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1:55 PM ET, February 18, 2009


 Top Items: 
Jack Healy / New York Times:
Obama Plans $75 Billion Outlay to Fight Foreclosures  —  Seeking to stabilize the foundering housing market, President Obama on Wednesday laid out a plan to help as many as nine million families refinance their mortgages or avoid foreclosure.  —  The proposal, which is more ambitious than expected …
Discussion: Washington Monthly and TalkLeft
Washington Post:
$75B Program Aims to Lower Mortgages, Foreclosures
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts and Wonk Room
Washington Wire:
Obama's Plan Aimed at Helping Troubled Homeowners
Discussion: Calculated Risk
Associated Press:
Obama unveils $75 billion mortgage relief plan
Discussion: CBS News, and Donklephant
Washington Post:
Buy-Buy, Mr. Burris  —  WHEN THEN-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested in December for, among other things, allegedly trying to auction off the U.S. Senate seat left open by Barack Obama's election to the presidency, we feared that whomever Mr. Blagojevich eventually chose would be tainted by the association.
Chicago Tribune:   Burris' Senate-seat story changes again
Chicago Sun Times:
Senate opens Burris probe
Discussion: QandO and The Capitol Fax Blog
Lisa Demer / Anchorage Daily News:
Palin must pay tax on past per diem, state says  —  EXPENSES: Governor received meal money while living in Wasilla.  —  —  Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.
Michael Leahy / Washington Post:
Back Home in Alaska, Palin Faces Scrutiny and Second-Guessing From All Sides  —  Scrutiny Has Been Intense Since Election  —  JUNEAU, Alaska — A couple of weeks before the Alaska legislature began this year's session, a bipartisan group of state senators on a retreat a few hours from here invited Gov. Sarah Palin to join them.
Wyatt Buchanan / San Francisco Chronicle:
GOP ousts Senate leader, budget deal in question  —  (02-18) 02:28 PST Sacramento — A state budget deal to close a $41 billion shortfall has been put further into question early this morning after Senate Republicans ousted their leader who had helped negotiate the long-awaited plan with other top lawmakers in California.
Matt Corley / Think Progress:
George McGovern To Be Honored At CPAC For ‘Courage Under Fire’  —  In August 2008, former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern published an op-ed on the conservative editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal attacking the Employee Free Choice Act.
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Blue Dogs To House Dem Leaders: Hold Off On Employee Free Choice
Discussion: Glenn Thrush's Blogs and MyDD
The Huffington Post:
New York Post Chimp Cartoon Compares Stimulus Author To Dead Primate  —  A cartoon likening the author of the stimulus bill, perhaps President Barack Obama, with a rabid chimpanzee graced the pages of the New York Post on Wednesday.  —  The drawing, from famed cartoonist Sean Delonas …
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
The White House's missing documents  —  In his first weeks in office, President Barack Obama shut down his predecessor's system for reviewing regulations, realigned and expanded two key White House policymaking bodies and extended economic sanctions against parties to the conflict in the African nation of Cote D'Ivoire.
Michael Calderone / The Politico:
Dem exclusive?  Reporters jump ship  —  In three months since Election Day, at least a half-dozen prominent journalists have taken jobs working for the federal government.  —  Journalists, including some of those who've jumped ship, say it's better to have a solid job in government than a shaky job …
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
Pope lectures Pelosi on abortion stance  —  Pope Benedict XVI made clear to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday that she cannot advocate for abortion rights and still be a good Catholic.  —  After meeting with Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the Vatican, the pontiff stressed that Catholic politicians …
Thomas H. Maugh II / Los Angeles Times:
Major cache of fossils unearthed in L.A.  —  Volunteer Judy Scharf, left, assistant lab supervisor Trevor Valle and volunteers Pat Simun and Linda Wright carefully brush away dirt surrounding the pelvis of a mammoth at the Page Museum in Rancho La Brea.  The mammoth, which museum researchers …
Discussion: D-Day
Brian Montopoli / CBS News:
Jindal Signals Louisiana May Not Take Stimulus Money  —  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, has suggested his state may not be interested in all of the roughly $4 billion allotted to it in the economic stimulus package to be signed by President Obama today.
