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The Left Column
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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."
(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.
(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.
(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...
(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."
(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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Latest Breaking News
1 hr ago - NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two police officers have been shot dead in Brooklyn, City Councilman Robert Cornegy said at a news conference Saturday afternoon. As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, there is a huge police presence at the corner of Myrtle ... (WCBS New York)
2 hrs ago - KABUL, Afghanistan — Each afternoon, spectators line a bridge in west Kabul and gaze down. They have not come to stare at the Kabul River — a dismal trickle of muddy runoff this time of year — but at the figures huddled on its garbage-strewn banks. ... (New York Times)
2 hrs ago - KRISTEN GELINEAU SYDNEY, Australia An Australian woman was arrested in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman’s home. The 37-year-old woman, who ... (Globe and Mail-AP)
3 hrs ago - British actor Idris Elba may have to get used to ordering his Martinis shaken, not stirred, after an email leaked in the Sony hack suggested that a top executive wants him to be the next James Bond. In an email dated Jan. 4, 2014 Amy Pascal, chairman ... (The International Business Times)
3 hrs ago - Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 17-year-old son was robbed near the family's home on the North Side on Friday night, according to a Chicago police report. Zach Emanuel was talking on his cellphone on the street in the 4200 block of North Hermitage Avenue in th ... (Chicago Tribune)
6 hrs ago - (Reuters) - A panel investigating the CIA's search of a computer network used by U.S. Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times. The review panel is looking into the s ... (Reuters)
7 hrs ago - (Reuters) - Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home to Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Saturday, the latest step in a slow-moving push by the Obama administration to close the fac ... (REUTERS)
8 hrs ago - SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Sheriff’s Department deputy has been charged with the alleged battery of a patient at San Francisco General Hospital, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced Friday evening. Deputy Michael Lewelling, 33 ... (CBS SF)
8 hrs ago - NEW YORK — Several people familiar with the deal say Major League Baseball and its umpires have reached agreement on a five-year labor contract. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because both sides still ... (Fox Sports-AP)
8 hrs ago - By Faith Karimi, CNN updated 7:30 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014 (CNN) -- A newly released video shows the now-wife of NFL player Ray Rice lovingly nuzzling him shortly after he knocked her out cold at a casino in New Jersey. The video obtained by A ... (CNN)
8 hrs ago - GENEVA (Reuters) - The death toll from Ebola in the three worst-affected countries in West Africa has risen to 7,373 among 19,031 cases known to date there, the World Health Organization said on Saturday. The latest data, posted overnight on the WHO ... (Reuters)
8 hrs ago - News /U.S. news 6 hours Dozens Arrested at Milwaukee Protest Over Death of Dontre Hamilton Dozens of protesters were arrested Friday after causing a three-mile traffic jam by blocking a Wisconsin freeway over the fatal shooting of a black man by ... (nbcnews.com)
8 hrs ago - A US drone fired two missiles at a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least five Taliban fighters, two security officials said. In a separate operation, the military said Pakistani security forces killed five “terroris ... (Associated Press)
9 hrs ago - 20 December 2014 Last updated at 04:18 ET Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Macau to mark the 15th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony's return to China. He urged people in the territory to respect the "one-China" principle. Like ... (BBC News)
9 hrs ago - By NATALIYA VASILYEVA MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Saturday dismissed new U.S. sanctions as useless and said it was poised to wait as long as it takes for the U.S. to recognize its historic right to the Crimean peninsula. Following several rounds of san ... (AP-Excite)
10 hrs ago - In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office. This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nea ... (White House)
11 hrs ago - North Korea has proposed a joint investigation with the United States on the cyber attack against Sony Pictures and said the FBI’s suggestion that it was behind the attack was ‘slander’. North Korea state media released a statement this morning and ... (Irish Independent)
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17 hrs ago - TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday threw out an Obama administration decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that will ban further wolf hunting and trapping in ... (Associated Press)
18 hrs ago - By PAUL ELIAS SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers were found in contempt of court Friday for continuing their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the waters of Antarc ... (AP-Excite)
20 hrs ago - Dec 19 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday threatened to veto any efforts by a Republican-controlled Congress to weaken measures aimed at protecting consumers from abuses in the financial system. "If they try to water down consumer protecti ... (Reuters)
20 hrs ago - December 19, 2014 13:32 One million people have been wounded during Syria's civil war and diseases are spreading as regular supplies of medicine fail to reach patients, the World Health Organization's Syria representative said. A plunge in vaccinat ... (GlobalPost)
21 hrs ago - WikiLeaks Reveals CIA Admitted Drone Strikes Counterproductive By TeleSUR 19 December 14 Controversial U.S. drone strikes may be helping rather than hindering the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a leaked CIA document released by Wikileaks Thu ... (Reader Supported News)
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21 hrs ago - The Pentagon’s taskforce charged with stopping insurgent bombs has for years inappropriately acted as an intelligence agency, according to a declassified internal report obtained by the Guardian. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organiza ... (The Guardian)
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BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Declines to Stay Florida Marriage Ruling. Same-Sex Marriages Will Begin Janua
22 hrs ago - :large ... (Human rights Campaign via Twitter)
22 hrs ago - MIAMI — Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them. The court said Friday it wouldn't block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and sai ... (Tampa Bay Times)
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