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1:25 PM ET, June 23, 2015

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 Top Items: 
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
Rand Paul: Confederate Flag “Inescapably A Symbol Of Human Bondage And Slavery”  —  “... I think to every African-American in the country it's a symbolism of slavery to them and now it's a symbol of murder for this young man and so I think it's times to put it in a museum.”  —  Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
RELATED:
David Edwards / Raw Story:
Mike Huckabee calls for less dialog on race and more ‘conversions’ for Jesus: God already ‘solved’ racism  —  DON'T MISS STORIES.  FOLLOW RAW STORY!  —  Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declared on Tuesday that racism had been solved.  —  The day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley …
MJ Lee / CNN:
First on CNN: Walmart to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise  —  (CNN)Walmart, the country's largest retailer, will remove all Confederate flag merchandise from its stores, the company told CNN Monday.  —  The announcement is the latest indication that the flag, a symbol of the slave-holding South …
Clay Chandler / The Clarion Ledger:
Gunn: Confederate part of state flag ‘needs to be removed’
Washington Post:
While GOP candidates stammer, Clinton directly confronts race
Suffolk University:
NH GOP Poll Shows Bush the Early Leader, While Trump Advances  —  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (14 percent) leads businessman Donald Trump (11 percent) in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary contest, according to a poll from the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
RELATED:
Patrick O'Connor / Wall Street Journal:
WSJ/NBC Poll Finds Hillary Clinton in a Strong Position
Reid J. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
Trump Surges in Popularity in N.H., Taking Second Place in Suffolk Poll
Discussion: The Hill and Outside the Beltway
Peter Schweizer / New York Post:
‘Clinton Cash’ author demolishes Hillary's self-defense
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Caroline Bologna / The Huffington Post:
Charleston Dad's Viral Photo Captures Love In The Aftermath Of Tragedy  —  On Sunday June 21, local parishioners from churches across the Charleston area took part in “Charleston United,” an emotional prayer and worship gathering to honor the victims of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting.
RELATED:
John Nettles Jr / Facebook:   #charlestonstrong #prayforcharleston  —  This picture was hard …
New York Times:
The Roberts Court's Surprising Move Leftward  —  This term so far shows potential for a greater percentage of liberal decisions than any since 1969.  —  Decisions … The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been a conservative court.
Discussion: Liberaland
RELATED:
Damon Root / Hit & Run:
The Kelo Debacle Turns 10
Discussion: Cafe Hayek and Washington Post
Orange County Register:   Ten years later, still learning the lessons of Kelo
Danielle Burger / Bloomberg Business:
Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Since Obamacare Implementation  —  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped many Americans get health insurance, including about 10 million through new markets with government subsidies, and millions more through an expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor.
RELATED:
Peter Suderman / Politico:
Why the GOP Can't Win on Health Care
Discussion: EconLog and Hit & Run
Mark Blumenthal / The Huffington Post:
The Surprising Reason So Many People Still Don't Like Obamacare
Gillian Telling / EW.com:
EIGHT IS ENOUGH ACTOR DICK VAN PATTEN HAS DIED  —  Dick Van Patten, the star of TV's Eight is Enough, has died.  He was 86.  —  “I am sorry to report this sad news,” his rep said in a statement released to media Tuesday.  “His family will not be doing any press at this time.”
Andres Jauregui / The Huffington Post:
KFC ‘Fried Rat’ Is In Fact Chicken, Lab Test Confirms  —  It doesn't look appetizing, but it's definitely chicken.  —  Last week, KFC was forced to confront a customer's accusations that he'd been served a fried rat in a three-piece meal at a Los Angeles store.
Foreign Policy:
Hostage Review Will Make It Easier for Families to Pay Ransoms  —  The White House is about to change how Washington tries to save captured Americans, but the moves won't go as far as many relatives of U.S. hostages want them to.  —  President Barack Obama's administration will reassure …
Public Religion Research Institute:
Survey |  Most Americans Believe Protests Make the Country Better; Support Decreases Dramatically if Protesters are Identified as Black  —  June 2015 PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey  —  ▶ Read the topline questionnaire, including the survey methodology, here.  ▶ Read the news release here.
Alastair Jamieson / NBC News:
Prison Worker Joyce Mitchell to Husband: ‘I Was Over My Head’  —  New York prison worker Joyce Mitchell told her husband she was in over her head as part of a plot to free two killers who remain on the run, he told NBC News in an exclusive interview.  —  Speaking to TODAY's Matt Lauer …
Sylvia Patrycja / Hollywood Reporter:
Composer James Horner Dies in Plane Crash: Hollywood Reacts  —  For his work on the 1997 best picture winner Titanic, directed by James Cameron, Horner captured the Oscar for original dramatic score, and he nabbed another Academy Award for original song (shared with lyricist Will Jennings) …
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Senate Hands a Victory to Obama on Trade Pact  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted to end debate on legislation granting President Obama enhanced negotiating powers to complete a major Pacific trade accord, virtually ensuring final passage on Wednesday of Mr. Obama's top legislative priority …
Scott Wong / The Hill:
Punished GOP lawmaker stirs new talk of Boehner rebellion  —  A band of House conservatives is discussing whether to retaliate against GOP leaders for punishing rank-and-file lawmakers who voted against a procedural vote on trade earlier this month.  —  Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) …
Discussion: Political Wire
Charles Fleming / Los Angeles Times:
California's black license plates are back in production  —  The black license plates used on California cars from 1963 to 1969 are back, thanks to a piece of legislation sponsored by Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Gatto and 7,500 paying customers.  —  The California Department …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter:
Donora groom charged with assaulting his new bride
Discussion: Daily Mail and ABC News
Ben Kamisar / The Hill:
Obama laments ‘distorted impression’ of Muslims
Julie Hayden / FOX31 Denver:
Brighton police officer's song calms little girl at crash scene that killed her dad
Discussion: Fox News Insider and KTLA
Stephanie Smith / Page Six:
MSNBC staff chanted ‘F- -k Brian Williams’ at party
 Earlier Items: 
Casey Michel / Politico:
Putin's Plot to Get Texas to Secede
Andy Puzder / The Hill:
More work, less welfare