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Majority leader has tactic up sleeve


Washington – Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated Wednesday he’s willing to move sweeping health care legislation through the Senate with a procedural maneuver that would block a GOP filibuster.

The prospect of the controversial tactic has already ignited Republicans’ ire, and key Senate Democratic chairmen have said they don’t want to do it.

At issue is a so-called reconciliation bill, which could pass with a simple majority of 51 votes, without Democrats fearing a GOP filibuster.

Revising health care via reconciliation has been viewed favorably by House Democrats. The House Budget Committee included language providing for the method in its annual budget resolution released Wednesday.

Anna Nicole Smith case reopened

Fort Lauderdale, Fla – The Broward County, Fla., State Attorney’s Office said Wednesday it is taking a fresh look at the death of Anna Nicole Smith, which was blamed on an accidental drug overdose.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after California authorities arrested the former Playboy Playmate’s boyfriend and two doctors on charges they illegally conspired to provide Smith with thousands of prescription pills. Broward prosecutors are examining California officials’ evidence to see “where it might lead in relation to Ms. Smith’s death,” said Ron Ishoy, a Broward State Attorney’s Office spokesman.

Smith, 39, collapsed Feb. 8, 2007, in her room at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., and was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Protocols followed for alleged shooter

Oakland, Calif. – A preliminary report on the fatal shooting of four Oakland police officers found Wednesday that supervision of the alleged gunman, Lovelle Mixon, was handled appropriately by the state’s parole division.

The details of the review were contained in a letter from Inspector General David R. Shaw to Matthew L. Cate, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The review of parole by the state Office of the Inspector General concluded that agents followed protocols not only in supervising Mixon but in providing job assistance and drug-testing.

When Mixon, 26, missed appointments with his parole officer, the report found, he was listed as a parolee at large, and the necessary authorities were contacted and officials brought in the Fugitive Apprehension Team to search for him.


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