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4:15 PM ET, December 9, 2013


 Top Items: 
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 …
World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games  —  by Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times … Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life …
Alex Seitz-Wald /
How Adam Lanza Wrecked Obama's Second Term  —  Don't blame the catastrophic health care rollout for the president's woes.  The Sandy Hook shooting is the real reason things went amok.  —  There are plenty of reasons this is the lowest point of Barack Obama's presidency.
Robert Pear / New York Times:
On Health Exchanges, Premiums May Be Low, but Other Costs Can Be High  —  WASHINGTON — For months, the Obama administration has heralded the low premiums of medical insurance policies on sale in the insurance exchanges created by the new health law.  But as consumers dig into the details …
New York Times:
Amid the Uproar Over the Health Law, Voices of Quiet Optimism and Relief
Discussion: The Plum Line
Stephanie Kirchgaessner / Financial Times:
New Affordable Care US health plans will exclude top hospitals
The Top Ten Finalists for Person of the Year in 2013  —  Here are the final ten contenders for TIME's Person of the Year (listed alphabetically): Bashar Assad, President of Syria Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder Ted Cruz, Texas Senator Miley Cyrus, Singer Pope Francis, Leader of the Catholic Church Barack Obama …
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.
Dylan Byers / Politico:
White House: Sy Hersh report ‘false’
Discussion: The Hill, Mediaite and The Agonist
Michael Calderone / The Huffington Post:
New Yorker, Washington Post Passed On Seymour Hersh Syria Report
Associated Press:
Man shot when gun discharges in restroom  —  ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Elizabethtown police say a man was accidentally shot in the leg while using a restaurant bathroom in the central Kentucky city.  —  Police Sgt. David Neary told The News-Enterprise ( ) …
Discussion: Liberaland
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Kentucky Man Sets Gun On Toilet Paper Dispenser While Using Restroom, Gun Goes Off  —  A Kentucky man just needed a place to set his gun while he relieved himself in a restaurant restroom on Sunday, but the toilet paper dispenser may not have been the best choice.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:
Limited Support for Iran Nuclear Agreement  —  Iran's Leaders Seen as ‘Not Serious’ in Addressing Nuclear Concerns  —  The public is reacting skeptically to last month's multilateral agreement aimed at freezing parts of Iran's nuclear program.  Overall, more disapprove than approve of the deal …
Ben Armbruster / ThinkProgress:
Cheney: The Iran Deal Is Bad Because Of Obamacare
Israeli Top Leaders Not Attending Mandela Funeral  —  JERUSALEM — Neither Israel's prime minister nor president will attend South Africa's commemorations of the late Nelson Mandela this week, officials said, a notable absence at events expected to draw more than 70 world leaders.
Timothy Heritage / Reuters:
Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media
Discussion: Politico and The PJ Tatler
Beth Reinhard /
Can Democrats Make 2014 About the Minimum Wage?  —  Shifting away from Obamacare is smart politics, but it won't be easy to lure GOP voters with a low-wages argument.  —  A prominent liberal think tank dubbed it a “political goldmine.”  The New Republic called it “the issue that could take down Mitch McConnell.”
Warren Hits Banks, Expands Base to Solidify Senate Power
Discussion: First Read
The Sportsman Channel:
Sarah Palin Joins Sportsman Channel as Host of Original Series “Amazing America with Sarah Palin”  —  Cultural, Political and Media Force, Palin Returns to Unscripted Television as Sportsman Channel's “First Lady of the Outdoors”  —  New Berlin, WI (December 9 2013) Former U.S. vice presidential candidate …
There's Now A Coloring Book To Teach Your Children To Love Ted Cruz  —  Are you a new parent terrified that the liberal media will turn your child into an Obama supporter?  Or do you just need something to entertain your kids during those long drives to Tea Party rallies?
Zach Carter / The Huffington Post:
Obama Faces Backlash Over New Corporate Powers In Secret Trade Deal  —  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration appears to have almost no international support for controversial new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, increase the cost of prescription medications …
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Graham denies employer contribution  —  Add one more lawmaker to the list of those giving up employer contributions to their Obamacare coverage.  —  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement Monday that he would decline the contribution and join the South Carolina health care exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act.
Discussion: CNN
Susan Page / USA Today:
Sibling rivalry? Zeke vs. Rahm Emanuel on Obamacare
Susan Wyatt / KING-TV:
TSA agent confiscates sock monkey's toy pistol  —  “Rooster Monkburn” the cowboy sock monkey is without his pistol, thanks to a diligent TSA agent in St. Louis.  —  Phyllis May of Redmond, Wash. says she is “appalled and shocked and embarrassed all at the same time” about the incident that happened on Wednesday.
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Americans Discover They're Trapped In GOP's Medicaid Expansion Gap  —  With working better and the first deadline to sign up for health coverage that starts in January approaching, Obamacare's so-called navigators — the people and organizations receiving federal funds to help people enroll …
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.
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 More Items: 
Victoria Stilwell / Bloomberg:
U.S. Household Worth Rose by $1.92 Trillion in Third Quarter
Discussion: ThinkProgress and AEIdeas
Chris Johnson / Washington Blade:
Georgia Nat'l Guard to process same-sex benefits
Tony Perry / Los Angeles Times:
Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to face sentencing
Patrick Howley / The Daily Caller:
Liberals want to stop men from checking out women
Insurance Business:
Health exchange calls on producers to help meet enrollment deadline
Job Creation Deals Struck By Florida's Governor Have Failed To Deliver
Discussion: Balloon Juice
 Earlier Items: 
Tomas Hachard / The Atlantic Online:
Finally, Some Films That Don't Make the 1960s Look So Groovy
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Glenn Greenwald Vows To Return To U.S. After ‘Exile’
USA Today:
Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA
Seth Stephens- Davidowitz / New York Times:
How Many American Men Are Gay?
Joseph Curl / Washington Times:
Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal