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3:15 AM ET, December 29, 2012

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 Top Items: 
Talking Points Memo:
Obama To Congress: Come To A Deal - Or Else  —  Following a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, President Obama appeared before the press to urge all parties to take immediate action to reach a deal before a set of major tax increases and spending cuts kick in on Jan. 1.
Discussion: Balloon Juice and PERRspectives
RELATED:
Brett Taylor / Twitchy:
Dude, where's Nancy Pelosi's car?  Minority leader appears lost in parking lot  —  The suspense!  Usually, lawmakers exit a closed door meeting and head straight for the TV cameras.  House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were uncharacteristically quiet leaving …
Ezra Klein / Wonkblog:
‘Come together’ breaks Washington apart  —  Twitter has been rather amused by Starbucks' plan to solve the fiscal cliff by scrawling “come together” on every peppermint mocha and salted caramel latte sold in the Beltway.  —  This will not bring people together.  (EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
Discussion: CANNONFIRE and Hullabaloo
New York Times:
Senate Leaders Set to Work on a Last-Minute Tax Agreement  —  WASHINGTON — At the urging of President Obama, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate set to work Friday night to assemble a last-minute tax deal that could pass both chambers of Congress and avert large tax increases …
Manu Raju / Politico:
Obama to Congress: It's time for a deal
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Optimism for ‘fiscal cliff’ agreement grows ahead of White House meeting
Discussion: Politico and Booman Tribune
Glenn Greenwald / Guardian:
GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama's demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping |  Glenn Greenwald  —  The California Democrat's disgusting rhetoric recalls the worst of Dick Cheney while advancing Obama's agenda  —  To this day, many people identify mid-2008 as the time they realized …
RELATED:
Paul Krugman:
A Double Shot of Misunderstanding  —  One of the enduring fantasies of the pundit class - most dramatically demonstrated by the ludicrous Politico piece on What Insiders Know - is that all we need to fix our economic problems is to get the great and the good together and bypass those pesky elected officials.
Emily Schultheis / Politico:
Kerry, Dems back Markey for Senate  —  Democrats both nationally and in Massachusetts are throwing their support behind Rep. Ed Markey to replace Sen. John Kerry in Massachusetts, hoping to clear the field for him in what could become a crowded Democratic primary.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
RELATED:
Don Mecoy / Daily Oklahoman:
Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby to defy federal law requiring contraception coverage for employees, attorney says  —  Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby will defy a federal law that requires employee health care plans to provide insurance coverage for types of contraception that the firm's owners consider to be …
Associated Press:
Paintings Outrage Islamic Hard-Liners in Pakistan  —  Pakistan's leading arts college has pushed boundaries before in this conservative nation.  But when a series of paintings depicting Muslim clerics in scenes with strong homosexual overtones sparked an uproar and threats of violence by Islamic extremists, it was too much.
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Weasel Zippers
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Tea Party Leader: Romney Was ‘The Worst Candidate In History’  —  Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips on Thursday disputed that President Obama claimed a mandate in November's election, arguing that his re-election victory came over “the worst candidate in history in Mitt Romney.”
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
Harry J Enten / Guardian:
How polarisation in Washington affects a growing feeling of partisanship |  Harry J Enten  —  Legislators may no longer feel they have reason to play to the middle making Washington seem more divided than ever  —  “Can a divided House stand?” is a question that Nate Silver posed in a blogpost Thursday.
Discussion: msnbc.com, theGrio and The Maddow Blog
Marc A. Thiessen / Washington Post:
Why not let taxes rise on the middle class?  —  Barring a last-minute breakthrough, taxes will go up for every American taxpayer on Jan. 1 — and that's a development conservatives should welcome.  —  Don't get me wrong, it would be better not to raise taxes on anyone …
David Rogers / Reuters:
$60B Sandy aid package clears Senate  —  A $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid package cleared the Senate Friday evening after Democrats beat back a Republican alternative promising less than half the funding and focused more narrowly on the immediate needs over the next three months.
Discussion: CNN
Michael M. Grynbaum / City Room:
Crime Is Up and Bloomberg Blames iPhone Thieves  —  Hold onto your iPhones!  —  Crime in New York City inched up this year, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday fingered the culprit: too many iPhones and iPads were being swiped.  —  A rise in thefts of shiny Apple products accounted …
Discussion: The Consumerist and The Verge
Al Arabiya / Alarabiya.net English:
Brotherhood's Shater seeks ‘total control’ of media: Egypt's opposition group  —  Egypt's opposition group, the Popular Front, said on Wednesday that it had laid hands on a leaked document signed by the Muslim Brotherhood's deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater in which he urged the government to claim “total control of the media.”
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Jihad Watch
Megan McArdle / Asymmetrical Information:
Should People Be Forced to Buy Liability Insurance for their Guns?  —  The latest gun-control idea is forcing owners to buy liability insurance.  That may help a few victims, but it won't stop crime, writes Megan McArdle.  —  Novel gun control ideas continue to percolate through the commentariat.
Andrew Cohen / The Atlantic Online:
The Human Casualties of the War on Drugs  —  Let's stop humoring ourselves, says the filmmaker Eugene Jarecki — America can no longer afford to keep millions of its citizens locked away.  Now he's taking his law-and-order documentary on the road.  —  Jarecki in 2006.  (Seth Wenig/Reuters)
Dallas Morning News:
Exclusive: David Dewhurst campaign says aide stole at least $600,000  —  Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (front), receiving an endorsement during his U.S. Senate campaign from former rival Craig James, had hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from his state political accounts by an aide, his campaign says.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Ari Shavit / Haaretz:
The success of Naftali Bennett is the failure of the Israeli center-left
Discussion: Israpundit and Israel Matzav
Louis Charbonneau / Reuters:
National Rifle Association vows to fight arms trade treaty at U.N.
Discussion: Guardian
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Krauthammer To Hannity: Obama Has Successfully Created ‘An Internal Civil War’ Within The GOP
Burgess Everett / Politico:
GOP senators propose $1 trillion debt ceiling deal
Discussion: The National Memo
Katie Notopoulos / BuzzFeed:
How Anybody Can Secretly Save Your Snapchat Videos Forever
Discussion: BBC, TechCrunch, Mashable! and The Verge
Kevin D. Williamson / National Review:
Regulating the Militia  —  My friend Brett Joshpe has published …
 Earlier Items: 
Sky News:
Gang-Rape In India: Teen Victim Kills Herself
Chicago Tribune:
Grim milestone: Austin shooting apparently 500th homicide in Chicago
Jason Volentine / KASW-TV:
Sheriff Arpaio sending armed posse to protect schools
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Ravi Somaiya / New York Times:
NYT response to plagiarism claim acknowledges improper use of language, details from Wikipedia

Bill Glauber / JSOnline:
Journal Communications of Milwaukee and E.W. Scripps announce merger, spinning off newspapers

Bloomberg:
AMC Networks in talks to acquire almost 50% of BBC America

 
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