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More Stupidity: Texas GOP advances ‘therapy’ to turn gay people straight

Ted CruzThe Texas Republican Party’s new platform may endorse psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight, in a move partly aimed at rebuking laws in California and New Jersey that ban "reparative therapy" — also known as conversion therapy — for minors.

A push to include the new language in the platform survived a key vote late Thursday in Fort Worth at the Texas Republican Convention while, across the street, tea party star Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, fired up attendees at a rally to defend marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Sylvia Burwell confirmed as new Secretary of Health and Human Services

Sylvia BurwellThe Senate has confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the nation’s new health secretary and steward of the president’s health care law.

The 78-17 vote was a bipartisan show of support for the veteran government manager who most recently served as President Barack Obama’s budget director.

But Burwell will have to act quickly to head off more insurance chaos this fall.

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Tea party leader, 2 others, trapped in Mississippi courthouse

hinds county courthouseA tea party officer and two others representing the challenger in a Senate primary became trapped in a courthouse in the middle of the night, hours after officials had gone home from counting votes, authorities said.

Janis Lane, Scott Brewster and Rob Chambers were locked inside the Hinds County Courthouse more than an hour after entering shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday through an unlocked door, said Othor Cain, spokesman for the sheriff's department, which is investigating.

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Chris Christie donor's property venture given $106m by state after law changed

Chris ChristieChris Christie’s New Jersey administration awarded a $105.6m public subsidy to a property venture involving a close friend and financial backer of the governor, after state law was amended to enable the project to qualify for the money.

The venture, in one of the state’s poorest cities, appears potentially lucrative for the friend, Jon Hanson, a wealthy real estate tycoon who headed the fundraising operations for Christie's election campaigns, chairs a policy commission for the governor, and is a longstanding Republican donor.

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The Real Origins of the Religious Right

Bob Jones UniversityOne of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

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The NRA’s All-Out Assault on Accurate Information About Gun Deaths

NRAAs a shooting spree leaves seven dead in California, the gun lobby is trying to thwart attempts to study gun deaths and officials who see gun violence as a public health crisis.

Yet another massacre occurred last night at an institution of learning, this time the University of California, Santa Barbara. The price we paid for the National Rifle Association’s “freedom” was seven people murdered and seven injured at nine different crime scenes.

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RNC files lawsuit to raise unlimited cash

RNC cashThe Republican National Committee on Friday sued the Federal Election Commission for the ability to raise unlimited cash from individual donors.

The central committee, chairman Reince Priebus and Louisiana Republicans filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking for permission to set up an independent account that could raise and spend potentially enormous sums of money to help federal candidates. Under the current rules, the RNC may only accept $32,400 each year from donors, and local-level parties are capped at $10,000.

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