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5:50 PM ET, January 14, 2014

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 Top Items: 
Ted Mann / Metropolis:
Christie, Official Who Arranged Bridge Closures Were Together During Fiasco … Gov. Chris Christie was with the official who arranged the closure of local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11, 2013 — the third day of the closures, and well after they had triggered outrage …
RELATED:
David W. Chen / New York Times:
Aide Fired by Christie Is Called Loyal Team Player, Not Rogue Operative  —  Bridget Anne Kelly is devastated that Gov. Chris Christie denounced her as stupid and a liar — but she also is distraught over how much her actions have damaged him politically.  —  Unheard-of a week ago …
Charlie Cook / NationalJournal.com:
Is Getting Christie's Last Pound of Flesh the Best Use of State Resources?  —  One of the (many) things wrong with politics today is that we are attempting to criminalize poor political behavior.  —  The course is predictable.  An elected official or a staffer does something that is terribly wrong …
Salvador Rizzo / New Jersey Online:
Codey: Some Democrats tried to quash investigation into bridge scandal to protect Christie
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Obama to pay visit to Pope  —  (CNN) - President Barack Obama plans to soon meet with Pope Francis for the first time.  —  Secretary of State John Kerry said the President was “looking forward” to visiting the popular new leader of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican.
Discussion: BuzzFeed, Wonkette and Hot Air
RELATED:
Jennifer Epstein / Politico:
White House: Obama to meet with pope ‘in the near future’
Discussion: CNN
The Raw Story:
White House supports Senator Rand Paul's bill to officially end U.S. Iraq war authority
Discussion: Mediaite and Balloon Juice
The Hill:
President's goal for NSA reform — no more Edward Snowdens
Discussion: The Plum Line
Paul Richter / Los Angeles Times:
New Iran agreement includes secret side deal, Tehran official says  —  (Abedin Taherkenareh / European Pressphoto Agency / February 3, 2007) … WASHINGTON - Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged …
RELATED:
Noah Pollak / Weekly Standard:
Yoko Ono vs. Ayatollah Khomeini
Carol E. Lee / Washington Wire:
House Maneuvers in Bid to Pass Iran Bill Over Obama's Objections
Julian Pecquet / The Hill:
Feinstein rejects NYT on Benghazi  —  The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that key conclusions of a recent New York Times investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack are wrong.  —  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) rejected the Times's conclusion that al Qaeda …
RELATED:
Fox News:
The Benghazi Transcripts: Top Defense officials briefed Obama on ‘attack,’ not video or protest
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Lawmakers unveil massive $1.1 trillion spending bill in bipartisan compromise  —  Congressional negotiators late Monday unveiled a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of another government shutdown.
RELATED:
Ed O'Keefe / The Fix:
The winners and losers of the new spending bill  —  Updated and corrected.  —  Congressional negotiators released the details of a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of another government shutdown.
Discussion: The U.S. House … and Daily Kos
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Spending bill rolls back funding for controversial ObamaCare programs
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Mediaite
RELATED:
Maayan Lubell / Reuters:
Israel defense minister says Kerry messianic, obsessive: paper
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Kate Tummarello / The Hill:
Court strikes down net neutrality  —  A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the Obama administration's net-neutrality rules.  —  The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority by prohibiting Internet providers from blocking …
RELATED:
PC World:
Appeals court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rules
Discussion: CANNONFIRE and Shakesville
TMZ.com:
Justin Bieber — Lil Za ARRESTED for COCAINE During Egg Raid [VIDEO]  —  Justin Bieber's BFF Lil Za has just been arrested for COCAINE POSSESSION at the singer's home — during the early morning raid stemming from the Bieber egg attack on his neighbor.  —  A rep for the L.A. County Sheriff's …
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Jobless aid in jeopardy  —  Efforts to pass an extension of expired unemployment benefits stumbled in the Senate on Tuesday with the chamber knotted up in procedural brinksmanship.  —  As the clock ticks toward a recess next week, the impasse further dimmed the prospects that Congress …
Discussion: The Hill, ThinkProgress and Daily Kos
RELATED:
Tim Murphy / Mother Jones:
Watch: North Carolina GOP Senate Candidate Claims Food Stamps Are “Slavery”  —  North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Greg Brannon has an interesting argument for eliminating food stamps: “slavery.”  In a videotaped interview with the North Carolina Tea Party in October, Brannon …
J.K. Trotter / Gawker:
Howard Kurtz Lied About Business Ties To Fox News Contributor  —  Fox News anchor Howard Kurtz has repeatedly claimed, most famously during a live interrogation on CNN, that his relationship with Fox News contributor Lauren Ashburn amounted to a “limited venture” for which the MediaBuzz host …
Jonathan Cohn / The New Republic:
Who's Getting Obamacare?  These Four Charts Give Some Big Clues  —  The Obama Administration has released detailed information about enrollment in the Affordable Care Act—not just how many people are signing up for insurance, but also what kind of people and what plans they are choosing.
Catherine Thompson / Talking Points Memo:
Watch Members Of Congress Read Mean Tweets About Themselves  —  Mean tweets don't just bring celebrities down — members of Congress read the insults hurled at them on social media, too.  —  NowThisNews brought on several members of Congress, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Claire McCaskill …
Discussion: Business Insider
Tim Murphy / Mother Jones:
GOP Senate Candidate Complained of Lack of Muslim Movie Villains  —  Political correctness is keeping Hollywood from properly stigmatizing Muslims—so said Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel.  He issued this complaint during a 2006 episode of Right Side Radio …
Investor's Business Daily:
This Is What Government-Run Health Care Looks Like  —  Socialized Medicine: More than two-thirds of the public don't think the government can be trusted to run the nation's health care system successfully.  ObamaCare is proving these skeptics right.  —  The public might not agree on much these days …
James Hohmann / Politico:
Ed Gillespie's steep slog to the Senate  —  Gillespie's website was quietly updated around New Year's to remove a video clip of him promoting comprehensive immigration reform and to take off a link to a story that featured him expressing openness to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants …
Politico:
New York Democrat Bill Owens to retire from House  —  Democratic Rep. Bill Owens of New York will not run for reelection in November, he announced Tuesday — dealing another blow to the party's prospects of winning control of the House.  —  In the past two months, three Democrats — Owens …
Discussion: CNN and Moe Lane
The Charlotte Observer:
The best, imperfect 12th District solution  —  Democrats are unhappy with N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory's decision to schedule a November special election to fill the congressional seat formerly held by Charlotte Democrat Mel Watt.  McCrory announced this month that instead of letting voters choose …
Discussion: Post Politics and Facing South
Ashley Killough / CNN:
U.S. Congressman to marry same-sex partner  —  Washington (CNN) - Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, will marry his longtime partner, designer Randy Florke, the couple announced Monday.  —  “After 21 years together, we are excited for the next step in our journey as a family,” they said in a statement.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jonathan Brown / The Independent:
27 Nobel laureates join Sir Ian McKellen to protest over Russia's gay ‘propaganda’ ban
Discussion: Advocate, BBC and Towleroad News #gay
Terry Miller / Wall Street Journal:
America's Dwindling Economic Freedom
Discussion: Rush Limbaugh
Bloomberg:
You Can't Have a Conversation About Sexism at Gunpoint
Discussion: Althouse and Instapundit
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