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Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff knows a thing or two about political corruption and lobbying. And in his new book "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist," he has a few ideas on how to fix the system:

Ban donations from lobbyists and those who receive public funds. "Instead of limiting the size of every American's political contribution, we need to entirely eliminate any contribution by those lobbying the government, participating in a federal contract, or otherwise financially benefiting from public funds. If you get money or perks from elected officials -- be 'you' a company, a union, an association, a law firm, or an individual -- you shouldn't be permitted to give them so much as one dollar. It does no good to ban Jack Abramoff from giving $2,000 to Congressman Badenov, but allow the members of his law firm to pick up the slack. If you choose to lobby, if you choose to take money from our nation, if you choose to perform federal contracts, or if you draw your compensation from any entity which does, you need to abstain from giving campaign contributions. It's your choice either way. But you have to choose one, not both."

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The economy is showing modest signs of improvement, but probably not enough to help the people who've taken the biggest hit: the long-term unemployed.

The number of people who've been out of work for over a year has skyrocketed since the financial crisis and ensuing recession to the point where Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has called it a "national crisis" -- employers are reluctant to hire people who haven't been on the job in months, and after such long stretches peoples' skills deteriorate and they become genuinely less marketable.

How bad is it? Extremely bad -- and even worse if you're old.

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Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams, who is also the president of the state Senate, released a statement Wednesday further clarifying his attack on Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, over Beshear participating in a Hindu religious ceremony at the groundbreaking for a factory run by an Indian company.

Williams's statement, via the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"To be clear, I very much support economic development and strongly believe in freedom of religion. What I cannot understand is why Governor Beshear has a long pattern of opposing outward displays of the Christian faith such as Christmas trees, prayers before high school football games, and posting the 10 Commandments but apparently has no problem personally participating in displays of non-Christian religions.

"I see nothing wrong with a governor attending a religious gathering and respecting other cultures. But for him to engage and participate in a Hindu religious ceremony where prayers are being offered to gods in which he does not believe is not only disrespectful of Hinduism but stands in direct opposition to his own expressed Christian faith which recognizes but one God. It also flies in the face of his previous record of stamping out religious displays in governmental settings, which all happened to be Christian in nature."

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Businessman Herman Cain is fighting allegations that he sexually harassed at least two women while at the National Restaurant Association (which he has denied), yet a new Rasmussen Poll still finds him at the top of the GOP Primary field.

Cain gets 26 percent in their latest flash poll, conducted Wednesday November 2nd. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney gets 23 percent while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is at 14 percent. Former frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry is down to eight points and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) only gets two.

Many Republicans also doubt the allegations against Cain. From Rasmussen:



Among Republican voters nationwide, 76% were able to correctly identify Cain as the candidate who was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s.

Just 13% of GOP Primary voters think it’s Very Likely that the charges against Cain are serious and true. Another 25% think it’s Somewhat Likely. Forty-eight percent (48%) consider it unlikely, but that includes only 13% who say that it is Not at All Likely.

Herman Cain said he recalled one of the women who formally accused him of sexual harassment at the National Restaurant Association getting “somewhere in the vicinity of three to six months’ severance pay.”

Politico reports it was quite a bit more than that.



POLITICO has learned that one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s received a payout of about $45,000 as part of her settlement – significantly more than the two or three months’ salary Cain initially recalled the woman obtained.



Read it here.

The New York Times already reported another accuser received $35,000.

An international team of scientists has pinpointed more than 3 million new gene segments that are highly similar between 29 mammals--suggesting that they're vital to survival. Many of the genes are found in the so-called "dark matter" of the genome, areas whose function is not fully understood.

The new discovery can help scientists who are combing through lists of possible disease-causing genetic mutations, since it stresses genetic bits of highest importance.

"This data can be used to prioritize which disease mutations should be looked at first," says Kersten Lindblah-Toh, the Scientific Director of Vertebrate Genome Biology at the Broad Institute of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an author on the new study.

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