Ray Manzarek, whose keyboard playing was a central element to the sound of '60s rock group The Doors, has died at the age of 74. According to the band's Facebook page, Manzarek died shortly after noon on Monday at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, while surrounded by his wife Dorothy and his brothers Rick and James. Manzarek's spidery organ playing on "Light My Fire" is one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in rock history. read more
The teen whose song "Clouds" was lip-synced by celebrities to honor his fight with cancer has died. Zach Sobiech, 18, died Monday surrounded by family and friends. In the past few weeks, donations to Zach's cause -- the Children's Cancer Research Fund -- skyrocketed, as did downloads of his song, which has more than 2.9 million page views on YouTube. "We'd like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world," the Sobiech family said. read more
Officials have confirmed at least 91 people have been killed and 233 people have been injured by the monstrous tornado that swept through Moore, Okla., Monday. Among those killed were children at Plaza Towers elementary and a family of four with a baby who sought shelter in a freezer. TV station KFOR reported that within 20 minutes of the storm's passage, there was some looting taking place of computers in partially damaged structures.
Fifty-four Colorado county sheriffs have joined a lawsuit against the state of Colorado arguing that the state's new gun control laws violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. The lawsuit takes aim at two laws Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed in March -- House Bill 1224, which banned high-capacity magazines limiting them to 15 rounds, and House Bill 1229, which requires background checks for all gun sales and transfers in the state. The Colorado Association of Police Chiefs have been supportive of the laws. read more
In a commencement address Sunday, President Barack Obama told the graduating class at Morehouse College, a historically black college, that there's "no time for excuses" for this generation of African-American men and it's time for them to step up professionally and personally. Saying that in his youth he sometimes rationalized his own mistakes "as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down," Obama rejected that thinking and said, "We've got no time for excuses -- not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven't. It's just that in today's hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned." read more
AP chief executive officer Gary Pruitt said that sources are less willing to talk to its journalists following the Justice Department subpoena of reporter and editor phone records. If the government interferes with news gathering, Pruitt said on Face the Nation that "the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that's not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment." Pruitt said the Justice Department's investigation is out of control and President Barack Obama should rein it in. read more
A San Francisco bacon restaurant, Bacon Bacon, was forced to close Friday after neighbors complained that the "porcine aroma" wafting from the establishment was too strong. According to the San Francisco Examiner, neighbors also alleged the store was illegally dumping bacon grease into the sewers and the restaurant lacked the proper health permits to operate the business. Owner Jim Angelus said he'd run out of a food truck until he is able to secure the right permits to reopen.
An obscure right-wing Internet radio host, Pete Santilli, is under investigation by the Secret Service for vile, sexually vulgar comments about Hillary Clinton in which he said he wanted to shoot her. "We are aware of Santilli's comments and will take the appropriate follow up action," said Edwin M. Donovan, a Secret Service spokesperson. Santilli, who has made threatening comments in the past, has invited as guests on his show Ted Nugent and Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt.
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee passed a comprehensive, $940 billion farm bill in a first step towards making a five-year bill. But one central issue could derail the legislation once again: food stamp cuts. Republicans are demanding deeper cuts than what they proposed last year, and Thursday several House Democrats made it clear they are willing to let the farm bill die if it contains those steep cuts. "I really do believe there ought to be a line in the sand drawn, by this White House, that you're not going to sign a farm bill with any SNAP cuts," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). "Certainly not cuts of $20 billion." read more
One thing that has not been established yet in coverage of the AP phone records subpoenas is the seriousness of the leak that led to AP's scoop about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Christopher H. Schroeder, who was Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the Obama administration from 2010 to 2012, helps to explain why the Department of Justice went to such lengths. "What went completely without mention in the initial coverage was the fact that thwarting this plot was not the objective of the ongoing undercover operation," Schroeder wrote on Huffington Post. "Its true objective was to gain enough intelligence to locate and neutralize the master bomb builder, Ibrahim Hassan al-Ashiri, who works with an Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)." read more
The winner of Saturday's $590.5 million Powerball jackpot, the biggest prize in the contest's history, bought the ticket at a Publix supermarket in the small Florida town of Zephyrhills. The winner's identity will be revealed after the win is confirmed. "Everybody in Florida probably woke up today and said, 'Do I know anybody that lives in Zephyrhills?'" said Mike Purcell, Tampa District Manager with the Florida Lottery. read more
David Boaz, Cato Institute: Last week I reported that 40 percent of Virginia Republicans -- and 56 percent of independents -- now support gay marriage. But on Saturday the Virginia GOP nominated three statewide candidates whose views on homosexuality and marriage equality range from unwavering opposition to bigoted to insane. ... [T]here's a reason that a report by the Republican National Committee found that voters see the GOP as "scary," "narrow minded," and "out of touch" -- and the Virginia Republican ticket is part of that reason. read more
Morgan Whitaker, NBC News: The newest "Obama's Watergate" -- is Umbrella-gate. On the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Senate impeachment hearings that eventually brought down President Richard Nixon, the right-wing has found yet another "Watergate" to try to pin to Obama. Not the Benghazi attacks, or even the IRS targeting scandal -- but it does involve water. Republicans and right-wing talkers, gleefully embracing every bit of scandalous news they might be able to peg to the president, picked yet another issue to badger President Obama on Thursday. His umbrella. read more
The FBI has contacted two former staffers of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) presidential campaign, adding to the swirl of federal and state investigations looking into alleged financial improprieties by top officials in the campaign. The former campaign aides with direct knowledge of the investigation spoke to the Star Tribune on condition of anonymity. St. Paul attorney John Gilmore, who represents former Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish, also confirmed that his client is among those being interviewed by the FBI as a witness. "Andy Parrish has been contacted by the FBI for purposes of an interview," Gilmore said. "That has been set up for next week and Parrish will cooperate fully." Veteran election lawyers say an FBI inquiry would be unusual in a typical campaign finance case.
A California high school senior has won a $50,000 prize in the International Science and Engineering Fair for her invention of a battery improvement that enables super-fast charging. Eesha Khare, 18, who will attend Harvard University in the fall, created a small supercapacitor that can fit inside a cell phone battery and enable ultra-fast electricity transfer and storage. It delivers a full charge in 20-30 seconds instead of several hours and can supposedly withstand up to 100,000 charges, a 100-fold increase over current technology. "I will be setting the world on fire," she said.