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Personal attack

"Personal attack" Continued...

Issue: "Trouble in Egypt," June 2, 2012

Romney's date with evangelicals

When presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took the podium on May 12 to address Liberty University's 2012 graduates, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. introduced him as "the next president of the United States." Falwell stopped short of endorsing Romney but left no question about his hopes for the November election.

The welcome Romney received in Lynchburg, Va., could signal a thaw in his relationship with evangelical Republicans, a faction of the party that has been hesitant so far to embrace the Mormon candidate. Until his commencement speech, Romney did little to embrace them. But before an audience estimated at over 30,000-perhaps the largest concentration of evangelical voters likely to be gathered before the November election-Romney insisted that despite their differences, Mormons and evangelicals could unite in their common commitment to family, faith, work, and service. "People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology," Romney told the 6,000 graduates present. "Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions."

New blood

The ouster of moderate Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, one of the longest-serving members of the Senate, proved that the Tea Party movement still has plenty of muscle, despite media reports to the contrary.

Lugar, a six-term senator firmly entrenched in the GOP's establishment, lost in a May 8 primary to Richard Mourdock, the state's treasurer. Mourdock received the endorsement of Indiana Tea Party groups as well as national Tea Party organizations like FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Express. Mourdock's surprise win happened in a year that the National Journal proclaimed that "Failed Candidates and Faded Icons Reflect Tea Party Decline," while MSNBC displayed the banner "weak tea" on screen as talking heads debated whether the Tea Party's influence is waning.

Despite the seniority he enjoys in the Senate, Lugar, 80, got in trouble with Indiana Republicans for voting in favor of the Democrats' Budget Control Act during last year's debt ceiling debate, for bank and auto bailouts, and for a bill that grants citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Mourdock also went after Lugar for selling his Indianapolis home in 1977 and moving to McLean, Va. Lugar owns a farm in Marion County, Ind., with no house on the property.

"Sen. Lugar has sided too many times with the Democrats," Stacy Rutkowski of Valparaiso told the Associated Press after voting for Mourdock. "He's been there six terms, and it's time for some new blood."

Banning sex orientation therapy

A California bill banning reparative therapy-a counseling method that tries to help a person change sexual orientations-passed its final Senate committee May 8. But opponents say the proposed state law prohibits speech, violates privacy rights, and creates unintended consequences.

The bill would prohibit reparative therapy for minors and force adults to sign a release form stating that the counseling is ineffectual and possibly dangerous.

The bill's author, Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, called reparative therapy "scientifically ineffective" and responsible for causing a number of ills, including "extreme depression and guilt" that sometimes leads to suicide.

But the Pacific Justice Institute claims the proposed ban is unconstitutional because it prohibits an entire category of speech between therapists and minor patients.

It's the view that counts

The New York Court of Appeals ruled on May 10 that viewing online child porn is not a crime. That was the verdict in People v. Kent, a case centering on James Kent, a professor who possessed files of child pornography.

The judges convicted Kent of two counts of procuring child pornography and 134 counts of possessing on his hard drive depictions of a sexual act performed by a child. The judges, though, ruled that photos in Kent's cache did not count as "possession," only viewing, which the judges said is not a criminal act.

"Merely viewing web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law," the opinion stated.

State Sen. Martin Golden, a Republican, and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Democrat, have drafted bills that would criminalize all accessing and possessing child porn with intent to view.

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