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Maine town set for symbolic vote on mandatory gun ownership

Residents of a Maine town are expected to vote on Monday on whether each household should be required to own a firearm, a decision that has thrust the tiny town of Byron into the heated national debate on gun control. The vote is scheduled to take place on Monday evening in a potentially rancorous annual town meeting for the rural western Maine town’s 140 residents, and will be largely symbolic. The town’s head selectman says the vast majority of households in Byron already have at least one gun, and a requirement to possess guns and ammunition would be unenforceable because
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Jeb Bush calls political reporters ‘crack addicts’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday likened political reporters to “crack addicts” and “heroin addicts” during a tour of morning talk shows that drew repeated questions about the still-distant 2016 presidential election. Bush, capping a media-heavy week that sparked chatter about a presidential campaign for a third member of his family, tried to keep the conversation focused on his book “Immigration Wars.” But as Bush wrapped up a conversation with NBC’s David Gregory,” he likened journalists and their questions about the 2016 campaign to drug addicts. “Who’s the hottest Florida politician right now? Is it you or Marco Rubio?”
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Obama set to name Perez to head Dept. of Labor

President Barack Obama is close to naming Thomas Perez, a civil rights official in the Justice Department, as his choice to head the Department of Labor, two people familiar with the process say. His nomination could come as early as Monday, the people familiar with the process said Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak prior to the official announcement. If confirmed, Perez would replace Hilda Solis, who resigned in January. White House spokesman Matt Lehrich declined to comment. Perez, 51, has led the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division since 2009 and previously
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Air Force now hiding data on drone strikes

With debate intensifying in the United States over the use of drone aircraft, the U.S. military said on Sunday that it had removed data about air strikes carried out by unmanned planes in Afghanistan from its monthly air power summaries. U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Afghanistan war, said in a statement the data had been removed because it was “disproportionately focused” on the use of weapons by the remotely piloted aircraft as it was published only when strikes were carried out – which happened during only 3 percent of sorties. Most missions were for reconnaissance, it said. U.S. President
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School empoyee charged with sending nude photos of herself to students

Jody Onorato, an employee of the Ocala, FL, school system decided she needed some excitement in her life, so she was arrested and put in jail for sending naked pictures of herself to two students. Now out on $10,000 bond, Onarato will soon be looking for work as a result of her extra-curricular activities. Police say she nude photos of herself via text messages to two 17-year-old male students.  Now she is charged with sending “harmful” material to minors. The school system won’t say what Onarato did for the school system.  She is not a teacher but listed only as
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Bob Ney says Boehner is a drunk; Boehner calls Ney a felon who lies

Former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney says Speaker of the House John Boehner is a drunk who cares more about playing golf than doing what’s best for his country. Boehner says Ney is a convicted felon who lies. Who’s right?  Depends on who you believe Ney, who went to jail for crimes committed as part of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff scandal, has a new book that says Boehner is more interesting in playing gold and drinking than in doing things in government. Boehner notes Ney’s prison record and calls his claims “baseless and false.” To be fair, close associates of Boehner
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Sniping continues over cancellation of White House tours

The sixth-grade class at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa, sent a message this week that was heard in the White House briefing room. “The White House is our house,” the class said in a video posted on Facebook. “Please let us visit.” But their trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which had been set for March 16, is off. White House tours will be suspended starting on Saturday due to mandated across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration.” The move will save the federal government an estimated $74,000 a week. Many were left holding worthless tour tickets, secured months in
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Politicians look for ways to claim credit for rising economy

Increased hiring, lower unemployment, stock market on the rise. Who gets the credit? It’s a hotly debated point in Washington, where political scorekeeping amounts to who gets blame and who gets praise. Following Friday’s strong jobs report — 236,000 new jobs and unemployment dropping to a four-year low of 7.7 percent — partisans hurriedly staked out turf. “Woot woot!” tweeted former White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee. “With 12 million still unemployed?” countered Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell‘s spokesman, Don Stewart. When it comes to the economy, presidents usually get the rap for downturns and reap benefits from upturns. But
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Obama tones down attacks on Republicans in budget mess

President Barack Obama said he is looking for compromise in the coming months to end a two-year fight with Congress over how to reduce the deficit, promising Americans in his weekly radio address that he will try to find common ground with lawmakers. Turning away from the sharp rhetoric he has used in recent weeks to blame Republicans for $85 billion in government spending cuts that took effect March 1, Obama this week highlighted how he is working with lawmakers in Congress. “The fact is, America is a nation of different beliefs and different points of view. That’s what makes
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Boehner has guarded praise for change in Obama’s direction

House Speaker John Boehner says that President Barack Obama’s recent outreach to congressional Republicans is a “hopeful sign” that progress could be made in breaking the recent impasse over how to reduce the federal deficit. Boehner says at a news conference that it was interesting that after months of “campaign-style events” around the country to promote his agenda, that the president was now sitting down to talk to Republican lawmakers. The Ohio Republican expressed optimism that the Obama’s contacts with Republicans could be productive, adding that the president will not get very far if he insists on raising taxes. Obama
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