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1:20 PM ET, March 11, 2009


 Top Items: 
Stephen Labaton / New York Times:
Some Banks, Citing Strings, Want to Return Federal Aid  —  WASHINGTON — The list of demands keeps getting longer.  —  Financial institutions that are getting government bailout funds have been told to put off evictions and modify mortgages for distressed homeowners.
Wall Street Journal:
Buffett's Unmentionable Bank Solution  —  Last week's post mortem on the Fannie and Freddie takeover was received better than we might have expected.  A few readers assumed Eddie Lampert and Bill Miller, fund managers who lost money when Fan and Fred were seized, and whose letters …
Discussion: EconLog
Roll Call:
Heard on the Hill: Vitter Goes From Hookergate to Gate-Crashing  —  Among Members of Congress, there's a long-standing, proud tradition of the Airport Freakout.  Add to the list of those who've indulged in meltdowns and temper tantrums while traveling one Sen. David Vitter …
John Byrne / The Raw Story:
GOP senator flips out at airline, sets off security alarm  —  The Republican senator who found himself on a DC madam's client list is drawing new attention over “impulse control.”  —  After missing a flight last Thursday from Washington to New Orleans,  —  Louisiana Sen. David Vitter opened …
Discussion: Think Progress and Wonkette
Barbara Barrett / Raleigh News & Observer:
Edwards talks about poverty, stays silent on paternity  —  PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards took another tentative step into the public spotlight tonight, speaking at Brown University about extreme poverty around the world and urging Americans to get involved in what he called a “fundamental moral issue.”
Discussion: MSNBC and At-Largely
Camille Paglia / Salon:
Heads should roll  —  President Obama's clumsy, smirky staff is sinking him — and resurrecting a deflated GOP!  Plus: Lay off Rush!  And a Brazilian diva, up close and electric  —  View a slide show of Daniela Mercury at the 2009 carnival in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.  —  Free Barack!
Heads should roll  —  Oh, the incestuous mediocrity …
Discussion: Fausta's Blog and Commentary
Mike Allen / The Politico:
No quit: the campaign to boost Bush  —  The defense never rests.  When President Barack Obama released his own policy this week on former President George W. Bush's practice of attaching controversial signing statements to legislation, a reporter quickly got a tip from a Bush loyalist …
Jonathan Allen / CQ Politics:   Democrats in Congress Fear Recovery May Take Too Long
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Approval of Congress Hits Four-Year High, Fueled by Dems  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans' job approval rating of Congress is up an additional 8 points this month, after a 12-point increase last month, and now stands at 39% — the most positive assessment of Congress since February 2005.
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
ZOMBIE LIES THAT WILL NOT DIE.  —  We're not even going to talk about the tendentious Matrix analogy laced into this column Amity Shlaes wrote for Bloomberg.  Not.  Even.  Going.  To.  Talk.  About.  It.  I already read the thing for you.  I refuse to relive it.
Amity Shlaes / Bloomberg:
Obama's ‘Matrix’ Alters Reality of Health Care: Amity Shlaes
Discussion: Washington Monthly and The Plank
Huma Khan / Political Punch:
President to Downgrade Drug Czar Position from Cabinet Rank — A Move Biden Criticized in 1989  —  When Vice President Biden later today formally announces the nomination of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the new Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy …
Discussion: The Fix and Hot Air
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Seattle Police Chief to Be Named Drug Czar
Discussion: TalkLeft and Reason
Washington Post:
Time to Call It Quits  —  ATTORNEY GENERAL Eric H. Holder Jr. should put an end to a criminal case that should never have been brought.  —  The matter involves Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former officials for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
Discussion: TPMCafe
Johanna Neuman / Top of the Ticket:
Ron Paul defends earmarks, says anti-pork McCain is just grandstanding  —  Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who is the darling of the Libertarian Right, has more earmarks in the pork-laden $410-billion spending bill than any other Republican.  —  That's not according to the MSM, or the liberal blogosphere.
Discussion: The Raw Story
Aaron Blake / The Hill:
Coleman supporters' private info likely breached  —  Norm Coleman's Senate campaign said Wednesday that the private information of its supporters has probably been breached and is encouraging them to cancel their credit cards.  —  Coleman backers began receiving e-mails Tuesday night …
Discussion: TPMDC and Political Agenda
Pamela Hess / Associated Press:
Officials: Afghanistan Taliban leader was at Gitmo  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Taliban's new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication …
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
