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The Left Column

Judi Lynn

Arizona law requires abortion providers to tell women procedure is reversible

(AP) Arizona lawmakers approved legislation that requires abortion providers to tell women they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion.

Advocates on both sides of the issue said it’s the first time such a reversal requirement has passed in the US, though Arkansas also is considering similar legislation. Critics say there’s no science to back up the requirement.


Dem Senator Devised A Fantastic Response To Tom Cotton's Iran Letter

(TPM) Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) would like to prevent Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) from sending any more letters to Iranian leaders about the nuclear deal, prompting her to file an amendment to block just that.

She introduced an amendment on Wednesday that would defund "the purchase of stationary or electronic devices for the purpose of members of Congress or congressional staff communicating with foreign governments and undermining the role of the President as Head of State in international nuclear negotiations on behalf of the United States," according to the Huffington Post.


Congresswoman Says She’s ‘Sat Here Too Long,’ Discloses That She Was Raped And Had An Abortion

(Think Progress) This week, Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D) stood up during a legislative debate about a proposed abortion ban and revealed publicly for the first time that she had been sexually assaulted, became pregnant, and had an abortion.

“You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice,” Fedor told her fellow lawmakers, who are attempting to outlaw abortion procedures after just six weeks of pregnancy. “What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long.”


Funds for safety went to utility execs' pay instead, (Calif.) PUC president says

(LAT) Money collected from ratepayers and earmarked for pipeline safety was instead spent on executive pay raises by the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., in the months before a deadly pipeline explosion in 2010, lawmakers were told Wednesday.

“In some cases, the utility did divert dollars we approved for safety purposes for executive compensation,” the new president of the Public Utilities Commission complained to members of the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee at an oversight hearing.


House Passes GOP Budget To Privatize Medicare For 5th Straight Year

(TPM) The Republican-led House of Representatives passed a far-reaching budget blueprint for the fifth consecutive year that partially privatizes Medicare.

The budget was approved Wednesday by a vote of 219-208, overcoming Republican defections.


Ted Cruz’s logo: A burning flag, Al Jazeera’s logo or a Pentecostal church logo?

(WaPo) Sen. Ted Cruz is the first major contender to announce his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, so his every move is being scrutinized, including his new logo. What does it look like? It depends on who you ask.


Obama Says U.S. Won’t Rule Out Withholding UN Support for Israel

(Bloomberg) President Barack Obama refused to rule out the possibility of allowing a Palestinian push for statehood through the United Nations as part of a U.S. reassessment of its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We’re going to do that evaluation,” Obama said at a news conference in response to a question on whether he would consider supporting Palestinian statehood at the UN. “We’re going to partly wait for an actual Israeli government to form.”


Obama Ribs GOP: Obamacare Didn't Bring 'Death Panels, Doom'

(TPM) President Barack Obama ribbed Republican efforts to undermine Obamacare and their failure to offer a serious alternative on Wednesday from the White House.

"I mean we have been promised a lot of things these past five years that didn't turn out to be the case —death panels, doom, a serious alternative from Republicans in Congress," Obama said, smirking during a speech highlighting the fifth anniversary of his signature healthcare law. "The budget they introduced last week would literally double the number of uninsured in America."


Krugman: Repubicans are "desperately trying to claim that the economic recovery is an illusion

(NYT) Just about everything I write evokes vituperative reactions from the usual suspects, but never so much as when I point out awkward facts. So there was a lot of mud-slinging when I pointed out last summer that California’s economy — which conservatives said was doomed by tax increases and generally liberal policies — was in fact experiencing an impressive recovery.


Ted Cruz Going On Obamacare

(CNN) Ted Cruz is going on Obamacare. The newly announced 2016 Republican presidential candidate told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- a law he has been on a crusade to kill. "We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said.

