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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

A Pennsylvania judge has ordered an official in the state's Montgomery County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage.

The judge, Dan Pellegrini of the Commonwealth Court, has ordered Bruce Hanes, the Register of Wills there, to stop offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Pennsylvnia state law defines marriage as between "one man and one woman." Pellergrini handed down his ruling on Thursday according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"Unless and until the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions, or a court of competent jurisdiction (overturns it), the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all Commonwealth public officials," Pellergrini wrote in his ruling.

Hanes began issuing licenses in June after the state's attorney general, Kathleen Kane (D), said she would not defend the marriage ban on behalf of the state in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union arguing the law is unconstitutional.

Hanes has reportedly issued 174 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since June.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg plans to meet with the top four House Republicans next week.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg on Sept. 19, leadership aides confirmed to TPM on Wednesday.

The meetings are expected to cover a number of topics related to Facebook such as Internet privacy and the tax system.

Immigration reform could also come up although leadership aides did not specifically say it would. Immigration reform has been a primary topic of Zuckerberg's policy interests. He and a number of other tech executives formed FWD.us, an advocacy group that supports comprehensive immigration reform.

National Review is suing Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) for access to public records about a murder victim who Booker says died in his arms.

Rich Lowry, the magazine's editor, announced Wednesday his decision to file a lawsuit with Booker, the City of Newark, and the Newark Police Department, for more information on the death of Wazn Miller, who, according to Booker, was shot in Newark in 2004 and died in the mayor's arms.

"Now, we have no idea of the truth of this account, and as far as we know, the incident happened exactly as described by Booker," Lowry wrote on the magazine's website.

Lowry writes that the magazine had been "stonewalled" in efforts to get more information about Miller. 

National Review has also tussled with Booker over the veracity of Booker's story of drug dealer "T-Bone" who the magazine argues Booker likely made up.

"But, given the dubious existence of T-Bone, we’d like to see documents backing up Booker’s statements," Lowry writes. "Certainly, the public has a right to know if Booker has made a habit of embellishing or fabricating similarly cinematic stories."

National Review filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, according to Lowry.

"Yesterday we filed suit against the Newark Police Department, the City of Newark, and Mayor Booker to obtain the records in keeping with New Jersey law," Lowry continued. "This suit shouldn’t be necessary, but the official obstruction in Newark has made it so. In such an instance, everyone should favor openness."

Amtrak's Acela Express and other trains operating between Wilmington, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland are not working because of "extensive damage" to overhead wires, Amtrak said.

The suspended service also includes trains between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania according to The Washington Post.

Repair crews and management are currently reviewing the damage, Amtrak also said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Passengers traveling through Baltimore and/or Wilmington should expect delays of an hour or more through much of the afternoon," the statement reads.

Former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams sees the recall elections of two Colorado state Democratic lawmakers as a sign that Colorado Republicans could also oust Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) or Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO.), but only if Republicans avoid backing an ultra conservative Tea Party candidate.

"Those were big recall victories last night which could spell trouble for Hickenlooper and Udall, but not if we nominate Tancredo and Buck," Wadhams told NBC in a report published Wednesday, referring to former 2010 conservative Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo and Senate candidate Ken Buck.

Buck ran for Senate in Colorado in 2010 and this past August announced that he was again running for Senate in the 2014 election.

Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron were both ousted in the Tuesday recalls. Republicans will likely interpret the results as a sign that other Democratic lawmakers are vulnerable.

 

Public Policy Polling decided not to release a poll showing that Colorado State Sen. Angela Giron (D) would likely be voted out of office in Tuesday's recall elections.

In a blogpost on the pollster's website, PPP's Tom Jensen said the poll, conducted last weekend, was not released because he doubted the survey's findings.

"We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42," Jensen wrote in the post. "In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers [because] she was indeed recalled by 12 points."

The poll, Jensen continued, also found that the gun measures that sparked the recall elections of Giron and Colorado Senate President John Morse (D), were not actually that unpopular. Morse and Giron helped narrowly pass the new gun restrictions.

