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There are some epic public apologies out there: the church's apology to Galileo, for instance, or Tiger Woods' apology to his wife.

This one, below, is a personal favorite.

But even with the Bill Clinton lower-lip bite, this one pales in comparison to the historic mea culpa issued this weekend.

About McCain's 'beacon of liberty' vision of America

17 hours ago
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Senate TV/Handout via Reuters

Sen. John McCain described America as a "beacon of liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings," in an impassioned address on Tuesday.

So what does that sound like to the rest of the world, especially in the Donald Trump era?

"In countries like China, countries like Russia, they point to America's political woes at the moment and they say, 'You see, we told you this messy Western democracy, it was never a good idea. They can't take decisions. They're completely stuck,'" says David Rennie, DC bureau chief for The Economist.

In the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, CEOs of U.S. health care companies have made a lot of money.

Their compensation far outstrips the wage growth of nearly all Americans, according to reporter Bob Herman, who published an analysis this week of "the sky-high pay of health care CEOs" for the online news site, Axios.

The 'Wild West on steroids' cools off

18 hours ago
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Jason Margolis

The small town of Williston, North Dakota, became an international destination a few years back — people came streaming in from across the globe to cash in on the area’s oil boom. Improvements in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, turned the small, conservative, rural outpost into one of the nation’s fastest growing economies.

After landing at the tiny Williston airport, many new arrivals made their way next door to Lonnie’s Roadhouse Café.

A new report from TriMet says there were 1,247 alleged crimes reported out of nearly 99 million rides taken on the transit system in 2016.

The Portland area transit agency released its annual crime report Wednesday morning.

Offenses reported fall into three categories: crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. The majority of offenses — more than half of those reported — were committed against property. That includes situations where a rider may have left an item on a train and not been able to retrieve it later.

At 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, inmate and convicted murderer Ronald Phillips was pronounced dead, executed via lethal injection by the state of Ohio — the first time the state has carried out a death sentence in more than three years.

Phillips' death at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville may mark the end of one chapter in the state's battle to find a legally permissible means of execution – and the state may soon begin carrying out many more death sentences.

Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.

The Texas Senate on Wednesday gave tentative approval to a measure that pre-empts local ordinances on drivers’ mobile phone usage, effectively rolling back safety laws in the 45 Texas cities where local governments enforce stricter regulations than the state. 

The first documented locally acquired case of Zika in the continental U.S this year has been detected in Hidalgo County, at the southern tip of Texas. There's no indication this is the start of a large-scale outbreak.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said a person who lives in Hidalgo County, which borders Mexico, tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus.

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Louisiana Republican Congressman Steve Scalise is out of the hospital. Scalise was shot during a baseball practice with his colleagues last month. He was released from a Washington hospital yesterday, and he is now in a rehab center. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

You may have read that Bigfoot was found dead on a lake shore in New Mexico this summer. He wasn't. You can learn about that hoax here from the myth-busting and fact-checking site Snopes.

You may have heard NASA predicted the Earth will endure 15 straight days of darkness this fall. It didn't. Snopes has that covered too — debunking the claim when it first appeared in 2015 and again in May when it resurfaced.

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Wyden Bill Encourages Outdoor Recreation On Public Lands

19 hours ago

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to simplify the permitting process for outdoor recreation on public lands.

The Oregon Democrat says getting outdoors often requires obtaining permits, parking passes and camping fees that can be confusing, complicated and time-consuming.

He wants to cut the red tape around access to public lands to encourage outdoor recreation, giving an economic boost to surrounding communities.

After a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., Federal Reserve policymakers say they'll keep their benchmark rate in a range between 1 percent and 1.25 percent for the time being.

Fed officials said "job gains have been solid" and the U.S. "labor market continues to strengthen" in the statement after a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

The officials described economic activity as "rising moderately." They noted that unemployment rate has declined since the beginning of the year. The Fed is close to meeting its mandate to maximize employment.

In the new play TWENTYEIGHT, "six people ... come from different cities all over the country to this place called Settlement 40 where they build a space shuttle that's going to take them to a place called the Liberian Space Station, which was marketed to black families as a seperatist utopia," explains playwright Tyler English-Beckwith. "And [it's] set to the music of Kanye West."

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M–Corpus Christi is going from the Gulf Stream to the TV screen.

The coastal university will be featured on the  "Shark Week" television series Wednesday, displaying artificial reefs for the Gulf Coast that are designed to attract wildlife in areas where the ocean floor is largely made up of mud or sand.

Bundy Sympathizer Sentenced For Stealing Machine Gun

20 hours ago

A federal judge in Eugene on Wednesday sentenced a supporter of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation on weapons charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Michael Emry, 55, of John Day, to two and a half years in federal prison and three years of supervised release.

Fifteen immigrant rights activists were arrested Wednesday after blocking traffic at the intersection of 15th Street and Congress Avenue during a sit-in to protest Attorney General Ken Paxton's push to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Texas women would have to pay a separate health insurance premium to get coverage for non-emergency abortions under a bill tentatively passed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton, the Conroe Republican who is the lead author of the bill, said opponents of abortion should not be forced to pay for the procedure through their insurance plans and employers should be able to choose whether to include abortions in their health coverage.

From Texas Standard:

Mayors from across the state headed to Austin on Wednesday to meet with Gov. Greg Abbott over concerns about efforts to pass measures that would replace local laws and regulations with statewide ones. 

From Texas Standard:

In a series of blockbuster tweets this morning, President Donald trump wrote that transgender individuals won’t be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

Japanese scientists have genetically engineered a chrysanthemum flower that is "true blue" — a color that has long eluded flower breeders and researchers.

Blue has proved a challenge to produce in many other popular flowers, including roses, carnations and lilies.

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