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Cali_Democrat

Obama Administration Issues Executive Order to Protect Transgender Rights in Public Employment

(Mediaite) President Barack Obama issued an executive order Thursday to prohibit transgender discrimination in public employment, another unilateral move by the administration in the wake of the 2014 midterms.

According to the new order, the Justice Department will now interpret the Civil Rights Act as covering transgender employees in workplace discrimination disputes, allowing the DOJ to bring suits against public employers for firing employees on the basis of gender identity.

KamaAina

Indiana church that booted gay choir director to close due to falling attendance

(LGBTQ Nation) A Methodist church in Indiana that suffered a massive walk-out after forcing its gay choir director to resign, will close its doors for good at the end of 2014.

David Mantor, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Ind., says the decision to close the church resulted from falling attendance, membership and financing problems, reports The Herald Bulletin.

babylonsister

Marco Rubio’s fury over the Cuba shift shows why Obama made the right move

(WaPo) Rubio’s emotional — and at times inaccurate — response to the policy change shows why Obama’s move to normalize ties to Cuba after more than half a century is both good policy and good politics. It’s good policy because it jettisons a vestigial policy that has stopped serving a useful purpose, and because it is a gutsy move by Obama that demonstrates strong leadership and will help revive him from lame-duck status. It’s good politics because it will reveal that the Cuban American old guard, whose position Rubio represents, no longer speaks for most Cuban Americans.

inanna

Jimmy Carter Calls US-Cuba Diplomacy 'Courageous'

(AP) Former President Jimmy Carter says he is "proud and grateful" for the president's efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. Carter calls the shift in policy "courageous."

Carter rejects accusations that President Barack Obama is appeasing Cuba's communist leaders.

He said Thursday on MSNBC that the best way to bring democracy to Cubans is to let Americans "go there and trade and invest." Carter says that will show Cubans that Americans are "not the enemy."

mfcorey1

Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy

(AP) Opponents of President Barack Obama's sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba have little chance of scuttling his effort in Congress.

His initiative faces some strong resistance among lawmakers and opened fissures in both parties. Criticism came mostly from Republicans, who say the new policy rewards Cuba's decades-long policies of repression, human rights abuses and aggression, but some prominent Democrats voiced opposition, too.

Katashi_itto

Texas GOP congressman who owns ‘blow-me.org’ website accused of sexual harassment

(Raw Story) According to Mediaite, Rep. Blake Farenthold was accused of harassing a female staffer in a lawsuit filed last Friday. On Monday, it emerged that Farenthold is the owner of the URL “www.blow-me.org,” a currently inactive web address.

Freshman congressman and Tea Party favorite Farenthold was accused of sexual misconduct and of creating a hostile work environment in a lawsuit filed by former staffer Lauren Greene.

babylonsister

Obama's Had a Helluva Good Month Since the Midterms

(Mother Jones) So how have things been going for our bored, exhausted, and disengaged president? He's been acting pretty enthusiastic, energized, and absorbed with his job, I'd say. Let us count the things he's done since the November 4th midterm elections...

babylonsister

Obama Applauds LeBron James For Wearing 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirt

(HuffPo) The president singled out the Cleveland Cavalier for wearing Garner's final words, "I can't breathe," on a t-shirt during warm-ups before playing the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 9.

"I think LeBron did the right thing," Obama told People. "We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness. I'd like to see more athletes do that -- not just around the issue, but around a range of issues."

ellenrr

New York Public Defenders Walk Out Of Court Protesting Eric Garner’s Death

(Buzzfeed) Over 100 Legal Aid Lawyers in NYC staged a walkout and die-in outside Brooklyn Criminal Court to protest what they say is a broken criminal justice system.

The protest, organized by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA), saw hundreds of lawyers walk out of court as part of the #ThisStopsToday 11 days of action movement for Garner.

