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9:45 AM ET, December 9, 2013


 Top Items: 
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Year of living dismally  —  Heading into an election year, Democrats and Republicans are trying to figure out how to salvage their brands after a bruising 2013.  —  The political year has seen a succession of angry standoffs, starting with the fiscal cliff fight last New Year and ending …
Beth Reinhard /
Can Democrats Make 2014 About the Minimum Wage?
Discussion: Mediaite and First Read
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:   Eric Cantor on how Republicans can win again
Dana Davidsen / CNN:
Durbin: Unemployment benefits won't make or break budget deal
Discussion: Politico and The Hill
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Durbin: No ultimatum on jobless benefits
Discussion: English and Firedoglake
Joseph Curl / Washington Times:
Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal  —  ANALYSIS/OPINION:  —  Fact: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups requesting tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.  That's a fact.  —  Congress held hearings — embarrassing hearings.
Discussion: Power Line and Betsy's Page
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Punishment Cure  —  Six years have passed since the United States economy entered the Great Recession, four and a half since it officially began to recover, but long-term unemployment remains disastrously high.  And Republicans have a theory about why this is happening.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Post Politics
New York Times:
Three Senators Try to Hold Off G.O.P. in South  —  NEW ORLEANS — Things traditionally get started a little late down here, an inclination that runs from mealtimes to political races.  But with nearly a year to go before the 2014 election, it is already open season on Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana.
Nelson Mandela / CNN:
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, congressional Democrats to commemorate Mandela in South Africa
John Diedrich / JSOnline:
ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation  —  By John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Journal Sentinel  —  Aaron Key wasn't sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck.  Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.  —  But the guys running Squid's Smoke Shop in Portland …
Discussion: Hit & Run, NPR and Gawker
David Lightman / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
McClatchy-Marist Poll: 68% of Americans expect no budget deal by shutdown deadline  —  McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 8, 2013 Updated 16 hours ago  —  Facebook Twitter Google Plus Reddit E-mail Print  —  WASHINGTON — A Congressional budget deal expected this week might not be a grand bargain …
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Worries about Hillary Clinton  —  Hillary Clinton may be the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but she's going to have to deal with some knotty problems sooner or later.  She can't ignore forever either her party or the media's entreaties to talk on important subjects.
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Globe and Mail:   Obamacare, where the liberal dream crashes and burns
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Budget deal expected this week amounts to a cease-fire as sides move to avert a standoff  —  House and Senate negotiators were putting the finishing touches Sunday on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Among ‘Obama Coalition,’ Obama approval plunges  —  BELTWAY CONFIDENTIAL BARACK OBAMA POLLS APPROVAL RATINGS  —  President Obama won re-election with the rock-solid support of what has become known as the “Obama Coalition” — young people, minorities, women, and low-income voters.
New York Times:
Amid the Uproar Over the Health Law, Voices of Quiet Optimism and Relief  —  Since his chronic leukemia was diagnosed in 2010, Ray Acosta has paid dearly for health insurance: more than $800 a month in premiums, plus steep co-payments for the drug that helps keep him alive.
Seymour M. Hersh / London Review of Books:
Whose sarin?  —  Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August.  In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts.
Warren Hits Banks, Expands Base to Solidify Senate Power  —  Elizabeth Warren, in her first year as a U.S. senator, has captured headlines by pressuring such industry titans as Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd C. Blankfein for transparency, including a Dec. 4 call for Wall Street banks to disclose …
New York Times:
Spies' Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls  —  Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played …
Discussion: Guardian, The Verge, TechCrunch and Gawker
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
Gillibrand sees assault vote slip away  —  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is headed back to the drawing board with her controversial proposal to take sexual assault cases outside the chain of command.  —  Gillibrand had been assured a vote on her plan during work on the Defense authorization bill.
Discussion: New Yorker and The Reaction
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 More Items: 
Seth Stephens- Davidowitz / New York Times:
How Many American Men Are Gay?
Discussion: Joe. My. God.
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Americans Discover They're Trapped In GOP's Medicaid Expansion Gap
Discussion: Liberaland
Stephanie Kirchgaessner / Financial Times:
New Affordable Care US health plans will exclude top hospitals
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Channel NewsAsia:
Police say the riot in Little India which broke out on Sunday night took place after a fatal …
Discussion: Crooked Timber and Guardian
Ellen Nakashima / Washington Post:
NSA morale down after Edward Snowden revelations, former U.S. officials say
Discussion: Guardian, AllThingsD, emptywheel and Gawker
David Harding / NY Daily News:
Christmas lights cause furor in Rome after rainbow colors used for anti-homophobia message
Discussion: The Daily Caller and Joe. My. God.
Katrin Bennhold / New York Times:
Britain's Ministry of Nudges
Discussion: Politico and Liberaland
 Earlier Items: 
Shanna McCord / Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Merrill Newman said he was comfortable during detention in North Korean hotel room
Discussion: CNN, NBCNews and Guardian
David Simon / Guardian:
‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’
Ashley Killough / CNN:
Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, three others recognized at Kennedy Center Honors
Discussion: Associated Press
Dana Davidsen / CNN:
Homeland Security chairman: Threat of terrorism spreading like ‘wildfire’ overseas

From Mediagazer:

Ken Florance / Netflix US & Canada Blog:
Netflix says it opposes Comcast/TWC merger because Comcast charges both Netflix and its customers to connect to each other

Margaret Sullivan / New York Times:
Aftermath of Ukraine Photo Story Shows Need for More Caution

Andy Mitchell / Facebook:
Facebook partners with Storyful to launch FB Newswire, a news feed for journalists on Facebook and Twitter

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