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10:50 PM ET, January 17, 2009


 Top Items: 
Steven Erlanger / New York Times:
Israel Declares It Will Cease Fire; U.N. School Hit  —  JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel announced late Saturday night that the Israeli military would begin a unilateral cease-fire in Gaza within hours while negotiations continued on how to stop the resupply of Hamas through smuggling from Egypt.
Noah Pollak / Commentary:
Thoughts On The Cease-Fire  —  The Israeli cabinet met tonight and approved a unilateral cease-fire in Gaza set to take effect at 2AM, Israel time.  Hamas is responding to the announcement with fresh barrages of rocket fire.  Israel has recently been under immense international pressure …
Israel declares ceasefire in Gaza
Discussion: Jay Currie and Jules Crittenden
Jeff Zeleny / New York Times:
Obama Arrives in Washington After Train Trip  —  BALTIMORE — President-elect Barack Obama stepped onto a vintage train car, built at a time when a black man's ascendancy to the presidency was impossible in America, and traveled Saturday to Washington in a three-day prelude to his inauguration as the nation's 44th president.
New York Times:
Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience  —  President-elect Barack Obama is riding a powerful wave of optimism into the White House, with Americans confident he can turn the economy around but prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces starting Tuesday …
Discussion: and TalkLeft
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Obama Announces “Organizing for America”  —  President-elect Barack Obama announced the formation of a new group known as “Organizing for America” that aims to continue the grassroots advocacy that the former Illinois Senator began in his presidential campaign.
Marc Ambinder:
Obama For America Becomes Organizing For America
Mark Steyn / Orange County Register:
Our permanent state of routine emergency  —  With government, mission creep is the defining feature.  —  Recommend  —  In just about his last act as president, George W. Bush has declared Washington, D.C., a federal disaster area.  —  No, seriously.  I'm not setting up some lame-o punchline here …
Discussion: Hot Air and Fausta's Blog
Mike McIntire / New York Times:
Bailout Is a Windfall to Banks, if Not to Borrowers  —  At the Palm Beach Ritz-Carlton last November, John C. Hope III, the chairman of Whitney National Bank in New Orleans, stood before a ballroom full of Wall Street analysts and explained how his bank intended to use its $300 million in federal bailout money.
Agence France Presse:
Obama refuses to surrender Blackberry … Despite legal and security hurdles, president-elect Barack Obama says he has a plan to retain his beloved Blackberry once he moves into the White House next week.  —  Interviewed by CNN Friday, Obama said the smartphone was among the tools …
Peter Beinart / Washington Post:
Admit It: The Surge Worked  —  It's no longer a close call: President Bush was right about the surge.  According to Michael O'Hanlon and Jason Campbell of the Brookings Institution, the number of Iraqi war dead was 500 in November of 2008, compared with 3,475 in November of 2006.
Washington Post:
The Growing Foreclosure Crisis  —  One oft-repeated assertion no longer holds true.  Those in trouble are not, primarily, lower-income borrowers.  The foreclosure crisis has become a wave, afflicting neighborhoods of every stripe — but particularly communities created by the boom itself.
Eric Posner / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Does Holder's “waterboarding is torture” comment implicitly commit him to prosecuting Bush administration officials?  Ever-hopeful observers say yes, but Holder's statement that waterboarding is torture is hardly news; his soon-to-be boss has said the same thing.  The chances of prosecution remain slim for diverse reasons.
Scott Shane / New York Times:
Remarks on Torture May Force New Administration's Hand
Discussion: Daily Kos
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Obama prayer speaker comes from group feds say is linked to Hamas  —  One of the religious leaders invited to address Barack Obama's inaugural prayer service Wednesday heads an Islamic group named by federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in a terrorism-fundraising trial in Texas.
Discussion: Pat Dollard
Florida Fund Manager Missing; Clients Say Money Gone  —  Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) — Arthur Nadel, a hedge-fund manager in Sarasota, Florida, has disappeared and clients are concerned they may have lost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to law enforcement officials.
Michelle Malkin:
The official Flag of the Obama States of America  —  Defacing the flag in honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama?  —  Well, don't you dare question their patriotism.  —  That would be...unpatriotic.  (Hat tip: Inside Charm City)  —  Photo source: Baltimore Sun
Blake Hounshell / FP Passport:
How not to close the Gaza tunnels  —  I see that mothership Slate has an article by William Saletan on “how to close the Gaza tunnels.”  (Back in December, FP ran a photo essay on the tunnels that is still definitely worth checking out.)  —  Unfortunately, Saletan's piece should have been called “How not to close the Gaza tunnels.”
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
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 More Items: 
Secret List of U.S. Military Bases to Replace Gitmo
Discussion: Crooks and Liars and Pirate's Cove
Jamison Foser / Media Matters for America:
Media Matters: Coverage of economy repeats Iraq mistakes
Discussion: Hullabaloo and The Sideshow
Andrew Jacobs / New York Times:
A County in China Sees Its Fortunes in Tea Leaves Until a Bubble Bursts
Discussion: The Peking Duck
Martin Hodgson / Guardian:
North Korea has plutonium ready for up to five nuclear bombs, reports claim
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Joe Nocera / New York Times:
In Search of One Bold Stroke to Save the Banks
Discussion: Angry Bear and Marginal Revolution
Ray Rivera / New York Times:
A Pilot Becomes a Hero Years in the Making
 Earlier Items: 
Carrie Budoff Brown / The Politico:
Obama may not lift stem cell limits
Discussion: Commentary and Hot Air
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
Inaugural Panel Sells Exclusive TV Rights
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
BLOCK THE STIMULUS, HELP THE GOP.... Former Ohio Secretary …
Discussion: D-Day and
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
By Request: Missing the Trees
Discussion: Eschaton