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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Germany and U.S. meet in their Women's World Cup semifinal Tuesday night as the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams in the sport. They are tied for the most World Cup titles at two apiece and have met three times in the past in this tournament, with the U.S. winning twice. "Germany is a team that’s powerful, they like to be combative, they like to play longer balls and pick up second balls, we’ll have to be very strong in the air," said U.S. coach Jill Ellis.


Peter Beinart, The Atlantic: After Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012, the Republican National Committee published an autopsy. "When it comes to social issues," the autopsy declared, "the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming. If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people." The autopsy also added that, "we need to go to communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case. We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too." The last two weeks, more than any since Romney's defeat, illustrate how miserably the GOP has failed.


Nearly a dozen pickup trucks flying the Confederate flag drove up and down Virginia Beach, Virginia, over the weekend. Cell phone video taken by Japharri Jones of Hampton shows the trucks passing on Atlantic Avenue with a police car allowing them to bypass a stop light at an intersection. Witnesses say the drivers were also screaming racial slurs at folks passing by. Jones said the trucks drove for two hours before two of the cars crashed into one another. In his often profane video commentary, Jones exclaims at the crash and observes, "God don't like ugly." read more


Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul?s trip to Colorado this week includes a first for a presidential candidate: a fundraiser with the marijuana industry. The Republican is raising money Tuesday at the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver in what an industry trade group is billing as a history making event. "Never before has a major-party presidential candidate held a reception at a cannabis industry event," the National Cannabis Industry Association said. The minimum donation to attend the Tuesday event is $2,700.


In a victory for opponents of partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the use of an independent commission to draw Arizona's congressional districts. Writing for a narrow majority in the 5-4 ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg touted the importance of direct democracy and making sure the power of the people is not hijacked by its elected representatives. "The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering," Ginsburg wrote. "In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore 'the core principle of republican government,' namely, 'that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.'" Ginsburg's opinion was joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices and Justice Anthony Kennedy. read more


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on a conference call with donors and supporters Tuesday morning that he's making a bid for president. Christie will make the official announcement at Livingston High School, where he served as class president for three years. "Going back to where you were when you were 15, or 16, or 17 years old, and to be able to stand in front of that group of people and offer yourself to the presidency is a really, really amazing moment," Christie said. read more


A Louisiana man who ordered a Confederate flag cake from a Slidell, Louisiana, Walmart but was refused then ordered one with the ISIS flag and it was accepted. Chuck Netzhammer explains in a YouTube video how he ordered the Confederate flag cake with the words, "Heritage Not Hate" on Thursday. "I went back yesterday and managed to get an ISIS battleflag printed. ISIS happens to be somebody who we're fighting against right now who are killing our men and boys overseas and are beheading Christians," Netzhammer said. A spokesman for Walmart said, "An associate in a local store did not know what the design meant and made a mistake. The cake should not have been made and we apologize." read more


President Barack Obama announced Monday night a rule change that would make millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. The rule would raise the salary threshold below which hourly workers automatically qualify for time-and-a-half overtime wages to $50,440 a year from $23,660, according to an op-ed commentary by the president in The Huffington Post. "Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve," the president wrote. read more


An Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules crashed today into a residential neighborhood in Medan, the country's third largest city, killing dozens of people, authorities said. The plane crashed into houses and buildings, including a hotel, located near the Soewondo Air Force Base, where the plane took off. Air force chief Air Marshall Agus Supriatna said the pilot told the control tower that the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble. "The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport," Supriatna said.


Monday, June 29, 2015

David Fellerath, Washington Post: Most gun owners are not members of the NRA. Letting the organization pretend otherwise hurts the millions of gun owners who support some form of gun control. Some time after I bought my first gun, I got a robocall from the National Rifle Association, asking me to join. After the customary "Please stay on the line" from a pleasant but earnest voice, I recoiled from the barkings of an angry-sounding man. Did I know that Barack Hussein Obama and European leaders are meeting on American soil right now, at this very moment, to plot the confiscation of my guns? The caller continued with his insinuations of an imminent United Nations plot against America, but before I could be handed off to a live operator, I hung up the phone. read more


John D. Sutter, CNN: Out here in the middle of the Pacific, somewhere between Australia and Hawaii, there's a place where no one has the luxury of denying the existence of climate change. People here in the Marshall Islands are living it. Have been living it. They've internalized the gravest of predictions -- that the Marshall Islands, this loose collection of no-elevation coral atolls, likely will be submerged beneath the waves as humans continue to warm the atmosphere and the oceans continue to rise. They've seen their homes flood frequently -- seen the tides getting higher, seen their lives threatened. Mojje Anungar watched the remains of his infant son, George, who died at 7 months, wash into the Pacific from a coastal graveyard. read more


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy provided the fifth and deciding vote Monday to reject death-row inmates' claim that the drug midazolam, part of the drug cocktail designed to render you unconscious before killing you, is unconstitutionally ineffective. Two dissenting liberals on the court, Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, called for advocates to argue that the death penalty as a whole is unconstitutional. A dissent by Breyer, joined by Ginsburg, essentially called for the abolition of the death penalty. "Rather than try to patch up the death penalty's legal wounds one at a time," Breyer wrote, he "would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution."


Another convicted murderer escaped from prison with the alleged help of a correctional officer. Kristopher McNeil, 29, serving a 14-year sentence for second-degree murder in North Carolina, scaled the wall of Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton early Sunday. Residents recognized him that night from his photo in news reports and called authorities, who picked him up as he walked along Highway 52 near the Davidson and Forsyth county line. On Monday, Polkton police charged correctional officer Kendra Lynette Miller, 33, with having sex with an inmate, providing an electronic device to an inmate, harboring a fugitive and aiding and abetting a fugitive.


Democrats believe they have a winning agenda heading into the 2016 presidential election. And for the first time, the "base" of their party -- unmarried women, people of color, and young voters -- represents a majority of voting-eligible citizens, according to survey data released Monday. But none of that matters if Democrats don't turn out. As of now, 16 months before Election Day, that's the challenge for them: The Democratic Party faces a big enthusiasm gap with the Republicans, according to a poll sponsored by Democracy Corps and Women


Family members on a fishing outing survived a frightening ordeal when an alligator attacked a father and son in Lake Charlotte Sunday afternoon. Authorities said 13-year-old Kaleb Hurley was in waist deep water when the gator, six to eight feet in length, grabbed his arm and pulled him under. Kaleb's father and grandfather dove in to help. "Kaleb told his mother something had a hold of him," said Mark Ford, the boy's grandfather. "When we figured out what was going on, the alligator jerked Kaleb away from him. His dad and I got a hold of Kaleb and got him away from the alligator."


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