China-currency-boehner

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Anything to cast aspersion on the POTUS’ signature achievement.  Looks like a simple case of ACA envy to me…

TPM DC

“After two delays by the Administration, on March 31st Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges ended open enrollment with a purported 7.1 million signed up,” McCarthy’s release begins. “President Obama declared that ‘the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.’ But this is hardly the end of the story.”

McCarthy’s office then outlined five data points it wanted to know about, alleging that the Obama administration “has refused to provide key information that would shed light on the true number of enrollees.” Those are:

  • How many effectuated enrollment (signed up and paid a premium)
  • How many paid their first month’s premium but not their second or third
  • How many were previously uninsured
  • How many young and healthy signed up (affecting rates)
  • How many received a subsidy (raising concerns about fraud)

At least two of those have been explicitly explained in the enrollment reports released by the Obama administration — and updated data will presumably be included in the March report expected Thursday.The February enrollment report included information on the last two: the demographics of enrollees and data on how many were eligible for financial assistance. First, 25 percent of the 4.2 million people who had enrolled through February were ages 18 to 34, the crucial “young and healthy” group. Second, 83 percent of those who signed up for a plan were eligible for financial help.

On the premium question, the administration has insisted that, because people pay insurance companies directly, only insurers have that information. Outside estimates have put the number at 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have paid. As for how many enrollees were previously uninsured, HealthCare.gov and most of the state websites didn’t collect that particular data point. Independent estimates put the number at one-third or so, although it seems that the uninsured comprised a bigger share of the late enrollment surge. They were also covered via Medicaid, which isn’t included in the 7 million number.

The question about whether people paid their second and third premiums appears new, and it’s unclear why that has now become a concern for the GOP.

Some of these questions are not wholly without basis. The demographics of Obamacare enrollees are important for the law’s long-term fiscal sustainability. People do need to pay their premiums for their coverage to take effect. One of the law’s stated goals was covering the uninsured.

But the framing of the House GOP’s release — “Debunking Obamacare’s 7 million Enrollees ‘Success’ Story”, insinuating that “the true number of enrollees” isn’t known — makes clear that its goal is to undermine the law’s unexpected patch of good news since open enrollment ended.

TPM raised these issues with McCarthy’s office, which still asserted that the administration “cannot let the American public know how many were previously uninsured, how many actually signed up for coverage they need, and how many weren’t kicked off of coverage they previously enjoyed.”

“Just because they gave us some data two months ago does not mean they gave us any clear and final data on enrollment when the President trumpeted the law as a success in the Rose Garden on live television,” Mike Long, a McCarthy spokesman, said in an email. “To proclaim ‘Mission Accomplished’ based solely on the number of clicks, without regard of knowing how those 7.1 million were affected, makes light of the seriousness that is health coverage of Americans.”

“House Republican leadership and various Committees have requested this information through hearings and by passing legislation. We’ve been stonewalled each time.”

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Obamacare

Blake Farenthold Introduces Bill To Withhold Eric Holder’s Paycheck

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 04:  Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas., speaks at a news conference with other House republican freshmen to call on the Senate to take up action on the budget passed in the House in April and also house passed bills that they say will spur job growth and reduce the deficit.

The Huffington Post

In a targeted swipe against Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) announced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit federal employees found in contempt of Congress from receiving government paychecks.

Holder was held in contempt by House Republicans in 2012 for his non-compliance in releasing documents related to the Fast and Furious program, a botched federal gun-walking operation. Holder is the first sitting cabinet member in U.S. history to be found in contempt.

“My bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress,” Farenthold said in a statement announcing the “Contempt Act.”

Farenthold refused to question Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on April 8, arguing that any other member of the public who refused to comply with a Justice Department subpoena “would be in jail.”

“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” Farenthold said of his legislation.

The bill, officially introduced on Thursday, would suspend officials’ pay until the “date on which a resolution revoking such contempt is adopted by the House or Senate (as the case may be).”

In November, a group of 11 hard-line House Republicans, including Farenthold, attempted to impeach Holder for not complying with their congressional subpoena for Fast and Furious documents, among other allegations.

