Political Web, page A1 … for 2:05 PM ET, December 16, 2005
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Top Items:

Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying  —  President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
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 …
Mark R. Levin / The Corner on National Review Online:   EAVESDROPPING INS AND OUTS
Will / Attytood:
The Big Stall: How Bush gamed the media to get re-elected in 2004
Discussion: Poynter Online and firedoglake
Jesse J. Holland / Associated Press:
Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act  —  WASHINGTON - The Senate on Friday refused to reauthorize major portions of the USA Patriot Act after critics complained they infringed too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.
Associated Press:
Patriot provisions set to expire  —  (AP) — Sixteen provisions of the USA Patriot Act expire December 31 if not renewed by Congress:  —  Section 201: Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to terrorism.
Discussion: protein wisdom
Eamon Javers / Business Week:
Op-Eds for Sale  —  A columnist from a libertarian think tank admits accepting payments to promote an indicted lobbyist's clients.  Will more examples follow?  —  A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments …
Murray Waas /
Why Novak Called Rove  —  On July 9, 2003, senior presidential adviser Karl Rove was well prepared as he returned a telephone call from columnist Robert Novak.  On his desk were talking points and other briefing materials that then-White House Political Director Matt Schlapp and other staffers …
ReddHedd / firedoglake:   Guess Who's in DC This Morning?
Crooks and Liars:   The other Valerie Plame
Media Matters for America:
Media Matters for America Delivers Nearly 5,000 Letters Urging CNN Not to Renew Robert Novak's Contract  —  December 7, 2005 (Washington, DC) - Media Matters for America delivered nearly 5,000 letters to CNN's Washington Bureau today urging the network not to renew its contract with syndicated columnist …
Brian /   FLASH: Bob Novak Becoming Fox News Channel "Contributor"
Jim Romenesko /   View Forum Post
Josh White / Washington Post:
President Relents, Backs Torture Ban  —  President Bush reversed position yesterday and endorsed a torture ban crafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after months of White House attempts to weaken the measure, which would prohibit the "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of any detainee in U.S. custody anywhere in the world.
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
President Backs McCain Measure on Inmate Abuse
Discussion: TalkLeft
Peter Baker / Washington Post:
In an Awkward Dance, the President Is Forced to Follow
Discussion: MyDD
John Harwood / Wall Street Journal:
Republicans Risk Losing Key Voting Bloc  —  Senior Citizens' Unhappiness With Issues  —  Has Implications for Midterm Elections  —  WASHINGTON - While President Bush has high hopes for today's elections in Iraq, his Republican Party faces a different challenge at home …
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.
White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan and Senior Officials on Levee Reconstruction  —  MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone.  Happy holidays.  I look forward to seeing everybody this evening at the White House holiday party for the press.  We just concluded a meeting in the Oval Office with the President.
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and The Heretik
Washington Post:
Bush Pledges $1.5 Billion for New Orleans
Discussion: The Huffington Post
National Review:
Lancing the Boil  —  For some time, a large number of Americans have lived in an alternate universe where everything is supposedly going to hell.  If you get up in the morning to read the New York Times or Washington Post, watch John Murtha or Howard Dean on the morning talk shows …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
In Iran, Arming for Armageddon  —  Lest you get carried away with today's good news from Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran.  The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
Ylan Q. Mui / Washington Post:
Wal-Mart Throws an Undercut at Target  —  Chain-Store Strategy Changes for the Christmas Blitz  —  Sales tags touting deep price cuts were flying like battle flags this week in the electronics department of Wal-Mart in Manassas.  Twice each week, about a dozen employees sneak into enemy territory …
Discussion: ScrappleFace and BrothersJudd Blog

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More Items:

Sam Dillon / New York Times:
Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds
Tarron Lively / Washington Times:
Smoking foes try to stop parents from lighting up
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Tony Snow /
The cut-and-run crowd  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — It would be easy …
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Greg Gutfeld / The Huffington Post:
Glenn Reynolds /
MORE ON TORTURE: They're still wrangling over the McCain bill …
Discussion: INDC Journal
New York Times:
N.Y. Transit Union Rejects Offer and Will Begin Limited Strike
Discussion: THE NEWS BLOG

Earlier Picks:

Dafna Linzer / Washington Post:
Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress
Rachel L. Swarns / New York Times:
House Votes for 698 Miles of Fences on Mexico Border
Discussion: TalkLeft
Captain Ed / Captain's Quarters:
Gray Lady's Editorial Page: What Elections?
Joyce Howard Price / Washington Times:
Students sue for tuition parity with California illegals
Breaking News: GOP House Top Priority? Christmas Vote!
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