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Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Santorum leads Romney in latest Ohio poll


Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum still has a small lead over rival Mitt Romney in the latest poll of likely Republican primary voters in Ohio, though the gap between the two men has shrunk since Monday.

Conducted by Quinnipiac University, the poll released Friday found Santorum leads the former Massachusetts governor 35 percent to 31 percent among likely Republican voters, compared to a poll released Monday showing Santorum with 36 percent to Romney's 29 percent.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said a third of Ohio Republican voters told pollsters they might change their mind before March 6, when Republicans in ten states choose who they want to take on President Obama in November.

In addition to the Buckeye state, voters in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia head to the polls on "Super Tuesday," as the early March contest has come to be known. Ohio is considered the most important of the states as it will be crucial for the Republican candidate to win Ohio in the general election seven months from now.

Obama on Iran: 'I don't bluff'


President Obama's goal in upcoming talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to persuade him that the United States "has Israel's back" so that Israel has no need to rush toward air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, the president said in a newly published interview.

In a meeting at the White House on Monday, the president told journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, he will try to persuade the Israeli leader that an attack now would backfire at a time when Iran is under increasing international pressure.

In an interview granted earlier this week and posted on the Atlantic magazine's website Friday morning, Goldberg reported that Obama is dismissive of a strategy of containment as unworkable and called it "unacceptable" for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Obama said he plans to tell Netanyahu that he will order military strikes against Iran's nuclear program if the current international sanctions are not successful in deterring its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The possibility of an American strike against Iran is a serious one, Goldberg reported.

Firewall Fail: As Super Tuesday Nears, No End in Sight to GOP Primary Fight


Super Tuesday will not live up to its name this year. In past presidential primaries, the first Tuesday in March was the decisive day when so many big states held their nominating contests that it almost served as a nationwide primary. But when 10 states hold their presidential preference polls a week from today, it’s more likely to muddle the picture further than to be decisive.

Of the 2,286 delegates who will attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa, 419, or less than one in five, will be selected next week, and those are allocated by convoluted rules that bear only a limited relation to the respective states’ political influence or population (though they do tend to reward solidly Republican areas.) Thus, Oklahoma has more delegates than Massachusetts, even though the Bay State not only has nearly twice the population than Oklahoma but more Republican voters as well.

The states at stake next week:


Ohio has long been a battleground in general elections, and it will also be fiercely contested by Republicans next week. Newt Gingrich has been campaigning in the state for the better part of a month, even spending caucus night in Minnesota and Colorado on Feb. 7 in the Buckeye State. Although Romney has the support of much of the state’s Republican establishment, he suffered an embarrassing defection there last week when Mike DeWine, the GOP Attorney General and former U.S. senator, announced that he was shifting his support to Rick Santorum.

Why the GOP Won’t Win the Senate


When the votes were counted, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe stood alone, the only Republican to oppose a hotly contested amendment that would have granted employers the right to withhold insurance coverage for any health service they find objectionable for religious or moral reasons. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell runs a tight ship, and that was one of the reasons Snowe announced earlier this week that she is ending her campaign for reelection and leaving the Senate. As one of the few moderates left in the Republican caucus, she had grown tired of the pressure to always toe the line. Snowe’s isolation was stark as the amendment was voted down, 51 to 48: almost all Democrats were on one side and Republicans on the other.

The tight tally “is just another sign of polarization,” says Jack Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College. “The center is a lonely place and getting lonelier with every election.”

In the lead-up to the vote, Republicans portrayed the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act” as an effort to keep government out of health-care decisions while Democrats said it was so broadly written that employers citing moral objections would be empowered to cut off everything from prenatal care for children of single mothers to HIV screening. When Snowe went public with her decision to vote against the measure, the question was whether other GOP moderates would follow in her footsteps. None did, not even Susan Collins, her fellow home-state senator. The two women, who typically vote in lockstep, are known as the “Maine twins.”

