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July 9, 2014
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The Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby [PDF] isn't very popular among Democrats — or a majority of Americans, or some federal judges, for that matter. Democrats in Congress are trying to do something about it, The New York Times reports, and their legislative band-aid may even pass in the Senate. "Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women's access to health care, I will," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the lead author of the Senate bill.

The 5-4 Supreme Court majority ruled that the Affordable Care Act's attempt to make all companies and non-church organizations provide their female employees with birth control coverage violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so the bill worked up by Senate and House Democrats essentially says: not anymore.

The Democrats' bill, introduced Tuesday, leaves the 1993 law intact, as well as the Obama administration's compromise exemption for religious nonprofits with objections to contraception, but says that despite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Hobby Lobby and other for-profit "employers may not discriminate against their female employees" in the coverage of preventive health services, and "shall not deny coverage of a specific health care item or service" that's required under federal law.

There's a certain air of political theater to the endeavor — "People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they're going to be treated unfavorably come November with the elections," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday, and the bill is very unlikely to pass in the House — but at least Congress is trying to reclaim some of its intended power. Peter Weber

10:50 a.m. ET

Archaeologists working at the site of the ancient city of Stagira in Central Macedonia claim to have discovered the tomb of the great philosopher Aristotle, according to multiple reports by the Greek media. An official announcement is expected to be made by the team at the Aristotle 2400 Years World Congress.

"I have no hard proof, but strong indications lead me to almost certainty," archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis told Sigmalive of the discovery.

Aristotle was born in Stagira in 384 BC and died in 322 BC in Chalcis, where many believed he was buried. However, two literary sources pointed archaeologists to Stagira, where Aristotle's ashes may have later been transferred.

The 2,400-year-old tomb stands in the middle of Stagira with 360-degree views:

The top of the dome is at 10 meters and there is a square floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. A semi-circle wall stands at two-meters in height. A pathway leads to the tomb’s entrance for those that wished to pay their respects. Other findings included ceramics from the royal pottery workshops and fifty coins dated to the time of Alexander the Great. [Greek Reporter]

The Byzantines later destroyed the tomb and constructed a tower in its place.

Aristotle was a student of Plato, and later tutored Alexander the Great. His work on the natural sciences and metaphysics as well as ethics, government, and the arts have a lasting impact to this day. Jeva Lange

10:38 a.m. ET
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Just hours after seemingly accepting Sen. Bernie Sanders' challenge for a debate, Donald Trump has already backed out, CBS News reports. On Thursday morning, Trump reportedly said he was just kidding when he agreed on Wednesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live to face off against Sanders.

Trump initially seemed keen on the idea because "it would have such high ratings," and he figured Sanders "would be easier to beat" than Hillary Clinton. Sanders had already agreed to the debate, tweeting he "look[s] forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary." Becca Stanek

10:33 a.m. ET
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The federal government is spending the great bulk of its technology budget maintaining old — indeed, sometimes wildly outdated — computer systems instead of staying up to date with current advances, finds a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"Specifically, 5,233 of the government's approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds" on running old systems, the GAO said, many of which are considered "moderate to high risk" or outright "obsolete."

Perhaps the most egregious example is the use of eight-inch floppy disks to control nukes. The Pentagon's Strategic Automated Command and Control System, which "coordinates the operational functions of the United States' nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts," operates on pre-1970s computers that still store data on giant floppy disks whose contents can be wiped with a magnet.

The Department of Defense says the floppy disks will be phased out by the end of 2017. Bonnie Kristian

10:28 a.m. ET
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Some politicians are painters. Others, the muses.

Bernie Sanders evidently falls in the latter category, as an entire pop-up installation of Sanders-themed media has temporarily taken over a famous vacant L.A. fixture, Johnie's Coffee Shop Restaurant:

"We view this as an art piece," said Howard Gold, who was busy on Wednesday afternoon painting and fixing at the former diner. It closed in 2000, but it is still available for film shoots.

The idea, said Mr. Gold, whose family owns the property, is to deck the place in Sanders murals, posters and diner-style logos — the Bernie Sanders chicken bucket faces Wilshire — then open on Thursday for a reception that is expected to draw artists, movie stars, and Sanders supporters. [The New York Times]

Anticipated attendees include actresses Shailene Woodley and Frances Fisher, as well as film producer and real-life inspiration for The Big Lebowski, Jeff Dowd. Kii Arens, who has done art for The Who and Radiohead, among other bands, is one of the contributing artists as well as Donny Miller.

See more of the art at The Hollywood Reporter. Jeva Lange

10:22 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump has reached the required 1,237 delegates to clinch the GOP nomination, according to a count by The Associated Press. Trump was pushed to victory by his win in the Washington state primary on Tuesday, and now has 1,238 delegates; other reports, such as one by CNN on Wednesday, have Trump just short of the required number. Unbound delegates exclusively told the AP they would support Trump, thereby tipping him to victory.

Trump became the presumptive nominee earlier this month after a major win in Indiana when his only remaining competitors chose to suspend their campaigns. Jeva Lange

10:15 a.m. ET
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Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has a vision for the future of the Republican Party, and he is describing it in language Marxists would recognize.

In an an interview with Bloomberg this week in which he commented that his "views are what everybody else’s views are," Trump answered a question about his plans for the GOP. "Five, 10 years from now — different party," he said. "You’re going to have a workers' party."

"Workers' Party" is a common name worldwide for political groups of a Marxist, socialist, communist, Leninist, Maoist, and/or Trotskyite persuasion. The single governing party of North Korea, for instance, is called the "Workers' Party of Korea." And here in the United States, the Communist Party USA was originally called the "Workers Party of America." Bonnie Kristian

9:19 a.m. ET
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As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wrestle over the fate of the Democratic Party and their congratulatory calls to one another after primary victories fade to a thing of the past, it can be difficult to remember a time when the two actually liked each other.

Even as some say Sanders risks cleaving the party by staying in the race — with others murmuring that he is threatening to hand the White House to Donald Trump — it was not so long ago when the two candidates considered each other with admiration:

The pair had something of an intellectual rapport. In a photo signed "Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1993," she wrote to Sanders, "Thanks for your commitment to real healthcare access for all Americans." Television footage showed Sanders standing directly over Clinton's left shoulder as she spoke on the topic at Dartmouth College. Even after their campaigns started going in different directions last year, they remained amiable. They ran into each other in the Amtrak Acela waiting room in New York City's Penn Station in June. "Bernie!" Clinton shouted across the room as he walked over to greet her. Sanders said quietly to an aide as they walked away, "Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I like her." [Time]

Still, if Sanders in fact loses to Clinton at the Philadelphia convention, as it appears he likely will, the terms of his surrender could get ugly. "Let's all remember, there is far more that unites us than divides us," Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson told Time — but perhaps these days, that's only wishful thinking. Jeva Lange

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