TPM News

The image last week of James Foley kneeling in front of a masked terrorist made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I’m a lawyer, a father, and an active member of my community, but in another life I was an Army Ranger. Years ago, I carried a gun in the Middle East and fought against the brutal forces like the masked man who murdered Foley.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) did not want to be a defendant in a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. His lawyers filed a motion in May asking that the litigation be dismissed because Pence was not the proper defendant. They argued that he did not have "any authority to enforce, or other role respecting" the ban.

It might seem a little odd, considering Pence has partly built his career on a platform of social conservatism. But maybe the continued 2016 speculation, and the prospect of a national campaign, caught up with him. Pence has become regarded as one of the possible dark horses as the GOP's presidential bench still lacks a proper frontrunner.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) also asked to be dropped from gay-marriage litigation, but didn't argue that he didn't have the authority to enforce the ban as Pence did. He might have gotten the idea from former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who successfully made the same argument before he left office. Advocates who follow same-sex marriage ban challenges couldn't name any other governors who petitioned to have his or her name removed from a lawsuit, underscoring how unusual of a move it was. Lawsuits have been filed in almost every state.

And now Pence has been called out, in a way, for his waffling. A federal judge said last week that Pence's argument had been "a bold misrepresentation" of his role and that he was in fact the proper defendant for the lawsuit.

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The Veterans Affairs watchdog on Tuesday released a report concluding that while long wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital did negatively impact medical care for veterans, the Inspector General did not fine concrete evidence that this led to patient deaths.

"While the case reviews in this report document poor quality of care, we are unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths of these veterans," the report reads.

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HealthCare.gov Finally Gets Its First CEO

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that Kevin Counihan, executive director of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, would be the first CEO of HealthCare.gov.

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