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People post political comments on Facebook for 'self-affirmation,' study says

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Growing tired of the endless Bernie memes or Trump posts on your Facebook feed?

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A set of studies have found the reason why your social media connections feel the need to post their views.

The Huffington Post reports that a Harvard study found that sharing personal beliefs or feelings on social media works as a release for people because it rewards them for letting something out rather than keeping it in. “Expressing beliefs that are important to you functions as a self-affirmation,” psychology professor Joshua Hart of Union College told The Huffington Post. “It reminds you of the values that are central to your identity, and this gives you a psychological boost.”

A study by the Pew Research Center found that the people posting their opinions on social media are “less likely to share their opinions in face-to-face settings” because people are more likely to feel safer giving out their retorts when behind a computer screen rather than in person. “They’re expressing themselves in a forum where they’re likely to get a reaction, whether it’s the one they want or not,” Hart told The Huffington Post.

Hart said most people who post are also looking for the approval of others and “become more confident in their beliefs” when more people like, retweet or comment on the post. The Huffington Post said that there is not very much difference between Republicans, Democrats and independents regarding the number of posts with the leading posts on your own feed most likely factoring in based on your location.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

California lawmaker proposes parents get paid time off for kids' school activities

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Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Los Angeles, proposed a bill last week that would give parents paid time off from work to attend school activities for their children, according to KTLA.

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The bill, AB 2405, would allow parents three paid days off a year, or 24 hours.

“Being involved in your child’s education shouldn’t be limited by your family’s income, and it shouldn’t come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills," Gatto said in a news release Thursday.

"You shouldn’t have to be a cast member of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ to be involved in your child’s education," he said.

The release cites a 2013 EdSource survey in which 24 percent of parents with incomes of $30,000 or less described themselves as "very involved" in their children's education.

The bill would update California's existing Family-School and Partnership Act.

Passed in 1995, the act currently allows parents, grandparents and guardians to take up to 40 hours of unpaid time off for school activities and related emergencies. The time off is protected.

AB 2405 would require 24 or those hours be paid time off.

"Too many parents are prevented from participating in their children's education due to economic barriers," Gatto said. "Parents shouldn't have to choose between paying the bills and being involved in their child's education."

According to Gatto's spokesman, the legislation should be referred to a committee hearing  next month, followed by a vote on it by the Assembly.

It will go to the state Senate if it passes.

CNN Money reported that, according to the spokesman, small businesses with 25 employees or less would not be required to follow this law, if passed.

Selma to Montgomery: John Lewis live-tweets his memories

Civil rights icon John Lewis took to Twitter Monday to remember the historic Selma to Montgomery marches.

March 7 marked the 51st anniversary of the marches, which the congressman remembers as the “highest point” in the civil rights movement.

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In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution ahead of the 50th anniversary of Selma, Lewis recalled filling his backpack that day with an apple, an orange, two books, a toothbrush and toothpaste. It was preparation for a cell, not a fractured skull.

Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, tweeted a series of photos and personal memories from the march.

“I was hit in the head by a State Trooper. I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die,” Lewis tweeted with the hashtag #Selma51.

<iframe src="//storify.com/ajc/rep-john-lewis-remembers-selma/embed?border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/ajc/rep-john-lewis-remembers-selma.js?border=false"></script>[View the story "Rep. John Lewis remembers Selma" on Storify]

Super Tuesday highlights

A look at who won and who lost on Super Tuesday. Staff video by Anthony Shoemaker.

Super Tuesday highlights: Who won, who lost?

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each won seven states on Super Tuesday, expanding their delegate leads in the race for president.

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On the Republican side Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was able to hold his home state and take Oklahoma. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio scored his first win of the election in Minnesota.

On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont, but also scored wins in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich scored no wins on Super Tuesday. He had second place finishes in Vermont and Massachusetts, but came in last in six states, behind Ben Carson.

Here are the highlights of Super Tuesday:

  • Donald Trump won Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, Vermont and Georgia.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won Texas and Oklahoma.
  • Hillary Clinton won Massachusetts, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia’s Democratic primaries.
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont and Oklahoma. He won Vermont with more than 85 percent of the vote.
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won Minnesota.

Both Trump and Clinton sounded like they were moving on to the general election after their Tuesday wins.

“It’s clear tonight that the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower,” Clinton said.

Trump, too, had his eye on a general election match-up with the former secretary of state, casting her as part of a political establishment that has failed Americans.

