- - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CAMPAIGN

Typo has vice president headed to ‘Road Island’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The vice president is hitting the road — to what the White House wrote as “Road Island,” mistakenly spelled R-O-A-D instead of R-H-O-D-E.

A release outlining Joseph R. Biden’s plans for the week showed him traveling to Providence in misspelled “Road Island” on Thursday for a campaign event.

An updated schedule sent out by the White House on Monday night noted the correct spelling.

MIDDLE EAST

Administration hints of arming Syria rebels

The Obama administration opened the door slightly Tuesday to international military assistance for Syria’s rebels, with officials saying new tactics may have to be explored if Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to defy pressure to halt a brutal crackdown on dissenters.

In coordinated messages, the White House and State Department said they still hope for a political solution. But faced with the daily onslaught by the Assad regime against Syrian civilians, officials dropped the administration’s previous strident opposition to arming anti-regime forces.

“We don’t want to take actions that would contribute to the further militarization of Syria because that could take the country down a dangerous path,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “But we don’t rule out additional measures if the international community should wait too long and not take the kind of action that needs to be taken.”

The administration has previously said flatly that more weapons are not the answer to the Syrian situation. There had been no mention of “additional measures.”

AGRICULTURE

Feds’ study: Raw milk much more unsafe

The federal government said Tuesday that fresh milk is 150 times more dangerous than pasteurized milk — a finding that bolsters the government’s argument as it goes after farmers who sell unpasteurized milk across state lines.

After a 13-year review, the taxpayer-funded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said states where so-called “raw milk” is available had twice the rate of dairy-related disease outbreaks as states where those sales are banned. And disease outbreaks from fresh milk are more serious in nature, according to the study, which found 200 out of 239 hospitalizations during the study stemmed from cases of fresh milk.

Sales of raw milk are governed by states, but the Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over sales across state lines and has banned them.

The issue has come to a head in recent months after the FDA sued to shut down an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania who sold to eager customers in the Washington metropolitan region.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama to face critics at Israel conference

President Obama plans to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference in Washington on March 4, the day before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House announced Tuesday.

The president has had a rocky relationship with Mr. Netanyahu. Last year, Mr. Obama alienated the Jewish community during a speech at the State Department, in which he called for the peace negotiations to begin with the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.

During last year’s speech, Mr. Obama called for additional “mutually agreed upon” land swaps, but that didn’t prevent Mr. Netanyahu from angrily denouncing any return to the 1967 boundaries while sitting alongside Mr. Obama in the Oval Office at a press conference.

CALIFORNIA

Proposition 8 backers seek review of gay-marriage case

SAN FRANCISCO — The backers of California’s same-sex marriage ban have petitioned a federal appeals court in San Francisco to review a split decision by three of its judges that struck down the voter-approved law known as Proposition 8.

Lawyers for the religious and legal groups that qualified the ban for the 2008 ballot had faced a Tuesday deadline for asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the 2-1 decision made two weeks ago.

The ruling declared Proposition 8 to be a violation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian Californians.

Andy Pugno, legal counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, says the backers appealed to the full 9th Circuit instead of going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The move means same-sex marriages will remain on hold at least until the 9th Circuit decides to accept or reject the rehearing petition.

WHITE HOUSE

Jagger, King belt out the blues for first couple

For one night, musical legends Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Jeff Beck and others turned the East Room of the White House into the hottest blues club in the country.

The band of all-stars put on a concert for the Obamas celebrating the rich history of the blues.

“This music speaks to something universal,” Mr. Obama declared. “The blues reminds us that we’ve been through tougher times before.”

Mr. King began the evening with a rollicking rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll,” quickly joined by other members of the ensemble. And he followed with “The Thrill Is Gone.” Mr. Jagger, the longtime Rolling Stones frontman, got the first couple up out of their seats with “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Commit a Crime.”

SUPREME COURT

Justices spurn music icon Spector’s conviction appeal

The Supreme Court has rejected Phil Spector’s appeal of his conviction for killing actress Lana Clarkson. The court did not comment Tuesday in declining to take up the music producer’s case.

Spector is serving 19 years to life in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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