Wednesday, May 27th

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DEA confiscates 154 pounds of Mexican heroin, biggest drug bust in N.Y. history

Drug bustFour suspected drug traffickers were arrested and some 154 pounds of heroin was seized late Tuesday in what is being called the single largest heroin seizure in New York state history and the fourth largest in the nation.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said the heroin was worth up to $50 million, with the "the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said. Investigators also seized up to $2 million in cash and a gun.


Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle to space

X37B aircraftA mysterious space plane is on its way to orbit.

The Air Force launched its unmanned mini-shuttle from Cape Canaveral, Florida, late Wednesday morning. An Atlas V (five) rocket carried it up.

This is the fourth flight for the military research program, which is shrouded in secrecy.


Israeli prime minister calls off West Bank bus segregation

palestinian workersIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called off a proposed plan to segregate Palestinians from Israelis on West Bank buses, overruling his own defense minister following a flurry of criticism in an attempt to avert the first crisis of his new government.

An official in the prime minister's office said Netanyahu called Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to tell him he found his proposal "unacceptable" and the two then decided to freeze the plan.


Reprint from 2005: The Snake Oil Merchants Who Sold Us A War!!

Condy Rice, war mongerTalk about putting one over on the American people. This one takes the cake, it really does. Did you hear anyone even mention the White House Iraq Group until recently? Did you have a clue about who they were or what they were about? Luckily, Scooter Libby screwed up somehow and got himself indicted, and now we know. Talk about a con job.

It seems that the White House Iraq Group was quite an impressive bunch with an even more impressive job. They had to sell the entire population of the United States a really big dose of snake oil in a very short time. I kid you not. That really was their assignment, and boy did they ever carry it out in style!


Broken Pipeline Spills Oil on Coastline Near Santa Barbara

santa barbara oil spillAn emergency cleanup is underway Tuesday afternoon along the coastline near Santa Barbara after an oil pipeline leaked 21,000 gallons, some of which made it into the ocean.

Coast Guard crews responded after reports of an oil slick in the ocean, also seen on the sand at Refugio State Beach, around noon. The slick was initially estimated to be about a half-mile long but was reported to have spread to 4 miles wide by 3:30 p.m.


L.A. Becomes Largest City to Boost Minimum Wage

LA raises minimum wageToday’s vote to raise Los Angeles’ minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 is being called “the most significant victory so far” in the push to increase the minimum wage nationally. The City Council passed the ordinance 14-1, which will boost the current minimum of $9 in roughly $1 increments annually over the next five years. The first increase would happen in July 2016, boosting minimum wage to $10.50 an hour.

The response hasn’t been completely positive. While labor unions and supporters of the wage increase are displeased that the ordinance will take place piecemeal over 5 years, small business owners—who have until 2021 to comply—complain that the nearly 50 percent increase will hurt their bottom line.


Bobby Jindal Defiant After Louisiana House Panel Kills Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Bobby JindalA Louisiana House Committee today voted down HB 707, an anti-gay 'religious freedom bill' favored by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. In the wake of its defeat, Jindal remained defiant, vowing to enact key provisions of the bill through executive order.

HB 707, known as the "Marriage and Conscience Act," is before the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee. The legislation would prohibit the state from denying any resident, nonprofit or business a license, benefits or tax deductions because of actions taken "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage. Those in favor of the legislation say it protects religious freedoms, while those against insist it allows open season on discrimination.


Ex-gay Therapy Oregon’s Bisexual Gov. Bans Conversion Therapy

Kate BrownOregon Gov. Kate Brown Monday signed into law House Bill 2307, which bans the use of so-called conversion therapy on minors.

The bill passed the Oregon Senate earlier this month by a vote of 21-3, after passing the House in March. Oregon now joins California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia in outlawing the scientifically discredited therapy, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The practice, sometimes called “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy, has been denounced as ineffective and harmful by every major mental health organization in the nation, and by President Obama and other top federal officials.


Steinem, Nobel laureates in North Korea for march across DMZ

Women march for peaceA group of female peace activists including Gloria Steinem and two Nobel laureates arrived in North Korea's capital on Tuesday for a march across the Demilitarized Zone that they hope will bring world attention to calls for a resolution to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The rare crossing of the DMZ, approved by both Koreas, is to take place Sunday.

North and South Korea have technically been in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Their border along the DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified in the world and it is highly unusual for crossings to be allowed.


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