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It's conventional wisdom that Democrats will be taking it on the chin come November, but divisions within the GOP have political forecasters taking another look. Will Republican nominees be so far right they repel Independents who can be the final "deciders?" Also, hopes of finding 11 missing workers fades after an oil rig sinks in the Gulf of Mexico, and the cartoon satire South Park has led to death threats and censorship by Comedy Central. Shades of Danish newspaper drawings five years ago.

Banner image: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and Republican presidential nominee US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) campaign together March 6, 2008 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (McCain was campaigning in Florida after securing the Republican presidential nomination) Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Making News Oil Rig Sinks, Hopes Fade of Finding 11 Missing Workers 7 MIN, 47 SEC

There’s little hope of finding 11 workers missing since Tuesday’s explosion on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.  BP PLC, the company that leases the rig, is leading the effort to clean up a growing oil slick. Brett Clanton reports for the Houston Chronicle.

Brett Clanton, Energy Reporter, Houston Chronicle

Main Topic US Senate Elections and the 'Soul' of the Republican Party 35 MIN, 3 SEC

As a State Senator, Charlie Crist was so tough on crime he was known as "Chain Gang Charlie." But as the Republican Governor of Florida the one-time "conservative's conservative" won the support of Democrats and Independents. Now, as he runs for the US Senate, he's up against the harsh fact that only Republicans vote in Florida's GOP primary. Crist and Arizona Senator John McCain aren't the only so-called "Moderates" under attack from within the GOP. Establishment candidates, even incumbents, who are anything but liberal face right-wing challenges in primaries all over the country. Total repeal of healthcare reform is a litmus test for campaign contributions -- even if that alienates Independents who are often determine who wins in November. Are true believers trying to "purify" the GOP?  Could this be a better year than expected for Democrats?

Peter A. Brown, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly (@Nintzel)
Steve Kornacki, Salon.com (@SteveKornacki)
Chris Chocola, former Congressman (R-IN)
Ann Stone, Trump campaign / Republicans for Choice (@aews)

Reporter's Notebook Comedy Central Censors 'South Park' 8 MIN, 9 SEC

Comedy Central Network has removed all references to the Prophet Muhammad from the second segment of the cartoon satire South Park. The first segment showed the prophet dressed in a bear suit and drew death threats from a fringe group of extremist Muslims. The show's producers say the segment should have run in full. The censored episode of is being compared to media reaction when a Danish newspaper ran cartoons satirizing the prophet. Conservative Muslims believe that any pictures of Muhammad are profane. Matea Gold has written extensively on the subject the Los Angeles Times.

Matea Gold, Washington Post (@mateagold)

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