Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won a second-consecutive victory in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll Saturday, and it wasn't even close. Paul captured 31 percent of the vote, putting him well ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who came in second with 11 percent.
Unfortunately for Paul, CPAC's marquee event is largely an indicator of which candidate's supporters bothered to vote in a purely symbolic popularity contest, and it has almost no predictive value for future presidential primaries. Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), won the poll in 2010 and 2011, while other past winners who did not go on to win the White House, nor even the GOP primary, include Steve "flat tax" Forbes, Phil Gramm, Rudy Giuliani, and George Allen. Mitt Romney did win the poll four times, but he flopped in the 2008 GOP primary despite winning at CPAC that year and the year prior. Jon Terbush
At the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Episcopalians voted to allow religious weddings for gay couples.
Many dioceses allowed priests to perform civil same-sex weddings, but the law was officially changed with Wednesday's vote, The Associated Press reports. Under the new rule, gender-specific language is removed from church laws on marriage, with "the couple" replacing "husband and wife." Clergy members can also decline to perform same-sex ceremonies.
On Tuesday, the House of Bishops approved the resolution 129-26, with five abstaining, and it was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Deputies, the voting body of lay people and clergy, Wednesday. The Very Rev. Brian Baker of Sacramento said the House of Bishops prayed and debated the issue for five hours before their vote. "We have learned to not only care for, but care about one another," he told AP. "That mutual care was present in the conversations we had. Some people disagreed, some people disagreed deeply, but we prayed and we listened and we came up with compromises that we believe make room and leave no one behind." Catherine Garcia
A man was killed by a robot earlier this week at one of Volkswagen's German production plants.
The 22-year-old died Monday at the Baunatel plant about 62 miles north of Frankfurt, Volkswagen spokesman Heiko Hillwig said. The man was setting up the stationary robot with another team member when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate. Hillwig said the initial investigation points to human error as opposed to a problem with the robot, which is programmed to do different production tasks. The robot ordinarily operated in an area of the plant where it grabbed auto parts and manipulated them, The Associated Press reports.
A German news agency, dpa, is reporting that prosecutors are considering whether to press charges, and if so, against whom. The other contractor who was at the scene was not injured. Catherine Garcia
The Baltimore Police Department will install video cameras inside all of its vans, more than two months after the death of Freddie Gray.
Gray died in April, one week after he sustained severe injuries in the back of a police van. There was a camera inside the van, but it was meant for surveillance and wasn't working, Time reports. Gray's death sparked riots across Baltimore, and in addition to adding the cameras to record inside the vans, the Baltimore Police Department plans to review its riot gear, since some failed to work during the protests. By 2019, the department also plans to outfit every officer with a body camera. Catherine Garcia
In California, residential water use dropped a whopping 28.9 percent in May, the State Resource Control Board said Wednesday.
That was a major increase over the 13.6 percent water savings in April, compared to April 2013. "My first response is almost disbelief," Mark Gold of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability told the Los Angeles Times. "It is such an incredible number. These results are beyond encouraging; they're heartening. They make you realize that as a whole, people in urban areas are making the sacrifices necessary to get through this unprecedented drought."
On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ordered a mandatory 25 percent cut in urban water use due to the drought. "The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help us make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought," State Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a statement. "That said, we need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don’t know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't. If the drought continues beyond this year, we'll all be glad we did." Catherine Garcia
A man swimming off Ocracoke Island in North Carolina was pulled underwater by a gray shark on Wednesday and bit several times, authorities said.
The 68-year-old was in waist-deep water about 30 feet from the beach when a gray shark between 6 to 7 feet long pulled him under and bit his rib cage, hands, lower left leg, and hip, Reuters reports. The man was with his adult son, who was not injured. He was able to swim to shore, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park Service said on Facebook, and was stabilized on the beach before being flown to a hospital.
The incident follows two attacks Saturday off North Carolina's Outer Banks, and back to back attacks June 14 within two miles of each other on Oak Island. Catherine Garcia
"Smoke weed every Wednesday" could become a new mantra for members of Indiana's First Church of Cannabis, which held its first formal service today.
Indiana made waves a few months ago when it passed a controversial version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), banning state and local laws that could "substantially burden" religious freedom. Critics of RFRA were concerned it would permit discrimination against the LGBT community, using religion as justification. Though the legislation was later amended to prevent such occurrences, Bill Levin, founder and "Grand Poobah and Minister of Love," created the First Church of Cannabis as a way to test the law.
"Of course I'm going to test this law," said Levin, a religious smoker himself, in an interview with U.S. News. "We're building a church with the cornerstone of love, the way religions are supposed to be built.”
In the middle of Wednesday afternoon, when plenty of attendees apparently had time on their hands, the church held its first-ever service. The proceedings had many things a regular church-goer would expect — including a performance of "Amazing Grace", a collection, and even a sermon — though there were, of course, some eccentric flourishes (church leaders took shots of "Kool Aid" at one point).
— MichaelAnthonyAdams (@MichaelAdams317) July 1, 2015
— michelle pemberton (@MichelleRocket) July 1, 2015
— Matt McCutcheon (@matt_mccutcheon) July 1, 2015
The service is going longer than planned so it really is just like real church.
— Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (@AttyAbdul) July 1, 2015
Some things in this life are unforgivable. Peas in guacamole is one of them.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 1, 2015
Um... how about no?
Following the offending tweet from The New York Times, the internet has responded in the only way it knows how: with collective outrage.
Even the Texas GOP weighed in, calling The New York Times' suggestion a "war on Texas" (never mind that pretty much everything is a war on Texas):
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) July 1, 2015
Many others, however, were similarly offended.
Abolish the monarchy https://t.co/m9aRcEOfMo
— Caroline McCarthy (@caro) July 1, 2015
B E Never put Green peas H A Z In guacamole you weirdos
— delrayser (@delrayser) July 1, 2015
It's things like this that make me incapable of trust (and therefore incapable of love). https://t.co/KuRkRTzMyY
— Isaac Fitzgerald (@IsaacFitzgerald) July 1, 2015