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Newt Gingrich, the maybe presidential candidate and recent Catholic convert is ready to stand up and defend the basic concept of time from what he says is an onslaught from America's secular elite.

Speaking before a large crowd at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington Wednesday morning, Gingrich described his conversion to the faith from his past as a Southern Baptist. He praised breakfast's honoree, the late Pope John Paul II, and then set about describing what he said is the ongoing religious conflict in the country led by the secular types.

"The American elites are guided by their desire to emulate the European elites," he said in prepared remarks he stuck closely to in his speech, "and, as a result, anti-religious values and principles are coming to dominate the academic, news media, and judicial class in America."

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1||With the price of gasoline shooting up once again and taking a toll on Americans' pocket books, alternative energy sources are getting a second look as a way to alleviate the demand for oil.

Compiled here are some ways that alternative, often renewable, energy sources are already being used in the U.S. and abroad. ||d97/d97/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

2||Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS), a network of nine solar plants in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border, is the largest solar power facility in the world. ||Kevin Schafer / "Danita Delimont Photography"/Newscom&&

3||The parabolic shape of the SEGS solar panels focuses the sun's rays onto a single, central pipe to generate electricity. ||Kevin Schafer/Balance/Photoshot./Newscom&&

4||Electric cars have been heralded as a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption, as they function much like traditional vehicles while producing far fewer emissions. Electric models, including the Chevrolet Volt (shown here with a charger station at the Chicago Auto Show in February, 2011), are now being sold in the U.S. ||BRIAN KERSEY/UPI/Newscom&&

5||In Israel, the company Better Place recently announced a huge infrastructure project to build electric car recharger stations in that country. One of the biggest hangups with early electric car models is their limited battery life, which limits the distance they can travel before they must be recharged. By building charging stations across the country, Better Place hopes to assuage that concern by giving riders plenty of places to power up. ||Yin Dongxun/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

6||Ethanol, a biofuel that can be produced from various plants, is another alternative energy source to gasoline. Brazil is the world's second largest producer and the largest exporter of ethanol, deriving the fuel from plants sources such as sugar cane. ||b27/b27/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

7||Biodiesel can also be produced from beans such as castor and soy, and even from animal fat. Here, a worker in Brazil holds a glass of castor oil alongside the raw product. ||CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

8||In the U.S., corn is the primary crop converted into ethanol. || Gayle Harper / "Danita Delimont Photography"/Newscom&&

9||Hybrid vehicles, which run on both gasoline and electric power, are far more fuel efficient than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Some U.S. cities, including Chicago, have begun adding hybrid vehicles to their public transit systems. ||x99/x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

10||Earlier this month, China rolled out a fleet of all-electric busses that produce zero emissions. ||x99/x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

11||Hydrogen cars are another frontier in the search for more fuel efficient, cleaner vehicles. The hydrogen power cells in these vehicles harness the potential energy of hydrogen atoms by converting them into mechanical energy and, in some models, emitting water rather than carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Though still relatively new and costly, they got a positive review from California's former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who pushed for more state funds to research and implement the new technology. ||DANIEL KRAUS/NEWSCAST/Newscom&&

12||The Pelamis -- or "red sea snake" -- harnesses the motion of waves to produce energy. Pictured here in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter floats on the surface of the water, and uses waves to build pressure inside the device, which then powers a hydraulic motor. ||ts3/ts3/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

13||The SeaFlow turbine in North Devon, England uses tidal currents to rotate large blades and thus generate power. || Wikimedia&&

14||China boasts some of the world's fastest high-speed train trains, including the Shanghai MagLev Train (short for magnetic levitation) which uses a series of huge magnets for lift and propulsion. || FEATURECHINA/Niu Yixin/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

15||Perhaps an obvious, if overlooked, mode of transport, bikes have had a huge resurgence in American cities over the past several years, as municipalities have moved to make their streets more rider friendly. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched an aggressive bike lane implementation program, creating around 255 miles of bike lanes in a four-year span. ||Lex van Lieshout/ANP/Newscom&&

