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5:20 PM ET, March 16, 2006


 Top Items: 
Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press:
Largest Iraq Air Assault Since '03 Begins  —  BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — U.S. forces, joined by Iraqi troops, on Thursday launched the largest airborne assault since the U.S.-led invasion, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital, the military said.  —  The military said the operation …
U.S. launches largest Iraqi air assault since invasion  —  Body count rises in Baghdad  —  BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — U.S. and Iraqi forces on Thursday launched the largest air assault operation since the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago, the U.S. military said.
Air War  —  We got ourselves an air war.  —  Hersh told us why a few months ago: … Nope, it didn't.  —  I've said over and over again that stay or withdraw is not the issue.  Bush will screw it up either way.  U.S. military airstrikes have significantly increased in Iraq.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press:
Iraq Parliament Meets, Quickly Adjourns
MSNBC:   U.S. launches largest Iraq air assault in 3 years
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Steps Toward Unity in Iraq
Discussion: Rantingprofs
AMERICAN DIGEST:   Choppers by Day. Spooky by Night?
David A. Lieb /
House rejects spending for birth control  —  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An attempt to resume state spending on birth control got shot down Wednesday by House members who argued it would have amounted to an endorsement of promiscuous lifestyles.  —  Missouri stopped providing money for family planning …
Roy Temple / Fired Up! Missouri:
House GOP Bans County Health Clinics From Providing Birth Control  —  Submitted by Roy Temple on Thu, 03/16/2006 - 6:18am.  —  Yesterday, during debate on HB1010, the budget for the Departments of Health and Mental Health, House Republicans voted to ban county health clinics from providing family planning services.
Kit Wagar /
House OKs birth control funding ban  —  JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House voted Wednesday to ban state funding of contraceptives for low-income women and to prohibit state-funded programs from referring those women to other programs.  —  Critics jumped on the proposal …
Associated Press:
Bush: Iran poses biggest challenge  —  President restates first-strike war doctrine  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush reaffirmed his strike-first policy against terrorists and enemy nations on Thursday and said Iran may pose the biggest challenge for the United States.
John / AMERICAblog:
The lesson, my friends... that no matter what you do, Rush Limbaugh is going to crow about it, Ken Mehlman is going to do a mass-mailing about it, and the American Family Association will launch a boycott over it.  —  And even if you choose to do nothing, all of them will still attack you …
John Wagner / Washington Post:
Researcher Will Face Charges in Steele Case  —  Federal prosecutors have decided to bring charges against a Democratic researcher accused of fraudulently obtaining a credit report on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, now a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
Mary Katharine Ham / Hugh Hewitt:
I'm Blue  —  I have uncovered a sinister plot.  —  As I've mentioned, I was in Austin this week.  Cool city— one of those great, Southern college towns where be-baseball-capped frat guys and be-dreaded hippies mostly-happily coexist, though usually at different bars.
Peggy Noonan / Opinion Journal:
Hey, Big Spender  —  Should we have known that President Bush would bust the budget?  —  This week's column is a question, a brief one addressed with honest curiosity to Republicans.  It is: When George W. Bush first came on the scene in 2000, did you understand him to be a liberal in terms of spending?
John E. Mulligan /
Chafee refuses to rule out voting to censure Bush  —  Like the Democratic senator who initiated the proposal, the Rhode Island Republian believes the president's decision to initiate wiretaps without court orders was illegal and says he looks forward to the debate on the program that will likely ensue.
Ronald Brownstein / Los Angeles Times:
Senate Bill Would Override State Health Coverage Rules  —  GOP backers see the legislation as a way for insurers to offer more affordable plans.  Critics say it would undermine treatment protections.  —  WASHINGTON — The battle over healthcare moved to a new front Wednesday …
John Fund / Opinion Journal:
'Temporarily Relieved'  —  Yale suspends the anonymous emailer who blasted Taliban critics.  —  Yale University still isn't talking about why it admitted a former top Taliban official as a student, but yesterday the Yale Law School issued an apology to two alumni whom one of its officials …
Elana Schor / The Hill:
FEC raises the stakes for blog bill  —  The Federal Election Commission (FEC) yesterday postponed a controversial decision on subjecting Internet political speech to campaign-finance regulations, raising the stakes for today's scheduled House vote on a bill that exempts all blogs, Web ads and other online communications.
Michelle Malkin:
THE FALLING MAN REVISITED  —  Some images leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.  —  Like "The Falling Man" on 9/11:  —  Credit: Richard Drew, AP  —  His identity has not been confirmed, though many have speculated over the last 4 1/2 years.  Tom Junod wrote an extraordinary piece …
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
Scalia Rails Against the 'Judge-Moralist'
Discussion: Booman Tribune
White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Michael J.W. Stickings / The Reaction:
Cynical optimism; or, to panic or not to panic with regards …
Thomas Heath / Washington Post:
Companies Fear Spread of March Madness
Jonathan Gurwitz / Opinion Journal:
Once More Unto the Breach
NY Daily News:
Clooney & Huffington's blog of war
Glenn Greenwald / Unclaimed Territory:
First poll - Americans support Censure Resolution
J Thomas /
So calling for a better plan is completely bogus. …
 Earlier Items: 
The Hill:
Defeated GOP primary opponents refuse to endorse Rep. DeLay
Marc Morano / CNSNews:
Anti-War Movement Casualty of In-Fighting
Abby Goodnough / New York Times:
Rep. Harris Pledges Fortune to Revive Senate Race
Jessica snubs Bush, porn starlet doesn't
Washington Post:
GOP Seeks Curbs On '527' Groups
Anne Applebaum / Washington Post:
'Critically' Inadequate  —  "I'd like to see us move toward …
Mr. Right / The Right Place:
Results of New In-Depth Study Revealed: Bush May Actually Be Hitler!