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2:05 AM ET, May 23, 2007


 Top Items: 
The Blotter:
Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran  —  Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:  —  The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on
Faiz / Think Progress:
ABC News: Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran  —  This evening, ABC's World News Tonight reported that the "United States has opened a new front in its showdown with Iran."  According to the report, President Bush has directed the CIA to carry out covert operations both inside and outside Iran …
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
ABC exposes Bush's secret order to CIA to destabilize Iranian regime  —  It's not a secret anymore.  Some righty media outlet must have already linked it, too, because Brian Ross and company are getting reamed in the comments over there for revealing it.  —  I assumed we've been doing covert ops …
The Age:
Iran planning strike on Europe: analyst
Discussion: New York Times
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Well, This Takes All The Fun Out Of It  —  ABC News has revealed …
Discussion: The Newshoggers
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
Democrats Drop Troop Pullout Dates From Iraq Bill  —  Congressional Democrats relented today on their insistence that a war spending measure sought by President Bush also set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq.  The decision to back down, described by senior lawmakers and aides …
Shailagh Murray / Washington Post:
Democrats Relent On Pullout Timetable  —  Democrats gave up their demand for troop-withdrawal deadlines in an Iraq war spending package yesterday, abandoning their top goal of bringing U.S. troops home and handing President Bush a victory in a debate that has roiled Congress for months.
Deadline pulled from war funding bill … WASHINGTON (CNN) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present a plan to House Democrats for a war funding bill that won't include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but will feature benchmarks with consequences, according to Democratic leadership aides.
Cave-in, or smart politics?
Discussion: TalkLeft and The Mahablog
Chris Bowers / MyDD:
On Checks And Balances In The Progressive Movement
Discussion: TalkLeft
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Pre-Emptive Stupidity At Falwell Funeral
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and Shakesville
Pew Research Center:
Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream  —  War on Terror Concerns  —  The first-ever, nationwide, random sample survey of Muslim Americans finds them to be largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.
Alan Fram / Associated Press:
Some US Muslims say suicide attacks OK  —  WASHINGTON - One in four younger U.S. Muslims said in a poll that suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances, though most Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject the tactic and are critical of Islamic extremism and al-Qaida.
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Pew poll of American Muslims chock full o' nuance
Rush Transcript / The Raw Story:
A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS THE VIDEO  —  HALA GORANI: Well, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported back in March that in order to defeate Hezbollah, the Lebanese government supported a Sunni militant group, the same ones they're fighting today.  Seymour joins us live from Washington.
The Independent:
Robert Fisk: The road to Jerusalem (via Lebanon)
Discussion: The Agonist and The Belmont Club
Gateway Pundit:
Palestinians Threaten Violence & Mass Uprisings Across Lebanon
Faiz / Think Progress:
Snow Slams Gore's Book, Says It Should Be 'Reprinted' Because It Calls Out Bush's 'Deception'  —  In his new book The Assault on Reason, Al Gore wrote that Bush's efforts to connect Iraq to 9/11 were an example of the administration's willful "deception" of the public:
James Boyce / The Huffington Post:
Just Off The Phone With Al Gore — With Special Note To Tony Snow  —  Al Gore has a new book out today, "The Assault On Reason."  I won't spoil the ending for you but let's just say that the wrong guy wins, through some dubious methods, the United States is plunged into a pre-emptive war …
Discussion: New York Times
Stewart M. Powell / Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
U.S. quietly, dramatically increasing Iraq troop levels  —  WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.  —  This "second surge" of troops in Iraq …
Discussion: Firedoglake
Stewart M. Powell / San Francisco Chronicle:
Bush could double force by Christmas
Agence France Presse:
Gay flamingos pick up chick  —  LONDON (AFP) - A pair of gay flamingos have adopted an abandoned chick, becoming parents after being together for six years, a British conservation organisation said Monday.  —  Carlos and Fernando had been desperate to start a family, even chasing other flamingos …
Thomas Harding / Telegraph:
Taliban 'stalled by lack of commanders'  —  The Taliban's much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.
Discussion: Don Surber and Hot Air
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 More Items: 
Russia angered by Litvinenko extradition call
Video: George Allen Weighs in on 2008 Race
Discussion: MSNBC and Salon
Deacon / Power Line:
SO CORRUPT IT HURTS  —  Although Jack Murtha currently occupies …
Former Gonzales Aide / Washington Post:
Officials Describe Interference by Former Gonzales Aide
Discussion: Think Progress
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Liberation … You can view more of the video at this Chicago Tribune link.
Discussion: The Sideshow
Kevin G. Hall / Real Cities:
Swiss authorities question U.S. counterfeiting charges against North Korea
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Jean Hopfensperger / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Attack on 'sex slavery' targets 8 brothels
John Amato / Crooks and Liars:
Obey Presser on Iraq
Discussion: Think Progress
 Earlier Items: 
Susan Crabtree / The Hill:
Citing ongoing cooperation, district court postpones sentencing …
Dean Barnett /
A Decree from Markos  —  Under the headline, "Record Everything …
Daniel Friedman / Federal Times:
GSA chief violated Hatch Act, OSC report finds
Discussion: Tech Insider and Firedoglake
Rob / Say Anything:
Military Recruiting Exceedingly Strong Despite Public's Alleged …
Susan Crabtree / The Hill:
Murtha sent earmark letter five weeks after deadline
Discussion: Flopping Aces and Bluey Blog
Justin Rood Reports / The Blotter:
U.S. Government Gave Airtime to Terrorists, Official Admits