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A White House in full damage-control mode

With no sign of an end to three mushrooming scandals, the White House acknowledged the rising political dangers on Wednesday by launching a concerted effort at damage control. In a whirlwind few hours, the administration moved forcefully to counter criticism of its handling of the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the seizure of reporters’ phone records in a Justice Department leak investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service‘s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny. In the most aggressive response, President Barack Obama ousted the acting IRS commissioner on Wednesday evening. It was the sort of concerted response that Obama’s political
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Sexual assault in military is a full-blown crisis

Sexual assault in the U.S. military is costing the armed services the confidence of women in uniform that the problem can be solved, the nation’s top military officer warns. “That’s a crisis,” says the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey. Allegations of sexual assault in the military have triggered outrage, from local commanders to Capitol Hill and the Oval Office. Yet there seem to be few clear solutions beyond improved training and possible adjustments in how the military prosecutes such crimes. Changing the culture of a male-dominated, change-resistant military that for years has tolerated sexism
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GOP governors want criminal probe of IRS actions

Two Republican governors are urging President Barack Obama to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Internal Revenue Service‘s admission that it targeted conservative political groups. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker call the allegations “Big Brother come to life.” They want a special prosecutor to find out if any laws were broken and say Obama should fire any IRS employees responsible for the situation. The IRS has apologized for what it calls “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups. The agency targeted groups during the 2010 congressional elections and the 2012 presidential election. Jindal is the chairman
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IRS targeting of tea party under criminal investigation

The Justice Department is opening a criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service just as another probe concludes that lax management enabled agents to improperly target tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status. Attorney General Eric Holder said he ordered the FBI to investigate Friday — the day the IRS publicly acknowledged that it had singled out conservative groups. Holder says the IRS actions were “outrageous and unacceptable.” Holder says now his agency must determine if there were criminal violations. Holder is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee. ___ Copyright  ©
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Anger erupts over another military sexual abuse scandal

Lawmakers say they’re outraged that for the second time this month a member of the armed forces assigned to help prevent sexual assaults in the military is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct. The back-to-back Army and Air Force cases highlight a problem that is drawing increased scrutiny in Congress and expressions of frustration from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Lawmakers said it was time for Hagel to get tough with the military brass. “This is sickening. Twice now, in a matter of as many weeks, we’ve seen the very people charged with protecting victims of sexual assault being charged as
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Obama embroiled in new, damaging scandals

President Barack Obama learned on Monday what can happen to presidents caught up in allegations of scandal: they have to address them instead of anything else. It happened when the president had to interrupt his news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain to answer questions about the widening investigation into the Benghazi attacks in Libya and the Internal Revenue Service‘s targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups. By the end of the day he was facing a third major problem when the Associated Press said the Department of Justice had secretly seized some of its reporters’ phone
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IRS targeting of tea party concealed from Congress

Congress was not told tea party groups were being inappropriately targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, even after acting agency Chief Steven Miller had been briefed on the matter. Miller was first informed on May, 3, 2012, that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny, the IRS said Monday. At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that tea party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and
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Gay marriage set to become legal in Minnesota

With marriages to be available for Minnesota’s gay couples starting Aug. 1, Duluth residents Gary Anderson and Gary Boelhower are getting ready to do something that seemed impossible when they started dating three years ago: plan a wedding. “The plan is to do it in August, definitely,” Boelhower said Monday, shortly after Minnesota’s Legislature took its final vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill, and is scheduled to do so at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol in St. Paul. “It means the ability to have
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Rand Paul suddenly supports reaching out to minorities

What’s this?  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the son of former Congressional racist Ron Paul, is saying Republicans need to reach out to minorities if it wants to survive? That seems to be the message the younger Paul is spouting as he explores his ambition to be what his father could never achieve — President of the Untied States. In Iowa, where Paul is already running for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination, the Senator says the party of the elephant needs to broaden its appeal to blacks and Latinos. Said Paul: As a party we need to grow bigger and…attract the
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Madman with a gun wounds 19 in Mothers Day parade

New Orleans police vowed to swiftly track down the gunmen who wounded 19 people at a neighborhood Mother’s Day parade, the latest case of violence flaring up around a celebration in the city this year. Detectives were conducting interviews, collecting any surveillance video they could find and gathering evidence from the scene where gunmen opened fire Sunday on the parade of hundreds of revelers. Cell phone video taken in the aftermath of the shooting shows victims lying on the ground, blood on the pavement and others bending over to comfort them. At least three of the victims were seriously wounded.
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