Republicans looked to Snowe to provide political cover on thorny social issues, and Democrats knew she could generally be counted on to bring along a handful of additional Republican votes once she was persuaded on an issue. Her support of ending the ban on gays in the military was key and she helped persuade Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown to vote with Democrats on the issue. He is up for reelection in November and looking for ways to demonstrate independence from his party in a state that votes Democratic in a presidential election year. Brown though stuck with his party on the so-called Blunt Amendment, named after its principle sponsor, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Britain warns of 'a day of reckoning' for Syrian regime amid reports of executions

Source: CNN

(CNN) -- The opposition accused Syrian forces of executing 10 people Friday in a shattered rebel stronghold in Homs as Britain's leader warned President Bashar al-Assad's regime will face a "day of reckoning."

The harsh rebuke by British Prime Minister David Cameron came the same day an aid agency said truckloads of food and medical supplies arrived in Homs and was bound for Baba Amr, the flashpoint neighborhood in a nearly yearlong uprising that has left thousands dead.

"Above all, what I think matters is building the evidence and the picture so we hold this criminal regime to account, and to make sure it is held to account for crimes that it is committing against its people," Cameron told reporters outside a meeting of leaders of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

"And one day, no matter how long it takes, there will be a day of reckoning for this dreadful regime."

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/02/world/meast/syria-unrest/index.html

Florida mulls outlawing Shariah, other foreign law


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A measure to ban the use of foreign laws in domestic courtrooms is progressing in Florida's statehouse, one of dozens of similar efforts across the country that critics call an unwarranted campaign driven by fear of Muslims.

Forty such bills are being pursued in 24 states, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a movement backers say is a response to a glaring hole in legal protections for Americans. Opponents say the bills simply address a made-up threat and could threaten agreements made under Jewish or other religious law.

"There have been all sorts of wild accusations about what this bill does," said Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, who sponsored the Senate bill in Florida. "This is very clear, very simple: In American courts we need American laws and no other."

The Florida measure passed the House on Thursday 92-24. It awaits a full vote in the Senate.

*end of excerpt*

My state has now officially gone clinically psychotic.

D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’


Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.

Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.

“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’ ” she recalled Tuesday.

She reacted with stunned silence. Her anger and outrage have now led her and members of her family to demand that Guarnizo be removed from his ministry.

Al Franken Flags Torture Program Architect at NDAA Hearing


Yesterday we told you that Steven Bradbury — one of the top legal architects of the Bush administration’s torture program — would be testifying at the first Senate hearing about the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). (For more background about the hearing, read this post).

An important moment was when Sen. Al Franken took the opportunity yesterday to publicly condemn the torture program and question the credibility of Steven Bradbury's testimony. Franken said that he was disappointed to see Bradbury was called to testify because he was the author of the torture memos. The senator then listed the various torture techniques that Bradbury ok’d and concluded his public rebuke by making clear how wrong Bradbury’s role in trying to legally justify torture was and said, “if OPR [Office of Professional Responsibility] questions your [conclusions] we should as well.”

Stay tuned to hear more about NDAA developments, and check out our resources and activist toolkit to fight the NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions in your community! We’ll have more about yesterday’s hearing on the Blog of Rights soon.

Should President Obama ignore the idiot in Phoenix or respond ?

I'm torn. What do you think ?

Santorum knocks Romney for flubbing answer about Blunt amendment


ATLANTA -- Rick Santorum criticized Mitt Romney Thursday for flubbing an answer to a question about a bill in Congress that would grant a conscience exemption to President Barack Obama's federal health care law.

Romney was asked about an amendment proposed by Roy Blunt, a Republican senator from Missouri, that would allow employers who offer health care plans to apply for an exemption to federal mandates--such as contraception coverage--if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The bill failed in the chamber in a procedural vote on Thursday morning. Initially, Romney said he opposed the amendment, but he later issued a statement that he misunderstood the question and that he supported it.

Santorum seized on Romney's apparent reversal and suggested that he changed his mind only when his "consultants" advised him to for political reasons.

"We saw an insight into what's in the gut of Governor Romney yesterday," Santorum told supporters at a campaign rally in Atlanta before departing for a flight to Spokane, Wash. "When Gov. Romney was asked that question, his knee-jerk reaction was, No, I can't be for that. Well then after his consultants talked to him, then he came back and said, No, I didn't understand the question. Well maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But I'll tell ya, if I was asked a question like that, my gut reaction would be always--My gut reaction would be, you stand for the First Amendment. You stand for freedom of religion."
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