Political Web, page A1 … for 6:40 AM ET, December 15, 2005
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Top Items:

Associated Press:
Ford will again advertise in gay publications  —  Ads resume after criticism from gay rights groups  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Advertisements featuring Ford Motor Co.'s eight vehicle brands will run in gay publications, the automaker said Wednesday, acting after gay rights groups complained when Jaguar and Land Rover pulled their spots.
John / AMERICAblog:
We Won  —  UPDATE: You can thank Ford via this online form.  —  FURTHER UPDATE: Great AP story on our victory.  —  Regarding that Ford thing?  We just won.  —  The Ford Motor Company today released the following letter (below) clarifying that whatever did or did not happen behind closed doors …
Sholnn Freeman / Washington Post:
Ford to Advertise In Gay Press
Discussion: MyDD
John / AMERICAblog:   AP story on Ford: We won
Dexter Filkins / New York Times:
Split Between Secular and Islamist Parties Is Seen in Election  —  BAGHDAD, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15 - Iraqi voters began streaming to the polls Thursday morning in nationwide elections as Iraqi leaders predicted that the vote would split almost evenly between secular and Islamist parties and usher in lengthy political maneuvering.
Sectarian Tensions Put Aside, Hopeful Iraqis Vote  —  BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gulf War veteran Hadi Mishaal leant on a crutch and struggled across an unusually quiet Baghdad to vote, hoping Iraq's polls will provide what Saddam Hussein never did — help with his spinal injury and a pension.
Discussion: Winds of Change.NET
Gideon Long / Reuters:
Iraqis vote for first full parliament since Saddam  —  BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis vote for a new government on Thursday in the hope it will end decades of suffering, boost living standards and pave the way for U.S.-led troops to leave, nearly three years after they invaded.
Baghdad falls quiet as Zarqawi threatens poll
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Washington Post:   Election Stakes Are Highest Yet in Iraq
Mark Leon Goldberg / American Prospect:
The Arsonist  —  From our January issue: In his first six months at the UN, John Bolton has offended allies, blocked crucial negotiations, undermined the Secretary of State — and harmed U.S. interests.  We expected bad; we didn't expect this bad.  —  There is an excellent coffee shop …
David Espo / Associated Press:
House Approves GOP Priority Measures  —  WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House approved a pair of year-end conservative priorities Wednesday, voting to extend the anti-terrorism Patriot Act and to cut spending across a wide swath of social programs.  —  Both bills have White House support …
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
House Votes to Revise, Extend Patriot Act, Angering Senators
Discussion: TalkLeft and Liberty Street
Times of London:
Bush: we went to war on faulty intelligence  —  President Bush has admitted for the first time that his decision to go to war in Iraq was based on faulty intelligence.  But he still said that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein had been "the right one".  —  Mr Bush said that tomorrow's …
Carol D. Leonnig / Washington Post:
Columnist Says Bush Knows Who Leaked Name  —  Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, who has repeatedly declined to discuss his role in disclosing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, said in a speech this week that he is certain President Bush knows who his mystery administration source is.
Discussion: firedoglake and Macsmind
Financial Times:
Bush puts Rice in charge of reconstruction  —  President George W. Bush on Wednesday announced that the State Department would lead all US post-conflict reconstruction, a move that supersedes the controversial decision to give that task to the Pentagon in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
Mohammed / IRAQ THE MODEL:
It's only a matter of hours now!  —  Now it's 6 pm in Baghdad and the curfew has officially started.  Actually streets in Baghdad were technically empty all day except for people carrying badges or emergencies.  —  We are hearing sporadic gunfire from time to time and sometimes we hear …
Washington Post:
DNA Exonerates Va. Convicts in 2 Rape Cases  —  RICHMOND, Dec. 14 — Newly tested DNA evidence from rapes committed perhaps more than 20 years ago have exonerated two Virginians who had served several years behind bars, according to a statement by Gov. Mark R. Warner that is scheduled to be released later today.
Discussion: TalkLeft
Jon / Reporting from Iraq:
The view from on the ground  —  Think about everything you've heard about the conditions in Iraq, the role of U.S. forces, the multi-layered complexities of the war.  —  Then think again.  —  I'm a journalist.  I read the news everyday, from several sources.
Discussion: Vodkapundit
Allan Dowd / Reuters:
Don't dictate to me, Canada's Martin tells US  —  RICHMOND, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin escalated a war of words with the United States on Wednesday, telling Washington not to dictate to him what topics he can raise in the run-up to Canada's January 23 election.
Fatah splits before key election  —  A dispute within the ruling Palestinian party, Fatah, has led to a rival faction submitting its own list of candidates for a parliamentary poll.  —  The rebel list is headed by a jailed activist, Marwan Barghouti, under the new name al-Mustaqbal (the Future).
Discussion: Biased BBC
Frank Phillips / Boston Globe:
Romney to announce he won't seek re-election  —  Governor is expected to seek GOP presidential nomination in 2008  —  Governor Mitt Romney will announce at 6 p.m. that he will not seek re-election to a second term, setting the stage for an expected campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination …

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More Items:

Sheera Claire Frenkel / Jerusalem Post:
Exclusive: Sweden to cut Iran ties
Mark Murray / MSNBC:
Poll suggests Bush's free-fall appears to be over
Zogby Year-End Poll: Democratic Prospects Brighten Heading Into 2006 - GOP lags
Adam Entous / Reuters:
Bush backs Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
The Australian:
Now churches are targeted  —  FOUR churches in Sydney's southwest …
Agence France Presse:
Four dead in Gaza air strike
Religious McDonald's Sign Draws Attention In Raleigh
Hugh V. L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik

Earlier Picks:

Michael Ledeen / The Corner on National Review Online:
Betsy / Betsy's Page:
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Maye and the problem with Agressive Search Warrants
Discussion: QandO and Balloon Juice
Andrew Samwick / Vox Baby:
Nonpartisan Social Security Reform Plan
Discussion: JustOneMinute
Viggo Mortensen blasts President Bush
Jeff Greenfield / Slate:
The President, the War, and the Military Base
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