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Obama, Biden endorse Murphy in Florida Dem Senate primary

Obama and Biden’s involvement amounts to a full-court press by the Democratic Party establishment on behalf of Murphy, who is running against liberal firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)

The president called Murphy “a tireless champion for middle-class families” in a statement from the lawmaker’s campaign.

“I am proud to endorse Congressman Patrick Murphy for the United States Senate,” Obama said. “Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next senator.”

Biden is set to campaign with Murphy in the Sunshine State on March 28.


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Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Funny? Not so much....

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- The Real Enemy

Tom the Dancing Bug Toon: Trump researching the KKK

DNC Chair Joins GOP Attack On Elizabeth Warren's Agency

Zach Carter

WASHINGTON -- Payday lenders have been gunning for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since the day President Barack Obama tapped Elizabeth Warren to set up the new agency. They've had plenty of help from congressional Republicans -- longtime recipients of campaign contributions from the payday loan industry. As the CFPB has moved closer to adopting new rules to shield families from predatory lending, the GOP has assailed the agency from every conceivable angle -- going after it's budget, attempting to tie its hands with new layers of red tape, fomenting conspiracy theories about rogue regulators illegally shutting down businesses and launching direct attacks on payday loan rules themselves.

To date, the GOP blitz has resulted in a few close shaves for the young agency, but no actual defeats. But the industry has cultivated a powerful new ally in recent weeks: Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Wasserman Schultz is co-sponsoring a new bill that would gut the CFPB's forthcoming payday loan regulations. She's also attempting to gin up Democratic support for the legislation on Capitol Hill, according to a memo obtained by The Huffington Post.

The DNC chair isn't the first Democrat to defend payday lenders. A handful of House Financial Services Committee members consistently join the GOP's payday loan boosterism. But support from such backbenchers has been politically impotent. Wasserman Schultz, by contrast, is the nominal head of the Democratic Party. Her support undercuts efforts by liberals in Congress to draw contrasts with Republicans on economic issues.



Will Louisiana Be the First Red State to Legalize Weed?

One of the harshest states on pot offenders is reportedly exploring the idea of a recreational marijuana program. Saddled with $850 million in state debts, experts say Louisiana’s move is less motivated by safety as it is by money.

The idea to offset a colossal deficit with legal pot was allegedly born out of concern from lawmakers backing two bills that may cause budget cuts. Combined with the news that Colorado raked in $900 million from its marijuana program in 2015, it may be enough to get conservative pot prohibitionists to change their tune.

“I think they’re looking at it strictly as a profit-driven, tax-based incentive,” Kevin Caldwell, Executive Director of Commonsense NOLA, a non-partisan organization fighting for legalization, says of the rumblings about legalizing. Caldwell is excited about the legalization talk, and says New Orleans, which decriminalized it in 2010, has been paving the way.

But even Caldwell, who has devoted his life to the cause, isn’t getting his hopes up yet.

“I think it is more likely next session, once the politicians get the real blowback from the budget cuts,” he says. “Once the state sees cuts to things like social services and universities…I think that will reawaken some of the populism from our past which, in this case, is a good thing.”



30 years on, Norway’s radioactive reindeer are a stark reminder of Chernobyl legacy

Reindeer are perhaps not the first things which spring to mind when you think of nuclear fallout.

However, 30 years after the nuclear power plant explosion in Chernobyl, Ukraine, and more than a thousand miles away, the grazing animals are recording high levels of radioactivity.

Last September reindeer in Våga reinlag AS, Jotunheimen, had readings of 8,200 becquerel per kilo of radioactive substance Caesium-137, according to Norway's The Local.

Three years earlier reindeer in the same central Norwegian region had readings of 1,500 becquerel, less than a fifth of the concentration.


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