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End of the free ride? House panel votes to cut farm subsidies

A House committee voted Tuesday to cut farm subsidies to pay for deficit reduction and other budget priorities, chipping away at the billions of dollars a year that are directed to farmers. The votes in the House Appropriations Committee may be a preview of what is expected to be a tough year for agriculture programs. Congressional lawmakers have increasingly looked to billions of dollars in farm subsidies as a source of money for other priorities as crop prices have reached record levels. In a surprise move, the committee approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to lower the maximum
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Republicans to meet with Obama on debt increase

  Scores of House Republicans are heading to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama to demand trillions of dollars in spending cuts as the price for providing any increase in the government’s power to borrow. Wednesday’s meeting comes on the heels of a symbolic and lopsided vote the day before against a GOP proposal to lift the cap on the so-called debt limit by $2.4 trillion. The proposal, intended to prove that a bill to increase the borrowing cap with no spending cuts is dead on arrival, failed badly Tuesday on a 318-97 vote. Democrats said
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You aren’t what you eat: GOP challenges healthy eating rules

House Republicans are pushing back against Obama administration efforts to promote healthier lunches, saying the Agriculture Department should rewrite rules it issued in January meant to make school meals healthier. They say the new rules are too costly. The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Committee late Tuesday, also questions a government proposal to curb marketing of unhealthy foods to children and urges the Food and Drug Administration to limit rules requiring calorie counts be posted on menus. The overall spending bill would cut billions from USDA and FDA budgets, including for domestic feeding programs and international food aid. The
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SEAL museum popular after bin Laden killing

The biggest attraction at the Navy SEALs’ national museum isn’t memorialized in any artifact or mentioned in any display. But that doesn’t keep visitors from asking. The May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden at the hands of SEALs has brought a spike in visitors to the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, seeking a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the mission was pulled off. Attendance has roughly tripled since the raid, visitors are pummeling docents with questions and people wanting to express their gratitude have flooded the museum with letters of thanks. “They’re hoping to get ground truth here,” said Michael Howard,
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Supremes rule out damage claims against Ashcroft

The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out damage claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft over an American Muslim’s arrest, but four justices said the case raises serious questions about post-9/11 detentions under a federal law intended to make sure witnesses testify. The justices were unanimous, 8-0, in holding that Ashcroft cannot be personally sued over his role in the arrest of Abdullah al-Kidd in 2003. The court sets a high bar for suing high-ranking officials, and all the justices agreed al-Kidd did not meet it, even though he was never charged with a crime or called to testify in
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GOP Presidential wannabes rush to the right

Republican Presidential contenders face a dilemma. If they want to win the nomination, they need to drift to the right to appeal to the extreme conservative base that dominates their party. But if they want to win the general election, they need to be more centrist. So each of the top candidates in the current crop of GOP wannabes now espouse positions that are more right-wing than their positions just a few years ago. That might give one of them the nomination but it won’t play well with the independent voters who hold the key to winning a national race.
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Where’s Sarah? Palin is a no show at Gettyburg

So what’s going on with Sarah Palin? First she tried to steal the thunder of hundreds of thousands of bikers at the annual Rolling Thunder in Washington — an obvious stunt that failed when event organizers refused to let her steal the show. Then she leaves her faithful waiting in vain when she didn’t show up in the Civil War Battlefield in Gettysburg. And she’s still playing coy about her future campaign plans. “I honestly don’t know,” she said when asked if she plans to run for President. And even her most ardent supporters don’t know where Palin will turn
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Bikers to Palin: ‘Go home bitch”

Sarah Palin tried to bring her carnival sideshow to the annual Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall Sunday but the bikers quickly put her in her place — “riding bitch” on the back of another woman’s Harley-Davidson. Palin tried to turn an uninvited visit to the gathering of biker veterans and supporters into a photo op to kick off another of her bus tours but event organizers told her that she was welcome to ride on a bike in the event but did not let her speak or become part of the official program. Many of the hundreds of thousands
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The sounds of thunder

He snapped awake at 0500, a full 30 minutes before the alarm was set to go off. For more than 30 years, he had been waking up at 5 a.m. It didn't matter which time zone he was in or even if it was daylight savings time. When the big hand was on the 12 and the little one on the five, he was awake.
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GOP Presidential race starts to heat up

The still unsettled race for the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012 is getting more interesting. After months of resisting calls to join the contest, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he would consider it. That could reshape the GOP field, adding a sitting governor who has never lost an election. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also sent a jolt through the party with the announcement of a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, the latest possible contender to stand up since Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced last weekend that he would not run. And former
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