Del Quentin Wilber / Washington Post:
Court Reverses Ruling Bringing 17 Detainees to U.S.  —  A federal appeals court this morning blocked the transfer to the United States of a small band of Chinese Muslims held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  —  In a decision released this morning, the three-judge panel …
Discussion: SCOTUSblog, TalkLeft and ACSBlog
Paul Krugman:
Comrade Greenspan: Seize the economy's commanding heights!  —  Here.  Truly, it's amazing how compelling the logic of temporary nationalization is.  How long will it be before the Obama administration is ready to take the plunge?  —  The WaPo reports that Tim Geithner realized late …
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and Financial Times
The Independent:
Howard Jacobson: Let's see the ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it really is  —  Emotions have run high over recent events in Gaza.  And in this impassioned and searching essay, our writer argues that just below the surface runs a vicious strain of ancient prejudice
Discussion: Israellycool
Alan Scher Zagier / Associated Press:
Judge's ruling in Kezer case has harsh criticism for Hulshof  —  Joshua C. Kezer listens to testimony in a hearing alleging wrongful conviction at the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City Dec. 2.  (ELIZABETH DODD ~ ) [Order this photo]  —  Judge's opinion in the Kezer case
Discussion: Associated Press and The Agitator
Sen. Fritz Hollings / The Huffington Post:
Why are we in Afghanistan?  —  I keep asking the question: “Why are we in Afghanistan?”  No one has a good answer.  A few without television respond, “To get Osama.”  But everyone agrees that he is somewhere in Pakistan.  Then the answer is: “As President George W. Bush said …
Manhunt: Accused Financier Scammer Stanford Missing  —  Authorities say Investor Losses Could Rival Madoff Scandal  —  Texas financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of cheating 50,000 customers out of $8 billion dollars but despite raids Tuesday of his financial empire in Houston, Memphis …
Jennifer Harper / Washington Times:
Obama has new flag frenzy  —  White House embraces a backdrop of red, white and blue  —  Oh, say - can you see?  Look.  It's President Obama, and he's surrounded by American flags.  —  They're on the dais in star-spangled glory.  They're at the town-hall meeting and the news conference, in bold folds of red, white and blue.
East Valley Tribune:
More than 500 protest Obama's arrival  —  GARY GRADO, SONU MUNSHI, HAYLEY RINGLE, TRIBUNE  —  Presidential protestors made their voices heard in chants and signs Wednesday outside Dobson High School.  —  The protestors, about 500 to 600 strong and growing, began arriving as ticket-holders walked in.
Ali Frick / Think Progress:
Ashcroft: Only difference between Bush and Obama is how they spell their names.»  —  In a new article about how the Obama administration will confront the legal challenges of Bush's war on terror, former Attorney General John Ashcroft defends the continued detention of a terror suspect …
Discussion: ACLU
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Charlie Savage on Obama's embrace of Bush/Cheney “terrorism policies”  —  (updated below)  —  During the Bush presidency, there were few reporters, if there were any, who were better on issues of civil liberties and executive power abuses than Charlie Savage, who won the Pulitzer Prize …
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 More Items: 
Mary Katharine Ham / Weekly Standard:
Who Will Obama's Foreclosure Plan Bail Out?
Discussion: and Hot Air
Houston Chronicle:
Perry: Texas may turn down billions
Gateway Pundit:
Putin Warns US Democrats Against Socialism (Video)
Discussion: Mudville Gazette
N.C. Aizenman / Washington Post:
Conflicting Accounts of an ICE Raid in Md.
Discussion: ProPublica
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Patrick Fitzgerald, 50 others, welcome
Discussion: Corrente
Thomas Frank / USA Today:
Body scanners replace metal detectors in tryout at Tulsa airport
New York Times:
The Propeller Heads' Dilemma
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
 Earlier Items: 
Paul Rolly / GenRolly Speaking:
Try, Try Again  —  It appears that Leavitt will challenge …
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Obama approval over 50  —  Obama Approval in North Carolina:
Discussion: Stephen C. Rose
Peter Baker / New York Times:
Obama Team Has Billions to Spend, but Few Ready to Do It
Discussion: The Caucus and Prairie Weather
Matt Lewis / Political Machine:
How Would Modern Americans React to a ‘Great Depression’?
Discussion: Megan McArdle and Right Wing News
Ben Farmer / Telegraph:
Geography professor claims to have found Osama bin Laden