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6:45 PM ET, July 12, 2007


 Top Items: 
White House:
Press Conference by the President  —  Initial Benchmark Assessment Report  —  THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.  Thank you.  Yesterday, America lost an extraordinary First Lady and a fine Texan, Lady Bird Johnson.  She brought grace to the White House and beauty to our country.
White House:
Initial Benchmark Assessment Report  —  This report to Congress is submitted consistent with Section 1314 of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 110-28) (the "Act").  It includes an assessment …
Christine Hauser / New York Times:
Report on Iraq Sees Progress; Bush Rejects Troop Pullout  —  With the release this morning of a White House report finding some progress on political and security goals in Iraq, President Bush said today that it was premature and "not the real debate" to be talking now about a withdrawal of American troops.
Kevin Drum / Washington Monthly:
IRAQ UPDATE....Non-insane conservative James Joyner has read …
Eric Kleefeld / Election Central:
Christian Right Activists Disrupt Hindu Chaplain In The Senate  —  Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.
The Corner:
Let Us Pray  —  Harry Reid had a Hindu chaplain say the opening prayer in the Senate this morning, a first — it didn't go over well with some monotheism fans.  What ensued this morning was very unfortunate — he got heckled from the balcony.  —  Not the Senate's best moment.
Orlando Sentinel:
Rep. Bob Allen arrested on sex charge  —  Florida State Rep. Bob Allen refuses to talk to the media on July 11, 2007 after bonding out of Brevard County Jail after his arrest on a sex charge.  —  TITUSVILLE - State Rep. Bob Allen was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a local park after offering …
Justin Rood Reports / The Blotter:
McCain Official Busted on Sex Charge  —  Justin Rood Reports:  —  An official with the John McCain presidential campaign was arrested for allegedly soliciting oral sex from a policeman in Florida yesterday.  —  Bob Allen, a member of the Florida House of Representatives …
Christy Hardin Smith / Firedoglake:
HJC Miers Hearing, Part II  —  From the HJC:  —  Rep. Watts Cont'd: Miers not showing up for hearing today is the last straw.  During the impeachment proceedings, decided to apply the same standards to Dems and Republicans alike, because we have a Constitutional responsibility to do so.
CindySheehan / Daily Kos:
I have been "warned"  —  I can't post here anymore because my potential run for Congress  —  is not on the Democratic ticket.  —  I have been deeply grateful for all of your support over the years.  —  Your love and kindness helped me through lots of sleepless nights  —  at Camp Casey '05.
James Hohmann / Dallas Morning News:
Nobel laureate calls for removal of Bush  —  Irish peace activist's speech at Dallas event gets standing ovation  —  Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.  —  In a keynote speech at the International Women's Peace Conference …
Alissa J. Rubin / International Herald Tribune:
Guards steal $282 million from a bank in Baghdad  —  BAGHDAD: In an astonishing heist, guards at a bank here made off with more than a quarter-billion dollars on Wednesday, according to an official at the Interior Ministry.  —  The robbery, of $282 million from the Dar Es Salaam bank …
Discussion: MoJoBlog and Middle Earth Journal
Thieves steal nearly $300 million from Baghdad bank
Discussion: The Newshoggers
David Sirota / The Huffington Post:
As States Lead On Health Care, D.C. Elites Say Only D.C. Elites Can Save America  —  Only in Washington, D.C. can people look at data, success and advances in America's states, and still insist that only the Beltway's Wise Old Men, Serious Policy Experts, Self-Described Political Gurus …
Nathan Newman / The Coffee House:
Federal Delusion: DC Won't Deliver Health Care for All
Discussion: Washington Monthly and MaxSpeak
Thomas B. Edsall / Huffington Post:
Thompson Waffles On Pro-Choice Lobbying Past  —  Fred Thompson has effectively admitted in an interview with Sean Hannity that he did lobby in behalf of a pro-abortion rights group.  —  Hannity served up a chest-high, 25 mph softball:  —  "They have attacked you, they have attacked your family …
