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With CIA help, NYPD spies on New York Muslims

In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room. The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers. From that apartment, about an hour outside
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Earthquake rattles buildings, nerves in Washington, East Coast

The most powerful earthquake to strike the East Coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Maine on Tuesday. Frightened office workers spilled into the streets in New York, and parts of the White House, Capitol and Pentagon were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were at least some injuries. The National Cathedral said its central tower and three of its four corner spires were damaged, but the White House said advisers had told President Barack Obama there were no reports of major damage to the
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Republicans use politics, redistricting to save House majority

The odds of getting re-elected have gotten better for Rep. Renee Ellmers and other Republican freshmen in the House — thanks to GOP calculations in redrawing congressional maps. The 47-year-old nurse who ousted seven-term Democrat Bob Etheridge by fewer than 1,500 votes last November will be running next year in a newly drawn North Carolina district that’s less swing and more Republican. The outlook is brighter too for Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold, a conservative talk radio host who edged 14-term Democrat Solomon Ortiz by just 797 votes. Farenthold will find more Republicans in a Corpus Christi-based district that now stretches
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America now a food stamp nation

Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren’t enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son. Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation. Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That’s an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led
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Say what? Republicans want to raise taxes?

News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes. Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right? Apparently not. Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different “temporary” tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase. The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this
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Social Security disability program nearly insolvent

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security‘s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs. The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants — many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved — and worsening the financial problems of a program that’s been running in the red for years. New congressional
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Pentagon adapts to a post-9/11 world

The Sept. 11 attacks transformed the Pentagon, ravaging the iconic building itself and setting the stage for two long and costly wars that reordered the way the American military fights. Compared with a decade ago, the military is bigger, more closely connected to the CIA, more practiced at taking on terrorists and more respected by the American public. But its members also are growing weary from war, committing suicide at an alarming rate and training less for conventional warfare. The partly gutted Pentagon was restored with remarkable speed after the hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 slammed through its west side,
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Even the left is pissed at Obama

President Barack Obama faces many opponents and too many of them are part of his base — liberals who just three years ago celebrated his election to office as a triumph for left-wing ideology. Now they suffer from buyer’s remorse. Liberals say he caved on the debt ceiling debate. Unions say he’s a failure when it comes to dealing with unemployment and labor issues. Hispanic want to know why he’s been absent from the immigration debate. Pissed-off liberals may take a hike when Obama seeks their support for re-election in 2012. Some even tell Capitol Hill Blue that they now
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Tea party more unpopular than atheists and Muslims

The future is anything but bright for the tea party. The faux grassroots movement started by a GOP consultant and funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers is now less popular than atheists and Muslims and ranks almost as low as the Christian ultra-right in the view of mainstream Americans. A New York Times/CBS News poll shows tea party support down to 20 percent while unfavorable opinions of the group have doubled. David E. Campbell, an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, and Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, are the authors of “American Grace:
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Glenn Beck is mad as heck at John Boehner

Glenn Beck is taking his carnival sideshow to Israel next week but members of Congress won’t be going with him — at least not at taxpayers’ expense. The House Ethics Committee is barring members from attending Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel on August 24, ruling that the gathering is a political event and cannot be part of any trip paid for by the government. The House members can go is they pay for the trip out of their own pocket or they might — subject to review by the Federal Election Commission — get away with using campaign funds
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