The Salt
3:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:16 am

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Dow Loses 350 Points After Fed Hints It Will Stop Buying Bonds

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after the opening bell on Thursday.
John Moore Getty Images

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 353 points on Thursday in a selloff sparked by uncertainty about the end of a government monetary stimulus program and a credit crunch in China.

Wall Street followed a downturn in global markets. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 2.5 percent, while the Dow and Nasdaq composite indexes both lost 2.3 percent.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

NSA Reportedly Allowed To Keep Some Domestic Communications

Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly signed off on the FISA court rulings that allowed the NSA to retain domestic communications under some circumstances.
Handout Getty Images

Special U.S. courts charged with authorizing electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists gave permission to the NSA to retain in certain cases "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications, The Guardian reports.

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Commentary
1:44 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Commentary: Time to Stop the Revolving Door for School Principals

Jacques Benninga

Each Spring district offices and school boards decide who will lead their schools for the following academic year.  Many schools will receive new principals.  In this version of The Moral is, Dr. Jacques Benninga of Fresno State’s School of Education writes that often such important decisions have little research to back them up.

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Valley Writers Read
12:30 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

“The Yellow Dressing Room” and “Back Stage” on Valley Writers Read

This week on Valley Writers Read, Fresno author Sally Stallings reads two stories about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.  The author gives us a good look at what happened to both young and old—both backstage and out front at various Christmas performances of the popular ballet.  

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Six-Woman Jury Selected For Trial Of George Zimmerman

Six women have been selected for the trial of George Zimmerman, right, on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in court Thursday with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:02 pm

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:25 pm

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

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Author Interviews
11:50 am
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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Environment
11:35 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Business And Politics Of Air Quality Regulation

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

Parallels
11:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

What's In A Name? A Lot If You're A Country

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly pulled his representatives out of planned peace talks because of the flag and the nameplate at the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar. Both were legacies of the time the Taliban ruled the country and illustrated how sensitive such symbols can be.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:35 pm

A flag and a nameplate: Those seemingly innocuous items were apparently the reason that Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly refused to participate in peace talks also involving the Taliban and the U.S.

The flag was the same white flag the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The nameplate bore the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name used by the old Taliban government.

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