“She’s been there for so long,” Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “If she hasn’t straightened it out by now, she’s not going to straighten it out in the next four years.”

John Kasich, who came up winless Tuesday, thanked supporters early in the night at a Super Tuesday rally in Mississippi.

Kasich has been trying to build off his surprising second place finish in the New Hampshire primary last month.

He has yet to win any states. His speech Tuesday was full of family remembrances and tributes to his supporters but very little discussion of the night’s results.

Rubio, speaking at a Super Tuesday rally at his hometown in Miami, criticized Trump.

Rubio said that over the last five days he has begun “to unmask the true nature” of Trump, whom he called a “con artist.”

He said his recent attacks on Trump have given his campaign momentum and said that Trump did not represent the legacy of the “party of Reagan.”

Here’s how each state played out Tuesday night:

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ALABAMA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won big in Alabama. She defeated Sanders 79-18 percent. 53 delegates (35 district, 18 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump was announced the winner in Alabama as soon as the polls closed. He won 43 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz was a distant second at 21 and Rubio right behind him at 18. John Kasich came in last with just 4 percent. 50 delegates (21 district, 29 statewide).

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ALASKA

Democrats: No election for Democrats tuesday

Republicans: Ted Cruz defeated Donald Trump, 36-33 percent in Alaska. The race was called at nearly 4 a.m. ET. 28 delegates.

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AMERICAN SAMOA

Democrats: It’s a win for Hillary Clinton in American Samoa.

The South Pacific island chain held its caucus Tuesday.

Clinton won 73 percent of 223 votes cast to earn four of the six delegates at stake. Bernie Sanders picked up two delegates.

American Samoa is one of five U.S. territories that cast votes in primaries and caucuses to decide the Democratic presidential nominee, even though those residents aren’t eligible to vote in the November general election.

The island chain has a population of 54,000 and is about a six hour flight from Hawaii

Republicans: No race

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ARKANSAS

Democrats: She used to be the first lady of this state, so she was announced the winner here as soon as the polls closed. She won 66 percent of the vote to just 30 percent for Sanders. 32 delegates (21 district, 11 statewide)

Republicans: Trump won a close race here defeating Cruz, 33-30 percent. Rubio was at 25. Carson at 6 and Kasich at just 4 percent. 40 delegates (12 district, 28 statewide)

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COLORADO

Democrats: Bernie Sanders scored a big win in this swing state Tuesday night. It looks like he will get more than 55 percent of the vote here against Clinton. 66 delegates (43 district, 23 statewide)

Republicans: No election for Republicans today.

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GEORGIA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won Georgia early, as soon as the polls were closed. It looks like she will win more than 70 percent of the vote here. She won every county in the state except for Echols County on the Florida border. (67 district, 35 statewide)

Republicans: The race was called for Donald Trump as soon as the polls closed. The billionaire is set to get the bulk of the 76 delegates up for grabs in Georgia, the second-biggest trove of the sweep of states that are holding primaries or caucuses on Tuesday. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are in a close contest for second. Kasich is in last behind Ben Carson. Rubio managed to win the four counties in the Atlanta metro area. 76 delegates (42 district, 34 statewide)

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MASSACHUSETTS

Democrats: It went late into the night, but Clinton was able to declare victory in Massachusetss around 11:15 p.m. Looks like she will have just over 50 percent of the vote. 91 delegates (59 district, 32 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump won easily in Massachusetts taking nearly 50 percent of the vote and winning every county in the state. Rubio and Kasich are in a close fight for second. 42 delegates

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MINNESOTA

Democrats: Sanders scored a big win here defeating Clinton 60-40 percent. He won every district in the state. 77 delegates (50 district, 27 statewide)

Republicans: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won his first state of the entire election here defeating Ted Cruz, 37-29 percent. Minnesota also handed Trump his first third place defeat of the entire election. John Kasich came in last with just 6 percent of the vote. 38 delegates (24 district, 14 statewide)

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OKLAHOMA

Democrats: Sanders won every county in Oklahoma but two and scored a big win here defeating Clinton, 52-42 percent. 38 delegates (25 district, 13 statewide)

Republicans: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was able to win his neighboring state. He beat Trump there 34-28 percent. Rubio came in third with 26 percent. Kasich was last, behind Ben Carson with just 4 percent. 43 delegates (15 district, 28 statewide)

