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Wednesday, Oct 01st

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The 1 percent played Tea Party for suckers

)ne percentersOn Election Day, November 2, 2010, more than eight million Americans voted for congressional candidates who claimed to represent the Tea Party and its grassroots insurgency against the federal government. Most of the Tea Party candidates won. Their victory marked a sea change in American government.

Even before the winners were sworn in, reporters began to refer to the 112th Congress as “the Tea Party Congress.” On the day of the swearing-in, the prominent Tea Party backer David Koch likened the electoral success of the Tea Party to the American Revolution. “It’s probably the best grassroots uprising since 1776 in my opinion,” he said.

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Anti-abortion lawmakers spur GAO to probe Planned Parenthood

Planned ParenthoodSpurred by a group of anti-abortion lawmakers, the Government Accountability Office is investigating how Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, and other prominent family planning-related organizations spend public funds, the GAO confirmed Friday.

More than 50 members of Congress had written in February to Comptroller General and GAO head Gene Dodaro asking the office to follow up on a 2010 GAO report that detailed federal monies provided to the groups.

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Justice Department to challenge states’ voting rights laws

DOJThe Justice Department is preparing to take fresh legal action in a string of voting rights cases across the nation, U.S. officials said, part of a new attempt to blunt the impact of a Supreme Court ruling that the Obama administration has warned will imperil minority representation.

The decision to challenge state officials marks an aggressive effort to continue policing voting rights issues and follows a ruling by the court last month that invalidated a critical part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The justices threw out a part of the act that determined which states with a history of discrimination had to be granted Justice Department or court approval before making voting law changes.

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An Unholy Religious Exemption to Gay Employment Protection

Unholy exemptionGay rights advocates have been trying to get Congress to move legislation extending workplace protection to gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender people for nearly two decades. Finally, on Wednesday, a Senate Committee approved legislation that would do just that — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The ayes included three of the committee’s Republican members — Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mark Kirk of Illinois — refreshing bipartisanship and encouraging progress even if enactment doesn’t come this year. (Passage of the bill by the full Senate remains uncertain and the House Republican leadership isn’t even planning to bring it up).

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Abortion bill clears NC Senate as protesters watch

NC abortion billThe North Carolina Senate gave its final approval Wednesday to legislation adding new restrictions for abortions in North Carolina, even as hundreds of angry protesters descended on the legislature to express their displeasure.

The Senate voted 29-12 for the measure that would direct state health regulators to change abortion clinic rules so they're similar to those for ambulatory surgery centers.

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Occupy Oakland protesters awarded $1m over police violence during arrests

Occupy OaklandVictims of excessive police force at one of the most violent flashpoints of the Occupy protests have received a $1m compensation settlement.

The US district court in San Francisco made the award to a group of 12 protesters who complained of brutality during in confrontations with police in Oakland, California, in 2011. The payouts come in the wake of criticism from independent experts who said the police department was under-resourced and ill-prepared to deal with the protests.

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Here's How Texas Republicans Will Crush the Wendy Davis Abortion Filibuster

Texas abortion billpdate, 5:22 PM EDT: A spokeswoman for Gov. Perry confirmed to Mother Jones that he has called a special session that will begin on July 1. Perry said in a statement, "I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas.

Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn."

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