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Speaker Boehner skips Tucson memorial for RNC cocktail party

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The new speaker of the House skipped a nationally televised memorial in Arizona honoring victims of Saturday’s shootings, opting instead to host a cocktail party Wednesday night.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) declined an offer to ride to Tucson on Air Force One with President Barack Obama and other lawmakers, Politico reported.

A Democratic leadership aide told the newspaper it was “disrespectful” of the speaker to miss the memorial service in order to attend a partisan political event, whether or not it was planned in advance.

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The party, organized by Boehner’s political action committee, featured 168 members of the Republican National Committee, according to published reports. It took place at at a Maryland resort near Washington at 7 pm EST, coinciding with the memorial slated for 8 pm.

A spokesperson for Boehner told Roll Call Wednesday that the Ohio Republican intended to leave the reception before Obama’s address began.

But that didn’t help the optics of his situation, and newspapers widely reported on Boehner’s decision. The move invited mockery from critics, who suggested the 20-year congressman was having trouble settling into his new role.

At the memorial, President Obama poignantly pleaded for civility in the wake of the national tragedy that left six dead, one of whom was a federal judge, and over a dozen wounded, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

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His speech, in which he called on Americans to transcend partisanship and vitriol as they mourn the victims, was roundly praised by liberals and conservatives.

The service was attended by First Lady Michelle Obama, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl.


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2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

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Something is killing galaxies — and science is on the case

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In the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed. Their star formation is being shut down and astronomers want to know why.

The first ever Canadian-led large project on one of the world’s leading telescopes is hoping to do just that. The new program, called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO), is investigating, in brilliant detail, how galaxies are killed by their environment.

As VERTICO’s principal investigator, I lead a team of 30 experts that are using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to map the molecular hydrogen gas, the fuel from which new stars are made, at high resolution across 51 galaxies in our nearest galaxy cluster, called the Virgo Cluster.

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Trudeau in blackface: A symptom of Canada’s widespread anti-Black racism

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The news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau performed in blackface when he was a student and a teacher has once again made blackface the topic of the day — this time in the middle of a Canadian election campaign.

The revelation that, as a 29-year-old teacher, Trudeau appeared in blackface at an “Arabian Nights” fundraiser at his school has made news around the world. Other images subsequently surfaced that showed a young Trudeau performing in blackface at high school talent shows.

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