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2:25 PM ET, December 17, 2013

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Ron Fournier / NationalJournal.com:
‘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 …
RELATED:
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 …
Washington Post:
Gary Langer / ABC News:
A Drop in Opposition to Obamacare Helps Stabilize a Struggling Presidency
Discussion: Daily Kos and NewsBusters
Brett LoGiurato / Business Insider:
Obama's Current Approval Rating Is The Ugliest Since Nixon
Discussion: The Week
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.
RELATED:
Emily Bazelon / Slate:
Snap Out of It  —  If this judge doesn't buy the legal basis for the NSA's intrusive phone snooping, no one should.  —  If you have been lulled into a state of somnolence about former government contractor Edward Snowden's revelations that the government is collecting records …
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
‘Passionate’ Judge Has Record of Wrestling With Thorny Issues, and the U.S. Government
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
White House to tap Microsoft exec to fix HealthCare.gov  —  The White House is tapping the private sector for its next point man to oversee the troubled Obamacare website.  —  The administration is set to announce that Kurt DelBene, an executive at Microsoft, will succeed Jeff Zients …
RELATED:
Kathleen Sebelius / HHS.gov:
Former Microsoft Executive Kurt DelBene To Replace Jeff Zients  —  Today, I am pleased to announce Kurt DelBene as my Senior Advisor and successor to Jeff Zients.  Jeff did an outstanding job working with our team to provide management advice and counsel on the HealthCare.gov project.
Edward Snowden / folha.uol.com.br:
An Open Letter to the People of Brazil  —  Atualizado em 17/12/2013 às 08h11.  —  Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government's National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist's camera.  —  Espionage Whistleblower Edward Snowden to Seek Asylum in Brazil
RELATED:
Bradley Brooks / Associated Press:
Snowden Petitions Brazil For Asylum In Exchange For Help With Spying
Josh Levs / CNN:
Snowden's open letter offers to help Brazil investigate NSA surveillance
Discussion: Mediaite
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.
RELATED:
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
WAS IT SOMETHING WE SAID?  —  Moral Hazard, the Irish setter owned …
Discussion: Balloon Juice and Capital New York
The Hill:
Rep. Wolf retires after 17 terms  —  Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) announced Tuesday he will retire from Congress after 17 terms, opening up a competitive House seat in Northern Virginia.  —  Wolf, 74, has represented his district in North Virginia since 1981 and is the longest-serving member from the state.
Discussion: Politico
RELATED:
Abby Livingston / Roll Call:
Frank Wolf Will Not Seek Re-Election (Updated)
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
The Hill:
Senate GOP to decide filibuster strategy  —  Stinging from Senate Democrats' gutting of the filibuster, Senate Republicans will use their private caucus lunch Tuesday to decide on their strategy for holding back a string of nominees.  —  Now that Senate rules prevent the minority party …
RELATED:
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Senate poised to approve budget
Discussion: Washington Monthly, CNN, KTOO and Roll Call
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Senate poised to pass budget deal
Discussion: Power Line, The Plum Line and Reuters
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 …
RELATED:
Politico:
Immigration's next hurdle: Obamacare
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
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.
Jordan Zakarin / BuzzFeed:
Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Plagiarizing Artist Daniel Clowes For His New Short Film  —  UPDATED: The similarities between LaBeouf's HowardCantour.com 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, Guardian, Gawker and The Verge
Jorge Saenz / Associated Press:
Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage  —  ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pope Francis announced changes in the influential Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishop around the world.  —  Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed Monday to the Congregation for Bishops.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
James Hohmann / Politico:
Internal Rick Scott poll: Charlie Crist up in Florida  —  Charlie Crist leads Florida Gov. Rick Scott by 4 percentage points in an internal poll conducted by Scott pollster Tony Fabrizio.  —  The survey, taken in late November and obtained Tuesday by POLITICO, puts Crist …
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 …
Sherry Jacobson / Dallas Morning News:
Texas congressmen take aim at Affordable Care Act's navigators  —  Dozens of Obamacare supporters attended Monday's congressional hearing at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.  Luis Veloz, 20, of Dallas told the crowd that he and his family do not have health insurance.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Mediaite
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Auto bailout could be harbinger for Obamacare  —  When will the criticism of Obamacare finally end?  —  I've done some research on the question, and by my calculations, judging from current trends, this will happen approximately . . . never.  —  I base this on the criticism of the auto bailout of early 2009.
Discussion: Paul Krugman
 
 
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 More Items: 
Nathan Allen / Grist:
Reddit's science forum banned climate deniers. Why don't all newspapers do the same?
Discussion: Twitchy and ThinkProgress
Andrew Ryan / The Boston Globe:
With 2 decades of city-provided rides at an end, Menino turns his focus to 21st-century driving
Discussion: First Read
Pat Buchanan / Townhall.com:
Is Putin One of Us?
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Stuart Rothenberg / Roll Call:
Is Arkansas Really the Land of Opportunity for Democrats?
Discussion: The Reaction and Associated Press
Hayes Brown / ThinkProgress:
Dennis Rodman Returning To North Korea Despite Execution Of Leader's Uncle
Walter Shapiro / American Prospect:
The Year in Preview: Obama's Last Stand
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
McConnell, challenger neck-and-neck in poll
 Earlier Items: 
Nathan L. Gonzales / Rothenblog:
How the Calendar Will Influence GOP Senate Primaries
Discussion: Politico
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  December 17, 2013 - Iowa Gov's Approval …
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Talking Points Memo
Lucas Grindley / Advocate:
The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis
David Weigel / Slate:
Why 60 Minutes Tanked the NSA Story: The Producers Theory
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Is A Big Chill On the Way?  —  As Steve noted a little while ago …