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9:25 AM ET, December 30, 2013

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Eli Lake / The Daily Beast:
Yes, There IS Evidence Linking al Qaeda to Benghazi  —  Libyan militants tell the New York Times that al Qaeda is not behind the 2012 Benghazi attack.  Some members of Congress have intelligence that says otherwise.  —  On Sunday, The New York Times published an investigation …
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John Prager / Americans Against the Tea Party:
Watch Phil Robertson's Tips On Finding The Perfect Underage Girl To Marry!  (Video)  —  As we've already established, Chris Hansen might enjoy it very much if Phil Robertson “took a seat over there,” based on some comments made at the Sportsmen's Ministry in Georgia in 2009.
Discussion: Joe. My. God. and The Dish
CNN:
CNN Poll: Afghanistan war arguably most unpopular in U.S. history  —  Washington (CNN) - Support for the war in Afghanistan has dipped below 20%, according to a new national poll, making the country's longest military conflict arguably its most unpopular one as well.
Emma G. Fitzsimmons / New York Times:
Sotomayor to Lead Countdown to New Year in Times Square  —  Justice Sonia Sotomayor will return to her hometown for New Year's Eve to help lead one of New York City's best known rituals: the ball drop in Times Square.  She will press the crystal button on Tuesday night to lower the ball …
Discussion: BizPac Review and Althouse
Juan Williams / The Hill:
Republicans to blame for the public's disgust with Congress  —  As the year ends, Gallup reports that public approval of Congress averaged 14 percent during 2013.  This, the polling firm points out, is “the lowest annual average in Gallup's history.”  —  The pollsters added …
New York Times:
Cost of Being Mayor?  $650 Million, if He's Rich  —  Michael R. Bloomberg loves tropical fish.  So when he was elected mayor, he installed two giant aquariums in City Hall.  —  The cost to him for having the tanks cleaned out every week for the past 12 years: around $62,400.  —  The mayor likes to nosh, too.
Discussion: Politicker and Associated Press
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Obama, Clinton Continue Reign as Most Admired  —  Sixth year in a row for Obama, 12th straight year for Clinton  —  PRINCETON, NJ — For the sixth consecutive year, Barack Obama ranks as the Most Admired Man among Americans, and Hillary Clinton is again the Most Admired Woman.  Both won by comfortable margins.
Discussion: Reuters and Talking Points Memo
New York Times:
Democrats Turn to Minimum Wage as 2014 Strategy  —  WASHINGTON — Democratic Party leaders, bruised by months of attacks on the new health care program, have found an issue they believe can lift their fortunes both locally and nationally in 2014: an increase in the minimum wage.
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Obama's TV Picks: Anything Edgy, With Hints of Reality  —  WASHINGTON — War, terrorism, economic struggle, mass shootings — such is life in the Oval Office for President Obama.  —  Yet in his few quiet moments, this president seeks not to escape to the delicious back-stabbing of the …
Mackenzie Weinger / Politico:
Mike Huckabee: My adventures in radio  —  Huckabee said he got through the interview on air, but after it wrapped he remembered telling the producer, “Look, I don't mind doing fun stuff, I don't mind doing some stuff that's off the wall, but this is the kind of topic — this isn't going to happen again.”
The Hill:
Regulatory fights loom large in 2014  —  Battles lines are being drawn for a series of upcoming clashes over new regulations on the horizon in 2014.  —  The year promises to be chock full of contentious fights over scores of new rules stemming from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and a host of other laws.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Steven Lee Myers / New York Times:
Second Blast Hits Russia, Raising Olympic Fears  —  MOSCOW — A deadly suicide bombing at a crowded railroad station in southern Russia on Sunday, followed by a blast in a trolley bus on Monday in the same city, raised the specter of a new wave of terrorism just six weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
RELATED:
RT:   Suicide bombing kills at least 17 in Russia's Volgograd (VIDEO)
Spiegel Online:
Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit  —  The insert method and other variants of QUANTUM are closely linked to a shadow network operated by the NSA alongside the Internet, with its own, well-hidden infrastructure comprised of “covert” routers and servers.  It appears the NSA also incorporates routers …
Discussion: The Verge and The Raw Story
RELATED:
Spiegel Online:
Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox
Discussion: emptywheel and Boing Boing
Robert Wilde / BREITBART.COM:
NO CHURCH FOR OBAMA FAMILY ON CHRISTMAS DAY  —  The President and his family, enjoying a 17-day vacation in Hawaii, did not attend Church on Christmas Day.  Ironically, President Obama recently asked all Christians to remember the religious aspects of Christmas and not to exaggerate the commercial.
Robert J. Samuelson / Washington Post:
The good news about 2014 (maybe)  —  For four and a half years, we have waited for a powerful and self-sustaining economic recovery.  More than once it seemed imminent.  Then, for various reasons, it vanished, and we returned to a plodding expansion with too much unemployment and too little confidence.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Fiscal Fever Breaks
Jay Michaelson / Forward:
Obamacare ‘Pajama Boy’ Controversy Wrapped in Anti-Semitism
Jerrypournelle / Chaos Manor:
Credentials and a few words for junior officers.
Discussion: Vox Popoli
Kyle Smith / New York Post:
How political correctness humiliated Navy SEALs who caught Qaeda killer
Rick Rojas / Los Angeles Times:
Claremont church Nativity scene replaces Jesus with Trayvon Martin
Discussion: AL.com, Associated Press and ABC News
 Earlier Items: 
Robert Mann / Something Like the Truth:
'I can't be gay in northeast Louisiana.' A ULM student's powerful message to Phil Robertson
John Markoff / New York Times:
Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Austin Wright / Politico:
Franklin Graham: The pope is ‘not the judge’
Discussion: AMERICAblog News and Mediaite
NY Daily News:
Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former NYPD commissioner, accuses attorney Joe Tacopina of fraud …
Discussion: New York Post and Scared Monkeys
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Massachusetts, the model for Obamacare, has highest health costs in the United States
Laura Italiano / New York Post:
Call girl tell-all: Eliot Spitzer liked to choke me, was into ‘struggle’