 km deep. The agency u ... (Reuters)

South African rhino gets treated after poacher attack

1 hr ago - By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A rhino in South Africa that survived an attack by poachers who cut off her horns, leaving a massive wound on her face, has had a setback in her medical treatment. However, conservationists said Friday that ... (AP)

U.S. says China has placed mobile artillery on reclaimed island

2 hrs ago - SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday that China had placed mobile artillery weapons systems on a reclaimed island in the disputed South China Sea, a development that Republican Sen. John McCain called "disturbing and escalatory." B ... (Reuters)

Habitat for Humanity seeks Dodd-Frank relief

2 hrs ago - Add an unexpected group to the list of critics seeking relief from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law: Habitat for Humanity. The housing nonprofit is fighting for an exemption from the Dodd-Frank regulation that requires housing appraisers to re ... (The Hill)

Sanders: 1972 rape essay was ‘dumb attempt’ at satire

2 hrs ago - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sought to distance himself Thursday from an essay he wrote in the 1970s that discusses rape fantasies. Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the 2016 White House contender’s campaign, called the essay a "dumb attempt at dark s ... (The Hill)

Latest on flooding: EMS rescues 21 from houseboat in Austin

2 hrs ago - 3:30 a.m. (CDT) Emergency personnel have rescued the occupants of a houseboat that was adrift in Lake Travis in Austin. Austin-Travis County EMS says the 21 occupants of the boat rescued Friday were not injured. Responders say the houseboat broke ... (AP)

Blast outside Saudi Shiite mosque during prayers: witnesses

3 hrs ago - A car exploded outside a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, witnesses said, the second such blast in a week after a suicide bombing claimed by jihadists killed 21 people. A vehicle parked outside the mosque in the Shiite-populated ... (AFP)

China stocks seesaw, investors jittery after big tumble

3 hrs ago - By KELVIN CHAN HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese stocks seesawed on Friday as investors remained jittery a day after a sharp sell-off while other world benchmarks were uneven, as European shares slumped while Asian indexes finished higher. KEEPING SCORE: Eu ... (AP-Excite)

Union taxi drivers plan anti-Uber demonstration on Strip

4 hrs ago - By RICHARD N. VELOTTA Union taxi drivers for Yellow Checker Star plan a demonstration that could block traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard this afternoon as the weekend arrives and temperatures rise. Drivers represented by the Industrial, Technical and ... (Review Journal)

Hundreds expected for Mohammed cartoon contest outside Phoenix mosque

4 hrs ago - Ritzheimer is the organizer of Friday's "Freedom of Speech Rally" outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix. It's the same mosque where Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi attended for a time. They're the men who drove from Arizona to a Dallas subur ... (CNN)

Giraffe trophy photo in Guilderland yearbook stirs outrage

4 hrs ago - By Dartunorro Clark GUILDERLAND — A Guilderland High School yearbook photo showing a student posing with a slain giraffe — apparently killed in a hunt — is causing a stir among some parents and students and animal rights activists. The photo appear ... (Times Union)

India heatwave death toll tops 1,800 as officials warn of more to come

4 hrs ago - India’s heatwave death toll has risen to at least 1,826 as meteorological officials warned it would continue for at least two more days. The weeks-long heatwave, which officials have described as “severe” as temperatures soared to 47 degrees Celsi ... (AsianCorrispondent.com)

Avago to buy Broadcom for $37 billion in biggest-ever chip deal

5 hrs ago - Avago Technologies Ltd (AVGO.O) agreed on Thursday to buy Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O) for $37 billion in the largest merger of chipmakers ever, turning a lesser known company run by a ferocious dealmaker into one of the biggest industry players. Broadcom ... (Reuters)

China destroys more than 660 kilograms of smuggled ivory

5 hrs ago - BEIJING -- Chinese authorities Friday destroyed 662 kilograms of ivory that was seized after being smuggled into the country, as part of a crackdown on the illegal trade. In front of reporters in a suburban section of Beijing, wildlife officials pla ... (AP)

Vladimir Katriuk, among most wanted Nazi criminals, dies at 93

7 hrs ago - The second most wanted man on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of Nazi war criminals — charged earlier this month by Russia with genocide — has died at age 93, his lawyer said. Vladimir Katriuk passed away last week after a long illness, Orest Rud ... (Haaretz)

Pittsburgh authorities indict 15 Chinese in college test-taking scheme

10 hrs ago - A group of 15 Chinese nationals in the U.S. and China schemed to have impostors take college entrance exams by using fake passports for identification in the hopes of obtaining student visas for entry to U.S. universities, federal prosecutors in Pitt ... (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Indiana lawmakers won't study LGBT protections

11 hrs ago - Despite a push by Democrats, state lawmakers will not be conducting a public study of gay rights issues in advance of the next session. The Legislative Council — a group of top lawmakers from both chambers — met Thursday to approve 40 topics for wor ... (Indianapolis Star)

U.S. Army chief says no human error seen in anthrax mishap

11 hrs ago - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. personnel working at an Army facility in Utah appeared to follow correctly all the outlined procedures to inactivate anthrax before they mistakenly shipped off live samples of the deadly bacteria, the Army's top general sa ... (Yahoo! News / Reuters)

University of North Carolina to remove Ku Klux Klan leader's name from building

11 hrs ago - WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - A post-Civil War era Ku Klux Klan leader's name will be stripped from a campus building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after a vote by the school's board of trustees on Thursday. The board said uni ... (Yahoo! News /Reuters)

North Carolina governor to veto opt-out bill for officials opposing gay marriage

11 hrs ago - RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said on Thursday he would veto legislation allowing government officials to refuse to perform marriages by citing religious objections. The measure, passed by the state's Republican-led H ... (Yahoo! News / Reuters)

New York socialite sentenced to 18 years in poisoning autistic son

11 hrs ago - NEW YORK (Reuters) - A wealthy New York socialite was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday after being convicted of killing her young autistic son at a luxury Manhattan hotel room in 2010. Gigi Jordan, 54, was convicted of first-degree mansla ... (Yahoo! News / Reuters)

Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island

11 hrs ago - TOKYO (AP) — A volcano erupted on a small island in southern Japan on Friday, and authorities ordered residents to evacuate the island. Mount Shindake erupted about 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) in spectacular fashion, spewing towering black-gray clouds into t ... (Yahoo! News / AP)

Washington subway bans 'issue' ads after request to run Mohammad cartoon

11 hrs ago - (Reuters) - The Washington transit system on Thursday suspended all "issue-oriented" advertising after being asked to run a subway ad featuring a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammad. The ban, approved unanimously by the board of directors of t ... (Yahoo! News / Reuters)

State union pushes bill to blunt lockout, strike threat

11 hrs ago - Kurt Erickson SPRINGFIELD — Unionized state workers are taking steps to head off a lockout or a strike threat under legislation being pushed by the union representing 38,000 employees. The proposal backed by the American Federation of State, County ... (Pantagraph)