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Fred Thompson backs off lobbying denial
Tom Goldstein / SCOTUSblog:
The Democratic (Not So) Short List  —  Tom Goldstein prepared this post with extensive research and input from summer associate Jonathan Eisenman and assistance from Adam Chandler, as well as very helpful thoughts and advice from others on potential nominees.
Rasmussen Reports:
Poll: 19% Consider Troop Surge a Success  —  Just 19% of American voters believe that the U.S. troop surge in Iraq was a success.  A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 43% of voters consider the surge a failure.  Twenty-four percent (24%) say it's too soon to tell while 15% are not sure.
Zzaki / Political Punch:
What about the Iraqis?  —  From today's press conference with the Senate Democratic leaders.  —  I tried to get an answer to what I blogged earlier today.  —  I did not succeed.  —  TAPPER: Senator Reid, what do you say to critics who say, "Look, the Senate voted, including two of you up on the stage …
Discussion: Gateway Pundit
Nicholas D. Kristof / New York Times:
[TS] Op-Ed Columnist: 'Inspiring Progress' on Iraq?  —  When Iraqis are begging us to leave, it's remarkably presumptuous to overrule their wishes and stay indefinitely.
The Atlantic Online:
The Iraqi View  —  I was talking to someone about this last night …
Discussion: American Footprints
Scott Whitlock /
Courtroom Explodes in Laughter After ABC's Sawyer Touts Fairness of Journalists  —  Thursday's edition of "Good Morning America" featured a Diane Sawyer anecdote that revealed the low opinion Americans have of journalists.  After wrapping up a segment on people who avoid jury duty …
Washington Post:
U.S. Warns Of Stronger Al-Qaeda  —  Administration Report Cites Havens in Pakistan  —  Six years after the Bush administration declared war on al-Qaeda, the terrorist network is gaining strength and has established a safe haven in remote tribal areas of western Pakistan for training and planning attacks …
Sen. Mike Gravel / The Huffington Post:
Why I Wasn't Invited to the Debate on Gay Issues  —  Yesterday the Human Rights Campaign announced that it will not invite me to the first-ever presidential debate on gay issues because I didn't raise enough money.  To say that I'm shocked is an understatement.
Amanda / Think Progress:
Bush Dismisses Iraq Critics: 'War Fatigue' Is Affecting Their 'Psychology'  —  Today in his press conference, a reporter asked President Bush why he is "so resistant" to a "change of course in Iraq," even though that's what the American public is "clamoring for."
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 More Items: 
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Tucker Carlson, Stalwart Defender of Sexual Privacy
Margaret Carlson / Bloomberg:
Another Lorena Bobbitt Moment for the Vitters: Margaret Carlson
Christina Bellantoni / Washington Times:
"Draft Al Gore" for president
John Amato / Crooks and Liars:
Barbara Boxer says Impeachment should be on the table
Rick Richman / Jewish Current Issues:
Sharansky and Hewitt at the Annual RJC Dinner
Discussion: Power Line
Washington Post:
This Is No Place to Break the Rules
Discussion: USA Today
 Earlier Items: 
Logan Murphy / Crooks and Liars:
GOP Pundit Outed In DC Madam Scandal
Discussion: Agitprop
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
McCain's Iowa Team Hit By Resignations
Andrew Sullivan / The Atlantic Online:
The Presser  —  He's arguing he didn't decide to go to war; Saddam did.
Wall Street Journal:
Whole Foods Is Hot, Wild Oats a Dud — So Said 'Rahodeb'
How the Democrats Got Religion
Washington Post:
Wishful Thinking on Iraq

From Mediagazer:

Katherine Maher / NPR:
Memo: NPR's Katherine Maher says questioning whether NPR is living up to its mission is fair, but questioning staff integrity based on identity is disrespectful

Elizabeth Jensen / New York Times:
Robert MacNeil, who anchored evening newscasts for over two decades on PBS and delivered evenhanded, non-flashy news with Jim Lehrer, dies at 93

Jack Brewster / Wall Street Journal:
A case study of the creation of an AI-powered local “news” website, directed to produce partisan stories on a US Senate race; a Fiverr developer made it for $80

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