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A federal review of the New Orleans Police Department has found the department used excessive force; made unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests; engaged in biased policing based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation; failed to provide effective policing services to those with limited English proficiency; and systematically failure to investigate sexual assaults and domestic violence.

The review by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division confirmed systemic failures in the notorious NOPD which they said "developed over a long period of time." The report comes after the Civil Rights Division has spent nearly a year virtually camped out in New Orleans monitoring the operation of the NOPD.

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1||March 16, 2011: A group of a couple hundred union workers, labor activists and progressives turned the lobby of a DC office building into a mini-Wisconsin State Capitol Wednesday afternoon.

Protesters stormed the building of lobbying powerhouse BGR in downtown DC that was hosting a fundraiser for Wisconsin state Republicans. TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro reported from the scene.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

2||The largest contingents were workers from the AFSCME union and the AFL-CIO but many other groups came out as well.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

3||Following the protests, everyone filed out to continue the protest where it started, on the sidewalk outside.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

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5||No incidents were reported after a short stand in the lobby.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

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11||Joslyn Williams, president of the DC AFL-CIO council and a member of AFSMCE local 2477, addressed the crowd and declared a ten-minute occupation before the crowd moved outside.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

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13||TPM spoke to a real life socialist on the scene who'd only go by "Mike" who said "The reality is, the better working people have it, the better everyone has it, claiming that fighting for a "strong middle class" is what socialism is all about.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

14||During the protest, a number of people who looked like they worked in the building stood in front of the elevators, barring anyone from going near them.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

15||The BGR Group, the lobbying firm Barbour helped to found in 1991, has long been known for its ties to the GOP. Among its executives are Bob Wood, a former aide to Tommy Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin for 14 years. And on BGR's past client list is a large energy company - and that's raising eyebrows with watchdog groups.||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

16||The Daily Kos reported there was a march to the Chamber of Commerce with as many as a 1000 people afterward. ||TPM/Evan McMorris-Santoro&&

Donald Trump got a little bit birther-curious in his interview with ABC News, saying of President Obama's time growing up in Hawaii: "The reason I have a little doubt, just a little, is because he grew up and nobody knew him."

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A homeschooling group in Iowa will be hosting some potential presidential hopefuls for a rally at the state Capitol next week, the Des Moines Register reports.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), businessman Herman Cain, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will be speaking at the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators' (NICHE) annual "Homeschool Day at the Capitol" on Wednesday, March 23.

Afterwards, the three will speak at a NICHE event in Des Moines, along with Iowa Congressman Steve King.

Darrell Issa (R-CA) lobbed criticism at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Wednesday night and revealed he is investigating allegations that the agency intentionally let more than 1,700 guns be illegally trafficked to Mexico.

Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told the Roger Hedgecock Show the ATF probe will be one of his primary investigations.

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In what is perhaps a watershed moment in the long fight for gay rights, the current battle over the Defense of Marriage Act is being waged with at least tacit acknowledgment from all sides that it is a political winner for pro-gay-rights Democrats.

In the wake of President Obama's decision to drop support for portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, gay rights advocates have been unabashed in claiming that beyond the merits of their underlying argument they now have the political advantage as well. Not only does public opinion polling suggest they're right, but the reaction of gay rights opponents does, too.

On Wednesday, House and Senate Democrats held separate press conferences announcing the introduction of legislation to repeal DOMA. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the sponsors of the House bill, was asked whether Democrats were politicizing gay rights as a wedge issue against the GOP, as Majority Leader Eric Cantor alleged last month.

"What do I say to the idea that this is a wedge issue? I say 'Hallelujah,'" Frank told reporters. "The fact that we've now evolved to the point where the Republicans are complaining about the fact that we introduced this bill because it causes them political problems is a great sign of progress. It used to be the other way around."

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Larry Bliss couldn't find work in his home state of Maine so, like many unemployed, he broadened his search and located a job elsewhere in the country. Unlike most unemployed, however, Bliss had "state legislator" listed on his resume as his current title during his entire 16-month job hunt.

A Democratic member of the House of Representatives and then the Senate, Bliss was laid off from his position as an administrator at the University of Southern Maine in late 2009 after two decades with the school. Maine legislators work only part-time, collecting about $13,000 a year for their service, leaving Bliss raising three children on only his partner's full-time work as a low-income housing consultant.

"It's certainly not an easy decision," Bliss told TPM. "I really wanted to stay. My partner and I love it here and Maine is a very special place."

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The freshly installed Republican majority in the House of Representatives is getting a rude wakeup call as they transition from campaigning to governing.

Amid enormous voter discontent with the Democratic status quo and with concern running high over the economy last November, voters handed the keys over to Republicans, giving them a crack at dealing with government spending and the national deficit. Yet just two months into the new Congress, self-identified Republicans and Independents -- and particularly Tea Party sympathizers -- have already lost a great deal of faith in the GOP's ability to come up with a better approach to solving those problems, according to a newly released Pew poll of adults nationwide.

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They've asked the voters, they've filled the airwaves and now they're getting down to business: Starting Thursday, a coalition of national progressives is openly calling for the recall of several Republican state Senators in Wisconsin with new TV ads aimed directly at them.

Recall fever is catching among the Wisconsin left these days. The state Democratic party has collected just about half of the signatures necessary to make a run at recalling eight state Senators eligible to have their terms cut short (Wisconsin law says only a politician who's been in office for a year or more can be recalled.)

The progressive coalition of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America is banging the recall drum, too, after spending more than a half-million dollars on TV ads lambasting the Republican state Senate and Gov. Scott Walker (R). Now the groups are launching the first TV spots to call for recall directly.

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