US Gov’t Secretly Seized Journalist Phone Records

May 14, 2013, 10:09 am EDT
US Gov’t Secretly Seized Journalist Phone Records

On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) published a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticizing the Justice Department for obtaining records of phone calls made to AP reporters and editors.

The AP said the government had disclosed subpoenas allowing it to obtain the phone data on Friday. More than 20 telephone lines belonging to AP staffers, editors and bureaus were probed by the government. The president of the AP, Gary Pruitt, called the subpoenas a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” against its First Amendment rights by the government and demanded that all data collected by federal agents be destroyed, CNN notes.

The Justice Department did not say why it obtained the records. However, the AP said the federal investigators were probing the leak of information regarding a failed 2012 bomb plot targeting aircraft heading to the U.S. Read 

Minnesota Set to Allow Same-Sex Marriages

May 14, 2013, 9:44 am EDT
Minnesota Set to Allow Same-Sex Marriages

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is set to sign a bill that permits same-sex marriage this afternoon.

The bill — which passed the legislature on Monday — will be signed at 5 p.m. this afternoon on the front steps of Minnesota’s Capitol building, the Associated Press reports.

Minnesota becomes the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. and the third — Both Delaware and Rhode Island passed same-sex marriage laws this month — in 10 days. Minnesota becomes the first state in the Midwest to allow same-sex marriage by legislation rather than through the courts or other methods. Read 

Sanford Plans To Work With Republicans in Congress

May 13, 2013, 8:37 pm EDT

Just days after he manged to resurrect his political career by winning election to Congress, incoming Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. announced he will work with the GOP in the House of Representatives.

This comes even after the National Republican Congressional Committee dropped its support of Sanford in running for the seat vacated by Tim Scott, who was appointed to replace Jim DeMint after he resigned to head the Heritage Foundation.

In April, Sanford was accused of trespassing at his ex-wife’s home. According to several reports, he was there in February to watch the Super Bowl with his son without her permission, in violation of his divorce agreement. Last Wednesday, Sanford settled with his ex-wife, agreeing to pay $5,000 in court costs and to stick to the agreement settled upon in 2010. Read 

IRS Targeted Tea Party, Conservative Groups

May 13, 2013, 11:26 am EDT

In congressional testimony last year, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman denied accusations that the agency was targeting conservative groups for political reasons.

On Friday, IRS officials conceded that the agency had in fact subjected tax-exempt status applications from conservative and Tea Party-related organizations to greater scrutiny. The officials said that the agency had flagged groups that used the words “patriot” or “tea party” and that managers had sent out memos telling agency workers to give additional attention to Tea Party-affiliated local organizations, CNN notes.

The admissions come as the IRS inspector General prepares to release a report this week that indicates that IRS scrutiny of conservative groups began in 2010. In addition to the Tea Party, IRS officials singled out groups who criticized the size of the national debt and government spending. Read 

Government Pulls 3D Gun Plans From Internet

May 9, 2013, 7:37 pm EDT
Government Pulls 3D Gun Plans From Internet

Just days after the revelation that a libertarian activist and his non-profit group had created a working 3D-printed handgun, the government has apparently put the kibosh on their plans.

According to Cody Wilson, the founder of non-profit organization Defense Distributed, he was asked by the Pentagon to pull plans for his plastic printed gun today. The web site that hosted the design for the gun, defcad.org, now has a banner up at the top of the site that reads “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.  Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

More than 100,000 copies of the plans were downloaded between Monday, when they were first posted online, and when they were pulled today. Gun control advocates were worried about the ease of smuggling these guns past metal detectors — all the gun’s parts, save for a metal nail that serves as the firing pin — are made from plastic. There is a slot created by the gun’s plans that allows for a piece of metal to be inserted, in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. Read 

Delaware Is Eleventh State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

May 9, 2013, 11:48 am EDT
Delaware Is Eleventh State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

On July 1, same-sex couples in Delaware will be able to get married.

On Tuesday, Governor Jack Markell — just minutes after the bill passed the legislature — signed the bill into law, the Associated Press reports.

Markell was on hand for the vote and told cheering supporters, “I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer.” The Delaware Senate passed the bill 12-9 following passage in the House 23-18. Read 

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