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Russell Brand And New Era Estate Score Amazing London Housing Victory

14 min ago - Hundreds of residents facing eviction from their London estate have scored a massive victory after investors sold the development to an affordable housing charity. The New Era estate group - backed by Russell Brand - were facing being made homeless ... (Huffington Post)

European leaders warn against too much economic pain on Russia

14 min ago - The European Union's unanimous resolve to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine appeared to be cracking as French, German, Austrian and Italian leaders voiced concern at an alliance summit of inflicting too much pain on Moscow as its economy tu ... (LAT)

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones

24 min ago - By JOAN LOWY and JENNIFER AGIESTA Dec. 19, 2014 12:34 PM EST WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the po ... (The Associated Press)

'Sextortion' suspects deny involvement in Daniel Perry case

30 min ago - Two Filipino men suspected of blackmailing a UK teenager who took his own life have been traced by the BBC. Daniel Perry from Dunfermline was 17 when he fell from the Forth Bridge in July 2013. He had been the victim of online sexual blackmail or " ... (BBC)

China orders payout in 'gay shock therapy' case

1 hr ago - China has ordered a psychiatric clinic to pay compensation to a gay man who was given electric shocks in an attempt to make him heterosexual. The man, Yang Teng, said a Beijing court had decreed that the Xinyu Piaoxiang clinic would have to pay him ... (BBC)

100 million euros in assets seized in Rome 'mafia' probe

1 hr ago - ROME (AP) — Police have seized construction companies, apartments, villas and a yacht belonging to a businessman who authorities allege consorted with a Mafia-like gang in Rome with ties to local politicians. Tax Police Lt. Col. Gerardo Mastrodomeni ... (Associated Press)

McDonald's violated worker rights: NLRB

2 hrs ago - A government labor watchdog has accused McDonald's and some franchise owners of violating workers rights by retaliating against them for taking part in fast food protests. The National Labor Relations Board said in several complaints filed Friday th ... (CNN)

Sony 'made a mistake'

2 hrs ago - The first questions asked of President Obama involved the massive Sony hack, which the United States has tied to North Korea. “In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyberassaults both in t ... (Washington Post)

Thailand Says It Was Unaware Of CIA 'Black Site' On Its Soil

3 hrs ago - Thailand's prime minister says his government had no knowledge of a secret location inside the country where the CIA is said to have waterboarded top al-Qaida operatives in 2002. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was responding to the so-called "tortu ... (NPR)

U.S. ends TARP with $15.3 billion profit

3 hrs ago - The U.S. government essentially closed the books on TARP with a $15.3 billion profit. Treasury sold its remaining shares Friday in Ally Financial, its last remaining major stake from the $426 billion bailout of banks and the U.S. auto industry. The ... (CNN)

Obama to deliver State of the Union on Jan. 20

4 hrs ago - David Jackson, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address to the new Republican-run Congress on Jan. 20, officials said Friday. "Your report will inform our efforts to address the people's priorities," House Speaker John Boe ... (USA Today)

Vladimir Putin invites Kim Jong-un to Moscow

4 hrs ago - Friday 19 December 2014 09.11 EST The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has invited the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to Moscow next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in the second world war, the Kremlin’s s ... (The Guardian)

American Airlines Reaches Deal With Flight Attendants Union

4 hrs ago - Deal Settles Big Area of Uncertainty as It Continues Integration with US Airways By MICHAEL CALIA American Airlines Group Inc. said Friday that it had reached a joint collective-bargaining deal with the union representing 24,000 flight attendants, ... (WSJ)

FBI poised to link China to Sony computer hack, reports say

5 hrs ago - Reports say link between the hack and North Korea has been established, with more details to come at press conference with Obama on Friday A poster of The Interview outside a theater in New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA The FBI is investigati ... (Guardian UK)

EPA to unveil long-anticipated coal ash regulations

5 hrs ago - December 19, 2014 7:52AM ET Long-anticipated regulations regarding the disposal of coal ash — a toxic byproduct containing hazardous materials such as arsenic and lead — are due to be released Friday by the U.S. government. The Environmental Protec ... (Aljazeera)

Chrysler to recall about 288K Ram pickup trucks

5 hrs ago - By TOM KRISHER DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling about 288,000 older Ram pickup trucks in North America and elsewhere because the rear axle can seize or the drive shaft can fall off. The recall covers Ram 1500 pickups from the 2005 model year. ... (AP-Excite)

Half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice is baseless or wrong, study says