NOTE:   This guy was on Hardball last fall…watch his exchange with Chris Matthews

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Filed under Attorney General Eric Holder, Chris Matthews, Congressional RWNJs

6-Year-Old Asks Putin: Would Obama Save You From Drowning?

Mediaite

Russian President and 2005 Super Bowl championVladimir Putin’s annual televised Q&A is just getting more bizarre. Shortly after a celebrity call-in from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Putin got a question from a six-year-old: did Putin think Obama would save the Russian president from drowning?

“I don’t want to be drowning, but…” Putin said. “I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is a courageous and good person. For sure he would save me.”

The question came three hours and forty-nine minutes into the Q&A. If that seems long, consider that Putin’s Q&A last year lasted a record four hours and forty-eight minutes.

Watch the clip below, via RT:   ALSO note that the video looks like it’s the entire session but when you click “play” it will go to the last 5 minutes of the session.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin

Snowden Calls Putin To Talk NSA…

No word from Edward Snowden regarding Putin’s invasion and takeover of Crimea or his Ukraine antics, yet he participates in a staged call-in show to embarrass the POTUS.  I don’t like the surveillance programs in this country either, but his “patriotism” for his “motherland” has diminished significantly.  Since his buddies who wrote about his story got Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, he seems to feel more empowered than ever, to pull off a stunt like this…

The Hill 

The exchange between Putin and Snowden appeared to be a piece of theater crafted by the Kremlin  and designed to embarrass the Obama administration amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

Edward Snowden called into a Russian state television program on Thursday and asked President Vladimir Putin about whether Moscow has surveillance programs similar to those exposed by the former government contractor.

The exchange between Putin and Snowden appeared to be a piece of theater crafted by the Kremlin  and designed to embarrass the Obama administration amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

“I’ve seen little public discussion of Russia’s own involvement in the policies of mass surveillance,” Snowden, a former government contractor facing espionage charges in the U.S., told Putin via video message.

“So I’d like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?”

In response, Putin said that bulk collection programs “cannot exist’ under Russian law.

“We don’t like a mass system of such interception,” Putin said, according to a translation from state-run broadcaster Russia Today.

“I hope we won’t do that, and we don’t have as much money as they have in the States and don’t have these technical devices that they have in the States,” he added. “Our special services, thanks God, are strictly controlled by the society and by the law and regulated by the law.”

The exchange was all the more remarkable given Snowden’s asylum in Russia, where he traveled after first fleeing the U.S. for Hong Kong.

Moscow has faced pressure from the U.S. to send Snowden back to Washington.

Snowden’s question to Putin took place a day after President Obama accused Putin of being behind uprisings in eastern Ukraine by Russian separatists. In a television interview, Obama also said Russia didn’t want a military confrontation with the U.S. because of the Pentagon’s superiority.

Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency programs were turned into stories in the Washington Post and The Guardian that this week were awarded with the Pulitzer Prize. But the espionage charges against Snowden could put him behind bars for decades if he returns to the United States.

Snowden fled to Russia last year shortly after releasing documents showing that the NSA conducts wide surveillance efforts to track people’s phone calls and online activity, among other operations.

He has been sharply criticized for choosing Russia, where the government routinely cracks down on journalists. Opponents have claimed that Snowden is working with foreign powers or, at the least, has given secret U.S. documents to Russian spies. Supporters have denied the charge.

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Filed under Edward Snowden

10 things you need to know today: April 17, 2014

Ukrainian troops on their way to Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops on their way to Kramatorsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The Week

1. Separatists attack Ukraine base as Geneva crisis talks begin
Pro-Russia separatists attacked a military base in east Ukraine on Thursday as diplomats gathered in Geneva for crisis talks. Three separatists were killed in the clash, making it the deadliest yet in the 10-day uprising. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Kiev’s attempt to crush the protests by force was pushing the country into an “abyss.” The White House threatened Russia with fresh sanctions if it doesn’t defuse tensions. [Reuters]

