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2:45 PM 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.
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 …
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Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Cochran's Tea Party challenger raises $500K in 10 weeks
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 …
RELATED:
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.
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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 …
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 …
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Christopher Flavelle / Bloomberg:
Guns Make Voting Even Harder  —  If you want to feel truly dispirited about the health of U.S. democracy, skip the stories about Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell and go straight to today's report on the American voting experience.  —  The report, by a presidentially appointed commission …
Matthew Garrahan / Financial Times:
CNN lays off more than 40 journalists  —  CNN has laid off more than 40 senior journalists in its newsgathering operation - including a pregnant producer who was two weeks away from giving birth to twins - as part of a reorganisation of the business under Jeff Zucker.
Aaron Blake / Post Politics:
Huckabee: Dems think women can't control their libido  —  Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) said Thursday that Republicans need to take a more combative attitude toward winning the votes of women, by emphasizing that women aren't weaklings in need of help from the government.
Discussion: Slate, BuzzFeed and Right Wing Watch
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.
NY Daily News:
Mayor de Blasio admits mistakes in snow removal on New York's Upper East Side  —  ‘I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side,’ a chastened de Blasio said in a statement.  Just hours earlier, the mayor dismissed as flaky reports that the high-priced 'hood got shafted …
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Daniel Bice / JSOnline:
Welder lauded by Scott Walker in speech is sex offender  —  By Daniel Bice of the Journal Sentinel  —  Emphasizing his role as a job creator, Gov. Scott Walker praised Christopher Barber's initiative during the governor's annual “state of the state” speech on Wednesday.
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 and Liberaland
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 …
Washington Free Beacon:
Zakaria: Iran Deal is a Train Wreck  —  In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani forcefully asserted that Iran would not destroy its nuclear centrifuges “under any circumstances”.  —  Rouhani's comments come just days after the U.S. and Iran began to implement …
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Dorsey Shaw / BuzzFeed:
17 Things That The New York Times Magazine “Planet Hillary” Cover Looks Like  —  The “newspaper of record's” magazine has entered a whole new universe.  —  Here is the latest New York Times Magazine cover featuring “Planet Hillary.”  —  Ted Cruz's Wrecking Ball  —  View Entire List ›
Discussion: She The People and Gothamist
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.
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.
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 …
American Prospect:
The Fiscal Reality and its Politics  —  Ever since the election of 1992, fiscal conservatives in both parties—and in third parties—have tried to make the federal deficit a central political and economic issue.  In a series of articles and books beginning in 1982, the billionaire investor …
ThinkProgress:
A New Idea To Empower Workers That Employers Actually Support  —  In an effort to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United Auto Workers (UAW) is also seeking to create a European-style works council.  The idea of unions, if disparaged, is at least familiar to Americans.
Discussion: Liberaland
Jenna Levy / Gallup:
In U.S., Uninsured Rate Shows Initial Decline in 2014  —  Uninsured rate drops most among the unemployed and nonwhites  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. uninsured rate is 16.1% so far in January, modestly down from 17.3% in December after the Affordable Care Act's requirement for Americans …
Nicole Winfield / Associated Press:
Pope: Internet Is a ‘Gift From God’ for Dialogue  —  The Internet is a “gift from God” that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released Thursday, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family.
Amanda Marcotte / The Daily Beast:
The GOP's Birth-Control Trojan Horse  —  The right wants to use religion as an excuse to legally discriminate against gays and unmarried women—and, ultimately, anyone who doesn't share their Christian faith.  —  Ever since the Obama administration included contraception in the list of services …
Discussion: American Spectator and Fox News
 
 
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 More Items: 
Bloomberg:
Pining for LBJ, We Got Christie
Discussion: The Dish and Philly.com
Peter Beinart / The Atlantic Online:
Rand Paul Is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner
Discussion: The Dish and Truthout Stories
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Cotton outraises Pryor in 4th quarter
Discussion: Weekly Standard
 Earlier Items: 
ThinkProgress:
Shell's Arctic Offshore Drilling Ambitions Stymied In Appeals Court
Discussion: Reuters and Audubon
Larry J. Sabato / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Senate 2014: A Coin-Flip  —  Political news in the opening weeks …
Discussion: The Dish and Real Clear Politics
Jerusalem Post:
‘US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews’
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Weekly Standard
USA Today:
Poll: United we stand on wealth gap
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Antiabortion movement faces a cold reality
The Atlantic Online:
What Obama's Next Three Years Will Look Like—for Better or Worse
 

 
From Techmeme:

Apple:
Apple Reports Second Quarter Results

Gautham Nagesh / Wall Street Journal:
FCC to propose net neutrality rules on Thursday that would let broadband providers give some traffic preferential treatment

Facebook:
Facebook Reports First Quarter 2014 Results …

 
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