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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Obama’s Plan to Use Executive Action Triggers Criticism

ObamaPresident Barack Obama plans to use executive authority to make good on pledges he will outline in his State of the Union speech this week, an approach that has already drawn criticism from congressional Republicans.

“The president sees this as the year of action, to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary to lift folks who want to come up into the middle class,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program today.

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Nuns get partial win in U.S. Supreme Court contraception fight

Nuns get partial winThe U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that, while litigation continues, an order of Roman Catholic nuns need not comply with a part of President Barack Obama's healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception.

In the latest skirmish over religious objections to providing government-mandated contraception, the four-sentence court order was a partial victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order of nuns that runs nursing homes, and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, which manages healthcare plans for Catholic groups.

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Former Senate staffer facing child porn charges dead in apparent suicide

senate staffer suicideA former aide to US senator Lamar Alexander hanged himself in his parents' basement in Maryland, just weeks after his arrest on child pornography charges, officials said Friday.

Ryan Loskarn, 35, was pronounced dead at just after noon local time Thursday, said Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Maryland office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore. He said the death was ruled a suicide.

Family members called police after finding Loskarn unresponsive in the basement where he had been living, the Carroll County sheriff's office said in a statement posted on its website.

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Christie reelection team, state Republican committee subpoenaed in GWB probe

bridgegateNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's scandal-plagued January just got worse.

Federal prosecutors are advancing the George Washington Bridge lane-closure investigation and have subpoenaed documents from Christie's re-election committee and the state GOP.

Christie has said he was not involved in the plot to close access lanes to the bridge that spans the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York in September. He fired his deputy chief of staff when her involvement in the plot, which created gridlock over four days, became public. He also says he will cooperate in "appropriate" investigations.

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Holder: Clemency for Snowden 'too far,' but open to resolution

SnowdenU.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he would "engage in conversation" with National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden in search of some sort of resolution for his case. But he stopped short of considering clemency, telling MSNBC that "would be going too far."

Holder's carefully phrased remarks come after both the New York Times and The Guardian published editorials in favor of granting Snowden clemency from the Espionage Act charges the Justice Department laid against him following Snowden's revelations last June about the NSA's widespread surveillance programs. Some members of Congress -- mostly liberal Democrats -- have also said they would welcome a deal.

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Conservatice commentator indicted for excessive Senate campaign contributions

Dinesh D'SouzaThe conservative commentator and best-selling author Dinesh D'Souza has been indicted by a federal grand jury, for arranging excessive campaign contributions to a candidate for the US Senate.

According to an indictment made public on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, around August 2012 D'Souza reimbursed people he had directed to contribute $20,000 to the candidate's campaign. The candidate was not named in the indictment.

Attempts to reach D'Souza and a lawyer representing him were unsuccessful.

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The GOP’s Birth-Control Trojan Horse

GOP Trojan HorseThe right wants to use religion as an excuse to legally discriminate against gays and unmarried women—and, ultimately, anyone who doesn’t share their Christian faith.

Ever since the Obama administration included contraception in the list of services that insurers must cover for clients without a copay, conservatives have been on the attack. As far as most right-wing media is concerned—and definitely as far as the average conservative on the ground is concerned—the problem with the mandate is that it supposedly forces others to “pay for” a woman’s “lifestyle” choice.

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