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Federal court rules Facebook ‘Likes’ are protected under the First Amendment

Hitting the “Like” button on Facebook is an element of free speech protected by the U.S. constitution, a federal court ruled Wednesday, in a case closely watched by employment lawyers. The U.S. Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Virginia, made the judgment in the case of a Virginia sheriff’s department…

Georgia Repub. complains: ‘I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year’

A Georgia Republican congressman was caught complaining about what he described as a low salary in a closed-door meeting with fellow party members concerning the Affordable Care Act, the National Review reported. During a discussion concerning a possible exemption for lawmakers and staff members from taking part in the state…

‘Beanie Babies’ creator will pay $53.5 million penalty for tax evasion

The creator of the wildly popular Beanie Babies toy line agreed to plead guilty to felony tax evasion charges and will pay a $53.5 million penalty as part of a settlement agreement, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. Officials at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago told the Tribune that…

European ‘robot snake’ being prepared to assist Mars rover Curiosity

Robot snakes on Mars? Serpentine probe could explore Red Planet. (via The Christian Science Monitor) Scientists hope that the Mars “snake,” called Wheeko, will be able to do and see things that a six-wheeled rover cannot do or see.(SINTEF/YouTube) Last month, fans of the Curiosity rover’s images spotted something unusual…

Google teams with Apple chairman to launch ‘health and well-being’ company

Google announced Wednesday it was launching a new company focused on health and well-being, and hinted at cooperation with longtime rival Apple in the venture. A Google statement said the company called Calico “will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases.” Arthur Levinson,…

Iran’s new president promises: We will never make nuclear weapons

New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised that his country will never make nuclear weapons, as part of a larger move toward settling a long-standing rift with the United States over the country’s atomic program, NBC News reported on Wednesday. “Under questioning, he made a categorical statement: He said Iran will…

Same-sex marriage ban needed to ‘regulate sexual relationships,’ Mich. officials say

Michigan’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is necessary to “regulate sexual relationships,” argued attorneys representing the state and its Republican governor. The ban is needed to encourage population growth, attorneys argued in a brief opposing a motion filed by a couple who have challenged the state’s ban on gay marriage.…

Expert: AP article on imminent U.S. bridge collapses ‘misleading’ and alarmist

A former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) said that a recent AP article warning that thousands of U.S. bridges are on the verge of imminent collapse is an overly alarmist misreading of current data. In an interview with Raw Story, engineer and bridge expert Andrew Hermann…

Pennsylvania lawmaker: Gay conversion therapy ‘about punishment,’ not treatment

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) announced on Wednesday that he had joined with state Rep. Gerald Mullery (D) to introduce a bill to ban LGBT “reparative therapy” because the practice was science fiction and was more “about punishment” than treatment. At a press conference at the Attic Youth Center…

In surprise move, Federal Reserve to continue bond-buying program

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its $85 billion a month stimulus program in place, against broad expectations that it would reduce it as the economy grows. Fed policy makers instead cut their growth forecast for this year and next, suggesting the economy is feeling the impact of government spending…

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