I've made up my mind and decided to go with the Rikon 70-100. I considered the 70-220 and Nova Comet II, but, after researching and reading comments on many supplier's sites I read too many problems with electronics boards, cables, etc. I don't need that headache. Too many electronic devices in my life have given me grief. Although the variable speed would be convenient I see myself going from extreme slow to 2000+ rpm constantly for roughing to shaping to finishing steps. Most of those lathes will require a belt/pulley change to get that change anyway. I really dont' buy that sanding in reverse argument. I have had no problem eliminating lines on my AMT (which as some of you know is not anywhere near a high end machine). It's all about patience.
As my Dad always said, "You have more time than money", so, manual speed changes are in my future. While I considered the Central Machinery option (10x18) to save some serious cash I am sold on the fit and finish concept. The easier speed changes are also a big consideration with the 70-100 vs the CM 10x18.
Most of what I am going to be doing is small ornaments and other nick knacks as gifts and decoration. I don't see me turning table or chair legs ever again, I prefer the look of the tapered square legs I have built using my jointer. More traditional look IMO.
Thanks for all the suggestions and input. I'll be visiting with you'se guys again.