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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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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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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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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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.”

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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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I’LL SEE YOUR GUNS AND RAISE YOU $50 MILLION

attribution: Huffington Post

I’m not sure if his plan will work against this powerful (deep pockets) organization, but I admire his efforts…

The New York Times

Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

The considerable advantages that gun rights advocates enjoy — in intensity, organization and political clout — will not be easy to overcome. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg has already spent millions of dollars trying to persuade members of Congress to support enhanced background check laws with virtually nothing to show for it.

What is more, for many gun owners, the issue is a deeply personal one that energizes them politically, said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who dismissed the mayor’s plans.

“He’s got the money to waste,” Mr. Pratt said. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”

The N.R.A. had no comment.

Mr. Bloomberg’s blueprint reimagines the way gun control advocates have traditionally confronted the issue. Rather than relying so heavily on television ad campaigns, Mr. Bloomberg will put a large portion of his resources into the often-unseen field operations that have been effective for groups like the N.R.A. in driving single-issue, like-minded voters to the polls.

Women, and mothers in particular, will be the focus of the organizing and outreach, a path that he and his advisers have modeled after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The plans call for a restructuring of the gun control groups he funds, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They will be brought under one new umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The strategy will focus not on sweeping federal restrictions to ban certain weapons, but instead will seek to expand the background check system for gun buyers both at the state and national levels.

The $50 million could be significant: In recent years, the N.R.A. has spent only $20 million annually on political activities. The political groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, who are seeking to help Republicans take over the Senate, have spent about $30 million in the last six months.

The group will zero in on 15 target states, from places like Colorado and Washington State, where gun control initiatives have advanced recently, to territory that is likely to be more hostile like Texas, Montana and Indiana. They have set a goal of signing up one million new supporters this year on top of the 1.5 million they already have.

Previous efforts by Mr. Bloomberg to push gun control have touched off tensions with national Democratic leaders, because he has run negative ads against incumbent Democrats whom he views as insufficiently supportive of gun control. The Democratic leaders argue that Mr. Bloomberg threatens to hand control of the Senate to Republicans, which they say would doom any hope of passing gun control legislation.

Mr. Bloomberg dismissed those fears, saying he was concerned only with the long term.

“You can tell me all you want that the Republicans would be worse in the Senate than the Democrats,” he said. “Maybe they would. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.”

Underscoring his desire to work with both parties, Mr. Bloomberg is bringing on a new advisory board with prominent Republican and Democratic figures. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush; Eli Broad, the philanthropist; Warren Buffett, the investor; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Mr. Bush and President Obama, will all be board members.

Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged that his new efforts would require a dedication not just of money but also of time — two things he now has in abundance.

“You’ve got to work at it piece by piece,” he added. “One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’ ”

Continue reading here…

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Fox News outraged that all the people it told not to buy insurance can’t get insurance until fall

attribution: REUTERS

Typical of Fox Noise

Daily Kos

Brian Beutler catches the latest Obamacare fauxrage from Fox News: millions of people won’t be able to sign up for health insurance until November. So all those young people who Republicans, and Fox News, told that they shouldn’t be signing up because freedom are now deprived of freedom by having to wait until the next open enrollment period. Here’s Fox News:

There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.

That’s not really news. The practice of enrollment periods, embraced by the law, was designed specifically to address those “free-riders” Fox News would in any other circumstance hate—the people who would wait until they needed health insurance to get it. The difference now, though, is that if those people get sick while they’re uninsured, they don’t have to worry about that preventing them from getting insurance once open enrollment kicks in again. (There are some exceptions: people who qualify can enroll in Medicaid or enroll their kids in SCHIP programs at any time, and people who have “qualifying life events” or other special circumstances asdetailed here can sign up.)

But of course, Fox News doesn’t really care about all the people it told not to sign up who didn’t sign up and now don’t have care. Nor do they care that they’re showing their rank hypocrisy in pushing this story. Just as long as they have some Obamacare outrage story.

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Florida House Passes Bill Making It Easier For People To Arm Themselves During A Natural Disaster

shutterstock_gun violence 3x2

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

I imagine Florida law makers  have the mind of little children during the 50′s and 60′s playing “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and Indians”.  To put it even more succinctly, these people are stuck on stupid.

Think Progress

“The bells of liberty are surely ringing throughout Florida today.” said state Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen (R). The cause of Fitzenhagen’s delight is a bill that would allow people with no criminal record to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in crisis or evacuation scenarios. Her bill, which applies to natural disaster scenarios such as hurricanes or forest fires and emergencies declared by the governor or local authorities, passed the state House of Representatives by a 80-36 margin.

Other lawmakers are not quite so excited about this bill. Democratic Rep. Victor Torres, a retired New York City transit police officer, opposed the bill noting that guns in places like storm shelters could be dangerous and increase tension in an already stressful scenario — “[y]ou are talking about introducing concealed firearms into an environment that is already teeming with tension. I hope that tragedy will not be a byproduct of our decision here today.” The bill’s opponents also noted that it would be difficult to check whether a particular individual has a criminal record in an emergency situation such as a hurricane when many technological databases would be unavailable, and that firearms could be used in robberies or other crimes at a time when looting is widespread.

While the bill received support from the National Rifle Association, several law-enforcement lobbyists, most notably the Florida Sheriffs Association, opposed the bill. When asked about their opposition, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford offered “We don’t want to kill the bill, we want to clarify it. Does it mean when you’re moving out, when you check into your hotel?”

 

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10 things you need to know today: April 15, 2014

Snowden at SXSW in March. 

Snowden at SXSW in March. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

The Week

Snowden coverage wins a Pulitzer, Ukraine makes a move against pro-Russia separatists, and more

1. The Post and The Guardian win a Pulitzer for Snowden stories
The Washington Post and The Guardian were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their articles on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Columbia University announced Monday. The articles resulted in a review of the NSA’s mining of telephone and internet communications data, and sparked a debate on balancing privacy rights with the need to thwart terrorists. [The New York Times]

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2. Ukraine moves against pro-Russia separatists
Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, told the country’s lawmakers Tuesday that an “anti-terrorist operation” was underway against pro-Russia separatists occupying state buildings in the eastern Donetsk region. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said Ukraine was “on the brink of civil war.” President Obama, by phone, urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions. Putin said he wasn’t meddling in Ukraine. [ReutersThe Associated Press]

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3. Tax day arrives
Midnight Tuesday is the deadline for filing 2013 federal income tax returns. One in four Americans waited as long as possible, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll released Monday. Most who filed early were expecting a refund, said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Those who have to write another check for their tax bill are more likely to wait until the last minute,” said Miringoff. [McClatchy DC]

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4. Former Klan leader accused of Kansas City murders will face hate-crime charges
Federal prosecutors intend to file hate-crime charges against a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller), who has been accused of gunning down three people outside two Kansas City Jewish community facilities. All three of the people killed were Christian, but prosecutors only have to prove that the crime was motivated by an offender’s bias. [The Washington PostCNN]

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5. Underwater drone cuts short a dive to search for missing airliner
The U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 robotic submarine aborted its first deep dive to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 because the target area in the Indian Ocean was deeper than its 15,000-foot limit, leaders of the search effort said Tuesday. The underwater drone reached its maximum depth just six hours into a 16-hour mission, and its safety mechanisms sent it back to the surface. Another dive was planned for later in the day. [USA Today]

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6. Judge tells Ohio to recognize gay marriages performed in other states
A federal judge in Cincinnati ruled Monday that Ohio must recognize valid same-gender marriages conducted in other states. Judge Timothy S. Black said Ohio’s gay-marriage recognition ban amounted to “arbitrary discrimination” and was therefore unconstitutional. The decision, which Black had announced was coming earlier this month, does not require Ohio to authorize the performance of gay marriages in-state. [The Daily Record]

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7. Deficit projection shrinks due to reduced ObamaCare subsidy costs
Federal deficits will be lower than previously forecast over the coming decade, largely because ObamaCare health insurance subsidies won’t cost quite as much as was once predicted, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday. In February, the 2015 through 2024 deficit was forecast at $7.62 trillion, but now the CBO estimates the cumulative shortfall for the period will be $286 billion less. About $100 billion in savings comes from reduced subsidy costs. [Reuters]

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8. Teachers and students ordered to provide DNA in French rape investigation
A French prosecutor has ordered all male students and staff at a French school to provide DNA samples in an effort to catch the person who raped a 16-year-old girl in a school bathroom. As of Monday afternoon samples had been provided by 142 of the 527 boys and men who were at the private Catholic high school in La Rochelle at the time of the September attack. The move raised privacy concerns, but the prosecutor said DNA was all she had to go on. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

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9. Blood moon appears over the U.S.
The moon turned a coppery red early Tuesday as it slipped into Earth’s shadow. The so-calledblood moon was visible in different phases from 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Eastern time. Thousands showed up to watch at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “Everyone is always looking down at their phones, their iPads,” astronomy teacher Gene Ireland said. “We want them looking up.” This was the first in a series of four lunar eclipses. The next will occur October 8. [CNN]

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10. Phelps fuels talk of an Olympic comeback
Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement to swim with fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte at a meet in Arizona next week, USA Swimming announced Monday. The news fueled expectations that the 28-year-old Phelps, who with 22 medals is the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, would attempt to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Coach Bob Bowman said Phelps thought racing “would be fun,” but wouldn’t confirm what he planned next. [Reuters]

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