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2. Hope fades in search survivors on sunken South Korean ferry
Hundreds of people were feared to have died aboard a ferry boat that sank within sight of land just off South Korea’s southern coast. Nine people have been confirmed dead, but the toll is expected to rise sharply as crews continue to look for the nearly 300 passengers still missing a day after the vessel tipped over in cold water. Investigators are looking into reports by survivors that the crew told people to wait for rescuers instead of escaping. [USA TodayCNN]

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3. Canadian becomes the first arrested over the Heartbleed security bug
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested 19-year-old Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes on Wednesday and accused him of hacking the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website last Friday. Solis-Reyes is the first person arrested in connection with the Heartbleed security vulnerability in popular online encryption systems. One hacker wrote that the arrest should “draw attention to how big a deal this is.” [The Toronto Star]

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4. Judge calls strict North Dakota abortion law unconstitutional
A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that North Dakota’s “fetal heartbeat law,” which effectively banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, was unconstitutional. The law was considered the nation’s most restrictive. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland wrote in his ruling that the Supreme Court “has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.” [The Associated Press]

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5. Obama unveils $600 million job-training push
President Obama announced a plan to spend $600 million on competitive grants to train Americans for jobs that will pay well, and help the nation maintain an edge in the global economy. “Not all of today’s good jobs require a four-year college degree,” Obama said Wednesday. “But I promise you, there’s not a job out there that’s going to pay a lot if you don’t have some specialized training.” [The Associated Press]

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6. Local politician speaks up for anti-Semitic-murder suspect
The mayor of a town near the home of white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller), who has been charged with killing three people at Kansas City Jewish community facilities, said Wednesday that he shared some of Miller’s beliefs. “Kind of agreed with him on some things,” said Marionville, Mo., Mayor Dan Clevenger, “but I don’t like to express that too much.” Miller has been charged with murder and anti-Semitic hate crimes. [KSPR]

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7. Firetruck slams into California restaurant, injuring 15
Two firetrucks responding to an emergency collided at an intersection in a Los Angeles suburb, sending one of them crashing into a restaurant. Fifteen people, including six firefighters, were injured. Most suffered only minor injuries, but one person was sent to a hospital in critical condition. “There was a loud boom and a lot of shaking,” said Wendy Wu, a waitress. “I thought it was an earthquake.” [Fox News]

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8. Strong earnings push Alibaba’s valuation to $168 billion
Alibaba’s estimated valuation shot 9.8 percent higher this week after the Chinese e-commerce company reported record sales and earnings. Alibaba is preparing to make an initial public offering of stock later this year, and analysts polled by Bloomberg estimated its value at an average of $168 billion, up from $153 billion in February. Alibaba’s unexpectedly strong earnings lifted shares of Yahoo, which holds a 24 percent stake in the company. [BloombergThe Associated Press]

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9. Portland flushes water over possible contamination
The city of Portland, Oregon is dumping 38 million gallons of drinking water after a 19-year-old man was caught urinating in a reservoir. The 50-million-gallon reservoir was cut off following the incident, and results from tests looking for contamination are expected on Thursday. Still, the city plans to dump the reservoir and clean it. “That water goes directly into people’s homes,” David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau administrator, said. [Reuters]

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10. Biden joins the selfie bandwagon
Vice President Joe Biden opened an Instagram account on Wednesday, and promptly earned 22,000 likes for an exclusive photo. Biden posted a selfie he took, with a smiling President Obama at his side, in the back of the president’s armored limo. “Found a friend to join my first selfie on Instagram. Thanks for following and stay tuned.—VP” [The Telegraph]

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Filed under 10/2013 Shutdown

Racist hate mail targets baseball great Hank Aaron

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron waves to the crowd before the start of the Washington Nationals game at Miller Park on Aug. 2, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron waves to the crowd before the start of the Washington Nationals game at Miller Park on Aug. 2, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisc. Tom Lynn/Getty

Rachel Maddow brought up a salient point on Tuesday night’s show.

She basically wanted to know why, when a Muslim commits horrendous crimes and shouts Allahu Akbar! the reaction from the media, politicians and Americans is outrage and anger.  Yet, when men like Frazier Glenn Cross commits a horrendous crime and yells Heil Hitler! from the back of a police car after his arrest, the same vociferous folks who rightfully express outrage over Muslim religious fanatics while staying silent about home-grown militia type groups who espouse white supremacy.