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TENNESSEE

Democrats: Clinton was called the winner in Tennessee early, as soon as the polls closed. She has nearly 66 percent of the vote here. 67 delegates (44 district, 23 statewide)

Republicans: Trump was called the winner early in Tennessee and won every county except for Williamson, near Nashville. That one went to Rubio. But Cruz came in second here. 58 delegates (27 district, 31 statewide)

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TEXAS

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won Texas big Tuesday taking at least 65 percent of the vote. 222 delegates (145 district, 77 statewide)

Republicans: The crown jewel of the night and Ted Cruz was able to hold his home state. Cruz won 44 percent of the vote. Trump was a distant second at 27 percent. Kasich came in fourth, behind Rubio. 155 delegates (108 district, 47 statewide)

—-

VERMONT

Democrats: Bernie Sanders won his home state as soon as the polls closed. He received more than 85 percent of the vote there.

Sanders, celebrating his victory pledged to “win many hundreds of delegates” on Super Tuesday.

After thanking the raucous crowd, which periodically chanted his name, he touted how far his campaign had come in the last 10 months.

And he vowed to “take our fight” to the 35 states that would have not yet voted by night’s end.

He pledged to enact judicial reform, fix the nation’s “broken” campaign finance system and he, once again, pledged a “political revolution” and said that he and his supporters would stand up to “billionaire class” that dominates the nation’s political system. 16 delegates.

Republicans: John Kasich almost scored his first win of the election here, but ended up losing to Trump, 33-30 percent. The race remained too close to call for most of the night, but gave Trump his seventh Super Tuesday win. 16 delegates

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VIRGINIA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton was announced the winner in Virginia as soon as the polls closed. She defeated Sanders, 64 percent to 35 percent. 95 delegates (62 district, 33 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump was declared the winner around 9 p.m. with Marco Rubio a close second. Trump defeated Rubio, 35-32 percent. Cruz was third with 17 percent and Kasich was fourth with 9 percent. 49 delegates.

Kasich: Debates are 'the dumbest thing going'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week and said the current presidential debates were “the dumbest thing going.”

“It’s sort of like tell your entire life story in 30 seconds,” Kasich said of the debates. “Harry Truman couldn’t get elected this way. The thing I love are the town halls.” (Scroll down for video.)

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It shows. Kasich is regarded by many to have had his best performance yet during Thursday night's CNN Republican town hall.

During that event, Kasich described what it was like to lose his parents suddenly as an adult, and the dark place he found himself. He credited his faith with getting him through it.

That is why a moment he had earlier in the day with a Georgia college student was particularly poignant. 

At a town hall event in South Carolina, 21-year-old Brett Smith told Kasich that he had recently experienced a series of harships, including the suicide of a friend and the divorce of his parents.

Smith told Kasich, “I would really appreciate one of those hugs you’ve been talking about.”

Kasich told CNN's town hall audience on Thursday that he has heard stories like Smith's all across the country.  

>>If you're on mobile, click here to watch video of Kasich and Colbert.

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.

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Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

Video: Orlando's fastest, tallest and longest new roller coaster

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SeaWorld whetted the appetite of thrill-seekers this week with the unveiling of a custom-built Mako lead car that will whisk guests through Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.

Mako, a 200-foot-tall coaster, is expected to open in time for the summer tourist rush. Its features include a top speed of 73 mph and 4,760 feet of track -- nearly a mile long. The coaster and surrounding area will be themed to a shark environment, providing a learning experience along with extreme thrills.

The sleek design of the car was inspired by the real Mako, one of the fastest species of shark. The new ride will be considered a "hypercoaster," meaning riders will experience a weightless feeling as the Mako zooms through hills and tight turns.

Features of the coaster train announced Tuesday include:

• The custom car, which was designed as a collaborative effort between SeaWorld's animal experts and ride engineers. Its authentic features include five gills on each side, correct eye placement and a hydro-dynamic look.

• Speedy wheels made of a special compound that reduces friction, providing a smooth ride from start to finish.

• Upper-body mobility for guests, who will be held down by only a lap guard on their lower body, allowing for plenty of "airtime."

• A total of 21 cars -- three trains of seven cars each.

A 2-acre area of the park will be themed around sharks, including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, themed gift shops, shark and shipwreck decor, and educational experiences, according to WFTV. Guests in the Shark Realm will feel like they’re underwater among a school of sharks that have taken over a shipwrecked reef.

