Political Web, page A1 … for 5:19 AM ET, December 16, 2005
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Borzou Daragahi / Los Angeles Times:
Polls Close After Iraqi Voters Turn Out in Droves  —  BAGHDAD — Iraqis across ethnic, sectarian and religious divides voted in droves today in a high-stakes election that could determine the course of the nation and the success or failure of the U.S. effort to bring Western-style democracy to the Arab Middle East.
Iraqi polls extend hours as turnout high  —  'It's the beginning of our new life' … BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraqis turned out in droves Thursday to elect their first full-term parliament since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.  —  Turnout was so heavy across the country that the Independent …
Big turnout in Iraq election as Sunnis vote  —  BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Undeterred by scattered violence, Iraqis voted in overwhelming numbers in an election on Thursday, with minority Sunni Arabs who boycotted the last poll determined not to miss out on power again.
Kevin / SoCalPundit:
Liberal Blogs Choose Silence On Iraq Elections
Discussion: The Peking Duck and Roger L. Simon
Hugh Sykes / BBC:
'This is stability, at last'  —  There was a traffic jam inside …
Discussion: Gateway Pundit and JunkYardBlog
New York Times:
Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 ­- Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence …
Washington Post:
White House, McCain Agree on Torture Ban  —  Measure Proposed Would Limit Interrogation Tactics  —  The White House and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reached agreement today on a measure that would ban torture and limit interrogation tactics in U.S. detention facilities, a provision …
Matt Pottinger / Opinion Journal:
Mightier Than the Pen  —  Why I gave up journalism to join the Marines.  —  When people ask why I recently left The Wall Street Journal to join the Marines, I usually have a short answer.  It felt like the time had come to stop reporting events and get more directly involved.
Richard W. Stevenson / New York Times:
Bush Expresses a Belief in DeLay's Innocence  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - President Bush said on Wednesday that he thought Representative Tom DeLay, under indictment in Texas, was innocent and that he hoped Mr. DeLay could return to the post of House majority leader.
Breaking News: GOP House Top Priority?  Christmas Vote!  —  War in Iraq, war against terrorism, war in Afghanistan, move over — today, House GOP leaders have decided there is a more pressing war to attend to: the fictional war against Christmas, which apparently requires protection for Christmas symbols.
Zoe Kentucky / Demagogue:
Political Poetry  —  Last night Congressman John Dingell …
Discussion: The Reaction
Dwight Meredith / Wampum:
The 2005 Koufax Awards — Nominations Are Open  —  Nominations are now open for the 2005 Koufax Awards.  This is the fourth year of the awards, which in internet time, makes us old and venerable (or perhaps decrepit).  The 2002 winners may be found here.  The 2003 winners are listed here, and the 2004 winners are here.
Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released  —  Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind  —  BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.
Hotline On Call:
Kerry Links Retaking House To Bush Impeachment  —  MA.  Sen. John Kerry said last night that if Dems retake the House, there's a "solid case" to bring "articles of impeachment" against President Bush for allegedly misleading the country about pre-war intelligence, according to several Dems who attended.
Jonathan S. Landay / Knight Ridder:
Congress doesn't see same intelligence as president, report finds  —  WASHINGTON - President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a report Thursday …
Laurie Kellman / Associated Press:
Feingold Now Has Numbers on His Side  —  WASHINGTON - In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.  —  He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote …
Discussion: MyDD
Daily Kos:   Feingold Has the Votes to Stop PATRIOT Act
Nathan Burchfiel / CNSNews:
Statistics Suggest Race Not a Factor in Katrina Deaths  —  ( - Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans.
George F. Will / Washington Post:
Our Fake Drilling Debate  —  In 1986 Gale Norton was 32 and working for the secretary of the interior on matters pertaining to the proposal to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — area 1002 — to drilling for oil and natural gas, a proposal that then had already been a bone of contention for several years.
Peter Savodnik / The Hill:
Dean still gives Dems heartburn  —  Democrats are voicing concern that Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean is compromising his party's political prospects by straying on to controversial policy turf such as the Iraq war and Social Security reform.
Peggy Noonan / Opinion Journal:
It's Not About Bush  —  Has America turned a corner on Iraq?  —  The four-part Iraq speech cycle on which the president has embarked, and that culminated yesterday in his remarks before the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, may well mark a turning in his public leadership of the war.

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Torture Deal? …
John Harwood / Wall Street Journal:
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CBS News:
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Andrew Taylor / Associated Press:
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NY Daily News:
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David E. Sanger / New York Times:
Bush's Path Forward Has Many Ifs
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