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10:05 AM ET, February 18, 2014

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Eli Lake / The Daily Beast:
Spy Chief: We Should've Told You We Track Your Calls  —  The U.S. government long considered its collection of Americans' call records to be a state secret.  Now the Director of National Intelligence admits it would have been better if Washington had acknowledged the surveillance in the first place.
Robert Costa / Washington Post:
Congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks  —  After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within …
RELATED:
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Shifting the focus back to Obama  —  House Republican leaders, having dispensed with the debt limit and put immigration reform on the back burner, will return to their political comfort zone with a legislative agenda focused on attacking the Obama administration and government excess.
Discussion: The Plum Line and New York Times
Tom Troy / Toledo Blade:
‘Joe the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher gets union job with Chrysler Group  —  Samuel Wurzelbacher he was recently hired at Chrysler.  —  Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher - a.k.a., “Joe the Plumber” - announced today on Facebook and earlier on his Web site that he has landed a union job with Chrysler Group LLC.
Discussion: Liberaland and Joe For America
RELATED:
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
‘Joe The Plumber’ Describes His New Union Job, Contemplates The Meaning Of ‘Tea Bagger’  —  Samuel Wurzelbacher's encounter with Barack Obama gave some material to Republicans who were eager to brand the Illinois senator a socialist.  Today, the man better-known as “Joe The Plumber” has himself a union job.
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Republicans open investigations into ObamaCare's disaster sites  —  Republicans are launching investigations into three state-run ObamaCare exchanges that are failing disastrously.  —  Lawmakers are setting their sites on exchanges in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts where Democratic governors embraced …
Nicholas Confessore / New York Times:
Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign on Climate Change  —  A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Stephens: Climate Prophets and Profiteers  —  The most cynical part of John Kerry's climate-change speech.  —  The weirdest thing about John Kerry's weekend speech on climate-change—other than the fact that this is the same guy who in 1997 voted to forbid the U.S. from signing the Kyoto Protocol …
RELATED:
Lindsay Kalter / Politico:
Kathleen Sebelius: No job loss under Obamacare  —  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says there is “absolutely no evidence” that the Affordable Care Act will drive down employment, despite a report from the Congressional Budget Office released Feb. 4 predicting fewer people would be working.
Discussion: National Review
Rebecca Riffkin / Gallup:
Unemployment Rises to Top Problem in the U.S.  —  Fewer Americans name the government as the most important problem in February  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans have a new No. 1 problem.  Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January.
Zeke J Miller / TIME:
Obama Plays Water Guzzling Desert Golf Courses Amid California Drought  —  After preaching shared sacrifice to assuage the California water shortage, Obama has played some of the country's thirstiest golf courses.  —  President Barack Obama traveled to California Friday to highlight …
Paul Bond / Hollywood Reporter:
‘Bible’ Producers Cut Satan Scenes From ‘Son of God’ Following Obama Controversy (Video)  —  Eager to avoid a controversy about the devil looking like the president, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett decided to leave the character out of their film, which is based on “The Bible” miniseries.
Discussion: americanthinker.com and Guardian
James Freeman / Wall Street Journal:
Obama's Stimulus, Five Years Later  —  Not much growth, but a new costume for Bobber the Water Safety Dog.  —  THE STIMULUS ANNIVERSARY  —  Five years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.  The $830 billion spending blowout was sold …
Discussion: RedState
RELATED:
Mitch McConnell / The Great Debate:
Despite stimulus, middle class still struggles
Discussion: Post Politics
Politico:
