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Tuesday, Sep 26th

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Common Cause asks probe of Scalia, Thomas ties to Kochs

Koch brothersA government watchdog group alleges that two of the Supreme Court's most conservative members had a conflict of interest when they considered a controversial case last year that permitted corporate funds to be used directly in political campaigns.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are the subject of an unusual letter delivered Wednesday by Common Cause asking the U.S. Justice Department to look into whether the jurists should have disqualified themselves from hearing the campaign finance case if they had attended a private meeting sponsored by Charles and David Koch, billionaire philanthropists who fund conservative causes. A Supreme Court spokesperson said late Thursday that the two justices did not participate in the Koch brothers' private meetings, though Thomas did "drop by."

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New Ala. gov: Just Christians are his family

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians.

"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.

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Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012

Joe LiebermanConnecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) will not seek a fifth term in 2012, according two Democratic sources familiar with the decision. Lieberman's office did not offer any comment on his plans, saying only that he would make an announcement tomorrow in Stamford, Connecticut. "The Senator's remarks tomorrow will stand on their own," said a Lieberman spokeswoman.

Lieberman will be the second Democratic senator to make public his plans to leave the chamber in the past 24 hours. On Tuesday morning, North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad said he would not seek a a fifth term in 2012.

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Sarah Palin unapologetic after criticism related to Arizona shootings

Palin unapologetic over rhetoricFormer Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin pushes back against the idea that heated political speech played a role in the Tucson shootings that killed six people and seriously wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

In a forceful and unapologetic statement released early Wednesday, Sarah Palin dismissed critics who had suggested that the former Alaska governor's firearms-infused rhetoric contributed to the shootings in Tucson that killed six and wounded 14, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, contending they "incite the hatred and violence they purport to condemn."

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Tucson Tea Party Leader: We Won't Change Our Rhetoric After Giffords Shooting

"There are people in society that are just going to do these things, unfortunately. And then, what happens is, you know, in this case, people trying to use it to create further divisions between the right and the left. I think it's irresponsible, in my opinion...what it does is polarize people even further."

Miller said she hoped opponents of the tea party won't use the Giffords shooting to try to score political points against the movement.

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Leading conservatives call for Obama to back terrorist group

Leading conservatives call for Obama to back terrorist groupA group of prominent Republicans may have actually committed a crime last month when they traveled to Paris to speak to an Iranian opposition group that the US has deemed to be terrorists.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey all attended a forum organized by supporters of Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).

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New GOP wave pushes pro-business agenda in states

Oklahoma Gov.- elect Mary Fallin Having won big in the fall elections, Republicans preparing to take over statehouses around the country are proposing to cut corporate taxes, weaken union clout and rewrite laws on discrimination, whistle-blowers and injured workers to the benefit of employers.

In short, they intend to push through a business lobbyist's wish list. In some cases, these priorities may even take preference over their short-term costs to state governments, many of which will start the year billions of dollars short.

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