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11:45 AM ET, January 23, 2014

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End  —  WASHINGTON — An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency's program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.
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Ellen Nakashima / Washington Post:
Independent review board says NSA phone data program is illegal and should end  —  An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency's long-running program to collect billions of Americans' phone records is illegal and should end.
Discussion: Mashable, Guardian, emptywheel and The Verge
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Mark Herring explains gay marriage shift  —  New Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says his decision to challenge his state's ban on gay marriage, rather than defend it on behalf of the state, is part of an evolution in his views on the subject.  —  Herring announced his decision to side …
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Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Virginia to fight same-sex marriage ban  —  Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring will announce Thursday that he believes the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that Virginia will join two same-sex couples in asking a federal court to strike it down …
Eyder Peralta / NPR:
Virginia's New Attorney General Will Not Defend Gay-Marriage Ban … Virginia's new attorney general has decided to switch sides in an important case that is challenging the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.  —  In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep …
Nicholas Confessore / New York Times:
Biggest Liberal ‘Super PAC’ to Fund Possible Clinton Bid  —  The largest liberal “super PAC” in the country has begun raising money to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton president, formally aligning itself with Mrs. Clinton's undeclared presidential ambitions more than two years away from the election.
Discussion: Liberaland and Balloon Juice
RELATED:
James A. Barnes / The Atlantic Online:
Can Anyone Stop Hillary?  Absolutely  —  Time magazine's cover this week asks, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?”  The answer to that question is yes, but you'd never know it judging by the overwhelming belief among Democratic insiders that the party's 2016 presidential nomination is simply Hillary Clinton's for the asking.
Discussion: Taylor Marsh
Kristen Soltis Anderson / The Daily Beast:   It's 1,000 Days Too Early to Talk Hillary vs. Christie for President
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Schumer seeks to poison Tea Party  —  Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats' political guru, has a plan to poison the Tea Party by driving a wedge between its rich funders and its blue-collar rank and file.  —  Schumer, one of the Democrats' most influential strategists …
RELATED:
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Cochran's Tea Party challenger raises $500K in 10 weeks
MiamiHerald.com:
Justin Bieber arrested in Miami Beach over DUI, drag-racing  —  After allegedly smoking pot all day, drinking beer and popping anti-depressants, bad-boy pop star Justin Bieber went on a wild pre-dawn drag race in Miami Beach that landed him in jail Thursday morning, police said.
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Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
The Heritage Foundation Might Be Shedding Some Of Its Crazy Soon  —  2013 wasn't exactly been a banner year for the Heritage Foundation, Washington's most well-known and influential conservative think tank.  —  In its first year under former senator and tea party godfather Jim DeMint …
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
GOP House Candidate Says God Created Autism, Dementia And Tornadoes To Punish Gays  —  An Illinois Republican running for Congress believes God unleashed debilitating disorders and destructive natural disorders because he is so upset with the growing support for same-sex rights marriage.
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New York Times:
Leaning Right in Hollywood, Under a Lens  —  LOS ANGELES — In a famously left-leaning Hollywood, where Democratic fund-raisers fill the social calendar, Friends of Abe stands out as a conservative group that bucks the prevailing political winds.  —  A collection of perhaps 1,500 right-leaning players …
ThinkProgress:
Shell's Arctic Offshore Drilling Ambitions Stymied In Appeals Court  —  Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk aground off a small island near Kodiak Island.  —  CREDIT: U.S. Coast Guard  —  Shell's ambitions to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska received another blow Wednesday …
Discussion: Audubon
RELATED:
Steve Quinn / Reuters:   U.S. appeals court throws Arctic drilling into further doubt
Gregory N. Hicks / Wall Street Journal:
Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens  —  Shifting blame to our dead ambassador is wrong on the facts.  I know—I was there.  —  Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
