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New Report Shows Budget Impact of Rising Firefighting Costs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing that as the cost of fighting forest fires has rapidly increased over the last 20 years, the budgets for other forest programs, including those that can help prevent and mitigate fire damage, have substantially shrunk. The Forest Service's firefighting appropriation has rapidly risen as a proportion of the Forest Service's overall budget, increasing from 16 percent in 1995 to 42 percent today, forcing cuts in other budget areas.

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Federal Court Rules Indiana Must Recognize Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages

On Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled in Bowling v. Pence that Indiana's law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions is unconstitutional. The decision was stayed, pending an appeal. Judge Young previously struck down the state's marriage ban in a ruling on a case known as Baskin v. Bogan, which was consolidated with two other cases for an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit in that case will hear arguments on Tuesday of next week.

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Missouri lt. gov.: We need 'Anglo-American' justice in Ferguson, not racial protests
Full story: Raw Story


Keystone XL: Friends of the Earth files for release of State Department records surrounding EIS revisions

Friends of the Earth filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the expedited release of all communication by State Department staff between January 31, 2014 and June 1, 2014 surrounding changes made to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Florida's waters being steadily transformed into an open sewer because permit conditions not enforced

Florida's major wastewater dischargers remain in violation of their Clean Water Act permits for years with little or no enforcement action, according to an analysis of federal data by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, the most basic quality safeguards for Florida's fresh and marine receiving waters are seriously compromised.

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Parents Projected to Spend $245,340 to Raise a Child Born in 2013, According to USDA Report

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual report, Expenditures on Children and Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child. The report shows that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18. Costs associated with pregnancy or expenses occurred after age 18, such as higher education, are not included.

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Scale of UK lobbying over Senate torture report revealed by Ambassador's meetings

Newly-released information reveals that the British ambassador has met at least 21 times with members of the US Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) ahead of the expected publication of its report on CIA torture and rendition – leading to increased concerns that the UK may be seeking to "censor" the report.

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Big Game Hunting Outfitter Pleads Guilty to Felony Conspiracy Charge re: Illegal Mountain Lion and Bobcat Hunting

Christopher W. Loncarich, 55, of Mack, Colorado, pleaded guilty in federal court in Denver to a felony conspiracy charge stemming from his sale of outfitting services for illegal mountain lion and bobcat hunts in Colorado and Utah, the Justice Department announced.

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Facts and Figures: The government program that's equipping police like an occupying military force

Year in which Congress initially authorized the Defense Department to give excess arms and ammunition to law enforcement agencies for counter-drug activities, leading to the creation of what's come to be known as the 1033 program: 1990

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Missouri Governor to Deploy National Guard to Ferguson
Full story: NY Times


Oops. Perry Indicted; Governor faces two felony charges alleging abuse of office
Full story: Austin Chronicle


United We Dream Proves Through Report that DACA is Successful and Calls President Obama to Do More

Immigrant youth from across the country will be celebrating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA was implemented two years ago today and it has provided protection from deportation and work permits to more than half a million people.

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Following Prolonged Water Shut-Offs, 50 Groups Urge Obama Administration to Declare Public Health Emergency in Detroit

Today, a coalition of over fifty social justice organizations including Food & Water Watch urged President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to declare the ongoing water crisis in Detroit a public health emergency. The groups have asked the Obama administration to make money available from the Public Health Emergency Fund to restore water service to residents affected by the shutoffs.

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Ousted chief accuses border agency of shooting cover-ups, corruption

More than two dozen people have died in violent clashes with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2010. Despite public outrage over some of the killings, no agent or officer has faced criminal charges – or public reprimand – to date.

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Police in Ferguson Tear-Gassed a TV Camera Crew, Then Dismantled Their Equipment (VIDEO)
Full story: Slate.com

NILC: Law and Precedent Allow Broad Presidential Action on Immigration

President Obama has the legal authority and historical precedent to issue broad administrative relief in the area of immigration, legal scholars and practitioners agreed Wednesday during a telephonic press briefing sponsored by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).

