TPM News

Any day now, a St. Louis County grand jury is expected to announce its decision about whether to indict white Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Whatever the grand jury decides, the process has already been marred by a series of leaks, distrust between the Brown family and prosecutor Bob McCulloch's office, and anger from many in the Ferguson community who believe Wilson should have been indicted months ago. And as TPM reported, it is exceedingly rare in the U.S. for a police officer to be charged for a shooting in the line of duty.

Authorities already seem to be preparing for the worst. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency this week and activated the Missouri National Guard.

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Like it or not, the 2016 presidential cycle has begun. It’s theoretically an open process for both parties. But what characterizes it so far is a remarkable contrast between a Democratic Party that seems almost settled (though not universally happy about it) on a single candidate, Hillary Clinton, and a Republican Party with a potentially gigantic field and no true front-runner.

There are perils and advantages associated with both conditions. But the Republicans elites that have successfully sought to make their party’s nominating calendar more compact are clearly worried that a protracted competition among a large field could be destructive. And after the experience of 2008 and 2012, Republicans have good reason to fear that even their most “electable” candidates could be pulled to the right in a nomination struggle dominated by conservative activists and rank-and-file Tea Parties in early states.

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for additional gay marriages in the state.

The court on Tuesday evening lifted its hold on marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County. The justices last month blocked such licenses while reviewing a petition from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders have chosen Paul Ryan to head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for the next two years.

The new post could give the Wisconsin Republican a high-profile platform if he decides to run for president in 2016 or beyond.

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