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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Calif. Sen. Ron Calderon indicted for political corruption

Ron CalderonA federal grand jury indicted Democratic California state Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother, Tom, on charges of political corruption, officials announced in a press conference Friday.

The 24-count indictment was filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles against the state senator and his brother, a former state lawmaker who now works as a lobbyist.

The indictment comes four months after an Al Jazeera investigation published a leaked affidavit that revealed Ron Calderon had accepted $88,000 in bribes from an undercover agent. After Al Jazeera published the affidavit, Calderon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to sanction the federal prosecutors responsible for the leak.

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Obama to drop less generous retiree payments from budget

ObamaBowing to pressure from liberal groups and angry seniors, the Obama administration on Thursday dropped from its forthcoming proposed budget a plan to trim back cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.

President Barack Obama angered Democrats and seniors last year by including a proposal favored by Republicans called the Chained Consumer Price Index, which involves a less generous way of making cost of living adjustments and thus reduces the budget hit for these payments to retirees.

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Former U.S. general: When Jesus comes back, he'll be carrying an AR-15

Jerry BoykinDuring a speech at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas, former Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin predicted that when Jesus returns to Earth, he’ll be packing heat.  Specifically, an AR-15 assault rifle.

"The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe,” Boykin said during his speech. “And I believe now that the sword he'll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15."

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Arizona Senate Passes Bill Allowing Discrimination On Basis Of Religious Freedom

Arizon discrimination billThe Republican-controlled Arizona state Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 1062, a measure that would allow businesses to reject service to any customer based on the owners’ religious beliefs.

The bill reads:  "Exercise of religion" means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

Arizona Democrats, who argue the legislation is a way to legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals, sponsored eight amendments in an attempt to thwart the legislation -- all of which were rejected by Senate Republicans.

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Gay group GOP group founder quits over CPAC

Gay GOP groupCalling it an “unconditional surrender” to what he labeled the anti-gay wing of the conservative movement, a co-founder of GOProud has resigned from the organization’s board after the gay Republican group announced it would attend the CPAC gathering next month while facing certain restrictions on its participation.

The American Conservative Union, which runs the conference, announced on Wednesday that the group will attend as guests, ending several years when GOPround was not invited. GOProud members will be included in all events, but the group will not be given a sponsorship or a booth, under the arrangement.

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Obama Admin's TPP Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses from Big Banks

Stefan SeligOfficials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

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The Conservative Crusade For Christian Sharia Law

Christian sharia lawThe question isn’t: Will conservatives push to enact laws based on the Bible? We are way beyond that.  The real questions are: 1. How many more of these laws do they want to impose? And, 2. What will our nation look like if their crusade is successful to bring America’s laws into agreement with “God’s law”?

To some on the right, America is a “Christian nation”—like Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation—meaning that our nation’s laws should be based on their religious text. These forces aren’t moved by Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter in which he spoke of the need to create, "a wall of separation between church and state.” Nor will they be swayed by citing Ronald Reagan’s words, "Church and state are, and must remain, separate.”

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