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Monday, Jul 28th

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Judge tosses Wisconsin senator's health care suit

Ron JohnsonA federal judge on Monday dismissed a U.S. senator's lawsuit challenging a requirement that congressional members and their staffs to obtain government-subsidized health insurance through small business exchanges, saying the senator had no grounds to sue.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, filed the lawsuit in January after the Office of Personnel Management decided months earlier that lawmakers and their staffs should continue to receive health care benefits covering about 75 percent of their premium costs after leaving the health insurance program for federal workers.

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Republicans Freak Out At Learning Reagan Decree Protects Lois Lerner

Darryl IssaAlthough legal experts warned at the time that little would come of Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) attempt to prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress, Republicans on Issa's Oversight and Government Reform Committee were infuriated to learn Thursday that a key obstacle is a Reagan administration legal opinion.

Issa's committee and then the full House voted to hold Lerner in contempt because she twice asserted her Fifth Amendment right in refusing to testify about her role in the IRS's botched screening of political nonprofits. She led the unit that oversees whether such groups get tax breaks, and was in charge when an inspector general found the IRS used "inappropriate" terms that largely singled out conservative groups.

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Congressional staffer arrested for bringing gun to Capitol office

Ryan ShucardCapitol Police arrested the press secretary of a Republican congressman Friday when he entered a House-side office building carrying a handgun.

Ryan Shucard, the press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., was found carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol and magazine when he tried to go through security at the Cannon office building at approximately 9:15 a.m., said Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider.

All people entering buildings on the Capitol Hill complex are required to pass through metal detectors and send bags through an x-ray belt, although members of Congress are generally allowed to pass through without a check.

TVNL Comment:  Yeah, sure....you can carry a handgun and magazine 'by mistake.'  Geez.

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White House to issue order on LGBT federal contractors

barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama will on Monday sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action, which amends two existing executive orders, will also formally prohibit discrimination against federal workers on the basis of gender identity.

With Congress unable thus far to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which would apply to most employers nationwide – LGBT activists had for years been calling on the president to take action where he could, and to sign an executive order opposing discrimination at the 24,000 companies employing 28 million workers who have government contracts. But it does not have an exemption for religious employers — something that religious groups had asked the White House to include in the measure.

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Koch High: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students

Charles KochIn the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas, was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. "Do you want to make money?" it asked.

The poster encouraged the predominantly poor students at Highland Park to enroll in a new, yearlong course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business. Students would receive generous financial incentives including startup capital and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall. Johnson eagerly signed up.

In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created and funded primarily by Charles G. Koch, the billionaire chairman of Koch Industries.

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GOP moderates revolt in Kansas

Sam BrownbackModerate Republicans have been kicked around by the tea party for years in Congress and the states  Here in Kansas, they’re fighting back.

A moderate GOP uprising is in full swing against Gov. Sam Brownback, the fierce fiscal and social conservative whose policies led to a purge of middle-of-the-road Republicans from the legislature early in his tenure.

In a rare and surprising act of political defiance on Tuesday, more than 100 Republicans, including current and former officeholders, endorsed Brownback’s opponent, statehouse Democratic leader Paul Davis. Polls show the challenger with a surprisingly strong shot at taking out Brownback in November.

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IRS Surrenders, Won't Check Whether Political Nonprofits Are Breaking The Law

KoskinenAmid ongoing controversy over its scrutiny of nonprofits, the Internal Revenue Service has decided it will no longer screen approximately 80% of the organizations seeking tax-exempt charitable status each year, a change that will ease the creation of small charities while doing away with a review intended to counter fraud and prevent political and other noncharitable groups from misusing the tax code.

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