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Gay judge under fire for same-sex marriage ruling

Proponents of California’s gay marriage ban on Monday said a judge who struck down the law was biased because he is in a same-sex relationship himself, and that his ruling should be thrown out. Former U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker last year ruled that California’s same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, was unconstitutional. The case is being appealed and is expected to be pursued to the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially setting national precedent. All but a handful of U.S. states explicitly ban same-sex marriage, and Californians in 2008 joined that club by approving Proposition 8, shocking gay rights
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Leaked Gitmo files reveal info about detainees

A cache of classified U.S. military documents provides intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who been detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision, the newspaper said. The documents, provided by WikiLeaks, also show about a third of the 600 detainees already sent to other countries were also designated
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Democrats try, and fail, with GOP stalling tactic

A year ago, when Republicans were in the minority on Capitol Hill, they drove Democrats crazy by using an obscure parliamentary maneuver to change, delay and even kill Democratic priorities. Now that Republicans are running the House, Democrats have tried to stymie the GOP agenda by relying on the tactic, known as the motion to recommit. But they’ve failed on every one of their 23 attempts this year. That motion is almost always the last step just before the final vote on a bill. It gives the minority party, which has little voice and few rights in the House, a
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GOP Presidential wannabes chase the money

Mitt Romney is organizing a phone bank fundraiser in Las Vegas next month. Tim Pawlenty is holding regular “friendraising” meetings in big-money California and elsewhere. Haley Barbour hunkers down soon with finance operatives in cash-rich New York and other lucrative places. Republican presidential hopefuls are in the midst of a fundraising frenzy as they seek to raise mounds of campaign cash and assemble influential donor networks. With the 2012 campaign starting several months later than it did four years ago, the contenders are under intense pressure to demonstrate their ability to bring in the dough before the slower summer season
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Gas price up, Obama re-election prospects down

With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue. No one seems more aware of the electoral peril than Obama himself. “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he told Democratic donors in Los Angeles this past week. In fact, Obama raised the issue unsolicited in a series of town meetings in Virginia, California and Nevada that were
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Emma Watson leaving Brown

A spokeswoman for Harry Potter star Emma Watson says she will be transferring from Brown University to another university in the autumn. Vanessa Davies denied reports that the 21-year-old actress was “bullied out” of the Rhode Island university, saying there was no truth in reports by a number of online publications who cited classmates and “insiders”. Davies said Saturday that Watson, who plays Hermione in the wizard movie series, has decided to pursue a different course not offered at Brown. She added that the star “has absolutely loved her time at Brown” and made many good friends there. Watson has
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Amazon struggles to fix computer problems

Amazon.com is still trying to restore computers used by other websites as an outage stretched into a third day. Besides selling books and DVDs, Amazon.com Inc. rents out space on computers that run other websites and online services. One of its data centers in Virginia began having problems on Thursday morning. Amazon said Saturday that it is making progress fixing the problem, but more slowly than it had hoped. News-sharing site Reddit appeared to be functioning again. On its website, Amazon said it removed some bottlenecks that prevented connections from its Virginia center, but an additional issue was holding up
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Uh oh! The Donald didn’t vote in primaries for 21 years

Donald Trump says he’s considering running in the primary for the Republican presidential nomination, but the real estate mogul didn’t vote in primary elections for more than two decades, according to the New York City Board of Elections. The possible GOP candidate voted in a primary election in the 1989 New York City mayor’s race — when Rudy Giuliani beat businessman Ronald Lauder — then didn’t vote in a primary for 21 years, board spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said Saturday. The report on Trump’s voting record initially appeared on TV station NY1 a day earlier. Records also show Trump skipped the
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Iowa GOP activists not sold on Trump

Donald Trump says he would embrace the rigors of campaigning in Iowa if he decides to run for president, but Iowa Republican leaders say they doubt the celebrity businessman really knows what it takes to compete in the state’s presidential caucuses and wonder if he would commit the time and effort needed. Although some state Republican Party leaders have welcomed the attention Trump’s presidential ideas have brought to the 2012 race and look forward to a giant fundraising dinner he will keynote in June, they also express skepticism about him as a candidate that borders on contempt. “‘The Donald’ will
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Ensign’s resignation raises questions

The resignation this week by U.S. Sen. John Ensign raised questions about what an ongoing Senate ethics probe has uncovered, while also muddling the field of candidates for congressional seats now held by the GOP headed into a key election year. The decision to step down marked an unexpected change of heart for the Nevada Republican who as recently as last month said he would remain in office until his planned retirement from politics because he had not violated ethics rules. “If I was concerned about that, I would have resigned, because that would make the most sense, because then
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