Molly Redden

Staff Writer

During the 2012 election cycle, the Koch brothers oversaw a secret group that handed out a quarter of a billion dollars in undisclosed cash to various political causes. That’s what Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei are reporting today in Politico. The group, Freedom Partners, is about to file a series of disclosures with the IRS, and its president, Marc Short, took that as an opportunity to unveil the group to Allen and Vandehei. “There’s ...

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Congress today is spending its time on an unusual pursuit: debating a significant piece of legislation. With debate in Syria sidelined, the Senate is taking up the first major piece of energy legislation to hit the floor since 2007—and it has an actual chance of passing the bill, to boot.

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Australia elected a new prime minister on Saturday—a divisive, brash conservative named Tony Abbott who promises to make Australia a far-right paradise after six consecutive years of liberal rule. Abbott, 55, is a Rhodes scholar and a former Oxford boxing blue (a Commonwealth’s analog to John Kerry’s windsurfing).

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Canada is willing to do just about anything if President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline.That was the gist of a letter Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent to Obama in late August. In the letter, which Canada’s CBC News reported last Friday, Harper promised to accept targets proposed by the United States to reduce its emissions, if the Obama administration agrees to greenlight the pipeline.

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The fracking industry’s latest environmental bugbear is earthquakes, which can be caused by injecting a briney cocktail of wastewater produced in the fracking process deep into disposal wells. And a paper making the rounds this week, by a researcher from Columbia University, clarifies just how drastically a single wastewater injection well can rattle its surroundings.

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This month, conservatives will return to Washington with the goal of making deep cuts to the nation’s food stamps program, or SNAP. For the most part, their rhetorical campaign against the program, which supports nearly 48 million Americans at a cost of $80 billion each year, has seized on roundabout arguments and beside-the-point criticisms.

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In mid-2001, Johana Cece, a woman in her early twenties, fled her hometown of Korçë, a small city near Albania’s Greek border. A local gang member, “Reqi,” who was notorious for kidnapping women Cece’s age to work as prostitutes, had begun stalking her around town, offering her rides and asking her out on dates that Cece refused. Things came to a head one day when Reqi followed her into a crowded cosmetics store and pinned her against the wall.

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The year 2011 was “The Year of Abortion Restrictions,” when states enacted more new laws narrowing abortion rights than in any other year since Roe v. Wade. Part of this was the record number of statehouses captured by conservatives in the midterms.

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“House Republicans have no idea how they’re going to lift the debt ceiling this fall,” Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan report in Politico. But, they make clear, there’s plenty of brainstorming going on among top GOP brass on what to ask for—in exchange for funding the government to avoid a shutdown, lifting the debt ceiling, and raising spending from sequester levels.

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“We will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”

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