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3:15 PM ET, January 3, 2009


 Top Items: 
Israel launches ground offensive in the Gaza Strip  —  Palestinian witnesses said the artillery barrage caused a large explosion in Gaza City as well as a series of blasts stitching the nearby frontier with Israel.  —  Channel 10 television quoted a witness as saying that Israel …
Fox News:
Israeli Ground Forces Cross Border Into Gaza Strip  —  DEVELOPING: Israeli ground forces began moving across the border into the northern Gaza Strip in an escalation late Saturday night of the weeklong offensive against Hamas.  —  The incursion was confirmed to FOX News by Israeli defense officials …
Associated Press:
IDF begins shelling northern Gaza for 1st time since op began  —  For the first time since the start of Operation Cast Lead, the IDF began firing artillery shells into northern Gaza on Saturday afternoon, IDF officials said.  —  According to reports, the artillery units were attacking targets …
Israeli troops ‘move into Gaza’  —  Israeli ground troops have started to enter the Gaza Strip, Israeli military officials have confirmed, a week after the offensive against Hamas began.  —  An Israeli military spokeswoman said the intention was to “take control” of areas from which Palestinian militants …
Discussion: PoliBlog
Ron Ben-Yishai / Ynetnews:
IDF artillery targets Gaza
Orange County Register:
Mark Steyn: Gaza has its version of rocket scientists
Discussion: five feet of fury
The Raw Story:
CNN: US weapons ‘killing innocent civilians’ in Gaza
Discussion: Mondoweiss and Guardian
Lynn Sweet / Chicago Sun Times:
Roland Burris tells Lynn Sweet: ‘We are the senator’  —  NO CIRCUS?  Says he'll try to avoid a scene when he shows up to claim seat  —  WASHINGTON — Roland Burris, being Roland Burris, put it to me this way Friday when we talked: “We are the senator.”  —  And we, that is he …
Chicago Sun Times:
Reid pressured Blagojevich not to appoint Jackson Jr. to Obama's U.S. Senate seat  —  Days before Gov. Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, top Senate Democrat Harry Reid made it clear who he didn't want in the post …
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
As 111th Senate Is Set to Begin, Four Seats Still Up in Air  —  As the gavel quietly fell yesterday on the final session of the 110th Senate, officials in several states sought to cut through the confusion surrounding a quartet of chamber seats whose future occupants remain undetermined amid succession fights …
Discussion: The Caucus and New York Times
Chris Bowers / Open Left:
IL-Sen: Electability As Corruption  —  A new story in the Chicago Sun-Times indicates that, the day before Blagojevich's calls were taped, Harry Reid pushed Blagojevich not to appoint the three leading African-American politicians in Illinois (after Barack Obama, of course).
Discussion: TalkLeft
Chicago Breaking News:
Burris asks high court to move fast
Khalid al-Ansary / Reuters:
U.S.-installed Iraqi ex-PM says Bush “utter failure”  —  BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has denounced the policies of President George W. Bush as an “utter failure” that gave rise to the sectarian venom that ravaged his country.
Ben Feller / Associated Press:
Analysis: Bush's personality shapes his legacy  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush will be judged on what he did.  He will also be remembered for what he's like: a fast-moving, phrase-mangling Texan who stays upbeat even though his country is not.
Discussion: Hullabaloo and The Jed Report
Roni Caryn Rabin / New York Times:
A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’  —  Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air of second-hand smoke, but experts now have identified another smoking-related threat to children's health that isn't as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.
Discussion: Villainous Company
David Kocieniewski / New York Times:
Rangel Pushed for a Donation; Insurer Pushed for a Tax Cut  —  On April 21, 2008, Representative Charles B. Rangel met with officials of the American International Group, the now-troubled insurance giant, to ask for a donation to a school of public service that City College of New York was building in his honor.
Dave Rochelson /
American Recovery and Reinvestment  —  In this week's weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama lays out the challenges that face us in the new year, and his plan for taking them on.  —  “We need an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that not only creates jobs in the short-term …
Cynthia Dizikes / Los Angeles Times:
Khat — is it more coffee or cocaine?  —  ‘FLOWER OF PARADISE’: In East African countries like Somalia, khat leaves have been used as a stimulant and social tonic.  But in the U.S. khat is illegal, and increased demand is leading to clashes between narcotics officers and immigrants.
Discussion: PoliBlog and Althouse
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 More Items: 
Fida Qishta / Guardian:
Do Israel pilots feel happy killing innocent women and children?
Discussion: bastard.logic
Alexandra Frean / Times of London:
Don't use the S-word. This is a place of learning, not a school
Discussion: Joanne Jacobs and Don Surber
Karl Vick / Washington Post:
Curbs May Be Eased On Paving In Forests
Jeff Taylor / Reason:
Why 2009 Will be Worse than 2008
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Gaza: Gang on rampage in Golders Green
Discussion: Mere Rhetoric
David Hanners / Austin American-Statesman:
Social activist, organizer ... and FBI informant
Discussion: Power Line and Hot Air
Washington Post:
Peacemaking Event Is Attacked in Iraq
Dexter Filkins / New York Times:
Taking a Break From War With a Game Anything but Gentle
 Earlier Items: 
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Early Test of Obama View on Power Over Detainees
Discussion: Political Punch
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
U.S. Debt Set to Soar in This Year
Discussion: Macsmind
Demian McLean / Bloomberg:
Obama Moves to Counter China With Pentagon-NASA Link
Discussion: The Strata-Sphere
Frank Main / Chicago Sun Times:
Blagojevich stripped of access to classified federal security information