MSNBC

A slew of letters filled with racial epithets flooded the Atlanta Braves offices this week after baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron spoke out about racism and defended President Obama against his critics.

The Braves received hundreds of letters, e-mails and phone calls, USA TODAY reports, after Aaron spoke openly about the racially-charged vitriol he faced when he shattered Babe Ruth’s home run record 40 years ago, and how racism lingers today.

One email describes Aaron as “a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur).” The rant includes the epithet five times in four sentences, USA TODAY reports.

The letter ends: “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur).”

The hate mail comes as baseball fans this week celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, marking 67 years since Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier.

But racially-charged letters are nothing new for Aaron. He opened up in his 1991 autobiography, I Had a Hammer, describing the years he received hundreds of letters of hate mail. The season he cracked 715 homeruns brought out the worst backlash, he said.

“Two years, ’73 and ’74, were perhaps the roughest years I had in professional sports because of the hate mail,” Aaron told NBC’s Bob Costas in an interview that year. “I received something like 930,000-some pieces of mail that year.”

Aaron said he keeps the hate letters sent to him during the height of his career to serve as a reminder that racial issues today aren’t far off from what he faced when he made baseball history.

“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,”he told USA TODAY last week. “If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”

The 80-year-old baseball slugger paralleled the barriers he overcame to those President Obama continues to face as the nation’s first black president. What separates the two, Aaron said, was that in his day, he lived under the shadow of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s a different story today.

“We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” Aaron said.

“The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts,” he added.

Talk about race sets off a firestorm of hate (Video)

Racism reminiscent of the 1970′s  continues across America, as baseball legend Hank Aaron still falls subject to hate. Ed Schultz, Terence Moore and Bob Nightengale discuss.

 

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Filed under Racism in America

A Serious Question for Reince Priebus

Thanks Ted, for bringing this article to my attention.  It’s clear, accurate and well written.

H/t: Ted.

Daily Kos

Dear Sir:

Since the first inauguration of Barack Obama, members of the party of which you are the nominal head have made statements which have become increasingly odd and outside the mainstream of American thought and tradition.

A sitting congressman shouted, “You lie!” on the House floor during a State of the Union address. Sitting members of congress and state legislators, as well as presidential candidates of your party, have spent years promulgating a bizarre theory that the president was born in Kenya. The state GOP in Wisconsin has voted “yes” to a platform plank in favor of secession. Last year, 44% of people identifying as Republicans said they might approve of violent revolution against the elected government of the US. This January, a congressional candidate of your party called for the execution of the president of the United States.

I won’t attempt to to make a comprehensive list of these events. To do so would exhaust me and any readers.

What strikes me is that, throughout all these events, and others even more, shall we say, unusual, you have said nothing. You, as leader of the Republican Party, have condemned not one statement of anyone in your party. No action, no matter how unhinged, unpatriotic or even, by any definition, treasonous, has merited your condemnation. Nothing is, apparently, beyond the pale.

Which leads directly to my question, which I ask in all seriousness:

Is there anything a Republican could say or do which would make you, in your official capacity, say, “Enough–this is not what Republicans are?”

This is a real question. You and others in your party say you want to be seen as something other than “the crazy party,” “the party of stupid.”

But you, as head of that party, have never once defined the limits of acceptable discourse. By your own silence, you appear to condone any and every kind of opposition, even calls to murder.

So, again, I ask, is there anything so egregious, so vile, so treasonous, that you would stand up and say, “No, this is not us?”

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Filed under Reince Priebus, Republicans

Missouri Mayor Says He ‘Kind Of Agreed’ With Alleged Jewish Center Shooter

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AP Photo / David Eulitt

TPM LIVEWIRE

Marionville, Mo. Mayor Dan Clevenger spoke warmly this week of Frazier Glenn Miller, who allegedly went on a killing rampage on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan.