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Ted Cruz says religious conservatives have given up too much power to non-Christians

3 min ago - n. Ted Cruz (R-TX) assured conservative Christian voters he speaks their language in a sanctimonious interview with a religious broadcaster. The newly announced GOP presidential candidate told David Brody, of the Christian Broadcasting Network, that ... (RawStory)

Indiana's New Anti-Gay Law Prompts Calls For Boycott On Twitter

19 min ago - By John Bowman, CBC News Posted: Mar 27, 2015 11:22 AM ET Businesses and entertainers are vowing to pull events out of Indiana after the governor signed a bill into law that gives business owners the right to refuse to serve gay and lesbian customer ... (CBC)

LGBT rights amendment proves to be ‘poison pill’ for Georgia’s ‘religious freedom’ bill

22 min ago - As reactions swirl to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R)’s decision to sign into law a bill legalizing discrimination in the state so long as it is done on religious grounds, a similar bill in Georgia has stalled out in committee. According to the New Civi ... (RawStory)

Consumer Sentiment Index Declines In March Following Bad Weather

35 min ago - U.S. consumer sentiment slipped in March as a slight bump in gasoline prices and bad weather weighed on lower-income households. The University of Michigan final March sentiment index registered at 93.0, up from the preliminary reading of 91.2 but be ... (The American Register)

Harry Reid endorses Chuck Schumer to succeed him as Senate Minority Leader

38 min ago - Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016. "I think Schumer should be able to succeed me," Reid said in a Friday morning interview at his home in Wa ... (Washington Post)

Russian air controllers charged for Polish presidential jet disaster

43 min ago - Pilot error was to blame for the 2010 crash of a Polish presidential jet in Russia, but two Russian air traffic controllers also triggered the disaster that killed Poland's then head of state, prosecutors in Warsaw said Friday. The aircraft went dow ... (AFP)

France: Talks to Start Within Days on UN Draft on Israel

43 min ago - France's foreign minister says his country will move forward on discussions with its partners on a possible U.N. Security Council resolution that could present a framework for negotiations toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Laurent F ... (ABC news)

Huge blast at popular hotel in Somalia

59 min ago - A huge blast and gunfire were heard at a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, police said. According to the news agency AFP, a car bomb was detonated, killing at least one person. Islamist fighters then began firing on the build ... (Deutsche Welle)

Senate Passes GOP Budget: Let The Obamacare Battles Begin

1 hr ago - WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans muscled a balanced-budget plan through the Senate early Friday, positioning Congress for months of battling President Barack Obama over the GOP's goals of slicing spending and dismantling his health care law. Working in ... (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

US stock indexes are little changed in early trade

1 hr ago - By KEN SWEET NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mostly unchanged Friday after four straight days of losses. The price of oil slipped following a big gain the day before, when traders worried that the escalating conflict in the Middle East would affect ... (AP-Excite)

Israel Releasing Impounded Palestinian Tax Revenue

1 hr ago - In a clear indication of a desire to ease tensions with the Palestinians and Washington, Israel announced on Friday that it would resume the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, three months after suspending the payments in respons ... (New York Times)

Audit: Maryland misallocated $28.4M for health exchange

1 hr ago - By BRIAN WITTE ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland misallocated $28.4 million in federal money for its flawed health care exchange and should pay the money back, according to a federal audit set to be released Friday. The audit by the inspector general ... (AP-Excite)

German airlines adopt two-person cockpit rule: aviation body

2 hrs ago - Berlin (AFP) - German airlines have agreed to a new safety rule to keep two crew members in an airplane's cockpit at all times, the aviation association BDL announced Friday. The decision came after the co-pilot of a Germanwings airliner locked the ... (AFP)

Inglewood NFL stadium plan developers, labor group reach jobs deal

2 hrs ago - By NATHAN FENNO AND TIM LOGAN Developers of the proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood and organized labor reached agreement Thursday on jobs for the $1.86-billion project, avoiding a referendum that could have delayed the start of construction. "We now ... (LA Times)

US economy grew at 2.2 percent rate in fourth quarter

2 hrs ago - By MARTIN CRUTSINGER WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter and likely cooled even further in the first quarter as severe winter weather takes its toll. But the outlook for the rest of the year looks brighter, thanks to ... (AP-Excite)

Nigerian army says destroys Boko Haram headquarters

3 hrs ago - The Nigerian army said on Friday it destroyed the headquarters of Boko Haram after capturing the northeastern town of Gwoza from the Islamist insurgent group. Boko Haram seized Gwoza in August last year, declaring that they were ruling the town by I ... (Reuters)

