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2:35 PM ET, January 8, 2014

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 Top Items: 
Shawn Boburg / NorthJersey.com:
Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy  —  Private messages between Governor's Christie's deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge …
RELATED:
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Big Trouble  —  As I've written several times, this Christie Bridge Scandal is far more potentially damaging for Christie that it might seem on its face because its fits so perfectly with the negative view (as opposed to the positive view) of Chris Christie.  That is, that he and his crew are thugs and bullies.
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
Top Christie Staff Sought Lane Closings as Revenge  —  A series of newly obtained emails and text messages shows that Gov. Chris Christie's office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes …
Wall Street Journal:
CONNECT  —  A top aide to Gov. Chris Christie told an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” before the authority closed lanes onto the George Washington Bridge in September, triggering a week of massive traffic jams, documents show.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and CNN
Politico:
Emails tie Chris Christie staff to bridge flap  —  Emails emerged Wednesday tying New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's staff to the closing of lanes on a key bridge in September — shutdowns that caused massive traffic problems and sparked allegations that the closures were the result of political retribution.
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents  —  Republican identification lowest in at least 25 years  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.
RELATED:
Ruth Rosen / In These Times:   Republicans (Still) Have a ‘Female Problem’
ThinkProgress:
West Virginia Lawmaker Wants To Make It A Felony To Enforce Obamacare  —  Nullificationist Senator John C. Calhoun  —  CREDIT: (AP Photo/National Portrait Gallery)  —  At least 82,000 West Virginia residents are signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion alone.
Discussion: Liberaland and Martinsburg Journa
RELATED:
Lisa Demer / Anchorage Daily News:
GOP targets Begich over Affordable Care Act - with ad that airs just once
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
RNC spends little on ObamaCare attacks
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Politico:
Carolyn McCarthy, Mike McIntyre to retire  —  North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre and New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy will not seek reelection this year, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with their plans - marking a blow to Democratic efforts to win control of the House.
Discussion: Business Insider and Daily Kos
RELATED:
Tom Brune / Newsday:
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy: I won't run again
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Politicker
Gabrielle Giffords / New York Times:
The Lessons of Physical Therapy  —  TODAY, the anniversary of the shooting in Tucson that put a bullet through my head and killed six of my constituents, is when I make my annual resolutions.  —  Many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost.  I struggle to speak, my eyesight's not great …
RELATED:
Meena Duerson / Today:
TODAY exclusive: Gabby Giffords will sky-dive to mark shooting anniversary
Discussion: Mashable and Liberaland
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
BREAKING: Utah Governor Says State Will Not Recognize 1300+ Same-Sex Marriages  —  Utah's governor says the Constitution does not apply to these two men  —  Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's (R) office announced Wednesday that his state will not recognize the over 1,300 same sex marriages performed between …
RELATED:
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Utah Marriages Of Same-Sex Couples “On Hold” Pending Appeal, Governor's Office Says
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Keith Edwards / Portland Press-Herald:
LePage says children should have work option  —  Not allowing children to work is ‘causing damage to our economy,’ the governor says.  —  AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage told attendees of the 73rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show on Tuesday that 12-year-olds should be allowed to work in Maine.
New York Times:
Biography Casts Critical Light on Fox News Chief  —  Roger Ailes was so eager to influence national politics that in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, he told fellow Fox News executives point-blank: “I want to elect the next president.”  —  In the corporate thicket of News Corporation …
Jenn Taylor / Twitchy:
‘Oh COME ON’: The Guardian's description of pro-abort Wendy Davis is beyond absurd; Update: Guardian issues correction  —  Here's how the sane see abortion booster Wendy Davis: … And here's The Guardian's description of the Texas Dem, courtesy of National Review fellow Betsy Woodruff:
Discussion: TheBlaze.com and Weasel Zippers
Jamie Stiehm / US News:
The Catholic Supreme Court's War on Women  —  Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor?  Really, we can't trust you on women's health and human rights?  The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square.
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
Drama roils race to replace Rep. Bill Young  —  The GOP race to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) has become a political soap opera that could jeopardize Republicans' hold on the seat.  —  It has all the makings of a daytime drama: a widow disavowing her son due to opposing primary allegiances …
Matt Higgins / CBS DC:
Obama To Announce 5 ‘Promise Zones’ In Effort To Focus On Income Inequality  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will announce five “Promise Zones” this week as part of his effort to focus on income inequality in the lead-up to his State of the Union address.
Kristina Wong / The Hill:
White House rejects criticisms in Gates' memoir  —  The White House immediately rebuffed a searing critique of its Afghanistan war policies Tuesday from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  —  In his forthcoming memoir Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates writes that President Obama doubted …
RELATED:
Robert M. Gates / Wall Street Journal:
The Quiet Fury of Robert Gates
Paul Krugman:
On Fighting the Last War (On Poverty)  —  Sorry about radio silence — I've been on the road, and busy.  And I still am.  —  I wanted, however, to say something about the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.  —  By 1980 or so, as the linked CBPP piece says, there was widespread consensus that the WoP had failed.
Discussion: Taylor Marsh, Hullabaloo and Daily Kos
Mey / Autostraddle:
Trans Women Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox Respond Flawlessly To Katie Couric's Invasive Questions  —  On Monday, transgender model Carmen Carrera and Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox made a daytime TV talk show appearance on the ABC show Katie hosted by Katie Couric.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Dave Zirin / The Nation:
The Florida State Seminoles: The Champions of Racist Mascots
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
USA Today:
Give competency-based college programs a chance: Column
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Immigration reform's narrow window for survival
Discussion: CNN
New York Times:
Not Just About Us  —  Every day the headlines from the Arab world …
Discussion: JustOneMinute
Jamie Weinstein / The Daily Caller:
MSNBC host: Rubio blocked judicial nomination because he was ‘openly gay black trial judge’
Discussion: National Review and Weasel Zippers
National Review:
The Fifty-Year War  —  This year marks the 50th anniversary …
Robert Rector / Wall Street Journal:
Robert Rector: How the War on Poverty Was Lost
Discussion: Hot Air
Cheryl K. Chumley / Washington Times:
Satanists' statue design for Oklahoma Capitol: ‘Sit on the lap of Satan’
 Earlier Items: 
NY Daily News:
Pot could put progressives in a tough spot
Josh Rogin / The Daily Beast:
Congress to Iraq's Maliki: Be a Good Boy to Get Guns
Discussion: Yahoo! News
Steven Swinford / Telegraph:
Half of sex attackers, violent criminals and burglars avoid jail
Discussion: Press Association and BBC
Adam Goldman / Washington Post:
Former Guantanamo detainee implicated in Benghazi attack
CBS San Francisco:
Google Launches Private SF Bay Ferry Service To Shuttle Workers
Robert Costa / Post Politics:
House GOP leaders coach rank-and-file on discussing unemployment
 

 
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