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Sunday, Apr 20th

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Alex Baer: Swimming Against the Yo-Yo Tide

yo-yoEveryone's heard the one where Life, after closing one door, opens a window.  After doing two of the most dangerous things in America that one can do -- reading and thinking -- I have to take exception to that one.

This is especially true as it often seems Life is intent on demonstrating that other insightful discovery:  that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof of the garage, and is stuck there, with the Frisbees.  As soon as I have read something and thought about it some, this is often what happens to my own consciousness.

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Republicans Must Turn Over Emails On North Carolina Voting Law, Federal Judge Rules

NC voter suppression Any race-related emails that North Carolina Republicans may have sent in connection with the voter restrictions they passed last summer could soon be public, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge.

Before the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, simply demonstrating a discriminatory impact could be enough to overturn a discriminatory law. Now, in order to have North Carolina's voting law struck down, civil rights groups and the Justice Department have to demonstrate that state lawmakers deliberately engaged in racial discrimination against voters.

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White House unveils methane-cutting plan

Obama to cut methane emissionsThe White House said on Friday it will take a hard look at whether new regulations are needed to cut emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, part of President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change.

Regulators will start by proposing new rules later this year to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas wells on public lands, one way to begin slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, said Dan Utech, Obama's top energy and climate aide.

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Same-sex marriage now legal in England and Wales

same sex marriage legal in England and walesFor the first time same-sex couples are now legally allowed to get married in England and Wales.

Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law. David Cameron said the move sent a message that people were now equal "whether gay or straight", but some religious groups remain opposed.

Scotland passed a similar law in February; the first same-sex marriages are expected there in October. Northern Ireland has no plans to follow suit.

In an article for the Pink News website, the prime minister wrote: "This weekend is an important moment for our country.

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GM adds 824k small cars to ongoing recall

GM recallGeneral Motors is adding 824,000 more cars to an ongoing recall over defective ignition switches that have caused some engines to shut off and to disable airbags.

The US car maker said it was recalling a variety of models made 2008-11, in addition to 1.6m cars made before 2007 that were recalled last month.

GM said it was unaware of deaths caused by the flaw in the 2008-11 models. But the problem has been linked to between 12 and 303 deaths in crashes.

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Christie: Port Authority Chairman David Samson Resigns Amid GWB Scandal

Samson resignsGov. Chris Christie on Friday defended a report by taxpayer-funded lawyers who cleared him of any involvement in closing lanes near the George Washington Bridge for political reasons, saying it “will stand the test of time.”

Christie also announced the resignation of David Samson as chairman of the Port Authority, which runs the bridge.

Christie spoke at his first news conference since Jan. 9. His appearance came a day after a report from a law firm he hired issued a 345-page summary of the scandal.

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Michigan same-sex marriages will be recognized federally despite appeal

Michigan gay marriageAttorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before an appeals court put such unions on hold.

His action extends eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who were married Saturday, which means they may file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.

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Violence against homeless on the rise in the United States

Homeless under attack in USDespite a decrease in the U.S. homeless population, new research by an advocacy group for the homeless indicates an alarming increase in violent crimes targeting those living on the streets.

In 2013, homeless Americans experienced a 23 percent increase in violence compared with the year before, according to preliminary figures by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). The U.S. homeless population declined over the same period, with 610,000 people going without shelter on any given day in 2013 — 20,000 fewer than in 2012.

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Fukushima worker killed in accident, cleanup halted

FukushimaA worker at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant died on Friday after being buried under gravel while digging a ditch, prompting the operator to suspend cleanup work for safety checks.

Tokyo Electric Power Co said it was the first time a laborer had died as a direct result of an accident inside the plant since the nuclear disaster in March 2011, the world's worst since Chernobyl in 1986.

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