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8:20 PM ET, February 12, 2012


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It  —  LINDSTROM, Minn. — Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games.  He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
I Guess I'm Still Stuck On Stupid  —  I have made the mistake of peeking at the NY Times headline story before the caffeine has kicked in fully.  Thier gist seems to be that the “less government” crowd is a bunch of hypocrites, but their is a glaring problem with their numbers.
Sahil Kapur /
TPMDC  —  McConnell: GOP Will Fight To Let ANY Employer Deny Birth Control Coverage  —  Not satisfied with President Obama's new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage …
Charles Johnson / Little Green Footballs:
Now the GOP Wants to Permit Any Employer to Deny Contraception Coverage  —  The Republican Party's descent into Dark Ages misogyny continues; now Mitch McConnell, sensing that the GOP is on a reactionary roll, is planning to introduce legislation to let any employer deny contraception coverage.
The Blunt Amendment Takes Away Access to Critical Health Insurance Coverage for Millions of Americans
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
Josh Lederman / The Hill:
Santorum suggests Romney may have rigged CPAC poll  —  Rick Santorum suggested on Sunday that Mitt Romney's campaign may have rigged a straw poll of conservative activists by paying the entrance fee for supporters.  —  Romney beat Santorum by 7 points Saturday in a straw poll of almost 3,500 attendees …
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
Rep. Ron Paul not conceding Maine vote  —  Rep. Ron Paul is not conceding the GOP's Maine caucuses, which state party officials and major networks called Saturday for rival Mitt Romney.  —  With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Romney has 39 percent to Paul's 36 percent …
Discussion: The Raw Story and Blue Mass Group
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
Santorum suggests Romney rigged CPAC vote  —  A groggy Rick Santorum, donning suit and tie, sans sweater vest, didn't think much of Mitt Romney's 38-to-31 percent win over him in last weekend's CPAC presidential straw poll.  —  When CNN's “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley …
Leigh Ann Caldwell / CBS News:
W.H. official: Contraceptive rule stands  —  President Obama's top aide addressed the latest controversy over contraception coverage, saying on CBS News' “Face the Nation” Sunday that the latest iteration of the new rule, which was announced Friday, will go forward.
‘This Week’ Transcript: Jack Lew, Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum
Discussion: Althouse and Washington Post
Dennis G. / Balloon Juice:
The Bishops make their move
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and Politico
Lew defends new contraception policy
Discussion: Politico
Charles Johnson / Little Green Footballs:
Fox News Commenters Respond to Whitney Houston's Death With Deluge of Hatred and Racism  —  I don't even know what to say about this any more.  There's a real sickness running rampant in the right wing; the Fox News comment thread on Whitney Houston's death is yet another disgusting deluge …
Fox News:   Singer Whitney Houston dies at 48
Shelby Grad / L.A. NOW:
Whitney Houston's death: Medics performed CPR for about 20 minutes
Discussion: Los Angeles Times and
Tara Brady / Daily Mail:
'Do not follow me down the road to jihad.  Go and get a good education in the West': Osama Bin Laden's extraordinary instructions to his young children  —  Osama Bin Laden told his children to live peacefully in the West where they would get a good education, his brother-in-law has revealed.
Discussion: BLACKFIVE and Jihad Watch
Walter Russell Mead / Via Meadia:
Bin Laden Gave Up on Jihad
Discussion: Wizbang
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
We Need a Second Party  —  WATCHING the Republican Party struggling to agree on a presidential candidate, one wonders whether the G.O.P. shouldn't just sit this election out — just give 2012 a pass.  —  You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you've got only vowels that spell nothing?
Discussion: Outside the Beltway and Daily Kos
Karen Tumulty / Washington Post:
Election 2012: Republicans united on goal — beat Obama — divided on how to get there
Discussion: CNN and Washington Monthly
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
EXCLUSIVE: Conservative Board Unanimously Condemned Gaffney's ‘Reprehensible’ And ‘Unfounded’ Attacks  —  This is the first in a two-part series about the Islamaphobia network and CPAC.  —  Frank Gaffney and John Bolton, who condemned Gaffney in a unanimous ACU resolution
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Amal Jayasinghe / Agence France Presse:
Trouble in paradise: Maldives and Islamic extremism  —  MALE — At the Maldives' National Museum, smashed Buddhist statues are testament to the rise of Islamic extremism and Taliban-style intolerance in a country famous as a laid-back holiday destination.  —  On Tuesday, as protesters backed …
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 More Items: 
ZIP / Weasel Zippers:
Occupy Oakland Burns The American Flag For The Third Week In A Row...
Steve Lohr / New York Times:
News Analysis: Big Data's Impact in the World
Discussion: Instapundit and Greg's Opinion
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
Can the Working Class Be Saved?
Josh Lederman / The Hill:
Lieberman: US should arm Syrian opposition
Discussion: CNN
Tyler Cowen / New York Times:
Break Up the Banks? Here's an Alternative
 Earlier Items: 
Kathy Finn / Reuters:
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin under investigation: source
Katharine Q. Seelye / New York Times:
After Three Straight Losses, Romney Edges Past Paul in the Maine Caucuses
Anita Singh / Telegraph:
BBC ‘buried Savile sex abuse claims to save its reputation’
Discussion: Biased BBC