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7:35 PM ET, March 26, 2009


 Top Items: 
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Assessing The Obama Online Town Hall Meeting  —  I've been critical of the White House New Media office before, but I think they deserve kudos today for instigating and executing the President's first online town hall meeting.  (Macon Phillips, the new media director, and Jesse Lee …
Discussion: The Swamp and Corrente
John Ward Anderson / The Politico:
Pot-related questions deluge W.H.  —  When the White House put out a call for town hall questions, it might not have been expecting this.  —  The more than 92,000 people who responded either have Cheech and Chong senses of humor or there is a deep concern in America — undetected by the media …
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
Obama's Pathetic Pot Answer  —  The chuckle suggests a man of his generation.  The dismissiveness toward the question of ending Prohibition as both a good in itself and a form of tax revenue is, however, depressing.  His answer was a non-answer.  I'm tired of having the Prohibition issue treated as if it's trivial or a joke.
Discussion: PoliBlog
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Obama Jokes About Pot-Brained Online Audience  —  Says the President: “I don't know what this says about the online audience,” he says... “No, I don't think legalizing marijuana is a good way to grow our economy.”  Incidentally, a White House spokesman says that Obama was not given …
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Sources: GOP leaders split on budget “blueprint”  —  House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) raised objections to an abbreviated alternative budget “blueprint” released today — but were told by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) they needed to back the plan, according to several Republican sources.
The Huffington Post:
GOP Budget Proposal: Massive Tax Cut For Wealthy  —  House Republican leaders called a press conference Thursday to unveil their “alternative budget.”  While it was thin on specifics, it does include one major policy proposal: a huge tax cut for the wealthy.
David Freddoso / The Corner:   A Summary of the Republicans' Buget
The Hill:
Republican Plan a Better Solution to Revitalize Housing Market (Rep. John Boehner)
Discussion: The Politico
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
A First Look At Obama's New Afghan Policy  —  President Barack Obama's new posture toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, to be unveiled tomorrow, codifies for the first time Iran's role in regional diplomacy, emphasizes counterterrorism as the primary mission of U.S. policy, and includes …
Mike Allen / The Politico:
‘All in’: Obama escalates in Afghanistan  —  President Barack Obama plans to commit to sending 4,200 more troops and hundreds more civilians to Afghanistan in a speech at the White House on Friday morning, and also to embrace a new system of benchmarks to measure progress.
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Bachmann Introducing Bill to Ban Use of Made-Up Global Currency  —  The madness continues as Michele Bachmann introduces legislation that “would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.”  —  What the Chinese were proposing, of course, was to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:   Bachmann bill would ban global currency
Peter Hamby / CNN:
Palin's prayer remark angers former staffers  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some of Sarah Palin's former campaign aides are frustrated with the Alaska governor for remarking in a lengthy, freewheeling speech that she had refused to pray with them before last October's vice presidential debate.
Dan Raviv / CBS News:
U.S. Accused Of Killing 39 In Sudan Strike  —  A government minister in Sudan is accusing the United States Air Force of killing dozens of people in that north African country this past January - but the semi-official American version of the story is very different.
Robert Mackey / The Lede:
The Sudan Airstrike Mystery
Discussion: BBC and Pajamas Media
Amos Harel / Haaretz:
ANALYSIS / In bombing Sudan, Israel sends message to Iran
Kevin Yamamura / Sacramento Bee:
Schwarzenegger says he's not running for another office  —  Kill the Arnold Schwarzenegger-for-U.S. Senate rumors - for now.  —  The Republican governor said Wednesday in his clearest language yet that he is not running for Senate, Congress or dogcatcher.  —  Schwarzenegger …
Ryan Powers / Think Progress:
Bayh: My Group Of Blue Dogs ‘Literally Has No Agenda’ Other Than Blocking Obama's  —  Yesterday,, Americans United for Change, and several other progressive groups began running ads urging “moderate” Democratic members of Congress to “get on board with the president's budget.”
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:   WSJ Says Bayh Wants to Shake Up Status Quo By Protecting Business Interests
The New Republic:
Bill Kristol's Next Act  —  As post-Bush conservatives search for a new direction, Bill Kristol has teamed up with Robert Kagan to form a new think tank, The Foreign Policy Initiative.  Here are their stated principles:  — continued U.S. engagement—diplomatic, economic, and military …
Discussion: The Daily Dish
Chicago Tribune:
Rahm Emanuel's profitable stint at mortgage giant  —  Short Freddie Mac stay made him at least $320,000  —  Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up …
Wall Street Journal:
Democrats Bid Business Adieu  —  Barack Obama meets with a flock of nervous bankers at the White House tomorrow to reassure them he understands their interests.  Good luck.  There has always been tension between the Democratic Party and the private sector.  That tension is over.
Expanded Americorps has an authoritarian feel  —  With almost no public attention, both chambers of Congress in the past week advanced an alarming expansion of the Americorps national service plan, with the number of federally funded community service job increasing from 75,000 to 250,000 at a cost of $5.7 billion.
