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Congress

  1. Weird

    Teacher-Turned-Congressman Grades GOP Letter to House Speaker, Posts It to Tumblr for Your Enjoyment

    As much as high school sucked for basically everyone, there are some things about the state of the real adult world that could probably be improved by a little more of the discipline that only an overworked teacher can provide. Former high school teacher Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) decided that maybe the Republican-drafted letter about immigration that was circulating around the floor of the House might benefit from some edits and creative criticism, so he graded it and posted the results to his Tumblr. Unsurprisingly, Takano feels the work needs some serious revisions.

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  2. Tech

    Department of Defense, Congressional Staff Forbidden From Reading Publicly Available PRISM Documents

    Thanks to Edward Snowden's leaked documents, everyone in the world can learn a lot about what the NSA was up to with the PRISM data mining program. Except the people who should have been overseeing it in the first place, as it turns out. Both Congressional staffers and Department of Defense employees have been instructed to not look at the documents and basically pretend they were never leaked in the first place.

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  3. Tech

    The Entertainment Industry Wants Congress to Let Them Give You Malware

    The entertainment industry would like you to stop pirating things. They've tried digital rights management, prosecuting file sharers, and even making films like The Last Airbender that were so bad nobody would want to pirate them. Nothing's worked. You jerks keep stealing content, so now the industry is asking Congress to let them install malware on your computer to get you to knock it off.

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  4. Tech

    Good News, Everyone! The House Passed CISPA!

    They say every cloud has a silver lining. If that's true, then there has to be something good about the fact that 288 members of Congress just voted to pass CISPA, right? The bill essentially strips citizens of any right to online privacy, which is obviously terrible, but there has to be something positive about this.

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  5. Entertainment

    Mr. Rage Face Goes to Washington: Congresswoman Intends to Source Ideas From Reddit

    In a move that will either prove to be brilliant or disastrous, House Representative Zoe Lofgren of California intends to use Reddit to take suggestions on legislation dealing with websites accused of copyright infringement. We think Reddit would be a great way for citizens to interact with their representatives, but the obvious potential for trolling is also worth considering. Internet, please behave.

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  6. Science

    Republicans and Democrats Agree On Manhattan Project National Park, Manage Not to Vote It Into Existence

    We've told you before about legislation in Congress that would make the laboratories that housed the Manhattan Project into a national park, commemorating probably the greatest gathering of scientific minds in the history of time and both the scientific progress (atomic energy) and sickening horror (the atomic bomb) that resulted from it. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act finally came up for a vote in the halls of Congress last night, and a majority of our great nation's elected represntatives -- 237 grown adults -- agreed that it should be a thing that exists, which, given the state of our political system today, of course means that the bill failed. Confused? We've got your explanation after the jump.

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  7. Space

    Congress Bans NASA from Collaborating with China, Citing Espionage Concerns

    A tip of the hat to Forbes' William Pentland for noticing a significant two-sentence clause in the 2011 spending bill approved by Congress in mid-April: Two major federally funded science programs, NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), are expressly prohibited from using federal funds to collaborate with China. Though the restriction applies only to the 2011 federal budget, the Congressman who inserted the clause into the bill, Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, says that he wants to make it permanent. Here's what the bill says: NASA and the OSTP cannot use federal funds "to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company."

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  8. Tech

    iPads May Become the First Gadgets Allowed on the Floor of the House of Representatives

    Rules in the House of Representatives forbidding the use of electronic devices on the floor might soon be changed so members of Congress can use their iPads. Because that's what was preventing them from doing their jobs effectively. Not being able to use their iPads. An iPad first appeared on the House floor earlier this month by way of Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar. He says he mainly uses it to read news and check emails, but also uses professional apps such as Congress in Your Pocket and another that functions as a teleprompter. But he also vows to keep his device "productive and distraction-free." (The same way we all vow not to browse the Internet at work. Hi, everyone!) There are definite benefits to being plugged in on the House floor.

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  9. Entertainment

    Stephen Colbert Testifies In-Character Before Congress

    In case you missed it: Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert (host of The Colbert Report) testified this morning before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. The appearance almost didn’t happen—at least, it wouldn’t have if Colbert had followed the direction of Rep. John Conyers, (D-MI), chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Conyers asked that Colbert leave so that the Committe could “get to the bottom” of the issue. Mediaite has videos of Colbert's testimony, including the now-immortal "cornpacker" line, and further coverage. (Mediaite)

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  10. Entertainment

    RIAA: FM Radio in Everything

    Radio broadcasters and music labels have agreed that they'd very much enjoy having Congress make it mandatory for an FM radio receiver to be included in every electronic portable device.

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