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6:35 PM ET, February 19, 2009


 Top Items: 
Ralph Z. Hallow / Washington Times:
Steele: GOP needs ‘hip-hop’ makeover  —  NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW:  —  Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Rove testimony hangs in balance  —  A federal appeals court has agreed to give President Barack Obama a little more time—but only a little— to decide whether to support...  one of President Bush's most controversial uses of executive privilege.  —  The new administration had asked …
Discussion: TPMMuckraker
Martina Stewart / CNN:
Republican wants White House e-mail plan
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Spokesman for embattled Sen. Burris resigns  —  (CNN) — A spokesman for Illinois Sen. Roland Burris resigned Thursday in the wake of new disclosures about requests that Burris raise money for disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich while seeking a U.S. Senate appointment.
Bart Jansen / CQ Politics:
Burris' Lobbying Disclosures Don't Add Up
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Greed is Not a Defense  —  I found Ezra Klein's defense of Politico to be pretty weak stuff.  —  Ezra's main point is that coverage that's utterly trivial and that poisons public understanding of crucial issues that effect the lives of billions of people is rewarded by the market …
Discussion: Eschaton
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
THE PROBLEM OF THE POLITICO.  —  I love Mike Allen's Playbook.  Unabashedly.  I wouldn't even deny that it's “the 4chan of political reporting.”  But it's the best guide to the morning news, and Allen mixes “drive the day” trivia — and there is a lot of that — with a good eye for the substance in stories.
Michael Calderone / The Politico:
Iseman drops lawsuit against Times  —  Vicki Iseman has dropped her $27 million lawsuit against The New York Times, according to a staff memo obtained by Politico.  —  The memo, from Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet, is below. … Although the Times piece was widely interpreted …
Frank James / The Swamp:
NYT settles with lobbyist on McCain story
Ben Smith / The Politico:
Budget to kick off health care rewrite  —  At the end of the day last Wednesday, Obama aides and a handful of Senators hashed out the details of a $787 billion spending package in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office.  —  Larry Summers, the architect of the plan, was no longer in the room …
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Orszag Confirms Road to “Fiscal Responsibility” …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Discussion: Firedoglake, Open Left and Unfogged
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Rep. Cao Faces Potential Recall Petition For Toeing GOP Line And Voting Against The Stimulus  —  Earlier this month, New Orleans's new congressman Joseph Cao (R) stated that he would vote for the economic recovery package.  “I believe that more likely than not, I will vote …
Louisiana Congressman Cao Faces Recall Petition Over Stimulus Vote
Discussion: Democracy in America and MyDD
Jonathan Tilove / New Orleans Times-Picayune:   Two ministers leading recall effort against Cao face long odds
Radley Balko / Reason:
Manufacturing Guilt?  —  Editor's Note: The following article contains graphic and disturbing photographs and video excerpts of an examination conducted on the body of a 23-month-old girl.  The images are the basis of claims that forensic experts fabricated evidence in a case that put a man on death row …
Michael Wolff / Off the Grid:
Chimp Cartoon Makes Murdoch a Chump  —  Well, yes, it would require quite a contortion to find that Rupert Murdoch's New York Post had not compared the first black president to a monkey in an editorial cartoon.  —  Now, it is true that the Post has a certain vernacular involving public figures …
Discussion: protein wisdom and Salon
Byron York /
The RAT hiding deep inside the stimulus bill  —  The far-reaching — and potentially dangerous — provision that no one knows about.  —  You've heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama.
RNC chair plans ‘off the hook’ campaign, tells critics to ‘stuff it’  —  (CNN) — Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says his party is going to launch an “off the hook” public relations campaign that will update the GOP's image by translating it to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”
Adam Serwer / American Prospect:
Noah Shachtman / Danger Room:
Google Earth Shows U.S. Drones at Pakistani Base?  —  Don't take a Senator's word for it.  Old Google Earth satellite photos, dug up by the News of Pakistan, show U.S. drones, parked on a Pakistani runway, back in 2006.  —  The paper ID's the robotic planes as massive Global Hawk drones — unlikely, the shape's all wrong.