“He was always nice and friendly and respectful of elder people, you know, he respected his elders greatly. As long as they were the same color as him,” Clevenger said while laughing, according to television station KSPR. “Very fair and honest and never had a bit of problems out of him.”

Clevenger said he sympathized with some of Miller’s views, but didn’t like to broadcast that.

“Kind of agreed with him on some things but, I don’t like to express that too much,” Clevenger, the owner of a local repair shop, said.

He told CNN this week that he didn’t buy some of Miller’s claims.

“He had a lot of hate built up inside of him,” Clevenger said. “And every time he’d come down here, he’d go on about different races — mainly Jews. He claims they’re all bad, but I don’t believe that.”

However, KSPR unearthed a letter to the editor that the mayor sent nearly a decade ago to a newspaper in Aurora, Mo. in which he expressed admiration for Miller’s mission.

“I am a friend of Frazier Miller helping to spread his warnings,” Clevenger wrote, according to KSPR. “The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United State’s workforce.”

Clevenger also reportedly wrote that the “Jew-run government backed banking industry turned the U.S into the world’s largest debtor nation.”

He seemed to stand by those positions in his interview with KSPR, blaming Jews for the country’s economic woes.

“There some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us. We’ve got a false economy and it’s, some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there,” he said. “The fact that the Federal Reserve prints up phony money and freely hands it out, I think that’s completely wrong. The people that run the Federal Reserve, they’re Jewish.”

But Clevenger denounced Miller’s alleged violence, calling the deadly shooting “terrible.”

“He didn’t have any right to do that and I think he should pay with his life,” Clevenger said.

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Filed under Gun Violence in America

Allies Of Lawless Rancher Planned To Put Women ‘Up At The Front’ If Showdown With Feds Turned Violent

Former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack talks to Fox News Monday about plans for a militia uprising against federal officials

Former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack talks to Fox News Monday about plans for a militia uprising against federal officials CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FOX NEWS

No words…

Think Progress

An uprising of militia members who were planning an “armed response” to federal enforcement of trespassing law ended peacefully Saturday after the Bureau of Land Management stopped rounding up cattle that a federal judge found have been illegally grazed on federal land for years.

But some allies of rancher Cliven Bundy were prepared to make as much of a media spectacle as possible if violence were to erupt, saying they would put women on the front lines in the event federal officials turned to deadly force. Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack told Fox News Monday, as reported by the Blaze:

We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.

Mack, a self-professed Tea Partier, is one of a host of right-wing figures who stood behind Bundy and made him a conservative celebrity after he refused to pay grazing fees based on his claim that the federal government is not entitled to own land.

Mack served as sheriff for Graham County between 1988 and 1997, and is part of a groupknown as the “Oath Keepers” that denies the supremacy of federal law and has been deemed part of a wave of new militia groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was also aplaintiff in the lawsuit against the federal government that challenged the constitutionality of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

Court orders going back to 1998 have required Bundy to pay fees to graze his livestock on federal land known as the Bunkerville Allotment. After Bundy refused to obey that order for 15 years, the Bureau of Land Management obtained a new order last October mandating that Bundy remove his cattle within 45 days or face seizure by the federal government. Bundy declined to comply with the order, and ranchers had wrangled some 352 cattle by last Wednesday.

But after Tea Party public figures including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity celebrated Bundy’s defiance, supporters that included several militia groups pledged to provide an “armed response,” culminating in a showdown Wednesday in which federal rangers deployed stun guns and police dogs.

Officials released all the cattle Saturday to avert escalated violence, but both Bureau of Land Management officials and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have assured Nevadans that other legal action will be pursued. There are a number of legal avenues available to officials, including criminal charges. But Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his family has no plans to pay fees now estimated at around $1 million, and that if arrests are made, “it will cause an uproar and it will be 10 times bigger than this.”

8 Comments

Filed under Militia

10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2014

Rescue helicopters fly over the sinking ferry.

