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Friday, Aug 22nd

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Federal judge rules Florida gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Florida gay marriageA federal judge on Thursday declared Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida's constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

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Detroit Water Crisis - a Prelude to the Privatization of Water

Detroit water brigadeAtpeace Makita, a single mother of five children who turned to activism after her water was shut off by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, talks with Dennis Trainor, Jr. about the Detroit Water Brigade and what it is like to living during the current push for the privatization of the water supply.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, The Great Lakes are the largest surface fresh water system on the Earth, providing 84% of North America's surface fresh water and 21% of the world's supply.

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The Killing of Kajieme Powell and How It Divides Americans

Powell killing in FergusonThe police officers who shot and killed Kajieme Powell, 25, in St. Louis, Missouri, on Tuesday did so while being recorded by a man with a cell phone camera. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and police union officials say the video is exculpatory and that the two officers on the scene followed proper protocol.

Many who've watched the shooting grant that the police were put in a difficult, volatile, potentially deadly situation, but still feel that their actions were wrongheaded. The footage certain to be debated in coming days begins at the 1:20 mark. Be forewarned that the video shows a man being shot repeatedly and killed. Due to its disturbing nature some readers may prefer to skip watching it entirely.

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Expert witness in US execution cases will no longer defend states' methods

Execution defense quitsAn anesthesiologist said he would no longer act as an expert witness for states defending their lethal injection methods, creating another hurdle for corrections departments scrambling to find workable execution systems.

Mark Dershwitz, a University of Massachusetts anesthesiologist and pharmacologist, was the expert called by Ohio in support of its new two-drug combination that led to a troubling 26-minute execution in January.

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High court blocks same-sex marriage in Virginia

Supreme Court bars gay marriage in VirginiaSame-sex couples will have to wait longer to begin marrying in Virginia after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to delay implementing an appeals court ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban.

The nation's highest court granted a request from a county clerk in northern Virginia to delay a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond that would have allowed for same-sex couples to marry beginning Thursday morning. The state would also have had to start recognizing gay marriages from out of state if the Supreme Court had denied the request. The court provided no explanation for its order.

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Louisiana court blocks Bobby Jindal from repealing Common Core

Bobby JndalA Louisiana judge on Tuesday swatted down Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to use his executive authority to repeal the Common Core in his state.

Jindal is trying to unilaterally scrap the new academic standards and a related series of exams — a move that’s put him at odds with business leaders, the state superintendent, members of the board of education and many Republican legislators in Louisiana.

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No Charges In 3 Deadly Beatings At Rikers Island, Despite Homicide Rulings

Rikers Island prisonAgitated and hallucinating from alcohol and heroin withdrawal, inmate Angel Ramirez took a swing at a jail guard and missed.

What followed, according to investigative documents obtained by The Associated Press, was a quick punch back from the guard that put Ramirez on the floor. Then he was dragged away, beyond the view of security cameras, and three other guards were called in. Inmates later told investigators they heard screaming and the sickening crack of nightsticks against bone.

Ramirez, 50, died of numerous blunt-impact injuries that included a ruptured spleen, shattered ribs and a stomach filled with blood. When a jail investigator interviewed the guards — eight months later — they insisted Ramirez was struck only once and only in self-defense.

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