Exclusive: Mega-donors plan GOP war council  —  A group of major GOP donors, led by New York billionaire Paul Singer, is quietly expanding its political footprint ahead of the midterm elections in an increasingly assertive effort to shape the direction of the Republican Party.
Andrea Peyser / New York Post:
Al Gore's global-warming rhetoric is put on ice  —  It's time to chill on global warming.  —  Has the polar vortex got you down?  Are you feeling sympathy for friends in Atlanta who've endured temperatures frigid enough to drive southerners into the warm embrace of Johnnie Walker Scotch …
Discussion: his vorpal sword
Adam Aigner-Treworgy / CNN:
Obama to take next step in fuel efficiency for trucks  —  Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will take the next step on Tuesday in its multi-year effort to cut emissions and reduce oil use by getting better fuel economy from trucks.  —  President Barack Obama is set to announce …
Discussion: Politico
Michael E. Miller / Riptide 2.0:
Miami Artist Destroyed $1M Ai Weiwei Vase Because PAMM “Only Displays International Artists”  —  Yesterday, art lovers around the world were shocked when someone strolled into the Pérez Art Museum Miami and destroyed a $1 million vase by Ai Weiwei.  —  Well, the story gets even more shocking.
George Monbiot / Guardian:
How we ended up paying farmers to flood our homes  —  This government let the farming lobby rip up the rulebook on soil protection - and now we are suffering the consequences  —  It has the force of a parable.  Along the road from High Ham to Burrowbridge, which skirts Lake Paterson …
Discussion: Spectator
Keli Goff / The Daily Beast:
How Wendy Davis Became America's Conscience on Abortion  —  The Texas gubernatorial candidate didn't flip-flop, she just voiced what a large percentage of Americans already think of this hot button issue.  —  Wendy Davis, Texas gubernatorial candidate, and feminist icon in the making …
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Why Hillary Clinton's past is fair game in presidential race  —  HILLARY CLINTON BILL CLINTON 2016 ELECTIONS CAMPAIGNS KENNETH STARR WHITEWATER  —  There's a debate going on about Hillary Clinton's past.  If she runs for president in 2016, should Republicans reach back to the scandals of her years as First Lady?
Jennifer Liberto / CNNMoney.com:
Food stamp use among military rises again  —  More military families used food stamps to buy milk, cheese, meat and bread at military grocers last year.  —  Food stamp redemption at military grocers has been rising steadily since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Peter Walker / Guardian:
North Korean human rights abuses systematic and unparalleled, says UN
Discussion: The Verge and The Daily Banter
James Hohmann / Politico:
NRSC raised $4.62 million in January
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
Mia De Graaf / Daily Mail:
Iranian mullah revives death fatwa against Salman Rushdie over Satanic Verses 25 years after it was issued
Discussion: JONATHAN TURLEY and Jihad Watch
Mike Gonzalez / The Federalist:
The New Contras: Understanding The Left's Grip On Media
Discussion: Vox Popoli
Eliana Johnson / National Review:
Proposed IRS Rule Change Fractures the Left
Paul Caron / TaxProf Blog:
Rutgers Prof Suspended for Telling Students He Was Made to Teach a Course in Which He Had Zero Expertise
Sarah Jean Seman / Townhall.com:
Pelosi: the Founding Fathers Would Totally Support Obamacare
Discussion: Right Wing News
 Earlier Items: 
Noah Rothman / Mediaite:
George Zimmerman Refuses to Say Whether He Regrets Killing Trayvon Martin
Kyle Balluck / The Hill:
Chelsea Clinton sees progress on LGBT rights
Discussion: Liberaland
Naomi Schaefer Riley / New York Post:
The economics of sex: Has the price gotten too cheap?
Discussion: The Big Picture and Althouse
Al Gore / New York Times:
‘The Sixth Extinction,’ by Elizabeth Kolbert
Rich Calder / New York Post:
GOP operative asks judge to delay trial until after elections
Discussion: Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo
Natalie Musumeci / NY Daily News:
EXCLUSIVE: National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Chris Ariens / TVNewser:
Andy Lack Leaving Bloomberg for New U.S. Government Media Agency

Agence France-Presse:
Somali pirates release German-American journalist and writer Michael Scott Moore after more than two years

Michael Muskal / Los Angeles Times:
Coalition files lawsuit challenging Arizona's ‘nude photo law’

 
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