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Sargeant Shriver dead at 95

who spent four decades in public service as a member of the Kennedy family, the first director of the Peace Corps and a key warrior in Lyndon Johnson‘s War on Poverty, died on Tuesday. He was 95. Shriver, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, was surrounded by his five children and 19 grandchildren when he died in Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., his family said in a statement. Shriver, the Democratic substitute nominee for vice president in 1972 and briefly a presidential candidate in 1976, was an advocate for the poor and powerless who helped launch
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Public opinion on health care law rises

As lawmakers shaken by the shooting of a colleague return to the health care debate, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds raw feelings over President Barack Obama’s overhaul have subsided. Ahead of a vote on repeal in the GOP-led House this week, strong opposition to the law stands at 30 percent, close to the lowest level registered in AP-GfK surveys dating to September 2009. The nation is divided over the law, but the strength and intensity of the opposition appear diminished. The law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured, and would require, for the first time, that most people
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Steele out; Priebus in at RNC

The national Republican Party, coming off huge election victories but facing a $22 million debt and an internal war over identity, ousted chairman Michael Steele Friday and chose Wisconsin party chief Reince Priebus to lead in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race. The embattled Steele dropped his re-election bid halfway through an afternoon of balloting when it became clear he could not win another two-year term after a first marked by verbal missteps and financial woes. “We have to get on track. And together we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012,” Priebus, the chairman of the Wisconsin GOP, said
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Tight security for judge’s funeral

One day after mourning the death of a child, an Arizona city will remember the life of a judge. A funeral for U.S. District Judge John Roll is expected to draw many other federal judges, and security is tight. Three hours before services Friday, U.S. marshals and local law officers were at the church, where Thursday evening 2,000 people gathered for the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. She was the youngest of six people killed Saturday when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket meet-and-greet for Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Across the street from the church, graffiti on a
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Mourners pack church for nine-year-old’s funeral

Some 2,000 mourners packed a Catholic church to honor Christina Taylor Green, the bubbly 9-year-old who was the youngest victim of the Arizona shootings, while hundreds more lined streets outside in a show of unity and support. Christina’s was the first of half-a-dozen funerals in the coming days, and was to be followed Friday with a service for U.S. District Judge John Roll at the same church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Security was expected to be tight at the ceremony, with many federal judges among the mourners. Roll and Christina were among six people killed Saturday when a gunman opened
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Obama to the nation: ‘We can be better than this’

Summoning the soul of a nation, President Barack Obama on Wednesday implored Americans to honor those slain and injured in the Arizona shootings by becoming better people, telling a polarized citizenry that it is time to talk with each other “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” Following a hospital bedside visit with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the assassination, he said: “She knows we’re here, and she knows we love her.” In an electrifying moment, the president revealed that Giffords, who on Saturday was shot point-blank in the head, had opened her eyes for
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Polarizing Palin plays by her own rules

With her video accusing critics of “blood libel,” Sarah Palin again showed an unprecedented and daring political command of social networking to maintain a high profile in speculation about the Republican Party and the 2012 presidential race. The former Alaska governor regularly gets nationwide attention with her selective use of Facebook and Twitter, choosing provocative words when others testing the presidential waters prefer a lighter touch. Some political pros say her tactics, which protect her from mainstream reporters and neutral audiences, are savvy and effective. Others say she will have to change if she hopes to win the crucial Iowa
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Palin defends her bloodlust politics

Prominent Republican Sarah Palin defended her fiery rhetoric on Wednesday but ignited a fresh controversy by accusing critics of “blood libel” in linking her to a deadly Arizona shooting spree. A defiant Palin, leaping into a roaring debate on the consequences of overheated political rhetoric, said her critics had been irresponsible in rushing to blame Saturday’s gun rampage on vitriolic campaign speech. “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn,” Palin, a potential 2012 White House contender, said
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Another gun law would not have saved those in Tucson

A deranged man in Arizona loads 34 9 mm bullets into an expanded magazine of a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol and opens fire in a Safeway parking lot, killing six — including a judge and a nine-year-old girl and seriously wounding a Congresswoman.  America goes crazy. Time to ban guns, the reactionaries say. Time to lock away all ammo. That, the reactionaries say, is the way to stop violet crime. What the reactionaries haven’t told us is that they have been trying to ban weapons since the cro-magnons first put rocks in slingshots and it hasn’t prevented a single crime. 
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Father chased son into desert before shooting

Mysterious black bag in hand, Jared Loughner ran into the desert, his angry father stopping pursuit in his truck. Hours after Randy Loughner’s futile confrontation with his 22-year-old son Saturday morning, six people were shot dead and more than a dozen others wounded — and Jared Loughner was in custody. The sheriff’s deputies who swarmed the Loughners’ house removed what they describe as evidence Jared Loughner was targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who doctors said Tuesday was breathing on her own for the first time after taking a bullet to the forehead. Among the handwritten notes was one with the words
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