The Looting of America's Coffers  —  Sixteen years ago, two economists published a research paper with a delightfully simple title: “Looting.”  —  The economists were George Akerlof, who would later win a Nobel Prize, and Paul Romer, the renowned expert on economic growth.
John Bresnahan / The Politico:
Dem closing in key N.Y. House race  —  Democrat Scott Murphy has slashed into the huge lead once held by Republican Jim Tedisco in the New York special House election scheduled for March 31, according to a new Democratic-sponsored poll.  —  Tedisco, the state Assembly minority leader …
Bruce Kesler / Maggie's Farm:
Top Ten Reasons For ObamaCare Are Based On False Information  —  George Bernard Shaw warned “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”  The major overhaul of American health care pursued by President Obama and his supporters is based on many false premises and is excessive and likely to do more harm than good.
Howard Witt / Los Angeles Times:
Driving through Tenaha, Texas, doesn't pay for some  —  A lawsuit alleges that the town's police pull over motorists — especially African Americans — and extort money and valuables by threatening criminal charges or worse.  —  Reporting from Tenaha, Texas — You can drive into this dusty fleck …
Daniel González / Arizona Republic:
Arpaio to be investigated over alleged violations  —  Racial-profiling inquiry stems from immigration sweeps  —  The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil-rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office after months of mounting complaints that deputies are discriminating …
Geoff Earle / New York Post:
REVEALED: PELOSI'S ‘AIR RAGE’  —  WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gone from frequent flier to jet-aircraft connoisseur, with aides berating military officials to get the best planes, e-mails revealed yesterday.  —  Pelosi, who clashed with the military to get nonstop service …
Peter Finn / Washington Post:
U.S., Israel Disagree on Iran Arms Threat  —  Senate Panel Told Tehran Has Not Made Decision to Pursue Nuclear Weapons  —  Iran has not produced the highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon and has not decided to do so, U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday …
Shailagh Murray / Washington Post:
Senate Approves $410 Billion Bill to Fund Federal Government  —  The Senate gave final approval last night to a $410 billion spending bill to fund most of the federal government for the remainder of the year after overcoming a resilient Republican opposition and several Democratic defections.
Sydney Morning Herald:
Obama Wiki fiddler caught red-handed  —  US President Barack Obama and, inset, Aaron Klein.  —  Asher Moses  —  A right-wing pundit has been caught red-handed manufacturing controversy after claiming US President Barack Obama's Wikipedia page was being whitewashed, in a scandal that fooled big news outlets including Fox News.
José M. Guardia / Barcepundit:
IN MEMORIAM, 5 YEARS AFTER  —  Eva Belén Abad Quijada, Spain, 30 years old  —  Óscar Abril Alegre, Spain, 19 years old  —  Liliana Guillermina Acero Ushiña, Ecuador, 26 years old  —  Florencio Aguado Rojano, Spain, 60 years old  —  Juan Alberto Alonso Rodríguez, Spain, 38 years old
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
This Is Not a Test.  This Is Not a Test.  —  It's always great to see the stock market come back from the dead.  But I am deeply worried that our political system doesn't grasp how much our financial crisis can still undermine everything we want to be as a country.  Friends, this is not a test.
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 More Items: 
Glenn Thrush / The Politico:
Stephanopoulos Tweets McCaskill
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Congress at work: ‘$1 billion an hour’
Discussion: The Sundries Shack
Ian Urbina / New York Times:
Hurdles to Voting Persisted in 2008
Discussion: Democratic Strategist and The RBC
William Galston / The New Republic:
Barack's Too-Long Wish List
Discussion: TPMDC
 Earlier Items: 
Dan Bilefsky / New York Times:
Europeans Debate Castration of Sex Offenders
Discussion: The New Republic
Washington Times:
Too rosy for even a Nobel Prize winner?
Discussion: EconLog
Michael Gerson / Washington Post:
Sebelius's ‘Choice’  —  Obama's Messenger for Moral Incoherence
The Independent:
Cabinet chief: Obama team ‘unreachable’
Discussion: Don Surber
Ruth Marcus / Washington Post:
What Left Turn?  —  Obama Is Doing Pretty Much What He Promised
Discussion: Salon and TalkLeft
Capital Commerce:
Putting Obama on the Couch

From Techmeme:

Thomas Barrabi / New York Post:
Google fires 28 employees over their participation in a 10-hour sit-in at the company's New York and Sunnyvale offices to protest its business ties with Israel

Bill Toulas / BleepingComputer:
Europol and 19 countries make 37 arrests and disrupt phishing-as-a-service platform LabHost in a year-long operation with help from Microsoft, Intel, and others

Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:
The US CFPB fines BloomTech, formerly Lambda School, and CEO Austen Allred $164K and bans BloomTech from lending for 10 years over deceiving students on loans

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