"Expanded background checks for gun buyers had 68/27 support among voters in the district, reflecting the overwhelming popularity for that we've found across the country," Jensen continued. "And voters were evenly divided on the law limiting high capacity ammunition magazines to 15 bullets, with 47 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing it. If voters were really making their recall votes based on those two laws, that doesn't point to recalling Giron by a 12 point margin."

PPP's survey also found that voters in the lawmakers' district had a favorable view of the the National Rifle Association, which actively supported the recall.

"We did find on the poll though that voters in the district had a favorable opinion of the NRA by a 53/33 margin," Jensen wrote. "And I think when you see the final results what that indicates is they just did a good job of turning the election more broadly into do you support gun rights or are you opposed to them. If voters made their decision based on the actual pretty unobtrusive laws that Giron helped get passed, she likely would have survived."

Giron and Morse were both recalled Tuesday night.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)  released a statement on Wednesday criticizing the Obama administration for its handling of the 2012 attack of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The statement came a day before the one-year anniversary of the attack. 

Read the full statement below:

We mourn the loss of four Americans who gave their lives in Benghazi exactly one year ago tomorrow. We remember their sacrifice, and that of their families, and we will not rest until we have answers about what happened. It is disgraceful that one year later, even though a number of the terrorists who participated in this attack have been identified, not a single one has been brought to justice.

For the past year, this administration has failed to provide sufficient answers, fully comply with subpoenas, and make available relevant individuals to provide testimony. In short, this administration hasn’t been upfront with the American people or this Congress. Republicans will not stop until we get to the truth. We will press forward with our investigation until we have answers, full accountability, and justice.

Boehner issued a separate statement commemorating the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Trader Joe's told employees that workers who log less than 30 hours a week will have to obtain health insurance on Obamacare exchanges in 2014.

The announcement came in a memo to staff by the grocery store's CEO Dan Bane on Aug. 30. The memo was obtained by The Huffington Post. Trader Joe's will continue to offer its coverage plan to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. 

Trader Joe's had previously been praised for offering health care, vision, and dental coverage to even part time workers. But when lower-wage workers become eligible for tax subsidies under the new health care law, they will have to seek health care coverage outside of the company's plan if they work fewer than 30 hours a week. The company will also give part-time employees a $500 check meant to help them find a healthcare plan under Obamacare.

"Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe's we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe's and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act], many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you," Bane wrote in the memo.

According to the memo, over the next three months Trader Joe's will determine whether part-time employees who work more than 30 hours per week will be eligible for the full Trader Joe's plan.

Former Sen. Scott Brown has joined a foreign intelligence and gun manufacturing company as an adviser. 

Brown, the former Republican senator from Massachusetts, will serve as an adviser to Global Digital Solutions, Inc. (GSDI), the company announced Tuesday. 

"We’re thrilled to have someone with Scott Brown’s national stature and extensive government experience on our Advisory Board," GSDI President and CEO Richard J. Sullivan said in a statement. 

GSDI bills itself as a company that does "small arms manufacturing" as well as "complementary security and technology solutions and knowledge-based, cyber-related, culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas."

Sullivan also mentioned Scott's service in the National Guard. In August 2012 Brown was promoted to colonel in the National Guard. 

"Scott’s leadership roles at both the state and federal levels – with a consistent focus on security-related issues – and his longtime service in the Army National Guard give him great perspective, experience and relationships that will be very helpful to GDSI going forward," Sullivan continued. 

Since leaving office Brown has suggested interest in either running for governor of Massachusetts or even president of the United States. More recently though Brown said he would focus on work in the private sector. 

"I’m very excited about joining GDSI’s growing team of expert advisors," Brown said. 

 

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said federal investigators have questioned him about his connection to dietary supplements company Star Scientific's CEO.

In an interview with NBC 12 Cuccinelli said he had been question by authorities in connection to Jonnie Williams, the CEO of the struggling company.

Star Scientific has been the target of a federal probe. Questions have been raised about Cuccinelli's connection to the company because he bought a substantial amount of Star Scientific stock. 

In August, news broke that McDonnell also owned substantial stock in the company prompting questions whether he unethically used his position as Virginia governor to help the company and therefore benefit himself.

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