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As the Senate prepares to take up changes to federal sentencing and parole guidelines, some Republicans and Democrats break from their parties' traditional stances.

For decades the Republican Party prided itself for being tough on crime, often putting Democrats on the defensive by pushing for longer, mandatory sentences for convicts.

The good news from last week was that 8 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the Obamacare-created exchanges. The not so good news is that because most of us have to buy coverage from a private insurer, we will always have to be vigilant to make sure our medical claims get paid and that an insurance bureaucrat miles from where we live doesn't succeed in denying coverage for medically necessary care.

Few people understand the historical impact of coal mining like acclaimed poet Barney Bush in Shawnee hills of southern Illinois. The French, in fact, stumbled on coal outcroppings near the Shawnee in Illinois in the 17th century, launching the first coal industry on the American continent. 

More than one in five American kids lived in a “food insecure” household in 2012, according to the newest annual Mapping the Meal Gap report from anti-hunger charity Feeding America.

The food insecurity rate for children nationwide is 21.6 percent. That number rises to almost three in ten kids for a long list of states including New Mexico (29.2 percent), Mississippi (28.7 percent), Arizona (28.2 percent), Nevada (28.1 percent), Georgia (28.1 percent), Arkansas (27.7 percent), Florida (27.6 percent), and Texas (27.4 percent).

In a move that could result in the prison release of hundreds or thousands of low-level drug offenders, the Justice Departmentsaid Monday that it will advise President Obama to widen his guidelines for granting clemency.

The announcement, immediately praised by advocates for reform of the criminal justice system, is part of the administration’s effort to reduce the nation’s prison population and address racial disparities in drug sentencing.

Entering its second week, the inspiring Washington University sit-in against Peabody Energy has already gone beyond its goals to cut school ties with the St. Louis-based coal giant, and forced the rest of the nation to ask themselves an urgent question in an age of climate change and reckless strip mining ruin: Which side are you on?

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 12 (Reuters) - Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders warned that a growing number of Americans were losing faith in the political system at a New Hampshire site that often hosts presidential primary debates. But he said he is "many, many months" away from deciding on a White House run.

Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.

Last week, top staff of the N.C. State Board of Elections made a presentation to legislators about the state of voter registration in North Carolina. Out of the board's 58-page PowerPoint presentation [pdf], only two of the slides (34 and 35) related to the Interstate Crosscheck, a project run by the Kansas secretary of state to root out suspected voter fraud.

Saturday, 12 April 2014 18:25

Greedy Oligarchs Oppose Minimum Wage

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One of the hot issues in this year’s political races is whether the Federal minimum wage should be increased.  It might seem obvious that if lower-income people had more money to spend it would be good for almost everyone.  President Obama and the Democrats have proposed that it be raised from its current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.  Certainly, it would benefit the 17 million workers who’d get the increase—two-thirds of them women, who generally make less than men to start with.  So raising the minimum wage would be a step toward pay equity. Some states have higher minimums, but none above the proposed level. Two states, Maryland and Connecticut have moved theirs up to the $10.10 level.

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