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Appeals court allows prayer at Texas graduation

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – A federal appeals court ruled on Friday afternoon that students may pray and mention God at Saturday night’s graduation at a high school in a San Antonio suburb, overturning a district judge’s ruling. “Texas will continue to fight for the rights of all those who wish…

Two N.H. Republicans quit posts over GOP attacks on workers

Two Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have resigned their leadership posts, citing deeply held disagreements with the GOP’s recent attacks on organized labor. State Rep. Matt Quandt and House Whip Tim Copeland both said they simply could not sit idly by as pensions and bargaining rights were rolled back. “[It]…

Obama: Joplin tornado ‘a national tragedy’

JOPLIN, Missouri (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Sunday called last week’s tornado that claimed scores of lives here “a national tragedy,” ahead of a memorial service for the dead. “This is not just your tragedy. It is a national tragedy and there will be a national response,” Obama said…

Wisconsin Gov. Walker signs new voter restrictions into law

The State of Wisconsin will begin requiring voters to present a state-issued photo identification before casting ballots, now that Gov. Scott Walker (R) has signed a key piece of GOP-sponsored legislation into law. Walker’s signature makes Wisconsin the 11th state to implement the voter ID rules. Only five Democratic state…

Washington state Democrats to Dennis Kucinich: Don’t run here

Most voters in Washington state say Rep. Dennis Kucinich isn’t welcome there if the Republican-controlled House decides to abolish his Ohio district. A recent survey (PDF) by the Democratic Public Policy Polling firm found that only 12 percent of voters in Washington wanted Kucinich to run, compared with 39 percent…

Utah legalizes use of gold, silver as currency

Utah this week became the first state to legalize the use of gold and silver coins as legal currency, the according to the Associated Press. Republican state Rep. Brad Galvez sponsored the bill, which also excludes gold and silver from capital gains taxes, as a protest against Federal Reserve policies.…

Maine state rep pulls gun on photographer

Maine state Rep. Frederick Ladd Wintle, a Republican from Garland, was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon Saturday after a run-in with a press photographer, the Portland Press Herald reported. Wintle was in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts in…

Amazon deforestation increases six-fold

BRASILIA (AFP) – A sharp increase in forest destruction in March and April in the Amazon has led Brazil to announce the creation of an emergency task force to fight against deforestation. The two-month total of 593 square kilometers (368 square miles) deforested represents a six-fold increase compared to the…

Minnesota state Rep. Gruenhagen: ‘Perverted’ men made abortion legal

Minnesota state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R) compared the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized access abortion, to the court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which said former slaves could not become U.S. citizens. “Ladies, the Supreme Court made this ruling,” Gruenhagen said on House floor in reference…

Iranian Mujahedeen could come off US blacklist

WASHINGTON — Washington will decide within six months whether to remove the banned Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedeen from a terrorism blacklist, a US State Department official told lawmakers Thursday. “We are working as expeditiously as possible to complete a review” on the issue, Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counter-terrorism at the…

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