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12:25 PM ET, December 17, 2013


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance  —  For the first time since the revelation of the National Security Agency's vast dragnet of all Americans' telephone records, a federal court has ruled that such surveillance is “significantly likely” to be unconstitutional.
Scott Lemieux / American Prospect:
Four Takeaways from Yesterday's NSA Ruling  —  Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that the National Security Agency's extensive collection of “metadata”—as revealed by Edward Snowden earlier this year—is likely to have violated the Fourth Amendment.
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money and Mediaite
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
‘Passionate’ Judge Has Record of Wrestling With Thorny Issues, and the U.S. Government
Federal judge rules NSA phone snooping unconstitutional
Discussion: KFOR-TV and Mediaite
Orin Kerr / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Preliminary Thoughts on Judge Leon's Opinion
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
This Is The Most Important Paragraph In The Court Decision Against The NSA
Discussion: The Impolitic and Liberal Values
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Senate poised to approve budget  —  The Senate is poised to approve the two-year budget deal on Tuesday, but the tally is not expected to match the landslide in the House.  —  The bill, which sets top-line spending levels for 2014 and 2015, is on track to just barely get the 60 votes it needs to clear the upper chamber.
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Roll Call
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Senate poised to pass budget deal
Discussion: Power Line and Reuters
The Hill:
Senate advances budget deal
Discussion: CNN, KTOO and American Spectator
Marc A. Thiessen / Washington Post:
Budget deal shows the GOP has PTSD
Discussion: Power Line
Ron Fournier /
‘This Is the End of the Presidency’  —  Tracking the same horrible second-term path as Bush, can Obama learn from the past?  —  Claiming a mandate he never had, the newly reelected president foisted a bold agenda upon Congress and the public, then watched it collapse within months …
Discussion: ABC News, Mediaite and Hit & Run
David Nather / Reuters:
Next Obamacare crisis: Small-business costs?  —  Think the canceled health policies hurt the Obamacare cause?  There's another political time bomb lurking that could explode not too long before next year's elections: rate hikes for small businesses.  —  Like the canceled individual health plans …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Politico
Immigration's next hurdle: Obamacare
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Pro-Mitch McConnell ad links him to Rand Paul
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  December 17, 2013 - Iowa Gov's Approval, Reelection Prospects Improve, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Christie Tops Clinton By 5 Points In 2016 Race  —  Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's reelection prospects are improving as voters approve 58 - 32 percent of the job he is doing …
Jenna Portnoy / New Jersey Online:
Iowa voters prefer Chris Christie to Hillary Clinton in 2016 matchup, poll shows
Discussion: Booman Tribune and
Bradley Brooks / Associated Press:
Snowden Petitions Brazil For Asylum In Exchange For Help With Spying  —  RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says he would be willing to help Brazil investigate NSA spying on its soil, but could not fully participate without being granted political asylum …
David Weigel / Slate:
Why 60 Minutes Tanked the NSA Story: The Producers Theory  —  It'll be a good 30 years until I can start collecting Social Security checks, and I can't say where I was when JFK was shot, so I'm not really in 60 Minutes' target audience.  * Other reporters, who have closely covered the NSA story …
Discussion: Guardian, New York Magazine and Reuters
Washington Post:
Obama suffers most from year of turmoil, poll finds  —  President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantages over Republicans …
David Brooks / New York Times:
The Thought Leader  —  Little boys and girls in ancient Athens grew up wanting to be philosophers.  In Renaissance Florence they dreamed of becoming Humanists.  But now a new phrase and a new intellectual paragon has emerged to command our admiration: The Thought Leader.
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
McConnell, challenger neck-and-neck in poll  —  A new poll shows the Kentucky Senate race is essentially tied and that Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) remains deeply unpopular in his home state.  —  The survey, from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, shows Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes lagging …
Rick Kissell / Variety:
Fox News Remains Ratings Champ As 2013 Comes to Close  —  It and rivals CNN, MSNBC down from last year  —  Fox News Channel maintained its grip on the cable-news network ratings prize in 2013, drawing more viewers than the combined averages of CNN, MSNBC and HLN.
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
White House to tap Microsoft exec to fix Obamacare site  —  The White House is tapping the private sector for its next point man to fix the troubled Obamacare website.  —  The administration is set to announce that Kurt DelBene, an executive at Microsoft, will succeed Jeff Zients in leading …
Discussion: Hot Air and Business Insider
Scott Jaschik / Inside Higher Ed:
Too Risky for Boulder?  —  Patricia Adler stunned her students in a popular course on deviance Thursday by announcing that she would be leaving her tenured position teaching sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  —  Adler said that officials told her that one of the highlights of the course …
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis  —  The pontiff understands the power of moral example.  Today's liberal high priests do not.  —  In the same week that Pope Francis was named Time's Person of the Year, word arrived of the charitable contributions made by the Jane Fonda Foundation.
Jordan Zakarin / BuzzFeed:
Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Plagiarizing Artist Daniel Clowes For His New Short Film  —  UPDATED: The similarities between LaBeouf's and Clowes' Justin M. Damiano are astounding.  “In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process …
Discussion: CNN, Telegraph, Gawker and The Verge
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 More Items: 
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Auto bailout could be harbinger for Obamacare
Jorge Saenz / Associated Press:
Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Dave Levinthal / The Center for Public …:
How Washington starves its election watchdog
Discussion: CNN and The Verge
Nathan L. Gonzales / Rothenblog:
How the Calendar Will Influence GOP Senate Primaries
Jason Horowitz / New York Times:
Obama's Library, Advisers' Dream
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Chris Kirkham / The Huffington Post:
Building A Brand  —  Accusations that schools leave students …
Discussion: and ThinkProgress
 Earlier Items: 
Lucas Grindley / Advocate:
The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis
Brendan Sasso / The Hill:
Tech execs to confront Obama on spying
Juan Williams / The Hill:
Republicans must see the light on combatting poverty
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Is A Big Chill On the Way?  —  As Steve noted a little while ago …

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