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New July 2013

Fix America in Six Easy Steps!

From campaign finance to political gerrymandering, the retired Supreme Court justice skips hard arguments in his new book in favor of unrealistic, poorly drafted solutions.

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Obama delays Keystone decision — again

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Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before: The Obama administration is delaying a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But this is different from all those past delays. This is a brand new delay — and it might push the final determination past the midterm elections. As Politico notes, “A delay past November would spare Obama a politically difficult choice on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors — or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats such as [Sen. Mary] Landrieu, who represents oil-rich Louisiana.” The Washington Post explains the reasoning behind this latest delay: The Obama administration has — again — postponed a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by giving eight different agencies more time to submit their views on whether the pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to the Texas gulf coast is in the national interest. The 90-day period for interagency comments was supposed to end May 7, but the State Department extended that deadline, citing “uncertainty” created by a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that could lead to changes in the pipeline route. The State Department, which must make the final decision on the permit because it crosses an international boundary, said it would use the additional time to consider the “unprecedented number” — 2.5 million — of public comments that were submitted by March 7. Queue the predictable outcry from pipeline supporters. That includes not just Republicans (though outcrying is their specialty) but also the 11 Democratic senators from red and swing states who recently wrote Obama a letter calling on him to quickly approve the project. “This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable,” said Landrieu, who organized the letter writers. She vowed to use her new position as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to force approval. (Good luck with that.) Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski from the oil-loving state of Alaska called the delay “a stunning act of political cowardice” and said that “the timing of this announcement — waiting until a Friday afternoon during the holy Passover holiday in the hope that most Americans would be too busy with their families to notice — only adds further insult.” Keystone opponents are of two minds. Billionaire climate hawk and campaign funder Tom Steyer called it “good news on Good Friday.” The League of Conservation Voters went further and called it “great news.” The Natural Resources Defense Council seems to agree: The State Department is taking the most prudent course of action possible. … Getting this decision right includes being able to evaluate the yet-to-be determined route through Nebraska and continuing to listen to the many voices that have raised concerns about Keystone XL. The newly extended comment period will show what we already know: the more Americans learn about this project, the more they see that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest. But 350.org slammed the administration for its procrastination. “It’s disappointing President Obama doesn’t have the courage to reject Keystone XL right now,” the group said in a release. “It’s as if our leaders simply don’t understand that climate change is happening in real time — that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it.” Still, the group claimed a partial victory: “this is clearly another win for pipeline opponents.” Anti-Keystoners will, of course, keep fighting the proposal. On Earth Day, April 22, they’ll kick off a Reject and Protect protest on the National Mall. “The encampment will feature 15 tipis and a covered wagon, and begins on Tuesday with a 40-person ceremonial horseback ride from the Capitol down the National Mall,” says 350. “Ranchers from Nebraska, tribal leaders from Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas, actor Daryl Hannah, the Indigo Girls, environmental and social justice leaders, and others will take part at the encampment over the week.” And Steyer has promised to help fund political candidates who oppose the pipeline. Politico reports that he “pledged Thursday to leverage his largely self-funded super PAC to support members of Congress who come under attack for their opposition to the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline.”Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Politics

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Turkey awaits results of local elections

Counting begins across Turkey as polls test Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity after a string of scandals.

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Nigerian prisoners killed in Abuja jailbreak

At least 21 detainees shot dead during attempted escape from the cells of the secret police headquarters in Abuja.

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Republican governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker court Jewish donors

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Big hitters stress Israel backing to Republican Jewish Coalition Billionaire Sheldon Adelson donated more than $90m in 2012 Two of the highest-profile Republican state governors on Saturday called for more aggressive leadership on America’s challenges abroad, emphasising their support for Israel as they courted powerful Jewish donors.New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also stoked speculation about their own presidential ambitions as they discussed how to reclaim the White House in 2016.

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Egypt presidential poll set for late May

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi widely expected to win the election in the first round, to be held on May 26 and 27.

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Rio police storm favela in dawn operation

More than 1,000 police backed by military and armoured vehicles occupy vast favela near Rio de Janeiro’s airport.

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Afghans register for polls despite attacks

Voters remain defiant and rush to register for Saturday’s election despite numerous recent Taliban attacks.

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Deaths in attack on Iraq police patrol

Eight people killed, including a mother and three children, in bomb attack in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah neighbourhood.

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Thais vote for senators as PM showdown looms

Outcome of upper house ballot could influence decision to remove prime minister which requires three-fifths vote.

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Thousands of Taiwanese protest China pact

Tens of thousands take to streets of Taipei to pressure president to retract controversial trade agreement with China.

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Israel not sure on fate of peace talks

Israel says it will be “clear in days” if peace talks with Palestinians will continue after stopping prisoners’ release.

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Deaths in Iraq shooting and suicide attacks

Soldiers and civilians attacked by gunfire and a suicide car bombing in Sunni-majority areas a month before elections.

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Climate change ‘complicates’ global security

Top scientists say climate change will complicate and worsen global security problems such as wars and refugees.

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Tensions rise as Myanmar holds census

Buddhist nationalists threaten to boycott tally over fears it could lead to recognition for Rohingyas.

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China seizes $14.5bn of ex-official assets

Illegal assets were seized from family members and associates of retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.

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My Brief Amicus Brief Infamy

Mom is finally proud! I filed a brief in a Supreme Court case—a “Brief of Amici Curiae” in a case contesting an Ohio law against knowingly or recklessly lying about a political candidate or ballot initiative. (Let me add, as a native Ohioan, that every Ohio political candidate has escaped from a lunatic asylum and all Ohio ballot initiatives are the work of Satan.)

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US officials cut number missing in landslide

Number of people presumed missing after Washington state disaster drops from 90 to 30 after many are confirmed alive.

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Bren-Books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction<

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Burberry
New July 2013