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Women's Health Advocates Call on U.S. to Address Widespread Discrimination in Health Care

Women of color face significant obstacles in obtaining essential health care services in the United States, according to a new report jointly issued today by the Center for Reproductive Rights, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

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US Judge orders independent doctors to evaluate gravely ill Guantanamo hunger striker

A US District Court judge today ordered that independent doctors be allowed into Guantanamo Bay to evaluate a long-time hunger striker whose health has deteriorated so much that there are now concerns for his life.

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Journalism, Science Groups Decry EPA Move to Muzzle National Science Advisers

Journalists and scientists are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop banning leading national scientists from talking to media outlets and the public. The EPA is placing new restrictions on independent scientists who advise the agency, according to a memorandum from the EPA's chief of staff. The memo instructs Science Advisory Board members to get permission before talking to the press, which inhibits their ability to speak freely to the public about important scientific issues, including air pollution, toxic chemicals and water quality.

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Three Reasons Arkansas's Photo ID Law is Unconstitutional

Arkansas's restrictive photo ID law violates the state constitution and must be struck down by the state Supreme Court, argued the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in an amicus brief filed today with a group of Arkansas historians, political scientists, and law professors.

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Environmental Groups Urge Kerry to Evaluate Cumulative Climate Impact of Keystone XL, Alberta Clipper

This morning, a group of national and regional environmental organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to be thorough in its review process of the proposed Alberta Clipper expansion by evaluating the cumulative climate impacts of this project along with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and other foreseeable tar sands pipeline proposals.

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Christie's Barnegat Bay Shell Game

The Christie administration has taken a series of bureaucratic steps to prevent adoption of effective pollution controls to help recovery in Barnegat Bay, one of the nation's most imperiled estuaries, according to documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In so doing, New Jersey has violated several directives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but it is not clear whether the federal agency will assert its primary jurisdiction and push its recalcitrant state "partner" aside to save the bay.

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Keystone XL Will Spike Oil Demand and CO2, Study Says

The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and the greenhouse gases that would be released because of it have been at the heart of the debate over whether the pipeline should be built in the U.S. since it was first proposed in 2008.

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New York Times and The Economist Agree: Yes on Immigration Executive Action, No on Immigration Status Quo

Last week, we noted that the real radical option on immigration policy would be for President Obama to do nothing. Today, two of the world's leading news outlets make a similar case, editorializing in favor of the president taking executive action on immigration, as the status quo of our deeply broken immigration system is untenable.

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US climate change debate heats up

Achieving progress in cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions and preventing serious global warming is never easy. But just how difficult a task that is became clear at a series of recent meetings across the US held to discuss the Obama administration's latest plans for tackling climate change.

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Obama vow to speed deportation of children at odds with public opinion
Full story: Reuters

Refugee, Legal, and Policy Experts Call on Obama Administration to Stop Speedy Deportations of Child Refugees

In the wake of reports that the Obama Administration is speeding up the deportations of children fleeing violence and their families without allowing them to make their case for protection, and in light of the alarming lack of due process in family detention facilities like Artesia in New Mexico, refugee, policy, and legal experts gathered on a press call today to react to these new developments; explain the urgency of allowing children who have faced horrid trauma to be able to have full and fair hearings; and discuss the potential deadly consequences of speeding up deportations for these children and families fleeing murder and rape.

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New York Times to use the word 'torture' when describing torture
Full story: The Guardian UK


Working migrant youth in the U.S. face exploitation and social exclusion

Young migrants who come illegally to the United States to support families in their home countries face exploitation, poverty and marginalization, partly because they are not protected by law and lack parental guidance, according to a new policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.

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Court Hearing Focuses on EPA's Failure to Protect 119 Endangered Species From Pesticides

The federal district court here will hear arguments Friday in the most comprehensive legal action ever brought under the Endangered Species Act to protect endangered animals from pesticides. The Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's systemic failure to assess the impacts of dozens of pesticides known to be harmful to more than 100 endangered species.

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