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Jon Stewart's Private White House Meetings

Aug 2, 2015
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The Obama administration is preparing to release a new climate rule that calls for deeper cuts in carbon pollution from the nation's power plants. President Obama previewed the plan in a Facebook video posted overnight.

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Independent-expenditure-only committees, also known as superPACs, released their latest funding numbers on Friday, and already it's clear that the committees' roles in 2016 will be gargantuan.

The numbers already are far higher than those of the three election cycles since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which paved the way for the outside spending surge.

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Empire Strikes PAC And Other Punny SuperPAC Names

Aug 1, 2015

This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. ET with comment from Xavier the cat's human.

Because superPACs aren't legally allowed to donate money directly to or coordinate with a political campaign, founders often give them patriotic but purposefully vague names. There's Keep the Promise (supporting Ted Cruz), Opportunity and Freedom (Perry), Priorities USA Action (Clinton), and Pursuing America's Greatness (Huckabee).

As we approach the one-year anniversary of unarmed black youth Michael Brown's death at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open next fall in Washington, D.C., has already started collecting banners and posters from the Ferguson protests, as well as gas masks donned by protesters and cell phone videos taken at the various demonstrations.

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In a setback for the Obama administration, talks aimed at setting up a major free-trade zone among 12 Pacific Rim countries — the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership — have ended without success.

Although U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said "significant progress" had been made at this week's talks in Maui, Hawaii, and officials promised to reconvene at some future date, big differences remain among the participating countries.

It's the end of the month, and that means another email dump from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department. On Friday evening, more than 1,300 messages from Clinton's controversial private server were released to the public.

This post was updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton released eight years worth of tax returns Friday, showing that she and her husband Bill Clinton earned $139 million since 2007. They paid nearly $44 million in federal taxes during that period. The couple's effective federal tax rate ranged from 25 percent in 2007 to 36 percent last year.

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And let's stay in politics for a few more minutes with our regular Friday commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. Hey, there, E.J.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

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The State Department's latest dump of Hillary Clinton's emails may dominate the news cycle in the coming days, but her campaign also released another crucial document on Friday — a clean bill of health for the Democratic front-runner.

The confirmation comes from Lisa Bardack, a New York-based doctor who has been Clinton's physician since 2001. In a letter, she declares Clinton "a healthy-appearing female," saying that Clinton exercises regularly, eats plenty of vegetables and fruits, doesn't smoke, and "drinks alcohol only occasionally."

Advocates and inmates working to overhaul the criminal justice system will have to wait at least a little longer for congressional action.

The Republican leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, said he won't hold a public event on sentencing reform proposals until after the August recess, as language is still being drafted by a bipartisan working group. And in the U.S. House, lawmakers and their aides will spend at least the next five weeks making adjustments to a sweeping bill sponsored by 40 Democrats and Republicans, sources told NPR Friday.

Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are making sure the presidential candidates don't take their votes or their concerns for granted. The candidates are being confronted with activists who are responding to a string of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

Democrats have traditionally won strong margins with black voters and that is unlikely to change in 2016. But in recent weeks, the Black Lives Matter movement has been a stumbling block for the Democratic candidates.

In the weeks since Donald Trump launched his self-financed bid for president, the multibillionaire's hard-edged rhetoric has gotten far more attention than the potential impact of his massive wealth.

Trump has several times said his net worth is or exceeds $10 billion, providing all the money he needs to run.

"I don't need anybody's money," he said as he announced his candidacy in June. "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich."

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If there's such a thing as the first family of health care, the Lees may be it.

Five decades ago, two brothers helped start Medicare. Their father inspired them and they, in turn, have inspired the next generation.

To mark the anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare into law on July 30, 1965, three Lees sat down to reflect on the U.S. health care system.

In the summer of 1975, Teamsters President James Riddle Hoffa — Jimmy Hoffa — was already a legendary figure in both U.S. labor history and in American pop culture.

As a teenager in Detroit, he took to union organizing early on in the grocery business. He was smart and tough. With an emphasis on tough. A master strategist, he knew how to pick his targets, organize strikes and boycotts, and he rose through the Teamster ranks earning the deep loyalty of truckers and warehouse workers in a city that was becoming an industrial powerhouse.

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