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Monday, Feb 20th

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Obama's oil spill commission had web of BP and oil industry interests

BP oil spillOil runs so deep in American life that when President Barack Obama formed an independent commission to investigate the Gulf spill, he ran into something of an oil patch of his own.

Both commission chairmen had stock in BP as well as broader interests in the oil industry. Another commissioner, a university fundraiser, is chancellor at a school that received millions from BP. Another had substantial ties to Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and set off the spill.

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Source: Inquiry of Bush firings ending

Source: Inquiry of Bush firings endingThe Justice Department has concluded its two-year investigation into the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys and will file no charges, people close to the case said Wednesday.

The investigation looked into whether the Bush administration dismissed the nine U.S. attorneys as a way to influence investigations. The scandal contributed to mounting criticism that the administration had politicized the Justice Department, a charge that contributed to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

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Abortion foes win a round in health overhaul

Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa.,Abortion foes have won a round in the first test of how President Barack Obama's health care law will be applied to the politically charged issue. Meanwhile, traditional allies of the administration are grumbling about a decision to ban most abortion coverage in insurance pools for those unable to purchase health care on their own.

The Catholic bishops "welcome this new policy," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, although he added the organization remains concerned that other parts of the health care overhaul will promote abortion.

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Pols Guzzle Oil Money

Pols Guzzle Oil MoneyAt the moment, oil and gas companies are on track to shatter their record of total contributions from the last non-presidential election cycle, in 2006—despite the lingering effects of the economic downturn. Halfway through the election calendar, the industry is on pace to spend more than $27 million—the most ever in a campaign year not involving the White House.

With the stakes in Congress so high—from health care to financial regulation—the jump in spending is mirrored in other industries as well. Oil still lags behind 13 other industries in its Washington largesse.

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238 presidential scholars: Bush worst president of modern era, fifth worst in US history

President Bush ranked worst among modern presidents -- and the fifth worst in history, according to the poll by the Siena Research Institute. Ranking first? President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led the country from 1933 until his death in 1945.

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The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

As the Official Story of the 1980 October Surprise case crumbles with new revelations that key evidence was hidden from investigators of a congressional task force and that internal doubts were suppressed history must finally confront the troubling impression that remains: that disgruntled elements of the CIA and Israel's Likud hardliners teamed up to remove a U.S. president from office.

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Feds won't charge Blackwater in Sudan sanctions case

Feds won't charge Blackwater in Sudan sanctions caseThe security contractor Blackwater Worldwide tried for two years to secure lucrative defense business in Southern Sudan while the country was under U.S. economic sanctions, according to current and former U.S. officials and hundreds of pages of documents reviewed by McClatchy.

The effort to drum up new business in East Africa by Blackwater owner Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who had close ties with top officials in the George W. Bush White House and the CIA, became a major element in a continuing four-year federal investigation into allegations of sanctions violations, illegal exports and bribery.

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