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9:40 AM ET, July 12, 2007


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Bush to Declare Gains in Iraq on Some Fronts  —  The Bush administration will assert in the next few days that progress in carrying out the new American strategy in Iraq has been satisfactory on nearly half of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress, according to several administration officials.
Bob Woodward / Washington Post:
CIA Said Instability Seemed 'Irreversible'  —  Early on the morning of Nov. 13, 2006, members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group gathered around a dark wooden conference table in the windowless Roosevelt Room of the White House.  —  For more than an hour, they listened to President Bush give …
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
A Consensus Waiting to Happen  —  The last time I remember Ambassador Ryan Crocker warning about a possible bloodbath, it was in September 1982 as the Sabra-Shatila massacre was taking place in Beirut.  So when Crocker tells the New York Times that a rapid U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could produce …
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Specter says Dems broke their promise  —  Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has fired an early volley in what Senate Republicans and conservative activists predict will escalate into another pitched battle with Democrats on judicial nominees.
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Against Claims of Executive Privilege, a Committee Comes Up Dry  —  Yesterday's Senate testimony by former White House political director Sara Taylor was a watershed.  —  Not in the newsmaking sense: Taylor, as instructed by the White House, invoked executive privilege so often that the session …
Discussion: TPMCafe blogs and TPMmuckraker
Farewell to a Lady  —  "My mother," Lynda Bird Johnson once told me, "thinks well of everybody.  She's even sure the Devil's been maligned.  Just got a bad press."  —  I got to know the First Lady during the time her daughter worked for me when I was editor of McCalls.
Claudia Feldman / Houston Chronicle:
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson dies at 94
Lady Bird Johnson dead at 94
Discussion: Wizbang
New York Times:
McCain Call Raises an Ethics Question  —  About 3 p.m. Tuesday, Senator John McCain ducked off the Senate floor, entered the Republican cloakroom and took out his mobile phone.  Just hours after accepting the resignation of his two top campaign aides, he was making a conference call …
Laura Rozen / MoJoBlog:
Intelligence Briefing on the Hill Today  —  The top intelligence analysts for the CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) provided a Global Security Assessment to the full House Armed Services Committee today.
Discussion: CNN, The American Street and At-Largely
Eric Lipton / New York Times:
A Nuclear Ruse Uncovers Holes in U.S. Security  —  Undercover Congressional investigators set up a bogus company and obtained a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March that would have allowed them to buy the radioactive materials needed for a so-called dirty bomb.
James Taranto / Opinion Journal:
Best of the Web  —  Today's Video on James Taranto on what the BBC didn't say about a Scotland demonstration.  —  The Roe Effect, by the Numbers  —  Overbrook Research, an Illinois-based polling firm, has a fascinating study out on public opinion and abortion.
Jules Crittenden:
Lazy, Stupid or Willfully Ignorant?  —  Right now, all the talk in DC is whether there has been any progress in Iraq.  No one can wait till September.  They need to know now.  Primarily, it appears, because they need to kill the war for their own domestic political reasons before it kills them.
Ben Johnson / Front Page Magazine:
Whatever Happened to Lynne Stewart?  —  PASSION DISTORTS PERSPECTIVE.  Nowhere is that more evident than in Rep. John Conyers' inquiry into the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence.  —  Yesterday, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee wasted a calendar day holding hearings on …
Discussion: The Gavel and NO QUARTER
The Big Trunk / Power Line:
FRED THOMPSON: "A LAWYER WHO IS A PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE"  —  Fred Thompson has sent us the following column on the subject of his career in the practice of law.  We are delighted to bring it to our readers: … Supplementing Senator Thompson's historical observations …
The Atlantic Online:
"My Oath, Like Your Oath, Is to Uphold the Constitution"  —  This is some good indignation right here from Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) in response to Sara Taylor's view that her oath of office was an oath of personal loyalty to George W. Bush:  —  Expressing good, old-fashioned outrage …
Discussion: Unfogged
John McCormick / Chicago Tribune:
Obama launches book clubs to win over voters  —  PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Stealing a page from Oprah Winfrey — his close friend and fellow Chicago celebrity — Sen. Barack Obama launched book clubs in a dozen New Hampshire towns and online this week.  —  His life story is the first topic of discussion.
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 More Items: 
Calvin Woodward / Associated Press:
Nixon wanted to be seen as 'nicey-nice'
Discussion: Attytood
Monica Maggioni / Foreign Policy:
Ahmadinejobless  —  Iran's radical president is sinking fast, and he knows it.
Marc Kaufman / Washington Post:
Report Warns of a Much Warmer Northeast
Crew member's fears lead to diverted flight
Vivian S. Toy / New York Times:
For Parking Space, the Price Is Right at $225,000
Discussion: Althouse and KnoxViews
Martin Wainwright / Guardian:
Pants helped boost literacy, say historians
Discussion: normblog
Leonard Doyle / The Independent:
'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'
Discussion: Greatscat!
Associated Press:
A 10,000-year-old baby mammoth carcass found
 Earlier Items: 
Associated Press:
J&J Hasn't Given Up on Sex Pill for Men
Matt Kibbe /
Fear and Loathing at Live Earth
Discussion: Reason Magazine
Firefighters Rip Giuliani, Call Him 'Urban Legend'
Patricia Cohen / New York Times:
In Economics Departments, a Growing Will to Debate Fundamental Assumptions
Pope defines 'true church'
Discussion: Eschaton and Big Brass Blog
Fred Thompson / National Review:
The Los Angeles Times, Preparing Another Piece on Thompson
Discussion: Hot Air
Michael Kahn / Reuters:
Scientists find signs of water beyond solar system
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Hmmm.  A very...  FELONY  —  Hmmm.  A very knowledgeable emailer says it's a felony ...