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American politics: Altered states

Protesters parade an altered photo of President Barack Obama sporting an Adolf Hitler-like mustache. A candidate for the Senate muses about gun “remedies” if election results don’t go the right way. Members of Congress are spat on and taunted with racial epithets before casting votes for a healthcare reform bill. Welcome to politics American-style. For the past few years, some public officeholders and pundits have warned that the political rhetoric has gotten a little too overheated in a country known for its loose gun laws and history of presidential assassinations. Now, in the aftermath of Saturday’s Arizona shooting rampage that
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America’s toxic political climate

Recriminations and soul-searching began over whether an inflamed political climate influenced a gunman to shoot a US congresswoman and 19 other people in Arizona. From the left and the right, politicians and commentators seized on the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords Saturday as either a reflection of the passions stirred up by rabble-rousing conservatives or the isolated act of an unhinged psychopath. Liberals highlighted a map posted online ahead of the November elections by Sarah Palin’s political action committee showing the United States with the locations of vulnerable politicians, including Giffords, designated with cross-hairs. Palin’s trademark war cry —
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Rep. Clyburn: Time to tone down the violent rhetoric

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a lawmaker who faced several threats during the heated health care debate, is calling on the country to ratchet down its heated political rhetoric and calling on lawmakers to speak out forcefully and condemn such comments. Noting that the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) — which, in total, left 20 people wounded and six dead — occurred just a week before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Clyburn said on “Fox News Sunday” that “good people” have a responsibility to not be silent: I think the sheriff out there in Tucson — I think he’s
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Go bankrupt, send out a Tweet

Don’t count out Eva Longoria‘s Vegas aspirations quite yet. The actress is seemingly making good on her commitment to take a more “hands-on” approach to her businesses after the “Desperate Housewives” star’s Sin City nightclub, Eve, and restaurant, Beso, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. The sexy actress posted a smoldering photo of herself in a flowing, thigh-baring black lace wrap on her Twitter page (via WhoSay) on Saturday, writing, “”Hi everyone! I’m back! In Vegas at Beso doing a photo shoot!” on Saturday.
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Mark Twain: Censored and uncensored

Mark Twain was the kind of man who might tell an off-color joke, then grievously apologize, who wrote stories and essays he knew would offend and kept others private for the same reason. A century after his death, Mark Twain remains censored, and uncensored. The author and humorist worried enough about what he could say in public to withhold anti-religion essays and to forbid his autobiography from being published until 100 years after his death. The first of three planned volumes of the unexpurgated version, released in 2010 and including harsh words for American business and military actions, became a
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TLC pulls plug on Palin’s TV show

Sunday’s season finale of Sarah Palin‘s Alaska is said to be the show’s last episode, Entertainment Weekly reports. The former Alaska governor‘s TLC reality series — which premiered Nov. 14 — averaged 3.2 million viewers per week, with its first episode delivering the network’s best-ever launch ratings. Coming under fire for her wildlife exploits, including caribou hunting and fishing too close to bears, Palin’s Alaska also showcased the politician’s children and husband, Todd. The Palin family also hosted Kate Gosselin and her brood of eight for an ill-fated camping trip shown on the series. A Gosselin source tells UsMagazine.com that
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So, what is Verizon up to?

Verizon Wireless said Friday it will hold a press conference on Jan. 11, reigniting rumors that it will become the second U.S. carrier to sell Apple Inc.‘s iPhone. At the International Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, Verizon already made news with phones and tablets that will run on its high-speed, next-generation 4G wireless network. So it’s significant that Verizon will still have an announcement big enough to warrant a press conference in New York a week later, with Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon Communications Inc., in attendance. Verizon would not give any further
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Bernanke says economy may be hitting stride

The U.S. economy may finally be hitting its stride even if growth remains too weak to put a real dent in the nation’s jobless rate, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday. Offering no real clues on the future direction of monetary policy, Bernanke sounded cautiously more upbeat than he had in his most recent public remarks. He cited improvements in consumer spending and a drop in jobless benefit claims as hopeful signs a languid recovery was perking up. “We have seen increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold,” the central
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Gunman kills six, seriously wounds Congesswoman

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing a federal judge and five others in a rampage that rattled the country and left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Giffords was the target of a gunman whom he described as mentally unstable and possibly acting along with an accomplice. He said Giffords was among 13 people wounded in the melee that killed six people, including Arizona’s chief federal judge,
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Shooting suspect: ‘I acted alone’

Officials familiar with the investigation into a shooting rampage in Arizona say the suspect claims he acted alone. At least five people were killed and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in the episode, which unfolded as the Democratic congresswoman was greeting constituents in her district in Tucson, Arizona. Police say the shooter is in custody. He has been identified by officials familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. Officials say Loughner told authorities at the scene he had acted alone, although it is not certain that is the case. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity,
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