SeaWorld is pushing thrill rides in an attempt to recover from a decline in attendance in the wake of the documentary film Blackfish, which caused controversy over the treatment of the park's whales. The park also faces stiff competition for tourist dollars from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

With the addition of Mako, the theme park says it will have five thrill rides: three distinctly different intense coasters, plus two family coasters, WFTV reported.

But an educational element will remain: In the plaza of the shark-themed land, guests will learn about the impact of humans and why the animals are critical to the environment.

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family.

Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post.

Mitchell’s ex-wife, Anita Mitchell, is a former Republican Party chairman for Palm Beach County and is currently former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s Palm Beach County campaign chairman.

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Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the moon. He was part of a three-man crew, with Alan Shepard Jr. and Stuart Roosa, who took part in the Apollo 14 space mission. It was the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo program and they became the third ever to land on the moon. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on the mission.

Apollo 14 launched just over 45 years ago, on Jan. 31, 1971. The nine-day mission ended Feb. 9 when the crew landed in the South Pacific Ocean.

Unlike other astronauts who tend to live reclusive lives, Mitchell remained in the public eye.

In 2011, he turned over the camera he took to the moon to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against him in that same year, saying he stole the camera. Mitchell denied the allegations and said if it wasn’t for him, the camera would have never made it back to Earth.

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Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1930 but considered his hometown Artesia, N.M., near Roswell. Mitchell was open about his views on the paranormal and psychic, and he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which sponsors research into the nature of consciousness, or studying the unexplained. In his 1996 memoir, “The Way of the Explorer,” he described the experience on his return to Earth as life-changing.

“What I experienced during that three-day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity,” he said.

CDC: Expect to see more Zika cases in U.S.

The United States will see an increasing number of travel-related cases of the Zika virus, as the epidemic that is ravaging Brazil continues to spread, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Among them will likely be pregnant women, the population most vulnerable to the devastating affects of the virus.

>>Related: The CDC says pregnant women should not travel to these countries

“I wish we knew more about Zika today, I wish we could do more about Zika today,” said CDC Directer Tom Frieden in a morning press conference. “It’s a new phenomenon.”

Frieden said the U.S. should “expect a lot more travel related cases” as the weeks and months go by. This of particular concern as mosquito season approaches across the Deep South. The virus is spread by two kinds of mosquitoes typically found in the region.

Frieden offered his strongest comments yet about the link between the insect-borne virus and the birth defect, microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and cognitive problems. He said tests on fetal brain tissue have showed the presence of the virus, but it’s unclear at what point in a pregnancy a fetus can be infected with Zika.

In the coming months, as children are born to women who may have traveled to the affected Caribbean and South American regions early in their pregnancies, more cases of microcephaly will likely appear in other countries, he said.

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“We’re not aware of any other mosquito-borne disease with such devastating outcomes” of birth defects, Frieden said. “It’s scary for women who are pregnant or are considering pregnancy.”

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday, the CDC is now advising any man who has travel to one of the affected countries, to use condoms during all sexual encounters with their pregnant partner for the duration of the pregnancy. Either wear a latex condom during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or abstain from sex completely, the new guidelines suggest.

On Friday the agency recommended any pregnant woman who has traveled to one if the affected countries be tested for the presence of the virus between two to 12 weeks of her return home. And no pregnant woman should travel to any of the affected countries while she is pregnant.

While women who think they may have been exposed to the virus should get tested, Frieden admitted that testing kits for the virus are in short supply and will not be available at the offices of most health care providers.

“Not everyone who wants a test will be able to get it but we’re working as fast as we can,” Frieden said. “We’re rolling out test kits to distribute.”

Pregnant women will be first to receive them.

The CDC already has teams of epidemiologists in Brazil working with doctors there. More CDC teams are going next week and will be deployed to other areas where the disease is taking hold.

Several news outlets reported on Friday that Brazilian researchers, where the outbreak began, have found traces of the virus not only in semen, but urine and saliva. Frieden said he had not yet seen that research and was cautious about the report.

“We have no data to support urine or saliva,” transmission at this point, Frieden said.

The virus departs the blood within a week leaving antibodies to the virus. Because only one in five people have symptoms of the virus, tests try to detect those antibodies to determine exposure. Researchers have yet to determine how long it persists in semen.

Apart from condoms and abstinence, Frieden said the best way to protect against the disease is to avoid mosquito bites. And as temperatures and mosquito populations rise, municipalities will have to examine their mosquito abatement policies, he added.

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