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2:55 PM ET, February 19, 2012


 Top Items: 
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Santorum says he accepts that President Obama is ‘a Christian’  —  Rick Santorum said Sunday that he “wasn't suggesting the president was not a Christian” when he said on the campaign trail that President Obama's agenda was based on “some phony theology.  Not a theology based on the Bible.
Discussion: Politico and Ballot Box
Meghashyam Mali / Ballot Box:
Ron Paul gains votes in delayed Maine caucus, but Romney keeps lead  —  GOP hopeful Mitt Romney held on to his lead in Maine's caucuses Saturday after votes postponed by bad weather were finally tallied.  —  Ron Paul gained 83 votes on Romney following the caucus in Washington county …
Discussion: CNN and Outside the Beltway
Meghashyam Mali / Ballot Box:
Poll shows Obama trailing three GOP challengers in Iowa
Discussion: Scared Monkeys and HotAirPundit
Kim Murphy / Los Angeles Times:
Texans rally against Keystone XL oil pipeline easement  —  Eddy Radillo was among dozens of Texans who rallied outside the Lamar County Courthouse in Paris, Texas, against plans to condemn land for an easement for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.  (Sam Craft/The Paris News)
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Tim Eaton / Austin American-Statesman:   Protesters in Austin try to clog pipeline proposal, support North Texas landowner
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Voting Rights Act under siege  —  In a political system where even the most trivial issues trigger partisan rancor, the Voting Rights Act has stood for several decades as a rare point of bipartisan consensus.  —  Until now.  —  An intensifying conservative legal assault on the Voting Rights Act …
Peter Schroeder / The Hill:
Payroll tax cut package pushes nation closer to hitting debt ceiling  —  The payroll tax package that Congress passed on Friday accelerated the timeline for another battle over the debt ceiling.  —  Last summer's bitter clash over the debt limit took the nation to the brink of default …
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
Sunday Morning Layup Drill  —  ‘Hope and Change’ is sooo 2008 - Team Obama is looking for a new slogan for 2012:  —  WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Winning The Future.  Greater Together.  We Don't Quit.  —  They may not be official but those are all phrases that could in one form …
Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
Paul Ryan: Obama contraception ruling reveals ‘paternalistic, arrogant’ attitude  —  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday blasted the Obama administration's moves to mandate religious affiliated groups to provide contraception coverage as “paternalistic” and “arrogant.”
Discussion: Politico
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Gingrich: Romney will be ‘badly weakened’ if he loses Michigan  —  Newt Gingrich said Sunday that rival Mitt Romney's campaign would be “very badly weakened” by a loss in the Feb. 28 Michigan primary and dismissed the idea - floated by some conservatives concerned about the GOP field's performance …
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Hot Air
Kevin Sack / New York Times:
Lives Forever Linked Through Kidney Transplant Chain 124  —  RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Rick Ruzzamenti admits to being a tad impulsive.  He traded his Catholicism for Buddhism in a revelatory flash.  He married a Vietnamese woman he had only just met.  And then a year ago, he decided in an instant to donate his left kidney to a stranger.
Margalit Fox / New York Times:
John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74  —  He crossed the Atlantic because it was there, and the Pacific because it was also there.  —  He made both crossings in a rowboat because it, too, was there, and because the lure of sea, spray and sinew, and the history-making chance …
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
The ‘Safe, Legal, Rare’ Illusion  —  AMID the sound and fury of the latest culture-war battles — first over breast cancer dollars and Planned Parenthood, and then over the White House's attempt to require that religious employers cover contraception and potential abortifacients …
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Rod Dreher
Michael D. Tanner / New York Post:
Misconception  —  With his mandate that all employers, including religiously affiliated institutions such as Catholic hospitals and charities, provide workers with health insurance that covers contraceptives, President Obama handed Republicans a terrific opportunity to talk about the growing intrusiveness of government.
Discussion: Don Surber
Paul Krugman:
Austerity and Growth  —  Or, actually, shrinkage.  —  Watching Europe sink into recession - and Greece plunge into the abyss - I found myself wondering what it would take to convince the chattering classes that austerity in the face of an already depressed economy is a terrible idea.
Discussion: Brad DeLong
John Wagner / Washington Post:
Maryland House almost didn't pass gay marriage bill  —  Mark Gail/THE WASHINGTON POST - Bishop Angel Nunez speaking at the Maryland Marriage Alliance press conference on Thursday in Annapolis.  Looking on is Derek McCoy, director of the group.  —  The cadre of Maryland lawmakers …
Arizona Republican Sheriff And Congressional Candidate Paul Babeu Dragged Out Of The Closet  —  Pinal County Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu has a reputation as a hard man— especially hard on immigrants.  Some people have claimed he's a sadist who takes delight in splitting up families and gratuitously ruining people's lives.
David Catanese / Politico:
Babeu comes out, denies allegations
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 More Items: 
Robin McKie / Guardian:
Attacks paid for by big business are ‘driving science into a dark era’
Discussion: The Agonist
Steven Hayward / Power Line:
Obama's Gas Pains
Dave Levinthal / Politico:
Michele Bachmann: Republicans not anti-women
Discussion: CNN
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Cantor sees ‘window of opportunity’ to pass additional jobs growth measures
Discussion: Politico and The Hill
Mark Steyn /
Brokest Nation In History Fusses Instead About Sex
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
A Third Voice for 2012  —  EVENTUALLY the “circular firing squad” …
James Taranto / Wall Street Journal:
Social Issues and the Santorum Surge
Kenneth Chang / New York Times:
For Space Mess, Scientists Seek Celestial Broom
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
 Earlier Items: 
Joanne Kenen / Politico:
2012: The year of ‘birth control moms’?
Pallab Ghosh / BBC:
Canadian government is ‘muzzling its scientists’
Discussion: Biased BBC and
Sean Rayment / Telegraph:
British Muslims recruited to fight for ‘al-Qaeda’ in Somalia
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Weasel Zippers
Chris Hawley / Associated Press:
NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast
Jodi Kantor / New York Times:
Washington Memo: Supreme Court Justices Remain Security Exceptions
Peter Allen / Telegraph:
Hitler had son with French teen
Discussion: Israel Matzav