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3:45 PM ET, January 7, 2009

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
I want to play poker with Harry Reid.  Really I do.  —  Rather than call for a special election in Illinois, Reid sends a letter to Blagojevich signed by everyone in the Democratic caucus asking him to step down.  They assert that they will not seat anyone he appoints.  —  Harumph.
RELATED:
Chicago Breaking News:
Senate leader leaves door ajar for Burris  —  WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened a potential path to seating Roland Burris in the Senate after a 45-minute meeting with the former Illinois attorney general at the Capitol this morning.  —  After days in which Senate leaders …
The Huffington Post:
Dem Aide: Obama Team Pushed To Seat Burris  —  The apparent decision to seat Roland Burris came after aides to President-elect Barack Obama contacted senior Senate Democrats and suggested that they reverse course and accept Gov. Rod Blagojevich's controversial appointment, according to a senior Dem congressional aide.
Brian Montopoli / CBS News:
Report: Burris Will Get Obama Senate Seat  —  Roland Burris, the man appointed to Barack Obama's Senate seat by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, will be allowed to take the seat, according to the Associated Press.  —  Spokespersons for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin are denying the report.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Illinois Secretary of State backs Burris, downplays own role
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blogs:
Reid: Give Stevens a Get-of-Jail Card
Washington Post:
Blair House Mystery Solved: It's John Howard  —  The veil is lifted.  We now know who is booked at Blair House, kicking President-elect Barack Obama and his family to the waiting list and across Lafayette Park to the Hay-Adams Hotel.  —  The only overnight visitor at the presidential guest manse …
RELATED:
Ali Frick / Think Progress:
White House Asked Howard To Stay In Blair House To Give ‘Some Plausible Reason’ For Refusing Obama  —  In December, President-elect Obama asked the White House if he and his family could move into Blair House — the White House's guest house — a week early, so that his daughters Malia and Sasha could start school.
Michael Calderone / Michael Calderone's Blogs:
Matthews: Todd ‘just lost his virginity’  —  After a record-setting number of transition press conferences in Chicago, Obama answered questions from reporters in Washington for the first time as President-Elect.  On hand were several new members of the White House press corps.
Discussion: The Swamp and TVNewser
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
The Mideast's Ground Zero  —  The fighting, death and destruction in Gaza is painful to watch.  But it's all too familiar.  It's the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: “Who owns this hotel?  Can the Jews have a room?
RELATED:
Associated Press:
Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent  —  TOLEDO, Ohio - Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook.  —  The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.
RELATED:
Associated Press:
Joe the Plumber named war correspondent in Israel for conservative Web site  —  Joe the Plumber is taking on a new job.  —  The Ohio man, who became famous during the U.S. presidential campaign after asking Barack Obama about his tax plan, is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for a conservative Web site called pjtv.com.
Discussion: Democratic Strategist and TIME.com
Thomas E. Ricks / Foreign Policy:
Fiasco at the Army War College  —  Did faculty members at the Army War College curtail their criticism of the Iraq war for fear of institutional retaliation?  —  That seems to be the bottom line in a situation I stumbled across just a few days ago.  A friend passed along a 2005 e-mail note …
RELATED:
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
THE CASE FOR TENURE.  —  In 2005, the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute was facing so much heat for perceived criticism of the Iraq War that its professors “were worried about what might happen to SSI, even frightened for the organization.”  So they stopped speaking out.
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
Washington Wire:
Obama's Remarks on His Pick for Chief Performance Officer  —  The prepared remarks of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington on his pick for White House chief performance officer.  —  Good morning.  —  By now, we all know that we are facing a crisis in our economy …
RELATED:
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Sweet on Caroline  —  Ask not, you know, what your country can, like, do for you.  Ask what you, um, can, you know, do for your country.  —  After a lifetime of shying away from the public spotlight, Caroline Kennedy asked herself what she could do for her country.
Kevin Vance / Weekly Standard:
Team Sarah Infiltrated  —  Administrators of Team Sarah have uncovered evidence on a left-wing online thread that some Internet trolls sought to discredit the organization by posing as conservative racists on Team Sarah's forums.  —  Team Sarah, an online community supportive of Gov. Sarah Palin …