Discussion: Michelle Malkin
Johnny Dollar / Olbermann Watch:
Howard Dean Says Don't Call a Sitting President ‘Fascist’—As He's Talking to Olbermann?!?  —  Did Dr Dean know whom he was talking to?  We did, and this will serve as a little reminder to the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann that even his own guests think he is a sleazy creep:
Rachel Gordon / San Francisco Chronicle:
DEA raids pot dispensary in SF  —  (03-25) 22:05 PDT San Francisco — Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco Wednesday, a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration would not prosecute distributors of pot used …
Discussion: The Impolitic and The Agitator
Richard Pérez-Peña / New York Times:
The Times Plans Temporary Pay Cuts  —  Facing a steep drop in revenue, The New York Times Company plans to cut the pay of most employees by 5 percent for nine months, in return for 10 days' leave, and will lay off 100 people and make other budget cuts, executives said on Thursday.
Washington Wire:
Politicization Charges at DOJ over Brazile Appearance  —  Evan Perez reports on the Justice Department.  —  New leadership at the Justice Department is aiming to erase memories of the highly-charged political controversies from the previous administration.
Discussion: TPMMuckraker
Associated Press:
Convictions Reversed in Pennsylvania  —  ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's highest court on Thursday overturned hundreds of juvenile convictions issued by a corrupt judge accused of taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send kids to privately owned detention centers.
Ronald Brownstein / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Why Obama Can't Satisfy The Left  —  Considering that Democrats last November won their most sweeping electoral victory since 1964, and now enjoy unified control of government for the first time since 1994, the organized Left doesn't seem very happy these days.
Rep. Barney Frank / The Huffington Post:
Why I Called Justice Scalia A Homophobe  —  While responding to questions from journalists about my characterization of Justice Antonin Scalia as a homophobe, I realized that the fact that I made that comment in conjunction with a potential lawsuit about the Defense of Marriage Act created …
Simon Johnson / The Atlantic Online:
The Quiet Coup  —  ONE THING YOU learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you.  Typically, your “clients” come in only after private capital has abandoned them, after regional trading-bloc partners have been unable to throw …
Discussion: The Baseline Scenario and Salon
James Barron / New York Times:
Art Dealer Is Charged With Stealing $88 Million  —  A noted Upper East Side art dealer has been indicted on charges he stole $88 million from investors and collectors who consigned artwork to him and said they were cheated out of the sale proceeds or never saw the pieces again, according to a person briefed on the case.
Discussion: Gothamist and Runnin' Scared
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / The Caucus:
Obama's Interactive Town Hall Meeting  —  President Obama conducted an Internet version of the question and answer sessions he has been holding around the country on Thursday.  The event was the latest example of efforts by the Obama team to replicate its creative use of the Internet during the election campaign.
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Dems split over how to push health agenda  —  Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have a major disagreement over how to handle healthcare reform, one of President Obama's biggest priorities.  —  Baucus wants to win Republican support …
Discussion: The Politico and TPMDC
Roni Sofer / Ynetnews:
Final offer: J'lem concessions and settler evictions  —  Olmert explains offer from Sept. 2008, to which Abbas has yet to respond, which would grant Palestinians 93% of W. Bank and parts of the capital  —  Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in September 2008, which included the eviction of tens …
Discussion: Israel Matzav
New York Post:
TEDISCO FOR THE 20TH  —  Voters in New York's 20th congres sional district go to the polls Tuesday to select a replacement for former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, elevated to the Senate by Gov. Paterson.  —  The Post urges the election of state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-Schenectady).
Discussion: Capitol Confidential and Moe Lane
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 More Items: 
Bridget Johnson / The Hill:
Border Patrol union calls security plan ‘showmanship’
Rep. Cantor speaks out on Britney concert
Discussion: Newsweek Blogs
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Joe The Plumber Enlisted To Campaign Against Employee Free Choice Act
Discussion: Firedoglake, Think Progress and MyDD
Michael O'Brien / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Gregg: U.S. couldn't even join E.U. due to debt levels
Ruth Mantell / MarketWatch:
U.S. ongoing jobless claims rise to record 5.56 million
Discussion: Commentary and Simply Left Behind
Joe Dwinell / Boston Herald:
Deval Patrick tanks in new poll
Charles Burress / San Francisco Chronicle:
Dozens march for Mixon, against police
 Earlier Items: 
Eamon Javers / The Politico:
Geithner pulls his punches
Discussion: Firedoglake and The New Republic
Melting glaciers force Italy, Swiss to redraw border
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Geithner Endorses Naked Credit Default Swaps
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Points Back to the GOP's Future
Discussion: Commentary
Satyam Khanna / Think Progress:
Steele on Limbaugh gaffe: ‘There is a logic behind it,’ 'it's all strategic.'
Bartle Bull / Prospect Magazine:
No, he can't
Discussion: Spectator
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Dems warn against first lady bill