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Friday, Jul 31st

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FEC Chair Says Agency Is 'Worse Than Dysfunctional' At Regulating Money In Politics

FEC Ann RavelThe chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission says she's largely given up hope of reining in abuses in raising and spending money in the 2016 presidential campaign and calls the agency she oversees "worse than dysfunctional."

In an interview with The New York Times, Ann M. Ravel says she was determined to "bridge the partisan gap" and see that the agency confronted its problems when she became its chair last December. She said she had now essentially abandoned efforts to work out agreements on what she saw as much-needed enforcement measures.

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Bernie Sanders calls for 'political revolution' against billionaire class

Bernie SandersHeralding what he called “the most unusual political career in the US Senate”, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday called for “a political revolution” against “the billionaire class”.

He then seemed to include the overwhelming favourite for the Democratic nomination, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, in that “billionaire class”.

Appearing on ABC at the end of a week in which he declared a run for the Democratic nomination well to the left of Clinton, the independent senator from Vermont said on his first day as a candidate he had attracted 100,000 supporters and raised $1.5m in donations at an average donation of $43.

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Christie ally pleads guilty; two more indicted in bridge scandal

David WildsteinA long-time pal of Gov. Christie pleaded guilty and two administration insiders were indicted Friday for their roles in choreographing the punitive Bridgegate gridlock.

Port Authority patronage hire David Wildstein admitted his part in the George Washington Bridge lane closings that wreaked havoc on both traffic and Gov. Christie’s approval rate in his home state.

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Media Matters founder goes on the warpath against anti-Clinton book

David BrockDavid Brock on Tuesday slammed media coverage of a forthcoming book detailing foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation, calling into question how major news outlets are covering the May 5 release of “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

“I think this is a political put-up job, and I can smell it from a mile away,” Brock said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Politicians Denying Science Is ‘Beginning Of The End Of An Informed Democracy’

Neil deGrasse TysonWhat will you be doing on Monday, 4/20, at 11 p.m.?

Perhaps watching the premiere of acclaimed astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new show StarTalk. Tyson, who may be best known for hosting the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series in 2014, will now be appearing weekly on the National Geographic Channel in what may be the first late-night science talk show.

Along with a trusty cast of comedians and science-minded folks like Bill Nye, Tyson hopes the adaptation of his popular podcast to a broadcast format will make getting a regular dose of science as pain-free as possible. He thinks that by embedding it between pop culture discussions and entertaining asides, the science will go down easy, and even leave you wanting more. And he’s right.

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Our Coming Theocratic Hell: The Right’s “Religious Freedom” Push Is Just the Beginning

politics and religionBy now, it’s clear that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was crafted to empower piously bigoted entrepreneurs and companies desirous of freelancing with their own “Jim Crow for gays” restrictions, and to let them cite as legal justification for doing so their precious religious sensibilities.

The RFRA, said the original text, sought to give judicial succor to those who found that their “exercise of religion . . . has been substantially burdened,” or was just “likely to be substantially burdened” by performing services for people their faith’s sacred credos enjoin them to abhor (gays, in this case). The ensuing uproar in the media and business circles compelled Indiana’s state Senate to amend the legislation to prevent its deployment against the LBGT community, but state Democrats are still calling for its repeal.

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Hillary Clinton officially announces bid for the presidency

Hillary launchesWith much anticipation but little drama, Hillary Clinton officially announced Sunday she is running for president, a launch that will begin with a message on social media and continue over the next week with campaign visits to Iowa and New Hampshire.

The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a campaign that the party is deeply invested in.

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