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Judge guilty in kids for cash scheme

A federal jury on Friday found a former Pennsylvania judge guilty in a so-called kids-for-cash scheme, in which he took money in exchange for sending juvenile offenders to for-profit detention centers. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was accused of taking $2.8 million in bribes and kickbacks for putting juveniles into detention centers owned by friends. The jury in Scranton found him guilty of racketeering, money-laundering conspiracy, fraud and filing false income tax returns. The jury found him not guilty, however, of seven counts of extortion and 10 counts of bribery. The former judge faces a maximum sentence of
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Judge seals Loughner’s arrest records

A federal judge on Friday rejected a request by news organizations to release search warrant records and federal booking photos of Arizona shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner, saying the investigation was still under way. But U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he would consider releasing the materials once a superseding indictment was handed down in the case, which prosecutors said could be by March 9. More than a dozen media outlets have asked that the photos and documents be released by the federal government under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Loughner, a 22-year-old college dropout, is accused of
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Docs order too many tests because of lawsuit fears

CT scans, MRIs and other pricey imaging tests are often more for the doctor’s benefit than the patient’s, new research confirms. Roughly one-fifth of tests that bone and joint specialists order are because a doctor fears being sued, not because the patient needs them, a first-of-its-kind study in Pennsylvania suggests. The study comes a day after President Barack Obama began a push to overhaul state medical malpractice laws as a way to reduce unnecessary tests that drive up health care costs. “This study is a glimpse behind the curtain of what’s happening in a doctor’s mind,” said its leader, Dr.
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Wisconsin Dems Could Stay Away For Weeks

MADISON, Wis. — Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing the state government in a standoff with majority Republicans over union rights for public employees. The dramatic flight from the state stalled a proposal that seeks to ease Wisconsin’s budget woes by cutting the pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights of many government workers. Democrats who stayed in Madison scored their own victory, forcing the state Assembly to adjourn until at least Tuesday without taking a vote. (Scroll down for the latest updates from Wisconsin) The party’s
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Obama Administration Changes Course On Bank Secrecy Case

The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a banking industry appeal aimed at stopping release of details about the Federal Reserve’s emergency 2008 bank loans, the Obama administration said as it changed course on the corporate secrecy case. Content from The Huffington Post, obtained via an RSS feed, as in all content in in our Political briefs section. Most web sites use RSS to feature blurbs withs links back to the original site. HuffPo features many stories from other sites with links back to the original source. For some reason, HuffPo often features the full content of the story in their
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Congressman’s Staffers Urged Him To Get Psychiatric Help

PORTLAND, Ore. — Senior staffers of U.S. Rep. David Wu were so alarmed over the Oregon Democrat’s erratic behavior just days before the November election that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment, a newspaper reported Friday evening. The Oregonian, citing interviews with a number of anonymous staff members, reported on its website that Wu was increasingly unpredictable on the campaign trial and in private last fall, and had several angry and loud outbursts and sometimes said “kooky” things to staff and potential voters and donors. A similar report was carried on the Willamette Week newspaper’s website on
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Sarah Palin To Wisconsin Protesters: You’re Fighting ‘The Wrong Fight’

MADISON, Wis. — Sarah Palin says union members protesting Wisconsin Republicans’ plan to help balance the state’s budget by cutting collective bargaining rights are taking up “the wrong fight at the wrong time.” Palin weighed in on the debate in a Friday night posting on her Facebook page but didn’t indicate whether she would join weekend conservative counter-protests organized by groups including the Tea Party Patriots and Americans for Prosperity. In the posting addressed to “union brothers and sisters,” Palin says Wisconsin taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for benefits “that are not sustainable.” She says “real solidarity means everyone
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Sarah Palin: Bristol Googled Information On The Economy For Me

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin reportedly tasked her oldest daughter, Bristol, with taking to Google to mine a little data on the economy in preparation for her appearance Thursday in Long Island, New York. The Los Angeles Times reports: Palin was accompanied by her daughter, Bristol, whom she described as her “entourage.” She said she had asked Bristol, in their hotel room Wednesday night, to Google information about the economy in preparation for the appearance in a country club ballroom. In a rare event in which she took questions from attendees, Palin also addressed her controversial use of “death panels”
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