Discussion: Washington Times and Flopping Aces
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Kemp diagnosed with cancer  —  Former GOP vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, 73, has been diagnosed with cancer.  —  According to a statement from his consulting firm, Kemp Partners, doctors are still testing Kemp before determining a course of treatment.
Jeff Stein / SpyTalk:
CIA Man: Spies' Reaction to Panetta ‘Overwhelmingly Negative’  —  A retired senior CIA operations officer who quit last summer after 20 years tracking terrorists says the rank-and-file reaction to President-elect Obama's choice of Leon E.Panetta to run the spy agency has been “overwhelmingly negative.”
Ron Kampeas / The Telegraph:
The best reporter in Gaza  —  Ibrahim Barzak is one of the best reporters I know.  —  We got to know each other back in 1992, when he was about 16; I had just started with AP, and he had inherited his father's correspondency.  Hikmet Barzak, who married late in life, had died after reporting Gaza for the AP since the 1950s.
Max Blumenthal / Blogs and Stories:
Rick Warren's Africa Problem  —  The Truth About Rick Warren's AIDS in Africa Work by Max Blumenthal  —  Blogs and Stories  —  Team Obama likes to cite Warren's work on AIDS in Africa to combat criticism about the controversial pastor.  But how does burning condoms in the name of Jesus save lives?
Discussion: Joe. My. God. and Towleroad
Little Green Footballs:
IDF Kills Giant Jew-Eating Rabbit  —  Last Friday on Hamas TV, Gaza's children learned that the IDF had killed Assud, the giant Jew-eating rabbit.  —  Very sad, but at least the bunny didn't have to undergo amputation.  —  FurryOldGuyJeans ::  49 seconds ago
Discussion: Seraphic Secret
David Harsanyi / Denver Post:
Get out of the way, you old fogies  —  Warning: This column is replete with ageism — a hazardous prejudice to have in a nation growing progressively older.  —  The average American's life expectancy (or, as it's referred to in Washington, the “junior senator") is now a crusty 77 years.
Discussion: Reason
A Soldier's Mother:
The Images they Show...  There are images that break your heart.  The news is filled with them today and they can easily sway you to think that all of the situation in the Middle East comes down to a picture.  How horrible, truly tragic, unacceptable and wrong it is to have a child die.
Nat Hentoff / Village Voice:
Nat Hentoff's Last Column: The 50-Year Veteran Says Goodbye  —  I used to say, 'I've been at the Voice since the Civil War.' But now I'm off to other combats.  —  I've borrowed Woody Guthrie's 1942 song to report that this is my last column for the Voice.  I'm not retiring …
Discussion: Runnin' Scared and City Room
Martin Kramer / Sandbox:
ABC: Anything But Cole  —  Juan Cole is running two campaigns on his blog.  One is against Israel—business as usual for Cole.  The other is promoting his blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards competition (Middle East category), where there are ten finalists (I am one).
Discussion: Michael J. Totten
Daphne Benoit / Agence France Presse:
Obama era expected to end taboo on gays in US military  —  WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sixteen years after Bill Clinton tried to end restrictions on gays in the military, the US armed forces under Barack Obama may be forced to give homosexuals the same welcome as non-gays.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Tony Mauro / The BLT:
The Kagan File  —  The praise coming from Harvard Law School colleagues …
Discussion: The Volokh Conspiracy
Michael Falcone / The Caucus:
McCain Starts ‘Country First’ PAC
John Lingan / SPLICETODAY.COM:
Our Legal Immigrants Deserve Better
Discussion: Reason and AmSpecBlog
David M. Dickson / Washington Times:
House to vote on fair pay bills
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
 Earlier Items: 
Paul J. Gough / Reuters:
HBO lands rights to inaugural ceremony
Discussion: RedState
Ynetnews:
‘Hamas has nothing left but rockets’
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
The DOJ pursues the “real criminal” in the NSA spying scandal
Discussion: theheretik.us
Benjamin Netanyahu / Wall Street Journal:
Militant Islam Threatens Us All
Discussion: This ain't Hell …
Nick Perry / Seattle Times:
11 gay bars get letters threatening ricin attacks
Discussion: Shakesville
 

 
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Cristiano Lima-Strong / Washington Post:
Sources detail how Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell, who recently proposed a privacy bill, has undermined privacy negotiations for years

TechCrunch:
Meta says it is testing its Meta AI chatbot with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger users in India and parts of Africa

Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:
Elon Musk's xAI previews Grok-1.5 Vision, its first multimodal model, and says the AI model will be available soon to “early testers and existing Grok users”

 
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