Political Web, page A1 … for 5:50 PM ET, January 5, 2006
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Top Items:

Media Matters for America:
Robertson blamed Sharon stroke on policy of "dividing God's land" … On the January 5 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was the result of Sharon's policy, which he claimed is "dividing God's land."
Daniel Pipes /
[After Sharon:] Israeli Politics Will Revert to Its Past  —  Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has suffered a massive brain hemorrhage; at the very least, his long political career appears to be over.  What does that mean for Israeli politics and for Arab-Israeli relations?
Iranian leader hopes for Sharon's death
Plans for Holy Land theme park on Galilee shore where Jesus fed the 5,000
New York Times:
The Sago Mine Disaster  —  In the long history of coal mine tragedies in Appalachia, few have borne the compound misery suffered in Sago, W.Va., where a dozen families were plunged from exultation to furious grief by a false report that their loved ones had survived a deadly mine explosion on Monday.
Crooks and Liars:
Fromer director of Mine Academy blames Bush admin. over mine disaster
Discussion: MyDD
Glenn Greenwald / Hullabaloo:
Attacking Bush's only weapon: Fear  —  Among those who now recognize that the Bush Administration has not just deliberately and repeatedly broken the law, but is literally claiming that George Bush has the "wartime" power to continue to break the law, there is a growing impatience to move to the next step …
White House:
Remarks by the Vice President on Iraq and the War on Terror  —  Washington, D.C.  —  THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Well, thank you very much and thank you for the warm welcome.  It's great to be back at Heritage.
Peggy Noonan / Opinion Journal:
The Steamroller  —  The road to big government reaches a dead end at Jack Abramoff.  —  The problem with government is that it is run by people, and people are flawed.  They are not virtue machines.  We are all of us, even the best of us, vulnerable to the call of the low: to greed …
Andrea Mitchell / MSNBC:
Reporter defends release of NSA spy program  —  James Risen says his sources are 'patriots,' CIA calls them 'unreliable'  —  New York Times reporter James Risen first broke the story two weeks ago that the National Security Agency began spying on domestic communications soon after 9/11.
Bill Gertz / Washington Times:
NSA whistleblower asks to testify  —  A former National Security Agency official wants to tell Congress about electronic intelligence programs that he asserts were carried out illegally by the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.  —  Russ Tice, a whistleblower who was dismissed from the NSA last year …
Mike Kalil / Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Reid says Chertoff should resign  —  Senator echoes sheriff after city falls off list  —  U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called for the resignation of Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday, one day after the government dropped Las Vegas from a list …
Discussion: TigerHawk, PunditGuy and ScrappleFace
Jennifer Loven / Associated Press:
Bush Listens to Suggestions on Iraq  —  WASHINGTON - President Bush promised to "take to heart" suggestions on Iraq he heard Thursday from former secretaries of defense and state who have disagreed — sometimes sharply in the past but apparently only mildly in person — with his approach there.
Pascal Riche /
Foreign Affairs  —  The Cost of The War  —  Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard budget expert Linda Bilmes plan to present this week a paper estimating the cost of the Iraq War at between $1-2 trillion.  This is far higher than earlier estimates of $100-200 billion.  —  Here is their statement:
Hotline On Call:
Ed Gillespie Joins Team Allen  —  Of all the stories in today's Hotline, this one has more '08 ramifications than just about any other:  —  Ed Gillespie, one of the most well-respected, most well-connected Republicans in Washington — he's the RNC chair once removed …
Discussion: TAPPED and Daily Kos
Kristen Mack / Houston Chronicle:
Former Rep. Stockman joins field eyeing DeLay  —  Elected in 1994 as a Republican, he will now run as an independent  —  Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, who served a single term in Congress after being elected in the Republican sweep of 1994, now wants a shot at Republican Rep. Tom DeLay.
Martin Crutsinger / Associated Press:
Jobless Claims Plunge to Five-Year Low  —  The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than five years last week, providing strong evidence that the labor market is shaking off the effects of a string of devastating hurricanes.

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More Items:

Washington Post:
Post's Glasser Named to Lead Outlook Section
Discussion: News Blog and mediabistro
Ian Johnston / Scotsman:
Welcome to Mars express: only a three hour trip
Larisa Alexandrovna /
Secretive military unit sought …
Rebecca MacKinnon / RConversation:
Why Microsoft censorship in China matters to everybody
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Facing suit, anonymous blogger lifts his mask
Andrew G. Bostom / Front Page Magazine:
Meet Candidate "Martyr Mom"
Discussion: Solomonia
USA Today:
Media forced to explain inaccurate reports on tragedy
Bill Berkowitz /
Paying to play  —  Revelations that Republican lobbyist Jack …
Discussion: Seeing the Forest

Earlier Picks:

Bradley Burston / Haaretz:
A prayer for the prime minister
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Abramoff Scandal's Many Tentacles
Robin Burk / Winds of Change.NET:
James Moore / The Huffington Post:
Branded  —  There are times in which it is easy to be suspicious.
Jerry Bowyer / National Review:
Debt Be Not Proud?  —  Would you judge the status of someone's …
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
When a Firebrand Burns His Bridges
Discussion: Sirotablog
Adam Nossiter / New York Times:
A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans
Josh Gerstein / New York Sun:
A Clinton Fund-Raising Group Is Fined for Understating Gifts
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