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Sunday, Apr 20th

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Conservative group Alec trains sights on city and local government

ALEC targeting towns and citiesThe rightwing group Alec is preparing to launch a new nationwide network that will seek to replicate its current influence within state legislatures in city councils and municipalities.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, founded in 1973, has become one of the most pervasive advocacy operations in the nation. It brings elected officials together with representatives of major corporations, giving those companies a direct channel into legislation in the form of Alec “model bills”.

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Rand Paul in crosshairs of tax evasion war

Rand PaulWhen a bipartisan Senate panel last week lambasted Swiss bank Credit Suisse for helping rich Americans evade billions in taxes, some watching the high-profile hearing couldn’t help but notice an elephant in the room.

The connection? Paul for years has single-handedly blocked an obscure U.S.-Swiss tax treaty that lawmakers, prosecutors, diplomats and banks say makes the difference between U.S. law enforcement rooting out the names of a few hundred fat-cat tax evaders — and many thousands more.

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NRA Urges Senate To Reject Surgeon General Nominee Over Gun Violence Prevention Stance

NRA opposes Surgeon General choiceThe National Rifle Association (NRA) sent a letter to Senate leaders on Wednesday evening urging the chamber not to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, over Murthy’s belief that gun violence presents a major public health threat. The letter was issued on the same day that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he would place a hold on Murthy’s nomination over similar concerns.

“Dr. Murthy’s record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns about his ability to objectively examine issues pertinent to America’s 100 million firearm owners and the likelihood that he would use the office of the Surgeon General to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership,” wrote NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) executive director Chris Cox in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

Jan BrewerArizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed a hot-button measure that would have permitted businesses in the state to deny service to gay and lesbians for religious beliefs.

At a news conference at the state capitol just after 7:45 p.m. ET, Brewer said the bill "could result in unintended and negative consequences.  I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 could create more problems than it purports to solve," Brewer said.

The controversial bill sparked outcry from LGBT activists and drew vocal criticism from civic leaders, business interests and state economic groups.

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Calif. Sen. Ron Calderon indicted for political corruption

Ron CalderonA federal grand jury indicted Democratic California state Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother, Tom, on charges of political corruption, officials announced in a press conference Friday.

The 24-count indictment was filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles against the state senator and his brother, a former state lawmaker who now works as a lobbyist.

The indictment comes four months after an Al Jazeera investigation published a leaked affidavit that revealed Ron Calderon had accepted $88,000 in bribes from an undercover agent. After Al Jazeera published the affidavit, Calderon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to sanction the federal prosecutors responsible for the leak.

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Obama to drop less generous retiree payments from budget

ObamaBowing to pressure from liberal groups and angry seniors, the Obama administration on Thursday dropped from its forthcoming proposed budget a plan to trim back cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.

President Barack Obama angered Democrats and seniors last year by including a proposal favored by Republicans called the Chained Consumer Price Index, which involves a less generous way of making cost of living adjustments and thus reduces the budget hit for these payments to retirees.

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Former U.S. general: When Jesus comes back, he'll be carrying an AR-15

Jerry BoykinDuring a speech at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas, former Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin predicted that when Jesus returns to Earth, he’ll be packing heat.  Specifically, an AR-15 assault rifle.

"The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe,” Boykin said during his speech. “And I believe now that the sword he'll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15."

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