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 Congress Today
House - meets at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Senate - meets at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
 Breaking News
From washingtonpost.com:
Halloween in Louisiana
On Halloween in Louisiana, it seems fitting to ask, which is scarier? Inebriated, costumed revelers in New Orleans' French Quarter or the incessant barrage of negative ads for Tuesday's U.S. Senate race?
Fact Checker: The most fact-challenged ads of the 2014 midterm elections
Some $1 billion in television ads have been dumped on potential voters in the midterm elections, much of it on attack ads sponsored by shadowy third-party groups. The Fact Checker had to view and assess many of these ads, and so we pity the poor voters in crucial battleground states. These ads are the dregs of our democracy, designed only to motivate base voters or so turnoff voters from the other side that they don't bother to cast a ballot.
Scott Brown defends his grasp of New Hampshire geography
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown insisted Thursday he knows the terrain of his adopted state, following a clumsy debate response that sparked questions about the former Massachusetts senator's grasp of New Hampshire geography.
At fast-growing Brookings, donors may have an impact on research agenda
Of all the topics the venerable Brookings Institution has examined in recent years, legalizing marijuana was rarely high on anyone's scholarly agenda. That changed after a November 2012 visit from a lawyer working with Peter B. Lewis, the billionaire insurance magnate who during the last years of his life made the legalization of marijuana his personal mission.
Obama pushes for turnout boost in tight Maine gubernatorial race
PORTLAND, Maine - President Obama called on a crowd at the Portland Expo center Thursday night to elect Democrat Mike Michaud, currently in a tight race to unseat GOP Gov. Paul LePage.
Israel reopens Jerusalem holy site amid rising tensions after activist shot
JERUSALEM - Israel partially re-opened one of Islam's holiest sites on Friday amid soaring tensions that had Israeli security forces on high alert and the Palestinian president calling for a "day of rage."
WorldViews: The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago - but Germany is still divided
It can be hard for visitors to Berlin to imagine where the Berlin Wall once separated Germany's communist East from the U.S.-friendly West. Today, commuters run to catch a metro where trains stood for nearly 40 years. Curried sausages are sold and illegal (but popular) parties are celebrated in empty warehouses just feet from where East Germans were shot by their own countrymen as they tried to cross the border to the west.
Ukraine, Russia sign deal to end natural gas cut-off ahead of winter
MOSCOW - Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff that had threatened to leave Ukrainian households shivering as winter approached. The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months. Russia cut off gas to Ukraine in June, following a price dispute and months of geopolitical turmoil.
Recovering U.S. economy garners envy
In the United States, the story of the economy is a good news, bad news affair. Jobs are coming back, but millions of people are reluctantly accepting part-time work. Investors are accumulating wealth, but income levels are hardly growing.
GovBeat: The likely next governor of Texas has lived a life full of Lone Star ambition - one that may take him beyond his home state.
AUSTIN - The governor of Texas is not legally required to possess a supreme amount of self-confidence, but a law like that might as well be on the books. Sam Houston governed the state. The last two incumbents, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, ran for president.
The Fix: The evolution of this year's House races, in one chart
Even when no one else is paying attention to politics, the Cook Political Report chugs along, rating each House race by how likely it is to change hands in the next election. Last January -- no, I mean in January 2013 -- the site had begun shuffling seats from across the country into its rating system. A bunch of seats in California were "Likely Democrat," meaning that the Democratic incumbents would probably win, but it might actually be a race. Several other seats were "leaning" for their party, meaning they would be closer. And there were already six seats that were expected to be toss-ups -- too close to call even 22 months ago.
The Fix: Kaci Hickox's political problem
Kaci Hickox, the nurse who fought to get out of a quarantine instituted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), won the first round of her PR battle.
You've got questions about campaign money this year. We've got answers.
Federal Eye: OPM's 'Story of Maria' illustrates benefits of education for federal workers
Remember those "Life of Julia" graphics from President Obama's 2012 campaign? The pastel slide shows told the story of a fictional character who benefitted from the administration's policies from cradle to grave, sparking a debate about whether Democrats encourage government dependence or just support programs that help women.
Jenny Sanford dishes on 'Mark' in a new campaign ad
Jenny Sanford has a lot to say about "Mark." Like how she was "scammed" by him. And how he is a "big waster." And she wants everyone in South Carolina to know it.
The Fix: 9 things you didn't read today (but should have)
1, Matea Gold looks at the donors giving money like crazy to the Republican Governors Association -- which gives them the opportunity to hang out with these potential presidential candidates frequently too.
An Indian courthouse is investigating some unusual suspects: ghosts
NEW DELHI - Over the past year, a series of unusual events have occurred at a courthouse in eastern New Delhi. Books have disappeared, strange noises have been heard. Computers and lights have seemed to switch on by themselves.
WorldViews: North Korea's reaction to Ebola makes fears of a zombie apocalypse look rational
Turns out North Korea wasn't kidding about protecting itself from Ebola. Kim Jong Un's regime is not taking any chances when it comes to keeping out the virus - despite the fact that it's happening half a world away and that North Korea is the most closed state in the world.
WorldViews: Chart: Asia is the most optimistic part of the world
The chart above, part of a slew of new data released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, reflects one of the results of a survey regarding the population moods in a range of countries around the world. Populations in developing countries in Asia and Africa are far more optimistic about their future than their Middle East equivalents.
Syrian regime denounces Turkey for allowing foreign fighters to enter Kobane
ISTANBUL - Ten Iraqi Kurdish fighters crossed into the embattled Syrian border town of Kobane from Turkey on Thursday, drawing an angry response from the Damascus government, which accused Ankara of violating national sovereignty by allowing foreign troops to enter Syria.
Israel blocks Jerusalem holy site amid rising tensions after activist shot
JERUSALEM - Israeli security forces temporarily sealed off one of Islam's holiest sites Thursday in a rare move that reflected soaring tensions after a suspected Palestinian gunman tried to assassinate an ­American-Israeli activist who advocates greater Jewish access to the contested religious ground.
WorldViews: Russia warns citizens not to travel abroad because of Ebola
Fears about the spread of Ebola have driven many countries to restrict incoming travelers from abroad. In Russia, those same fears are being given as an official reason why Russians shouldn't leave home.
Mobile-phone mapping succeeds where national censuses fail
Traditionally, the way we know who lives where is the result of national censuses. But those head counts can be expensive and occur rarely, and a new study suggests that the the passive tallying that happens every time our mobile phones check into a cellphone tower can provide a sort of living census that, researchers say, can improve how we respond to everything from earthquake devastation to the spread of Ebola.
How one man's private files ended up on Apple's iCloud without his consent
After security researcher Jeffrey Paul upgraded the operating system on his MacBook Pro last week, he discovered that several of his personal files had found a new home - on the cloud. The computer had saved the files, which Paul thought resided only on his own encrypted hard drive, to a remote server Apple controlled.
Tim Cook comes out on public stage, pulling secretive Apple with him
When Apple chief executive Tim Cook said Thursday that he is "proud to be gay," he did not only become the first openly gay leader of a major U.S. company. He also swept his obsessively private company into the forefront of one of America's most public movements, cementing its place in the debate over equality in the workplace and beyond.
 stateline.org - State and Local Issues

