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Friday, Aug 01st

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Obama makes surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit troops

Obama in AfganistanPresident Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday to visit for a few hours with U.S. troops.

Air Force One landed at Bagram Air Field at 8:17 p.m. local time after the president quietly left the White House Saturday night. Press traveling with him had to agree to keep the trip a secret until after they landed in Afghanistan.

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The NRA’s All-Out Assault on Accurate Information About Gun Deaths

NRAAs a shooting spree leaves seven dead in California, the gun lobby is trying to thwart attempts to study gun deaths and officials who see gun violence as a public health crisis.

Yet another massacre occurred last night at an institution of learning, this time the University of California, Santa Barbara. The price we paid for the National Rifle Association’s “freedom” was seven people murdered and seven injured at nine different crime scenes.

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RNC files lawsuit to raise unlimited cash

RNC cashThe Republican National Committee on Friday sued the Federal Election Commission for the ability to raise unlimited cash from individual donors.

The central committee, chairman Reince Priebus and Louisiana Republicans filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking for permission to set up an independent account that could raise and spend potentially enormous sums of money to help federal candidates. Under the current rules, the RNC may only accept $32,400 each year from donors, and local-level parties are capped at $10,000.

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Obama Taps San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro For HUD Secretary

Julian CastroPresident Obama has been playing musical chairs with his Cabinet.

At the White House on Friday, Obama announced that he's chosen Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to be his new budget director. Donovan would replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who's taking over the Department of Health and Human Services.

That leaves a vacancy atop the housing department, which the president plans to fill with an outsider: Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio and a rising star in the Democratic Party.

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Tea party leader arrested over nursing home break-in

Mark Mayfield Authorities say the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and two other men conspired with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.

Mark Mayfield of Ridgeland, an attorney and state and local tea party leader, was arrested Thursday along with Richard Sager, a Laurel elementary school P.E. teacher and high school soccer coach. Police said they also charged John Beachman Mary of Hattiesburg, but he was not taken into custody because of "extensive medical conditions." All face felony conspiracy charges. Sager also was charged with felony tampering with evidence, and Mary faces two conspiracy counts.

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Republicans who designed Common Core say public has been misled by conservatives

Commom CoreFive Republican former governors who supported the Common Core from its creation during the Bush administration said Wednesday that disinformation from conservatives threatened to highjack the higher standards for what students should be able to accomplish in each grade.

“I’m a believer that facts ultimately prevail among most reasonable people,” said former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who helped lead the development of the standards and continues to support them. “I think it’s incumbent on us to speak out and defeat rumors and innuendo and allegations with facts about how the Common Core began, what its purpose is and how we believe it can be positive for American society.”

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IRS to rewrite rule on political activity by non-profits

IRS CommissiounerThe Internal Revenue Service said Thursday it would start over on its controversial rule limiting the political activity of certain tax-exempt groups and propose a new rule that would take into account a backlash of opposition.

The announcement made official what IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told USA TODAY last month — that the IRS would put out a new proposal and seek more public comments before overturning a 57-year-old precedent allowing certain tax-exempt groups to engage in limited amounts of political activity.

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