Rescue helicopters fly over the sinking ferry. (AP Photo/Yonhap)

The Week

A South Korean ferry sinks, a bomb scare disrupts the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary, and more

1. Ferry sinks off South Korean coast
At least four people died and 295 were missing Wednesday after a South Korean passenger ferry carrying 450 people capsized and sank off the country’s south coast. About 320 of the people on board were high-school students traveling with teachers to the resort island of Jeju. Search vessels and helicopters hurried to the scene to pluck people from the stricken ship. Authorities said they could not immediately determine what went wrong. [CNNThe Guardian]

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2. Boston Marathon finish line evacuated over bomb scare
Police evacuated the finish line of next week’s Boston Marathon on Tuesday, the anniversary of the bombing at the race’s finish last year, when a man chanting “Boston strong!” dropped a black backpack on the street. Police detained him and detonated the backpack, along with another unattended bag, as a precaution. The suspect told police his bag contained a rice cooker. The incident came after ceremonies honored the victims of the 2013 attack. [Daily News]

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3. New York drops controversial spying program in Muslim neighborhoods
New York City is getting rid of a secretive police program that used plainclothes detectives to spy in Muslim neighborhoods. The unit put together detailed files on people’s activities in the targeted areas. Critics said the squad treated innocent people like suspects. The team’s elimination suggested that the city’s new commissioner, William Bratton, is backing away from controversial post-9/11 policies. [The New York Times]

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4. Tensions rise in Ukraine as pro-Russian forces surge
Armored personnel carriers flying Russian flags entered the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk near the Russian border Wednesday. Several uniformed fighters said they were Ukrainian soldiers who defected to the pro-Russia side. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine had pushed the country toward civil war by sending troops to push pro-Russia protesters out of occupied government buildings. Diplomatic talks are scheduled in Geneva Thursday. [Voice of AmericaThe Washington Post]

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5. Video shows a large al Qaeda gathering in Yemen
Al Qaeda has released a video showing what appears to be one of the terrorist group’s largest meetings in years. The clip shows Nasir al-Wuhayshi, al Qaeda’s global No. 2 and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, addressing more than 100 armed men in Yemen and encouraging attacks against the U.S. Counterterrorism experts said they were surprised that al Qaeda could assemble such a big group without the CIA knowing. [CNN]

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6. Google Glass goes on sale to the public — briefly — for the first time
Google held a one-day sale of its Google Glass wearable computers on Tuesday. One version — the white “Cotton” model — sold out within a few hours. It was the first public offering of the widely hyped product yet. Select groups have been given the opportunity to try out the computer-enabled eyewear in the past, but on Tuesday anybody with $1,500 to spend had the option of blowing it on the Google Glass Explorer edition. [CNET]

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7. Authorities close 1971 South Dakota cold case
South Dakota investigators solved a 42-year-old cold case after finding the remains of two missing 17-year-old girls in a car pulled out of a creek. The girls, Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson, disappeared on a drive to a party at a gravel pit about a half-mile away from where the vehicle, a 1960 Studebaker Lark, was discovered after wet weather followed by a drought left it visible. Investigators concluded the girls died in an accident. [Reuters]

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8. Pot smoking linked to brain changes
Casual marijuana smoking can change the structure of your brain, according to a study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience. The researchers, led by Northwestern University psychiatrist Hans Breiter, examined 20 college students who didn’t use pot, and 20 who smoked a few times a week. Smoking altered a part of the brain involved with emotion and some mental illness, which “you do not want to mess around with,” Breiter said. [USA Today]

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9. Indian court recognizes transgender people as a third gender
India’s Supreme Court has announced a landmark ruling officially recognizing transgender people as a third gender. “It is the right of every human being to choose their gender,” the court said. The classification could give India’s transgender population, estimated at as many as two million people, access to job and education quotas. The ruling came just four months after the high court was criticized for reinstating a 1861 ban on gay sex. [BBC News]

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10. The Stanley Cup playoffs are getting started
The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs get underway Wednesday night, with 16 teams vying for the National Hockey League’s crown. The Boston Bruins, who won in 2011 but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in last year’s finals, are considered a favorite. Nine different teams have won the Stanley Cup in the last 10 seasons, but odds are strong for a repeat winner in 2014, with the six champions from the last seven years in contention. [Daily News]

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Filed under 10 things you need to know today

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