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April 16, 2013 | By Brian Bennett and Michael A. Memoli, This post has been updated and corrected, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- An envelope laced with the lethal poison Ricin and addressed to a U.S. senator was found at Maryland mail processing facility, officials said Tuesday. What is ricin? Here's a look at ricin, a poison made from waste remaining after castor beans are processed into oil. How it works: Ricin gets inside cells and prevents them from making proteins. Without proteins, cells die. Forms: Powder, mist or pellet. Methods of exposure: Ingestion, inhalation or injection.
April 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
If Caroline Kennedy were simply a lawyer and author, it's doubtful that she would be on any president's short list for a major diplomatic appointment. But Kennedy is also a member of a storied American political family and an early and valued supporter of Barack Obama's presidential ambitions. As a result of those dubious "credentials," Kennedy is reportedly in line to be nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. It won't be the first time that Obama has rewarded a prominent political supporter with a prestigious position, continuing a bipartisan practice of doling out ambassadorships to supporters and fundraisers.
April 2, 2013 | By Katherine Skiba, Chicago Tribune
WASHINGTON - Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Tuesday announced that he supports gay marriage, joining a growing list of U.S. senators who offer such support. "When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others,” he said in a statement. "Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most.  Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle," Kirk said.
March 25, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
The National Rifle Assn. is taking heat from a U.S. senator after accusations that the organization robocalled Newtown, Conn., residents and urged them to oppose gun-control legislation. Stricter gun laws have been proposed in legislatures all over the country in the wake of the Newtown massacre in December, with New York and Colorado leading the way with restrictive new laws. Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and the NRA has been phoning residents in the state to oppose further changes -- "their most recent repugnant tactic," as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.)
January 11, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
If you're keeping score this Oscar season - and who isn't? - chalk up this year's nominations as a victory for the bullying power of the United States Senate and an undeserved loss for "Zero Dark Thirty" in general and director Kathryn Bigelow in particular. Yes, "Zero Dark" did get five nominations, including best picture, lead actress for Jessica Chastain and original screenplay for Mark Boal. But that was only one more than for the ineffective "Anna Karenina" and nowhere near the 12 picked up by Steven Spielberg's front-running "Lincoln.
December 24, 2012 | By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - The crowd in the Upper West Side bookstore practically cooed when the mayor of Newark, looking like the college football tight end he once was, strode into a book signing and gave the audience a bashful smile. Cory Booker, here because he wrote the forward to a book about homelessness, spent the next half-hour talking about his father's roots in poverty and the kindness of humankind, throwing in references to friends such as entertainer Tyler Perry and author Alice Walker, and, presumably because this is New York, using some Yiddish.
November 4, 2012
President: Barack Obama. The president's accomplishments during his first four years - steadying the economy, rescuing the automobile industry and winning passage of measures to stimulate the economy, crack down on financial industry abuses and extend health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, among others - were all the more remarkable given the stubborn and cynical opposition of Republicans in Congress. His balanced plan for continuing the recovery makes him the clear choice over Mitt Romney, whose tired program of tax cuts for the wealthy and increased military spending is a prescription for disaster.
October 23, 2012
With the final presidential candidate debate concluded and the deadline for voter registration passed, the last phase of the long 2012 election season has begun. The Times has completed endorsements for the Nov. 6 ballot, and reiterates those recommendations here. President: Barack Obama . The economy remains sluggish, but the president is leading the nation through the tough times. He is a far better choice than challenger Mitt Romney, whose prescription seems always in flux but revolves around deep and damaging tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
October 17, 2012
John Durkin Former U.S. senator from New Hampshire Former U.S. Sen. John Durkin, 76, a New Hampshire Democrat who won his seat in 1975 in one of the closest elections in Senate history, died Tuesday at Franklin Regional Hospital in Concord, N.H., after a brief illness. His death was confirmed by an official at the New Hampshire Veterans Home, where Durkin had lived since 2011. Durkin was elected to the Senate on Sept. 16, 1975, after a long fight that wound its way from New Hampshire to Washington and back again.
October 15, 2012 | By Timothy M. Phelps, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Arlen Specter, who in 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measure with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82. The cause was complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his family said. FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article said that Arlen Specter's change of party gave President Obama a veto-proof majority in the Senate.
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