KapStone, union reach tentative deal

4 hrs ago - KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. and its paper union have reached a tentative contract agreement, union officials said Thursday night. The tentative deal, hammered out after 10 months of often contentious talks that appeared headed toward an impas ... (TDN)

Harry Reid Won't Seek Re-Election In 2016

4 hrs ago - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will not seek re-election in 2016, the New York Times reported Friday morning. Reid told the Times that he had been considering retirement for a few months, and that neither his eye injury nor his new place i ... (TPM)

Co-pilot 'tore up sick note' on the day he crashed jet - hid secret illness from company

4 hrs ago - The Germanwings co-pilot who crashed his plane into a mountain killing himself and 149 people on board was receiving psychiatric counselling right up until the time of the crash, it emerged today. Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out the of the Airbu ... (Daily Mail)

UPDATE 2-Netherlands hit by power cut; Schiphol airport cancels all flights

5 hrs ago - (Reuters) - A major power outage hit large parts of Amsterdam and the surrounding province of North Holland on Friday, prompting the cancellation of all flights to and from the city's Schiphol airport. An hour and a half after the outage hit, Dutch ... (Reuters)

Agency: 4,000 fishermen stranded on some Indonesian islands

6 hrs ago - Agency: 4,000 fishermen stranded on some Indonesian islands By MARGIE MASON, Associated Press | March 27, 2015 | Updated: March 27, 2015 4:43am JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An estimated 4,000 foreign fishermen are stranded on a number of remote islan ... (Associated Press)

Little vetting of pilots for mental health, US experts say

7 hrs ago - By JOAN LOWY Mar. 27, 2015 4:04 AM EDT WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite U.S. and international regulations requiring that airline pilots be screened for mental health problems, little effective, real-world checking takes place, pilots and safety experts sa ... (Associated Press)

US isolated as allies line up to join China-led bank

7 hrs ago - By MATTHEW PENNINGTON Mar. 27, 2015 4:04 AM EDT WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. resistance to a Chinese-led Asian regional bank has left it isolated among its Asian and European allies and given some heft to China's frequent complaints that Washington wants ... (Associated Press)

Saudi-Led Coalition Strikes Rebels In Yemen, Inflaming Tensions In Region

11 hrs ago - (CNN)Saudi and allied warplanes struck rebels in Yemen on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia threatening to send ground troops and inserting itself into its southern neighbor's civil war, potentially opening up a broader sectarian conflict in the Middle Ea ... (CNN)

S.F. jail inmates forced to fight, public defender says

11 hrs ago - San Francisco sheriff’s deputies arranged and gambled on battles between County Jail inmates, forcing one to train for the fights and telling them to lie if they needed medical attention, the city’s public defender said Thursday. Since the beginning ... (San Francisco Chronicle)

Filing: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

13 hrs ago - By ED WHITE and COREY WILLIAMS DETROIT (AP) — A teenager told authorities that her mother killed two siblings and forced her to put one of the bodies in the freezer of their Detroit home where both were found by an eviction crew. Details of death a ... (AP-Excite)

Police settle suit over use of tear gas during Missouri protests

13 hrs ago - (Reuters) - Three Missouri police agencies have agreed to restrict the use of tear gas as part of a settlement of a lawsuit alleging that officers used heavy-handed tactics to quell protests in Ferguson after a white officer fatally shot an unarmed b ... (Reuters)

Deputy police chief in California arrested on drug charges

14 hrs ago - FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say Fresno's deputy police chief is among four people arrested on federal drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and heroin. The Fresno Bee reports (http://bit.ly/1EZhkZN ) that Deputy Police Chi ... (AP)

Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

15 hrs ago - NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft said Thursday that it will push its U.S. suppliers to give their employees paid time off — but that only applies for the staffers that do work for Microsoft. Microsoft said it has about 2,000 U.S. suppliers, who provide ser ... (AP-Excite)

U.S. court halts Labor Department same-sex couple protections

16 hrs ago - BY JON HERSKOVITZ (Reuters) - A U.S. district judge in Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the right ... (Reuters)