GOPer Behind La. Religious Freedom Bill Feeling The Heat


Louisiana state Rep. Mike Johnson (R) seems to be feeling the heat after introducing a controversial religious freedom bill, which is meant to limit “the state’s right to discriminate against people simply on the basis of their belief about marriage as a traditional union between one man and one woman.”

Editors' Blog

Hmmm. What's Up With This?

Yesterday we heard this odd story out of the small Missouri town of Parma, under a thousand residents. Just after the swearing in of the town's first black female mayor, most of the town's police force and several city employees resigned. The police cited 'safety concerns' for their group resignation. Now one of those cops say he feared he wouldn't be able to do his job. "Rather than put my life in danger more than I do now on a daily basis, I decided to walk away," he told the Post-Dispatch.

The US Is the Most Heavily Armed Country in the World

Since the Newtown shootings more than two years ago we've devoted a great deal of coverage to chronicling the prevalence of guns and firearms violence in the United States. It won't come as a surprise to many of you that there are far more guns in civilian hands in the US than the UK or Germany, for instance. But even if you're broadly familiar with the contours of the gun story, it's still stunning to see just how heavily armed the US is compared to every other country on the planet. Indeed, the only country that even comes close to the US per capita average is Yemen. While the US has only 5% of the world's population, it has between 35% and 50% of the world's civilian firearms. These numbers come from a group called the Small Arms Survey based in Geneva, Switzerland. And I have some of the tables from their most recent tabulations after the jump.

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One of the couple dozen survivors of that migrant ship that sunk on the way from Libya to Italy says the smugglers locked hundreds of people in the hold before it went under. Estimates of the dead, all based on survivor accounts, range from 700 to 950 people aboard, with only 28 survivors found so far. As this article notes, the lack of bodies - only 24 have been found so far - makes more sense if they're all contained locked inside the ship.

What's Going on Here?

We now know that the two Tulsa World reporters behind the blockbuster story about the allegedly falsified training records in the Eric Harris shooting left to join a soon-to-be-launched local news website. So what's the status of their story? In a follow up interview, the Executive Editor of the Tulsa World tells us that while she has no reason to doubt the sources behind she says, "their sources are not sources to anyone else in my newsroom right now. So I'm trying to establish contact with those sources and make sure that they are standing by that."

Catherine Thompson has our report.

Sorry. Comey Had a Point

The US is in a minor diplomatic row with Poland of all countries. And it's over the Holocaust. Last week FBI Director James Comey made a statement that appeared to suggest the Poles (and Hugary for that matter) were responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust on something like a par with Germany. The Poles are outraged and demanding apologies. And the US Ambassador to Poland has now apologized on the United States' behalf.

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A short while ago we reported that the two reporters who broke the story of the allegedly falsified records of that volunteer sheriff's deputy had abruptly resigned from The Tulsa World. What's more, the Executive Editor of the paper declined to say that the paper was standing behind the blockbuster story. Now we've heard from the reporters in question that they left to work at a new local news website and that their departure had nothing to do with that story. We've updated our story and you read the update here.

Still leaves a pretty big mystery about why the paper won't say it still stands behind the story.

Tulsa Reporters Resign

The two reporters who reported on the allegedly falsified training records of Robert Bates, the volunteer Sheriff's deputy who accidentally shot and killed Eric Harris, have now resigned.

The paper's executive editor tells us it's not related to the story. But when we asked whether the paper stands by the reporting, she said, "Thats all I'd like to say."

Chat about renewables with Gregor Macdonald

Gregor Macdonald, the writer behind our TPM Prime series The Renewables, will be in The Hive(sub req) tomorrow at 2 p.m. EST to chat about his series and all things energy. He's an independent journalist covering the energy sector who has written for The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Financial Times of London, The Harvard Business Review, The Oil Drum, The Petroleum Economist, etc.

About a month ago, TPM published the first of Gregor's 5-part series on the rapid rise of renewables in the global energy market. We've since published part two, and part three will be published tomorrow (Tuesday). The pieces deal with the changing energy mix in the US as solar and wind dominate marginal additions to the powergrid, and aging fossil-fuel power retires. Check it out and drop in your questions for Gregor about renewable energy, the economics and policy surrounding it, etc. at or before 2 p.m. EST.

— Joe Ragazzo

"Fine With Hillary"

From our on-going series, TPM Reader JC is "fine" with Hillary ...

So a little background about me: I'm a 24 year old daughter of Haitian immigrants, born in Rhode Island and raised in Florida. I'm not religious. I have a full-time job with great benefits, health insurance, a decent education from UF that helped me get a job I love in the field I studied. Life is pretty decent. Or at least a bit better than some other semi-recent college graduates that I know or read about. (Also, I'd be interested in knowing the demographic deets of other TPM readers, they seem like a surprisingly diverse bunch...possible future article?)

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