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Jon Kyl, second-ranked Senate Republican, retiring in 2012

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second highest-ranking Republican in the chamber, announced Thursday that he will retire in 2012.

Kyl, the Minority Whip, has served in the US Senate since 1995, and before that held a House seat in Arizona for eight years.

“There is no other reason than the fact it is time,” Kyl told reporters at a news conference, according to The Associated Press. “It is time for me to do something else and time to give someone else a chance.”

“Some people stay too long, and there are other things to do in life. I never expected to be in office for 26 years.”

Reports swirled around the web Thursday morning about Kyl’s likely retirement after Politico‘s Dave Catanese tweeted that the senator would not seek a fourth term next year.

Kyl, 68, was one of ten Republican senators up for re-election in 2012. He joins Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and three Democrats in vacating their seats following next November’s election.

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“In the Bible it says, of course, that there is a time for every thing,” Kyl added, as quoted by Talking Points Memo.

The website reported that Kyl also said he considered retiring in 2006, but ended up staying because the GOP’s chances of retaining the seat would have been diminished without him.

In tandem with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Kyl helped craft the GOP’s strategy of unrelenting opposition to Democrats’ initiatives in the era of President Barack Obama.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, McConnell said Kyl’s retirement was “a big loss for the country.”

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New details revealed in the bizarre story of Jerry Falwell Jr, a pool boy and ‘compromising photographs’

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The New York Times has put together a lengthy report about the utterly bizarre circumstances surrounding Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen, a former pool boy, and purportedly "compromising photographs."

The story begins in 2012 when Falwell and his wife enjoyed a stay at the Fontainebleau, a Florida luxury resort known for topless sunbathing and a massive underground nightclub described by one travel guide as "30,000 square feet of unadulterated fun."

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Critics lament as 126 House Democrats join forces with GOP to hand Trump ‘terrifying’ mass domestic spying powers

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Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government's "most egregious mass surveillance practices" first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.

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Pilots, including Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, tell US Congress more training needed on 737 MAX

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US pilots called Wednesday for enhanced pilot training on the Boeing 737 MAX before the aircraft is returned to service after being grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

The pilots -- including Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, who famously landed a damaged plane on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 -- pushed back against the aviation giant's assurances that pilots will only need to review the 737 MAX modifications in a computer program.

Daniel Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, told a congressional panel he was encouraged by changes Boeing made to a flight system seen as a factor in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that killed 346 people.

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