16||Nuclear plants, though often perceived as a dangerous power source -- a view reinforced by the catastrophe at a plant in Japan last month -- offer another relatively clean, alternative energy source. There are currently 104 reactors operating in 31 states in America, producing about 20% of the nation's energy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. ||Andre Jenny Stock Connection Worldwide/Newscom&&

17||Denmark derives about 20% of its energy from wind power. Shown here are a row of wind turbines off the coast of the Danish island, Samsoe. ||Yang Jingzhong/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

18||Spain has been one of the world's leaders in implementing solar energy. Pictured here is a solar plant in Andalusia, Spain.|| Design Pics/Newscom&&

19||The Lost Creek Wind Farm in King City, Missouri, has 100 wind turbines. ||Mark Hirsch/PSG/Newscom&&

A little less than a month ago, a conservative-leaning policy think tank in Michigan took advantage of the labor strife in Wisconsin to call on three state-run universities to hand over emails related to the Wisconsin protests and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, written by labor studies professors.

So far, the emails from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University-- requested by the Mackinac Center For Public Policy under the Michigan Freedom Of Information Act -- haven't been handed over. But that could soon change.

According to Mackinac, all three schools have begun the process of compliance with the FOIA request. TPM was able to confirm that's the case with one school, the University of Michigan. Despite a recent email from the president of that university to faculty touting a strong defense of academic freedom, a spokesperson told TPM Michigan law requires the school to push forward with collecting and vetting the emails before possibly turning them over to Mackinac.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is exploring a run for president, has written a guest piece in the National Catholic Register, explaining how it was that he, a former Southern Baptist, converted to Catholicism. As part of his journey, Gingrich largely credits the influence of his wife, Callista.

"I am often asked when I chose to become Catholic," Gingrich writes. "However, it is more truthful to say that over the course of several years I gradually became Catholic and then decided one day to accept the faith I had already come to embrace.

"My wife, Callista, is a lifelong Catholic and has been a member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. Although I was Southern Baptist, I had attended Mass with Callista every Sunday at the basilica to watch her sing with the choir."

Gingrich married Callista, his third wife, in 2000, following a relationship between the two that began several years earlier during Gingrich's second marriage.

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Authorities in Ohio are investigating whether a barn fire that killed eight horses, which was ruled arson, was also a hate crime.

The barn was owned by Brent Whitehouse, who may have been targeted because of his sexuality. The barn's remains were been spray-painted with epithets like "fags are freaks" and "burn in hell." The State Fire Marshal's Office said in a statement that "in addition to the fire, investigators are also looking into messages painted on the barn and barn doors prior to the fire."

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A spokeswoman for Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who reportedly funneled more than $236 million in federal funds to nonprofit groups he created since 2000, is slamming the watchdog group which issued a report critical of Rogers and claiming that it is the "duty" of members of Congress to "help constituents navigate Washington's vast bureaucracies."

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Conservative activist Pamela Geller says the first amendment protects her right to run anti-Islam advertisements on Detroit buses. The local transit authority disagrees. Cue a year-long battle over free speech, with the ball now (temporarily) back in the hands of the bus company.

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President Obama knows all too well what it's like to feel the wrath of rankling his base by embracing compromise with Republicans on one of their ideological positions. That's why he didn't hesitate when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) appeared to open the door -- just a crack -- to the idea of ending payments to oil companies in an interview with ABC News released Monday afternoon.

Boehner's office spent all day dialing back the bosses' comments.

"We have pointed out for years that raising costs for energy producers will raise costs for consumers," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told TPM. "And we want to 'take a look' at anything that lowers gas prices - but the President's proposal won't do that."

But the damage was already done and the rest of the GOP leadership team was forced to quickly putty over any cracks appearing on the surface -- real or perceived -- while Obama did his best to exploit any divisions.

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