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7:00 PM ET, February 18, 2012


 Top Items: 
Monica Alonzo / Phoenix New Times:
Paul Babeu's Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff's Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation  —  Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation …
Arizona Republic:
Babeu steps down as Romney Arizona co-chairman  —  Embattled Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is facing explosive allegations that he and his attorney tried to intimidate a former lover by threatening to have him deported, on Saturday quit his position as an Arizona co-chairman …
Keith Koffler / White House Dossier:
Michelle Obama Decides to Ski Aspen  —  Michelle Obama has embarked on a skiing vacation with her daughters in Aspen, Colorado, according to the Aspen Daily News.  —  The first lady, who just returned last month from 17 days of relaxation in Hawaii, is skiing in Colorado on Presidents' Day Weekend for the second year in a row.
Carolyn Sackariason / Aspen Daily News:
Michelle Obama in Aspen for ski vacation
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Alexander Burnsand Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Rick Santorum: Will women vote for him?  —  Democrats have an unexpected new foil in their effort to label the GOP as hostile to women: Rick Santorum.  —  After hammering away for a year at the message that Republicans are indifferent to women's health and economic well-being …
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Gingrich: Rivals backed out of debate because they were ‘afraid’  —  Newt Gingrich mocked his Republican rivals for pulling out of a planned debate in Georgia days before the pivotal Super Tuesday primaries, saying the other candidates were “afraid” to debate him.
Discussion: CNN and Hot Air
Fox News:
Santorum defends moral versus political stance on contraception while caught in crossfire …
Discussion: Riehl World View and Lynn Sweet
Zack Ford / ThinkProgress:
Catching Up On The Current State Marriage Equality Efforts  —  This three-day weekend seems like an apropos time to reflect on all the many recent advances in legal recognition for same-sex couples.  Here is a break-down of where things stand in each of the states we've been following this year:
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
Christie Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill
New Jersey Online:
Visibly upset, Bobby Brown leaves Whitney Houston's funeral  —  NEWARK — Bobby Brown, the ex-husband of Whitney Houston, left the New Hope Baptist Church just minutes before the funeral was to begin.  —  According to a person familiar with the situation, Brown brought an entourage …
Discussion: and THEROOT.COM
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Two justices suggest Citizens United ruling should be reconsidered in Montana case  —  Two Supreme Court justices suggested Friday that the court reconsider its controversial 2010 decision that allowed unlimited corporate and union spending in elections.  —  The suggestion came as the court blocked …
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
When Is A Tie Not A Tie?  —  When is a tie not a tie?  And when is a tie-breaker not a tie-breaker?  When our friends in the liberal media are reporting on Obama.  —  In the course of criticizing Rick Santorum, the reliable Charles Blow set me off with this aside:
Discussion: New York Times and Big Government
Terry Hillig / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Sex with the dead?  Illinois bill would make it illegal  —  Image  —  • Spurred by cases in which bodies of overdose victims were moved to thwart investigations, Illinois state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is sponsoring a bill to make unauthorized movement of a corpse a felony.
Mark Steyn / Investor's Business Daily:
Brokest Nation In History Fusses Instead About Sex  —  Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call “A Responsible Budget”?  My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on Page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives.”
Chris McGreal / Guardian:
US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely  —  Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch …
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Rising Gas Prices Give G.O.P. Issue to Attack Obama  —  WASHINGTON — Rising gasoline prices, trumpeted in foot-tall numbers on street corners across the country, are causing concern among advisers to President Obama that a budding sense of economic optimism could be undermined just as he heads into the general election.
Tim Reid / Reuters:
Foreclosure abuse rampant across U.S., experts say  —  (Reuters) - A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country.
Discussion: Crooks and Liars and Main Street
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 More Items: 
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics
John Kopp / Delaware County Times:
Muslim group asks stores to remove alcohol, tobacco
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Citizenship for Sale  —  St. Kitts and Nevis will let you buy citizenship.
Tea Party and OWS Protest Side-By-Side Against Obama in San Francisco
Discussion: Biased BBC and The Gateway Pundit
Alan Krueger / White Blog:
A Preview of the 2012 Economic Report of the President
Discussion: The Enterprise Blog
Sharon Otterman / New York Times:
Dolan Among 22 New Cardinals, as Trend Favors Vatican Insiders
Discussion: Joe. My. God.
Michael McAuliff / The Huffington Post:
Payroll Tax Cut: Tom Harkin Slams President, Democrats For Risking Social Security (VIDEO)
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Crooks and Liars
 Earlier Items: 
Shiv Malik / Guardian:
Tesco asks government to change flagship jobless scheme
Bioconservatives vs. Bioprogressives
New York Times:
For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage
Dana Goldstein / Slate:
Liberals, Don't Homeschool Your Kids