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Sunday, Jul 23rd

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Texas Supreme Court: No inherent right to gay marriage benefits

Texas SC denies rights to same sex couplesFinding no established right to spousal benefits in same-sex marriages, a unanimous Texas Supreme Court on Friday revived a lawsuit challenging the city of Houston’s insurance plans for married gay employees.

According to the all-Republican Texas court, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established the right to same-sex marriage did not decide all marriage-related matters, leaving room for state courts to explore the decision’s “reach and ramifications.”

Advocates of same-sex marriage reacted with dismay and anger, arguing that the Texas court ignored clear and undeniable instructions from the nation’s highest court.

TVNL Comment:  This is insane. The GOP is so damn terrified of the LGBT community that they will go to any lengths to deny their legitimacy.

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Russia hackers discussed getting Clinton emails to Michael Flynn – report

Flynn implicated in Clinton email hackThe veteran Republican researcher reported to have sought to get access to Hillary Clinton emails stolen by Russian hackers in order to help Donald Trump’s campaign had a long history of involvement in “dirty tricks” campaigns against the Clintons.

Peter Smith told the computer specialists he approached in his hunt for the stolen emails that he was working with Michael Flynn, then a top Trump foreign policy adviser, according to the Wall Street Journal. But Smith, who has died since talking to the Journal, also had deep-rooted connections to Newt Gingrich, an old Clinton foe and enthusiastic backer of Trump.

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NY gov: We won't comply with voter fraud 'myth'

Andrew CuomoNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said New York would not be handing over information on its voter rolls to President Trump’s commission on voter fraud, saying Trump’s concept of voter fraud is a “myth.”

The vice chairman of Trump’s commission on electoral integrity, Kris Kobach, sent letters to the secretaries of state of all 50 states directing them to turn over “publicly-available voter roll data including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, [and] voter history from 2006 onward.”

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White House council for women and girls goes dark under Trump

WH council on women and girls goes darkWhen President George W. Bush took office, he quickly and quietly disbanded President Bill Clinton’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach — and now President Donald Trump appears to be doing the same thing to President Barack Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls.

The council, created by Obama in 2009 to monitor the impact of policy changes and liaise with women's groups has been defunct while the Trump administration evaluates whether to keep it, according to three senior White House officials.

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‘Morning Joe’ hosts question Trump’s mental state, say he lied in tweets

Joe Scarborough and Mika Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Friday morning fired back at Donald Trump after he attacked them in crude tweets the day before, writing in a Washington Post op-ed that the president “is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show.”

“President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president,” the "Morning Joe" co-hosts wrote. “The president’s unhealthy obsession with ‘Morning Joe’ does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs.”

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Tepco execs go on trial for 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster

Tepco execs go on trial for Fukushima disasterThe criminal trial of three executives from the Japanese utility that owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant that melted down after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 got underway Friday, with the defendants apologizing, but defending their actions in the wake of the disaster.

The men, Tsunehisa Katsumata, 77, the former CEO of Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, and former Vice Presidents Sakae Muto, 67, and Ichiro Takekuro, 71, are each charged with professional negligence resulting in death. Specifically, Tepco is being blamed for the death of 40 patients at a hospital within the evacuation zone when Fukushima's No. 1 reactor began to melt down. The patients, who were in critical care, died while being evacuated to other hospitals.

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Modified U.S. travel ban goes into effect with another court challenge

Modified travel ban goes into effectA modified executive order banning people from certain countries from traveling to the United States has gone into effect as opponents filed an emergency court order.

The limited version of an order temporarily banning travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, all Muslim-majority countries, was implemented at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Senior administration officials expected that the ban would go smoothly and without the chaos and protests that greeted the original travel ban earlier this year, The Washington Post said. Advocates and immigration lawyers were at airports on the U.S. East and West coasts nonetheless to observe the execution of the order and to offer help. There were minimal reports of problems at U.S. airports.

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Police hear of new sexual conquest game at elite prep school

St. Paul's SchoolAn elite prep school is again under fire for allegations involving a game of sexual conquest similar to one a few years back where a student was charged with sexually assaulting a freshman over a sordid tradition called the "Senior Salute."

The allegations, first reported in the Concord Monitor, involve eight boys in a St. Paul's School dorm in Concord who apparently competed to have their names put on a crown. St. Paul's, one of the country's most selective boarding schools, learned about the game just before the June 4 commencement and launched an internal investigation into the matter. One boy, according to the newspaper, withdrew after the allegations came to the attention of a senior administrator.

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German parliament approves same-sex marriage

German parliament passes same sex marriage lawGermany's parliament has voted by a wide margin to legalise same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her mind and said members of her ruling conservative bloc should follow their personal conscience rather than the party line.

The parliament voted by 393 to 226 on Friday in favour of same-sex marriage.

The reform gives full marital rights for same-sex couples and allows them to adopt children.

TVNL Comment: Great news.  Better late than never...

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