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11:30 AM ET, March 4, 2009


 Top Items: 
The Politico:
Steele trap?  GOP fears grow  —  A month after Michael Steele became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, key party leaders are worried that the GOP has made a costly mistake — one that will make it even harder for them to take back power from the dominant Democratic Party.
Byron York /
The Growing Republican Unhappiness With Michael Steele  —  (AP File Photo) It's not just the TV appearances that have some Republicans worried.  —  Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's dust-up with Rush Limbaugh has brought to the fore so-far unspoken concerns …
David Plouffe / Washington Post:
Minority Leader Limbaugh  —  The 2008 election sent many messages.  At the top: Americans wanted to turn the page on the politics of division and partisan pettiness, and they wanted a government — and country — that would put the middle class first.  —  Watching the Republicans operate …
Mark Murray / MSNBC:
Poll: Obama's rating at all-time high  —  NBC/WSJ poll shows gap between popularity of president and his policies  —  WASHINGTON - After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.
Rasmussen Reports:
Just 11% of Republicans Say Limbaugh Is Their Party's Leader  —  Despite efforts by the Obama political team and its surrogates to link Rush Limbaugh to the Republican Party, just 11% of GOP voters say the conservative radio commentator is the party's leader.
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blogs
Victoria McGrane / The Politico:   GOP splits with big business
Perry Bacon Jr / Washington Post:
GOP Seeks Balance With Conservative Icon Limbaugh
Discussion: and BAGnewsNotes
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Michael Steele: Limbaugh ‘distraction’
Discussion: Midwest Voices and
The Hill:
Limbaugh basks in Obama's spotlight
Alan K. Ota / CQ Politics:
Democratic Revolt May Slow Obama Agenda  —  Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama's fast-moving priorities.  —  The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts …
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
NRA forces Pelosi retreat
Discussion: DCist and The Politico
Hoyer: Congress, not Obama, will decide earmarks
Evan Bayh / Wall Street Journal:
Deficits and Fiscal Credibility  —  A Democratic senator says no to a huge federal spending bill.  —  This week, the United States Senate will vote on a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year.  The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 is a sprawling …
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Moderates uneasy with Obama plan  —  Moderate and conservative Democrats in the Senate are starting to choke over the massive spending and tax increases in President Barack Obama's budget plans and have begun plotting to increase their influence over the agenda of a president who is turning out to be much more liberal than they are.
Washington Times:
Top Democrats cross Obama on earmarks
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
Job Losses Show Breadth of Recession  —  What does the worst recession in a generation look like?  —  It is both deep and broad.  Every state in the country, with the exception of a band stretching from the Dakotas down to Texas, is now shedding jobs at a rapid pace.
Mark Sherman / Associated Press:
Supreme Court rejects limits on drug lawsuits  —  WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a $6.7 million jury award to a musician who lost her arm because of a botched injection of an anti-nausea medication.  The court brushed away a plea for limiting lawsuits against drug makers.
Discussion: Associated Press
Lyle Denniston / SCOTUSblog:
Court allows drug label lawsuit
Discussion: PointOfLaw Forum
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Stage of Fools  —  If only Shakespeare had known how to Twitter.  —  There was a bit of King Lear in the scene on the Senate floor, a stormy, solitary John McCain on “this great stage of fools,” as the Bard wrote, railing against both parties and the president in fiery speeches and rapid-fire tweets.
Chicago Sun Times:
Quigley takes the 5th  —  Mike Quigley, the Democratic nominee for Rahm Emanuel's congressional seat, said at his victory party Tuesday night he is ready to battle in Congress the way he has on the Cook County Board.  —  “To the special interests in Washington, I want to introduce myself …
Philip Webster / Times of London:
Ted Kennedy to be knighted  —  Comment Central: (Sir) Teddy...and Alan...and Bill...  Ted Kennedy, one of the leading members of the family dynasty that dominated American politics in the final decades of the last century, is to receive an honorary knighthood.
Greg Mankiw / Greg Mankiw's Blog:
Wanna bet some of that Nobel money?  —  Paul Krugman suggests that my skepticism about the administration's growth forecast over the next few years is somehow “evil.”  Well, Paul, if you are so confident in this forecast, would you like to place a wager on it and take advantage of my wickedness?
Phillip Elliott / Associated Press:
Obama seeks major change in federal contracting  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama approved an order Wednesday to overhaul the way the U.S. government awards contracts for work to be done by the private sector, reversing a Bush administration policy.
Fox News:
Geithner Touts Tackling Tax Evaders After Failing to Pay Own Taxes  —  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday that the Obama administration, which has been riddled with tax problems, is mounting plans to go after tax evaders.  —
Renae Merle / Washington Post:
One in Five Homeowners ‘Underwater’  —  At least one in five U.S. homeowners who have mortgages— or about 8.3 million people — owed more on their homes by the end of 2008 than their homes were worth, according to data released today by First American CoreLogic.
Michael Lewis / Vanity Fair:
Wall Street on the Tundra  —  Iceland's de facto bankruptcy—its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance—resulted from a stunning collective madness.
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 More Items: 
Tu Thanh Ha / Globe and Mail:
Instructed to curtail crushing red tape, guards watched girl die in her cell
Discussion: Cafe Talk Aggregator
Gordon Lubold / Christian Science Monitor:
A drawdown of contractors in Iraq
Danny / AirCongress:
Tweet Fighters: John McCain vs. Earl Blumenenaur
Discussion: Hot Air
David Streitfeld / New York Times:
You're Dead? That Won't Stop the Debt Collector
Discussion: The Democratic Daily
Conservative group funds ads in race to replace Gillibrand
Discussion: Don Surber
Lisa Lerer / The Politico:
Dodd's dangerous Wall Street dance
 Earlier Items: 
Sippican Cottage:
My Father Asks For Nothing
Media Matters / Media Matters for America:
Limbaugh declares Ed Henry a “butt boy,” …
Discussion: HorsesAss.Org
Jordan Robertson / Associated Press:
Former HP leader diagnosed with cancer
Discussion: Moe_Lane's blog
David Gergen / CNN:
Obama: A course correction needed?
Palin foe gets administration job