Ben Evans / Associated Press:
Democrats strike different tone on Katrina  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - The economic stimulus signed by President Barack Obama will spread billions of dollars across the country to spruce up aging roads and bridges.
Joe Stephens / Washington Post:
Valenti's Sexuality Was Topic For FBI  —  Under Pressure, LBJ Let Hoover's Agents Investigate Top Aide  —  When Beltway insider Jack Valenti died two years ago at age 85, he was playing the role of intermediary between Washington and Hollywood as the theatrical, snowy-haired president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
TEXT-Talk to some Taliban, but from strength-adviser  —  Following are excerpts from an interview with David Kilcullen, an influential military adviser to Western governments, on the possibility of negotiating with the Taliban.  —  An Australian counter-insurgency specialist who was a technical adviser …
Sacramento Bee:
Budget plan goes to Schwarzenegger after Legislature's OK  —  The deal is done.  —  The California Legislature voted early today to approve a massive budget package of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to close a $40 billion deficit after granting major concessions to one holdout Republican senator.
The Moderate Voice:
Kill “Qwerty”!  (Guest Voice)  —  FOR GOD'S SAKE, THIS IT THE 21ST CENTURY - LET'S GET RID OF “QWERTY”!!  —  by Marc Pascal  —  Why do computers still have keyboards?  They represent a quaint vestige of their predecessor typewriters that were invented 130 years ago.
Republicans urge Obama to overturn stem cell ban  —  (CNN) - A group of six moderate House Republicans have written to President Obama urging him to lift President Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.  —  “We are writing to respectfully urge that you immediately lift …
Pareene / Gawker:
Drudge Report Showcases the Least Sympathetic Populist Rage Ever  —  Rick Santelli and a bunch of traders are furious!  They are outraged at Barack Obama's crazy mortgage plan which will maybe stave off a couple foreclosures.  [Update: New video with the best of Rick's rage!]
Natasha Korecki / Chicago Sun Times:
Patti targeted by feds' subpoena  —  Federal authorities have hit former first lady Patti Blagojevich with a federal subpoena dealing with recent charges lodged against her husband, raising new questions over whether she will become part of a grand jury indictment expected by early April.
Megan McArdle:
Do you mind if I rant a minute?  —  Here's my position on what ended the Great Depression: I don't know.  There are a whole lot of theories out there, but with an “n” of 1, no overwhelming evidence in favor of any of them.  There are a few that I think most economists agree are not true …
Discussion: Dean's World
Jim Treacher / Mother, May I Sleep with Treacher?:
TOP 10 REASONS PRESIDENT BARACK H. OBAMA IS NOTHING LIKE TRAVIS THE CHIMP  —  10. Travis understood TurboTax  —  9. Obama somewhat less likely to attack Biden  —  8. Travis never lied  —  7. Obama's smile not quite as genuine  —  6. Travis could get through entire day without teleprompter
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 More Items: 
Luke Harding / Guardian:
Four not guilty over Politkovskaya
Discussion: FP Passport and Los Angeles Times
Washington Post:
Until We Have a Playoff System, Bush Is Stuck at No. 36
Discussion: The Volokh Conspiracy
The Politico:
Obama eases Canadian trade worries
Discussion: The Swamp
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
A Fix Note: Of Baby Fix and the Future
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The Government Makes the Stuff We Need
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Megan McArdle
 Earlier Items: 
Marcus Baram / The Huffington Post:
Christopher Hitchens Beat Up By Lebanese Thugs During Street Brawl
Discussion: Guardian and FP Passport
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The Beast With Red Cheeks
Discussion: Ross Douthat
Erik Wemple / Washington City Paper:
WaPo Working with Roger Black
Ernesto Londoño / Washington Post:
Iraqi Defends Shoe-Throwing Incident
Discussion: Gawker, TalkLeft and Truthdig