In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson proposed legislation on Thursday aimed at demilitarizing domestic police forces, amid national criticism of heavily armed cops going after protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

"Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s," the Democratic congressman wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter to members of Congress. "Unfortunately ... our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces."

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The images coming out of Ferguson, Mo., in the last few days have been harrowing, and one element in particular has shocked those watching the events unfold. American law enforcement decked out in military fatigues, patrolling the streets in armored vehicles that look like they were plucked out of Afghanistan or Iraq.

And the thing is, they very well might have been. The Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments have both received equipment from the U.S. military through what's known as the 1033 program, a federal program that the American Civil Liberties Union says has been a key catalyst to the broader escalation of law enforcement force in the United States.

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It was one of Barack Obama's signature promises during the 2008 campaign: he would fight the notorious influence of special interests by imposing strict rules against lobbyists in the federal government on his watch.

One day after becoming president, he signed his "revolving door ban" in an executive order prohibiting anyone in his administration from working on issues, or in agencies, they might have lobbied in the previous two years.

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As war between Israelis and Palestinians raged in Gaza again in recent weeks, President Barack Obama signed a bill to provide another $225 million to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. But what if the U.S. government is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that isn't nearly as effective as it is claimed to be?

It seems unthinkable by the official record. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest praised the system by saying it has "saved countless Israeli lives." Time magazine wrote in 2012, a year after the system's premiere, that Iron Dome was the "most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen."

The federal government has so far given its closest Mideast ally about $700 million to develop the system, the Defense Department told TPM, and the Israeli military says Iron Dome — which fires missiles to take down incoming rockets heading into Israeli population centers — has a success rate of about 85 percent.

But independent research by an MIT professor who specializes in ballistics has called that official figure into question. In fact, according to the analysis by Ted Postol, the Iron Dome system might actually disarm as little as 5 percent of the rockets it attempts to intercept. The number could be higher, depending on a number of variables, but the bottom line argument is that the system is not nearly as successful in stopping rockets being fired into Israel as official sources suggest.

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When President Barack Obama told donors on Monday night to help Democrats because "we're going to have Supreme Court appointments" he may or may not have been talking about his own final years in office.

But he was right that several justices are statistically likely to retire in the coming years. None of them have revealed plans to step down, and if all of them stick around through the end of Obama's term, the 2016 presidential election could lead to a cataclysmic reshaping of the Supreme Court, and with it the country.

As of Election Day in 2016, three of the nine justices will be more than 80 years old. A fourth will be 78.

The average retirement age for a Supreme Court justice is 78.7, according to a 2006 study by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

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The 24 states which refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare are poised to give up $423.6 billion in federal funds over a decade and keep 6.7 million residents uninsured, according to a new study by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"In the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid, 6.7 million residents are projected to remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, which will lessen economic activity and job growth," the authors wrote.

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There were two surprising pieces of news out of Hawaii over the weekend. The first was the decisive defeat of Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D). The other was the tiny margin of votes separating incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Hawaii Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, despite the fact that polling for most of the race showed Schatz with a comfortable lead over Hanabusa.

As of early Monday morning eastern time Schatz was leading Hanabusa by a razor thin 1,635 vote lead or 49.3 percent to 48.6 percent, according to The Associated Press's count of the election results. That's a small margin and doesn't totally mean Hanabusa is done. Here are a number of factors that could still decide the Senate primary.

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