6 hrs ago - By Terrence McCoy December 19 at 2:53 AM @terrence_mccoy It’s not hard to understand what makes Dr. Oz so popular. Called “America’s doctor,” syndicated talk-show host Mehmet Oz speaks in a way anyone can understand. Medicine may be complex. But wi ... (Washington Post)

US stocks open mostly higher after a two-day rally

6 hrs ago - NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening mostly higher in the U.S. as the market comes off a massive two-day rally. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,786 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time Friday. The Dow had surged 421 p ... (AP-Excite)

Accused Aurora Theater Gunman's Parents Break Silence for 1st Time

6 hrs ago - By DAN GOOD The parents of James Holmes, the man accused in a 2012 movie theater rampage in Colorado, said their son “is not a monster” and expressed hopes that he gets institutionalized in their first public statement since the attack. “We love ou ... (ABC News)

Key Profumo scandal figure Mandy Rice-Davies dies

7 hrs ago - By JILL LAWLESS LONDON (AP) — Mandy Rice-Davies, a key figure in the "Profumo Affair," a scandal of sex and politics that rocked Cold War Britain, has died. She was 70. Her PR firm, Hackford Jones, said Friday that Rice-Davies died Thursday evening ... (AP-Excite)

It's law now: 'No Social Security for Nazis'

7 hrs ago - By RICHARD LARDNER, DAVID RISING and RANDY HERSCHAFT WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday capped a swift and forceful response to an Associated Press investigation by signing into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals ... (AP-Excite)

US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade

8 hrs ago - By STEVE KARNOWSKI MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. From wheat to rice to beans, the industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama's plan to ease economic and travel ... (AP-Excite)

Global markets rally for 2nd day after Fed pledge

8 hrs ago - By YOUKYUNG LEE SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks rallied for a second day Friday after the Federal Reserve's reassurance it was in no hurry to hike interest rates. But shares of Sony Corp. dropped as a hacking scandal rocked its American movi ... (AP-Excite)

Colorado vows to defend pot law against states' challenge

8 hrs ago - By SADIE GURMAN and GRANT SCHULTE DENVER (AP) — Colorado's top law enforcement official promises to vigorously defend the state's historic law legalizing marijuana after Nebraska and Oklahoma asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it unconstitution ... (AP-Excite)

Hack attack spurs call for more NKorea sanctions

8 hrs ago - By MATTHEW PENNINGTON and ERIC TUCKER WASHINGTON (AP) — Suspicions that North Korea was behind a destructive hacking attack against Sony Pictures and a threat against movie theaters are intensifying calls for tougher U.S. steps to cut that country's ... (AP-Excite)

Competitor buys Bumble Bee for $1.5B

9 hrs ago - By Roger Showley The last of San Diego's iconic seafood companies, Bumble Bee Foods, has been sold to the Thailand owner of its competitor for $1.51 billion. Thai Union Frozen Products, based in Bangkok, expects to close the deal in the second half ... (UT San Diego)

DIA: North Korea Planned Attacks on US Nuclear Plants

13 hrs ago - North Korea dispatched covert commando teams to the United States in the 1990s to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in a conflict, according to a declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report. The DIA report, dated Sept. 13, 2004, revea ... (Washington Free Beacon)

US Delays Release Of Study On 1953 Iran Coup

14 hrs ago - WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is delaying the release of a volume from its U.S. foreign relations history that deals with the CIA-backed overthrow of an Iranian prime minister in the 1950s out of concern that publication could undermine nucl ... (Associated Press)

Gorbachev: US Needs to Have Enemy to Return to Policy of Pressure

14 hrs ago - MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) — Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Union's last leader, told RT TV channel in an interview that the United States wants to 'run the world show' despite the fact that any attempts to create a unipolar world are 'nonsense'. Gorb ... (RIA Novosti)

Oklahoma Corrections Department attorney testifies he was pressured to keep executions on schedule

15 hrs ago - A former attorney for the state Corrections Department testified Thursday that his agency was pressured by both the governor’s and attorney general’s offices to carry out two executions in April, despite ongoing litigation and a lack of the necessary ... (The Oklahoman)

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