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4:45 PM ET, March 26, 2009


 Top Items: 
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 …
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 Balloon Juice
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 …
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.
Michelle Malkin:
Obama's online townhall: What's really going on?  Updated: Megalomania-palooza!  —  Scroll down for updates...  At 11:30am Eastern, President Obama will conduct an “online townhall” on the economy.  —  At this moment, the White House website reports that “92,889 people have submitted 104,079 questions and cast 3,608,538 votes.”
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama's online town hall: ‘Wisdom’
The Politico:
GOP gloves off for budget brawl  —  House Republicans have begun unveiling detailed alternatives to President Barack Obama's policies — a concerted effort to push back against Democratic efforts to label them “the Party of No.”  —  On Wednesday, it was a housing plan.
Patrick O'Connor / The Politico:
GOP lawmaker flips on AIG bonus tax
Discussion: Hot Air
The Hill:   Republican Plan a Better Solution to Revitalize Housing Market (Rep. John Boehner)
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.
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
GOP Rep Michele Bachmann: Is Obama Plotting To Abandon Dollar As U.S. Currency?  —  GOP Rep Michele Bachmann, who is quite the colorful character, wants an answer: Is Obama secretly in favor of getting rid of the dollar and replacing it with a multi-national currency?
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.
Amos Harel / Haaretz:
ANALYSIS / In bombing Sudan, Israel sends message to Iran
Discussion: PoliGazette and BeltwayBlips
Robert Mackey / The Lede:
The Sudan Airstrike Mystery
Discussion: Pajamas Media and BBC
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  —  Here's a curious report from The Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid and Greg Hitt: … The presumption here being that over the past eight years, the political powerhouses in Washington were insufficiently solicitous …
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 …
Eamon Javers / The Politico:
Geithner pulls his punches  —  The Obama administration's new financial reform proposal has been described as a sweeping step to crack down on Wall Street excesses, even denounced by critics as a “power grab.”  But in fact, the administration didn't go as far as many on Wall Street expected …
Discussion: The New Republic
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.
Satyam Khanna / Think Progress:
Steele on Limbaugh gaffe: ‘There is a logic behind it,’ 'it's all strategic.'  —  Earlier this month, RNC Chairman Michael Steele famously called Rush Limbaugh's antics “incendiary” and “ugly,” resulting in a conservative backlash against the new GOP leader.
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 …
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 …
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Dems warn against first lady bill  —  House Republicans are pressing for a change in federal law that could force Michelle Obama and future first ladies to do more of their policy work in public.  But Democrats warn President Obama may take the attempt personally “as an attack on his wife.”
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: AmSpecBlog
AIG London Execs: Returning Bonuses Is Blackmail  —  American International Group executives in Europe are adamant they should not have to return their controversial bonuses and some feel that pressure on them to do so may amount to blackmail, according to a company employee and internal emails.
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 Agitator and Reason
Nicholas D. Kristof / New York Times:
Learning How to Think  —  Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff?  —  One explanation is that so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise.  There's evidence that what matters in making a sound forecast …
Chris Johnson / Washington Blade:
McCain strategist endorses same-sex marriage  —  Schmidt urges GOP to be more welcoming of gays  —  Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for U.S. Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign, came out in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in an interview with the Blade last week …
Discussion: Think Progress and GayPatriot
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Cutting Deficit Will Require Tax Increases  —  The debate on the budget is phony, the howling on deficits a charade.  Few politicians want to acknowledge that if you really are concerned about long-term deficits, you have to support tax increases.  —  That's why the most significant moment …
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin: XXVII  —  She said she'd turned down some of the federal stimulus money: … No, she didn't say she did. … But she did: … But she didn't:
Iran accepts US Afghan invitation  —  Iran has agreed to attend a US-backed international conference on Afghanistan next week, but Washington played down the prospect of a high-profile meeting.  —  While US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also due to attend, the state department …
Bartle Bull / Prospect Magazine:
No, he can't  —  157 » Features » No, he can't  —  The wheels are already coming off Obama's Trojan horse revolution.  Will he, like Jimmy Carter, be seen as a one-term disaster?  —  Discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect's blog  —  Barack Obama was always going to disappoint.
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 More Items: 
Joe Dwinell / Boston Herald:
Deval Patrick tanks in new poll
Charles Burress / San Francisco Chronicle:
Dozens march for Mixon, against police
Frank Ahrens / Washington Post:
Washington Post Newspaper Facing Losses, Chairman Says
Lingling Wei / Wall Street Journal:
Commercial Property Faces Crisis
Boston Globe:
Senate panel to tackle BCS hearings
New York Post:
TEDISCO FOR THE 20TH  —  Voters in New York's 20th congres …
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Geithner Endorses Naked Credit Default Swaps
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Points Back to the GOP's Future
Discussion: Commentary
 Earlier Items: 
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Pelosi defiant on fast-tracking health care
Discussion: Politics Nation
Gordon Lubold / Christian Science Monitor:
Obama overhauls US Afghan strategy
Rachel L. Swarns / New York Times:
Could It Really Be Him? Yeah, Probably
Discussion: Wonkette and Outside The Beltway
Peter Foster / Telegraph:
US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile
Discussion: Neptunus Lex and Commentary
Jindal Spurns Obama's Jobless Aid as Mayor Pleads ‘Help Me Now’
The Hill:
Domino's ads delivering for Gov. contender
Discussion: The Note and Democracy in America
Richard A. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
Is the Bonus Tax Unconstitutional?
Discussion: Reason and Betsy's Page