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California faces cuts to fill huge budget hole

LOS ANGELES — California governor Jerry Brown proposed spending cuts Monday, including shutting down state offices one day a week, as well as tax rises to curb an estimated $16 billion budget deficit. Brown warned that the budget hole could balloon further if California voters reject plans to increase sales…

Rep. Polis proposes bill to ensure schools don’t treat pizza as a vegetable

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the SLICE Act on Monday to prevent pizza from being counted as a vegetable in federally funded school lunch menus. “Agribusinesses should never dictate the quality of school meals,” Polis said. “Big food companies have their priorities, which include selling cheap, unhealthy foods at high…

Obama seeks political gain from same sex marriage move

NEW YORK — US President Barack Obama on Monday sought to leverage his decision to back gay marriage for political gain, drawing a sharp contrast between his position and that of his Republican foe Mitt Romney. But the president, still walking a delicate political line on the issue, declined to…

Man needs $20,000 to get dog back from ex

NEW YORK — A recently split-up US man is so desperate to get his dog back from his ex that he’s gone online to ask for $20,000 to pay the legal fees on top of the $30,000 he’s already blown. “Knuckles was kidnapped by my ex-girlfriend and the legal fees…

Married same sex couples unable to divorce in Rhode Island, despite recent order

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee issued an executive order on Monday that requires the state to recognize same sex marriages performed out-of-state. The order gives married same sex couples many of the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, same sex couples married elsewhere will still not be able to get…

White House urges bank reforms after JPMorgan loss

WASHINGTON — The White House stepped up pressure for tighter bank regulation Monday after JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion derivatives loss, as the bank said the top official responsible for the loss had resigned. Pressing a policy line that JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon had strenuously fought, the White House said the…

Florida college band suspended for year over hazing

MIAMI — A Florida university’s celebrated marching band has been suspended until 2013, its president announced Monday, six months after one member was killed and several others wounded in a hazing incident. Florida A&M University President James Ammons has said the “marching band will remain suspended through the 2012-2013 academic…

Obama camp assails ‘vampire’ Romney in new ad

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama’s camp unleashed a fierce assault on his Republican foe Mitt Romney Monday, slamming the former venture capitalist as a “vampire” who got rich by bleeding dry ailing firms. A new campaign ad, relating the way Romney’s firm Bain Capital took over and ultimately closed…

Virginia axes nomination of openly gay judicial candidate

Update (5/15 at 9:10 a.m. Eastern): Virginia’s House of Delegates rejected the nomination of openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland last night, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R) announced on Saturday that he would challenge an openly gay judicial nominee because he does not support so-called…

Wisconsin Dems say DNC stalled financial backing for Walker recall election

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has not invested heavily into the recall elections against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), according to an anonymous Wisconsin Democratic party official. The frustrated official told The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent about the disgust his colleagues are having with the DNC being restrained on their…

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