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4:30 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.”
Adam Serwer / American Prospect:
I'M ONLY BEING REAL WHEN I SAY, NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR THEIR GRANDFATHER RAP.  —  Via Steve Benen, Michael Steele, the Republican Party's new black friend, continues the new black friendness in earnest: … Yesterday Gwen Ifill said that the Republican Party wasn't “so caught up with the idea …
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.”
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.
Discussion: Say Anything
Bart Jansen / CQ Politics:
Burris' Lobbying Disclosures Don't Add Up
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts
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 …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY SUMMIT.... Whenever President Obama or anyone associated with his administration utters the phrase “entitlement reform,” it generates an audible gasp.  The fear, of course, is that the White House might buy into conservative rhetoric about weakening Social Security.
Discussion: Firedoglake and Unfogged
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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.
Associated Press:
Gov says SC might take money despite misgivings  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — South Carolina's Republican governor says his state may accept money from President Barack Obama's stimulus plan even though he is ideologically opposed to it.  —  Gov. Mark Sanford says being against the plan “doesn't preclude taking the money.”
Charles Mahtesian / The Politico:
GOP governors clash over cash
Discussion: The Swamp and The Moderate Voice
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, Salon and Romenesko
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.
CQ Politics:
Firm with Murtha Ties Got Earmarks From Nearly One-Fourth of House  —  More than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha , the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.
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.
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
Jeremy Page / Times of London:
Google Earth reveals secret history of US base in Pakistan  —  The US was secretly flying unmanned drones from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan as early as 2006, according to an image of the base from Google Earth.  —  The image — that is no longer …
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
A Fix Note: Of Baby Fix and the Future  —  No, this isn't the post where we announce the arrival of Baby Fix — although we expect his/her (we really don't know!) first day on earth sometime in the very near future.  —  With the arrival imminent, however, we are going to be changing the format …
Michelle Malkin:
Gimme, gimme, gimme: More scenes from the anti-Obama entitlement backlash  —  So, a CNBC host is calling for a new “tea party” to protest Barack Obama's out-of-control spendulus/entitlement culture?  We've been doing it all week.  Seattle, Denver, Mesa.  Kansas this weekend.  And more outbreaks to come.
Erik Wemple / Washington City Paper:
WaPo Working with Roger Black  —  The Washington Post is undergoing a remarkable shrinking act, with some sections folding and others taking on more complicated identities.  Making it all happen will require some tweaks to the paper's design.  The paper's Web site, …
Howard Kurtz / Washington Post:
How Low Will Newspapers' Ad Revenues Go?  —  When Arthur Sulzberger Jr. refused to talk to his own reporter about the financial condition of the New York Times Co., it was the latest sign of an industry in deep trouble.  —  After all, the Times is not only the nation's top-selling metropolitan daily …
Discussion: The Other McCain
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.
Discussion: The Capitol Fax Blog
Marcus Baram / The Huffington Post:
Christopher Hitchens Beat Up By Lebanese Thugs During Street Brawl  —  Huffington Post/  —  UPDATE: Hitchens is still in Beirut and went ahead with a scheduled lecture entitled “Who are the revolutionaries in today's Middle East?” at American University in Beirut on Wednesday night, Huffington Post has learned.
Discussion: FP Passport and Guardian
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.
Tony Messenger / Political Fix:
Sarah Steelman still on fence on running for U.S. Senate  —  JEFFERSON CITY — Former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Sarah Steelman is still deciding whether to run for Senate and face U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt in what would surely be a divisive Republican primary.
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 More Items: 
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The Government Makes the Stuff We Need
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Megan McArdle
Hotline On Call:
Reach Out (I'll Be There)  —  Bipartisanship isn't dead …
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The Beast With Red Cheeks
Eugene Volokh / The Volokh Conspiracy:
“Hate Speech”: From a UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center study …
New York Post:
BRING BACK O'BYRNE  —  Gov. David Paterson came to office al …
Nicole Gatz / Daily Nebraskan:
Santorum speech excites crowd
Discussion: Think Progress, PoliBlog and Wonkette
 Earlier Items: 
Greg Mankiw / Greg Mankiw's Blog:
“Create or Save”  —  Now that the stimulus bill has been passed …
Discussion: Cold Fury and EconLog
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
“Humane Alternatives”
Discussion: Salon
Matt Corley / Think Progress:
Washington Post runs George Will's newest column without issuing …
Discussion: Washington Monthly and TalkLeft
George F. Will / Washington Post:
Drowning by Fire Hose
Discussion: Reason
Gideon Levy / Haaretz:
Netanyahu, put your money where your mouth is
Discussion: The Huffington Post and MyDD
Russell Storring / CBC News:
Going to war with the Yanks
Discussion: Mudville Gazette