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Maher: ‘Republicanism has become a religion’

HBO’s Bill Maher told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday that “as a sane person,” it was tough to watch the Republican presidential candidates debate. “Republicanism has — it’s really become a religion,” he noted. “And when I say religion, I mean they just have a series of baseless assertions that they…

Drop in violent crime reveals complex role of poverty

WASHINGTON — A plunge in violent crime over the last two years despite the economic downturn appears to confirm what experts have long known — that poverty alone does not drive delinquency. The latest figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show the lowest level of violent crime…

Facebook hires former Clinton spokesman

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Facebook announced on Tuesday that it had hired former US president Bill Clinton’s spokesman Joe Lockhart to serve as vice president of global communications at the social network. “Joe’s arrival brings new skills and greater depth to our incredibly busy team,” Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of…

Key Senate panel approves Panetta for Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved Leon Panetta’s nomination to be US defense secretary on Tuesday, setting the stage for a full senate confirmation. Panetta, 72, who has served President Barack Obama as CIA chief, was expected to sail to confirmation by the full US…

Mullen: U.S. will not leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The top US military officer is vowing long-term commitment to Afghanistan, touting progress in the war against the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies ahead of an American drawdown. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on the “Charlie Rose” television interview show…

Playboy Hugh Hefner’s 25-year-old fiancee changes mind about marriage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Heartbroken Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said on Tuesday his wedding this weekend was canceled because his 25-year-old fiancee, a Playmate from his magazine, changed her mind. Hefner, 85, and Crystal Harris were due to tie the knot in front of more than 300 guests at the…

Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstates law stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget repair bill” after a Dane County judge blocked the law from being implemented in May. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the state’s Supreme Court ruled that a Senate committee did not violate Wisconsin’s open meetings law when…

Miracle-Gro hopes to expand into medical marijuana market

As growth slows, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is looking to the expanding medical marijuana industry as a new source of revenue. Scotts’ Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn told the Wall Street Journal that he is exploring medical marijuana and other niche markets to help boost sales. The company currently relies on…

Stricter regulation of formaldehyde remains uncertain despite classification as a carcinogen

Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services classified formaldehyde as “a known carcinogen,” adding its verdict to two similar reports released by key agencies since 2009. But despite the growing scientific consensus about how formaldehyde can affect human health, it remains to be seen if the studies…

Ex-Blackwater guard sentenced to 37 months for Afghan’s death

WASHINGTON — A former Blackwater security guard was sentenced to three years and one month in prison Tuesday for involuntary manslaughter in a Kabul shooting in 2009, the US Justice Department announced. Christopher Drotleff, 31, and Justin Cannon, 29, another former Blackwater employee, were convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter…

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