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Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approves anti-LGBT bill similar to one roiling Indiana

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The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

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The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says “governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification.”

Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner.

Two of the most powerful companies in the United States, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has its home office in Arkansas, and technology giant Apple Inc have criticized the measure.

“We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about Arkansas, as well as the diverse environment which exists in the state,” a Walmart spokesman said in a statement.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to the measures in the two states, said in a tweet: “Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar HB1228.”

The measure passed the Arkansas House in February by a comfortable margin and now goes back to it for consideration of amendments in the Senate version. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he would sign the measure into law.

A U.S. judge last year struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage but the decision has been put on hold pending appeals.

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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Steve Barnes; Editing by Sandra Maler & Kim Coghill)


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Kavanaugh book authors battle The View’s Meghan McCain over New York Times uproar

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The authors of a new book about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared on "The View" to explain some of the controversial aspects of an excerpt published by the New York Times.

Co-host Meghan McCain pressed authors Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, whose book The Education of Brett Kavanaugh was published Tuesday, to explain an editor's note that conservatives have argued invalidates some of their bombshell reporting about sexual misconduct allegations against the justice.

Thank you for the question," Kelly explained. "We're eager to clear the air on this. First of all, there was no desire to withhold important information from our readers. We have all of it in the book and the essay is an adaptation of the book that of course we had to edit for length and clarity."

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BUSTED: Trump-loving sheriff tried to murder deputy who caught him on tape making racist remarks

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A North Carolina Sheriff and Trump supporter reportedly plotted to murder a man who had a tape of him making racially offensive remarks, reports the Raleigh News and Observer.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday, based on a recording of Brindell advising a man on how to kill a former deputy who accused him of racist language.

According to court records, the sheriff told another person to “take care of it” and “the only way you gonna stop him is kill him.”

He instructed him to get rid of the weapon. “You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” Wilkins said. “The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can’t tell nobody, not a thing.” The conversation took place in 2014.

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The pundit class is freaking out about socialism — and they’re utterly clueless about where politics is headed

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On Saturday, Jonah Goldberg, the well-known conservative pundittweeted approvingly an article by Jonathan Chait, the well-known liberal pundit. Chait was writing in a mode critics often call “Democrats in Disarray!” He was worried that Joe Biden might be too old to lead a party too far left to be led anywhere next year.

In the aftermath of the 2016 elections, an exotic political theory promoted by the party’s most left-wing flank suddenly gained wide circulation. The appeal of Bernie Sanders proved Democrats were ready to embrace socialism, or at least something close to it; and Donald Trump’s election proved a nominee with extreme positions could still win. These two conclusions, in combination, suggested the party would move as far left as activists preferred at no political cost (all italics mine).

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