The Hill:
Obama State of the Union to focus on income inequality  —  President Obama will try to pump some vitality into a lackluster second term on Tuesday when he delivers his State of the Union address.  —  The address will include a “healthy dose” of the income inequality message the White House …
RELATED:
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Backstage SOTU peek on Instagram
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Poll Shows Most Republicans Think People Are Poor Because They Don't Work Hard Enough  —  Whether you're rich or poor, Republicans believe that's on you.  —  New findings released Thursday by Pew showed that most Republicans think rich people are largely responsible for their socioeconomic status.
Discussion: susiemadrak.com
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Cotton outraises Pryor in 4th quarter  —  Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has edged Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) in his fourth-quarter fundraising totals, bringing in $1.2 million to Pryor's $1.1 million.  —  Pryor has more money in the bank, with $4.2 million to Cotton's $2.2 million.
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Antiabortion movement faces a cold reality  —  James Dobson's Focus on the Family asked Christians to pray for rain to fall on Barack Obama in 2008 when he accepted the presidential nomination.  Various religious conservatives have said that hurricanes, earthquakes and other meteorological phenomena …
Nick Swartsell / Trail Blazers Blog:
Hannity to attend State of the Union with Rep. Gohmert, may run for office in Texas  —  Sean Hannity on Fox News, Jan. 21, 2014  —  WASHINGTON — The guest list for President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address just got more interesting.  —  Yesterday, Sean Hannity said he'd be attending as a guest of Rep. Louie Gohmert.
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
Upward Mobility Has Not Declined, Study Says  —  The odds of moving up — or down — the income ladder in the United States have not changed appreciably in the last 20 years, according to a large new academic study that contradicts politicians in both parties who have claimed that income mobility is falling.
USA Today:
Poll: United we stand on wealth gap  —  INCOME INEQUALITY AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ROLE  —  A USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll explores attitudes toward income inequality and poverty in the United States.  —  RICH GETTING RICHER? HOW AMERICA WORKS GOVERNMENT ROLE  —  POVERTY  —  RICH VS. POOR
Matt Apuzzo / New York Times:
Security Check Firm Said to Have Defrauded U.S.  —  The company that conducted a background investigation on the contractor Edward J. Snowden fraudulently signed off on hundreds of thousands of incomplete security checks in recent years, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Discussion: Balloon Juice, NPR and Prairie Weather
William K. Rashbaum / New York Times:
Hoboken Mayor Is Said to Have Told of Threat  —  Federal authorities in New Jersey have interviewed several witnesses who said the mayor of Hoboken told them in May about a state official's threat to withhold hurricane recovery funds if the mayor did not support a development project favored by the governor …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jenna Levy / Gallup:
In U.S., Uninsured Rate Shows Initial Decline in 2014
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Politico
David Remnick / News Desk:
The Obama Tapes  —  This week's issue of the magazine contains …
Adario Strange / Mashable:
Apple Promises to Fix iOS 7 ‘White Screen of Death’
Discussion: Outside the Beltway and The Verge
Matthew J. Belvedere / CNBC:
Aetna could be forced out of Obamacare: CEO
Larry J. Sabato / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Senate 2014: A Coin-Flip  —  Political news in the opening weeks …
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Jerusalem Post:
‘US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews’
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Spencer Ackerman / Guardian:
US psychology body declines to rebuke member in Guantánamo torture case
Discussion: Salon
 Earlier Items: 
Amanda Marcotte / The Daily Beast:
The GOP's Birth-Control Trojan Horse
Discussion: Fox News
The Atlantic Online:
What Obama's Next Three Years Will Look Like—for Better or Worse
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Ohio Dem: Why not John Kasich?
Corky Siemaszko / NY Daily News:
Bernie Madoff recovering from heart attack, battling kidney cancer as he rots in federal prison
Discussion: Gothamist
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Roy Peter Clark / Poynter:
From AIDS to Ebola: Journalism, disease, and the mentality of fear

Noah Everett / Twitpic Blog:
Twitpic agrees to give Twitter the Twitpic.com domain and photo archive, site to remain in read-only mode

Cecilia Kang / Washington Post:
Lionsgate and Tribeca film studios are launching a new streaming service

 
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