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Three New Orleans police officers charged this week in the post-Katrina shootings on Danziger Bridge have pleaded not guilty.

Robert Gisevius, Kenneth Bowen and Anthony Villavaso pleaded not guilty today to charges of civil rights violations and conspiracy for allegedly shooting unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, killing two and wounding four, and then attempting to cover it up.

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The new Rocky Mountain Poll of Arizona shows Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) continuing to demolish his challenger in the Republican primary, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

The numbers: McCain 64%, Hayworth 19%, and conservative activist Jim Deakin 5%. The survey of registered voters has a ±5.4% margin of error. The previous Rocky Mountain numbers from April had McCain ahead by 54%-28%, with Deakin not included, and it's only gotten worse for Hayworth since then. The TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead of 52.3%-30.6%.

Hayworth has been trying to build up an anti-establishment, Tea Party-style campaign against McCain. However, McCain has noticeably veered right on issues like immigration, somewhat neutralizing Hayworth's appeal. And of course, Hayworth has been dragged down thanks to public scrutiny over an infomercial he did in 2007 for a company offering shady seminars on how to receive "free money" from the government. D'oh!

It was a Democrat -- James Carville -- who coined the phrase "it's the economy, stupid." And to this day, leading Democrats understand that Carville was correct. They get it all the way down to their trembling bones. They'd love to take dramatic steps to improve the economy, but Republicans are using every tool at their disposal to prevent that. It's led Democrats to blame Republicans explicitly for causing Americans economic pain for short-term political gain, but it also means we're not going to see much in the way of economy-improving legislation in the months ahead.

"They think the worse the economy is come November, the better they're going to do election wise," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press conference this morning.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) echoed that analysis last month on a conference call with reporters.

"If [the GOP] can stop the recovery from occurring, if they can create as much pain as possible, people will be angry and will not vote at all or will vote against those in the majority," she implored.

With Republicans pushing for tax cuts for the rich and blocking unemployment benefits, you can see where they're coming from. And yet, with unemployment hovering near 10 percent, and a midterm election threatening to sweep them out of power on Capitol Hill, Democrats are trapped and running out of time.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) must be really hard to work for -- even staffers who seem to do a good job end up leaving.

As Politico reported, Bachmann's chief of staff Ron Carey, a former Minnesota GOP chairman, has now become the fifth chief of staff to quit Bachmann's office during her mere three and a half years in Congress. A previous chief of staff had quit just this past November, and Carey was hired to be the new chief in February.

In addition, Bachmann's campaign finance director Zandra Wolcott left the campaign, too. Think about this: Bachmann's fundraising has been great. In the last quarter she raised a whopping $1.7 million. Her Democratic opponent Tarryl Clark only raised $910,000 -- which by itself would have been impressive in this Midwestern district, but paled in comparison to Bachmann. And still, the staffers keep coming and going.

Two Republican congressmen are urging other countries -- including, potentially, some where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death -- to vote against an American-led effort in the U.N. to recognize a respected international gay rights group.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has been trying since May 2007 to win accreditation from the United Nations, which would allow the NGO to have a voice at the international body. But the group's application for "consultative status" had been deferred by the status-granting NGO committee until early last month, when the committee voted to block its application.

Among the countries voting against the application: Egypt, Angola, Burundi, China, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia and Sudan. In all those countries but Russia and China, LGBT people can be jailed, fined, whipped or killed if they are caught by authorities.

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Looks like Governor Bobby Jindal is staying out of the Louisiana GOP Senate Primary. In a statement, his spokesman Kyle Plotkin says, "Right now, the Governor is focused on fighting the oil spill and working to lift the moratorium. There will be time to discuss endorsements in the coming months."

Emphasis on the word "months," plural. Asked whether that implies Jindal won't make any political endorsements until after the primary, his staff reiterated the same comment. That takes us past the August 28th primary, and into the general election campaign, when Jindal will surely endorse whomever wins the Republican nomination.

In the meantime, it seems, he'll let Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) fight it out with his new, and formidable, primary challenger, former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor.

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If elections are even half won simply by voter turnout, then this chart shows why the Democrats are toast this year. Republicans have far more momentum than at any other time in two decades, according to survey data from Pew Research.

56% of Republican voters are 'more enthusiastic' about voting this year, while only 42% of Dems are. This is shown below.

As usual, should the Democrats' voter turnout prove far weaker than the Republicans', then they'll have the young to blame:

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs this afternoon tried to tamp down any fallout from a spat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, praising her work on behalf of the Obama administration. He said she has done "monumental" work in "passing the agenda of this president."

Reporters asked Gibbs about reports that Pelosi (D-CA) sounded off about the press secretary during a Democratic caucus meeting. This is the third day in a row Gibbs has been asked to explain his remarks from NBC's Meet the Press that there is "no doubt" Republicans could take back the House this fall.

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Be prepared to be simply shocked: the fallout from yesterday's NAACP resolution condemning tea party racism has produced rhetoric from at least one tea partier that could be construed as racist.

Asked to respond to the NAACP resolution, which calls on national tea party leaders to repudiate the racism everyone has seen at some tea party rallies, Tea Party Express national spokesperson Mark Williams told NPR that NAACP leaders "make more money off of race than any slave trader ever."

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