Latest state and local issue stories and analyses from stateline.org and the Pew Center on the States.

States move slowly toward digital textbooks
Despite enthusiasm for digital textbooks at the national level, states have been slow to get on board. But the movement is gaining strength.
Indiana gov squashes vp speculation
TODAY'S TAKE: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is the latest GOP governor who says he's not interested in becoming Mitt Romney's running mate.
Note to readers: A new Stateline is coming soon
Stateline and the Pew Center on the States are launching a new website at Pewstates.org
AZ: Arizona's immigration law gets its day in U.S. Supreme Court
When Paul Clement walks into the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday he's going to try to convince at least five justices that Arizona has an inherent right to enforce federal immigration laws.
NC: North Carolina judge vacates death penalty under racial justice law
In a landmark ruling, a North Carolina judge on Friday vacated the death penalty of a black man convicted of murder, saying prosecutors across the state had engaged in deliberate and systematic racial discrimination when striking black potential jurors in death penalty cases.
NJ: New Jersey drops out of lawsuit against EPA over ozone
New Jersey has dropped out of a lawsuit challenging the White House decision to bypass strict ozone standards that the EPA had recommended as necessary to protect human health.
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  •  Governing.com - State and Local News
    The Way We Tax: A 50-State Report
    The vast majority of state tax systems are inadequate for the task of funding a 21st-century government. Most of those tax systems are also unfair. They break the golden rule of tax equity: collect the lowest possible rates on the widest possible base of taxpayers.
    Governing February Issue
  • Assessments: Alan Ehrenhalt on living with "lifestyle centers"
  • Potomac Chronicle: Donald F. Kettl on the states as beggars
  • Technology: Thomas R. Davies on outside resources for new IT leaders
  • Tax Talk: David Brunori on the principles of sound tax policy
  • Economic Development: William Fulton on how a city's size affects its competitiveness
  • Environment: Tom Arrandale on the risks of weakening longstanding laws

  •  White House Update
    White House schedule information and recent statements and news releases.

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