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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Supreme Court issues narrow ruling against labor unions

Supreme Court ruling unionsThe Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines Monday that home-care workers in Illinois do not have to pay dues to public employees unions.

The opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was a narrow loss for organized labor. It did not overrule the court's "agency shop" precedent applying to all public employee unions.

The challenge to the mandatory union dues, brought by eight home-care workers in Illinois, represented the biggest labor case to come before the court this term -- putting at potential risk the future viability of public employee unions.

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Why We Can't Talk About Gun Control

Dick Metcalf"I pose this question, Mr. Metcalf, as a hunter of birds. I have a concealed carry permit for a pistol. And I think the gun laws that are on the books today are ineffective because they're not enforced."

Dick Metcalf, the historian and long-time individual-gun-rights supporter agreed, nodding from the stage.

"When I got my concealed-carry permit," the man in the audience continued, "one of the questions I had to answer was, 'Are you a fugitive from justice?'"  The rest of the crowd laughed.

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One dead, four wounded in Los Angeles BET Awards party shooting

BET party shootingOne person was killed and four others wounded in an early Sunday shooting at a pre-party in Los Angeles ahead of the Black Entertainment Television Awards show, police said.

The gunman fired several rounds at the gathering at a restaurant and banquet hall about 3 miles (5 km) west of downtown before fleeing, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

One of three people taken to local hospitals by ambulance died, police said. The other two people wounded were in stable condition after seeking their own medical care at area hospitals, police said.

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Bourbon Street shooting leaves 9 hurt

Bourbon Street shootingAn angry-sounding man shot at another man and then emptied his gun into the crowd on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning, according to an eyewitness.

Nine people were reportedly injured in the shooting, seven of them were said to be stable while one woman was listed in critical condition. Police said the condition of the other victim is not known. There has been no word on a description of the suspect.

Police were called to the scene in the 700 block of Bourbon Street around 2:45 a.m.

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Libyan suspect pleads not guilty in Benghazi attack

Libyan suspectA Libyan militia leader pleaded not guilty in a U.S. federal court on Saturday to a terrorism charge in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah was transferred to the U.S. District Court in Washington on Saturday morning from a Navy warship where he had been held since his June 15 capture by U.S. special operations forces in Libya.

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Facebook fights 'largest ever' US court data request

FacebookFacebook is fighting a US court order in which it was forced to hand over data belonging to almost 400 people involved in a benefit fraud trial.

The social media site said the request was "by far the largest" it had ever received from a government body.  Photographs, private messages and other information were supplied to a New York court last year, but the process was only made public by a judge this week.

The ruling defined Facebook as a "digital landlord".

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What’s Next, Police With Tanks?

armed policeIn the classic television series The A-Team, the eponymous heroes spend much of their time evading or thwarting the show’s stock adversaries, the ineffective Military Police. In a show notable for its lack of blood and gore, the MPs are waylaid by many a car crash, explosion, and unluckily placed boat pier.

How quaint that all seems today, when the creeping militarization of American law enforcement has at last begun to shock the conscience. Although many of us endure perennial mourning and outrage over the “senseless” acts of school shooters, most of us have more or less ignored the routine, all-too-logical bloodshed and injustice perpetrated by out of control SWAT teams, police forces equipped like armies, and cities and towns clamoring for materiel designed for military occupation, not public safety.

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