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Today's Links: March 13, 2012

OPINION CATHY YOUNG: "A Pox on Both Houses in the Contraception Controversy" "Sometimes, I catch a lot of flak for taking a 'pox on both your houses' stance in political conflicts. But given the way so many political conflicts unfold, what else is one to do? Take the firestorm over Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke's congressional testimony about health insurance coverage for contraception and talk show king Rush Limbaugh's rants calling her a slut. There are good reasons to question Fluke's image as a courageous Everywoman—just as there are good arguments against the contraceptive coverage mandate, particularly for faith-based institutions (such as Georgetown, a Jesuit university). But now, we're all discussing Limbaugh's sexist slurs and squabbling over who's got worse misogynists, the right or the left." ALLYSIA FINLEY: "Coffee is an Essential Benefit, Too" "Dear President Obama: Can you believe the nerve of employers? Many of them still seem to think that they should be allowed to determine the benefits they offer. I guess they haven't read your 2,000-page health law. It's the government's job now." ANDREW COHEN: "Muckraking (Literally): Should it Be Illegal to Film Animal Abuse?" "Last week, for example, Iowa became the first state in America to make it a crime to lie to get onto a farm to record images of animal abuse. In Utah, meanwhile, Gov. Gary Herbert, is poised this week to sign legislation that would go even further in shielding animal treatment from public view. Utah's statute would ban the photography of livestock without the permission of its owner-- a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine and up to one year in prison. [...] Ken Paulson, President and CEO of the First Amendment Center, said Friday afternoon that 'ag gag' bills like the ones at issue here likely will face 'a significant First Amendment challenge.'" NEWS NANNY STATE - California Legislator Proposes Banning Violent Fans From Pro Sports Games "California would become the first state to create a 'Ban List' prohibiting violent fans from attending professional sports events anywhere in the state under newly proposed legislation." IMMIGRATION - Justice Department Opposes Texas Voter ID Law "The Justice Department's civil rights division on Monday objected to a new photo ID requirement for voters in Texas because many Hispanic voters lack state-issued identification." TRANSPORTATION - Farmer: Train Kills Reindeer 'Like Meat Grinder' "A new high-speed railway in northern Sweden has already claimed the lives of 200 reindeer since it opened three months ago, forcing the farm owner to move to safer pastures."