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5:25 PM ET, April 16, 2009


 Top Items: 
Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos  —  On April 16, 2009, the Department of Justice released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture:  —  A 18-page memo, dated August 1, 2002, from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA.
Mark Mazzetti / The Caucus:
Obama Releases Interrogation Memos, Says C.I.A. Operatives Won't Be Prosecuted  —  Updated After a tense internal debate, President Obama officially announced this afternoon that his administration would not prosecute C.I.A. operatives for carrying out controversial interrogations of terrorist suspects …
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Obama's huge test today: do we believe in secret law?  —  (updated below - Update II)  —  Today is the most significant test yet determining the sincerity of Barack Obama's commitment to restore the Constitution, transparency and the rule of law.  After seeking and obtaining multiple extensions …
Discussion: CNN
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Obama Explains Memo Release Decision  —  In sum: he's decided to redact the identities of the CIA officers who conducted the interrogations, but everything else will be released without censorship.  The full statement is after the jump; here's the part that reflects, I think, what Obama really thinks:
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Top of the Ticket
CIA employees won't be tried for waterboarding  —  Holder gives first definitive assurance officials are legally in the clear  —  WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Thursday informed CIA officials who used waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics on terror suspects that they will not be prosecuted.
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Obama to release OLC torture memos; promises no prosecutions for CIA officials  —  (updated below)  —  In a just-released statement, Barack Obama announced that — in response to an ACLU FOIA lawsuit — he has ordered four key Bush-era torture memos released, and the Associated Press …
New York Times:
Obama Rules Out Charging C.I.A. Agents in Interrogations  —  WASHINGTON — The Justice Department made public on Thursday detailed memos describing harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama said that C.I.A. operatives who carried out the techniques would not be prosecuted.
Discussion: Unqualified Offerings
New York Times:
President Obama's Statement on the Memos  —  Following is President Obama's statement on the release of memos by the Office of Legal Counsel, as provided by the White House.  —  The Department of Justice will today release certain memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005 as part of an ongoing court case.
Carrie Johnson / Washington Post:
Administration Won't Charge CIA Officers for Approved Interrogations
Discussion: and RebelReports
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:   CIA Officers Granted Immunity From Torture Prosecution
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
“Tea Party” Protests Appear to Draw At Least 250,000  —  This is an update and probably the last one.  Those of you who are interested in extending the analysis (there are undoubtedly many events missing, although most of the major ones should now be covered) are encouraged to do so at Wikipedia or elsewhere.
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:
Shepard Smith blows the ‘DHS is picking on the Tea Parties’ meme out of the water  —  You can view this video right here by getting the latest version of Flash Player!  —  Shepard Smith brought that rarest of things to Fox News yesterday: amid the cacophony over the Tea Parties, he actually committed an act of journalism.
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and The Caucus
Fox News:
Napolitano Apologizes for Offending Veterans After DHS Eyes Them for ‘Rightwing Extremism’  —  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to veterans in a FOX News interview after a DHS report labeled returning troops at risk for embracing right-wing extremism.  —
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Schakowsky: Tea parties ‘despicable’
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
Fox News Anchor: We Did Public Relations For Tea Parties
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Byron York /
Small-town rally shows true meaning of tea parties
Discussion: Hot Air
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Wag the Blog: Did the Tea Parties Succeed?
High-Speed Rail  —  Vision of High-Speed Rail in America  —  President Obama proposes to help address the nation's transportation challenges by launching new an efficient, high-speed passenger rail network in 100-600 mile corridors that connect communities across America.
Obama unveils high-speed rail plan
Brian Knowlton / New York Times:
Obama Unveils High-Speed Rail Plan
Discussion: The Swamp and Washington Monthly
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Obama's High-Speed Rail Plan
Discussion: Calitics
New York Post:
CNBC SWEATS ‘OBAMA-BASHING’  —  THE top suits and some of the on-air talent at CNBC were recently ordered to a top-secret meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to discuss whether they've turned into the President Obama-bashing network, Page Six has learned.
George F. Will / Washington Post:
America's Bad Jeans  —  On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes.  Father and son are dressed identically — running shoes, T-shirts.
Alexander Mooney / CNN:
Texas governor says secession possible  —  (CNN) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't ruling out the possibility his state may one day secede from the nation.  —  Speaking to an energetic and angry tea party crowd in Austin Wednesday evening, the Lone Star State governor suggested secession …
The Dangers Of The Drinking Age  —  The government pressured states to raise it to 21.  So why didn't the move save lives?  —  For the past 20 years, the U.S. has maintained a Minimum Legal Drinking Age of 21 (MLDA21), with little public debate about the wisdom of this policy.
Discussion: Reason
Edwin Mora / CNSNews:
Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request  —  ( - Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”—symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Frum on Conservative Paranoia  —  David Frum's Spectator article on the political challenges facing the modern Republican Party has a nice ditty on the tide of extreme paranoia sweeping the conservative mediaverse: … Now to be fair, during the Bush years more than one person passed me this …
Discussion: Spectator, TPMDC and MoJo Blog Posts
Brian Stelter / New York Times:
Gotcha TV: Crews Stalk Bill O'Reilly's Targets  —  When Bill O'Reilly's camera crew ambushed Mike Hoyt at a bus stop in Teaneck, N.J., a few months ago, the on-camera confrontation and the microphone in his face reminded him, oddly enough, of the “60 Minutes” interviewer Mike Wallace.
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 More Items: 
Bruce Finley / Denver Post:
Bennet stays mum on union-vote issue
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Jeremy W. Peters / City Room:
That Sound You Heard Was the Mayor's Irritation
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog
Washington Post:
Renewable Energy's Environmental Paradox
Discussion: Environmental Capital and Reason
Michael Graham / The Natural Truth:
Why It's Called The Boston Globe-Democrat, Part XXXVI
Discussion: Boston Herald
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Coburn: Holder 'doesn't believe in 2nd Amendment'
Jonathan Martin / Ben Smith's Blog:
Elephant agonistes (cont.)
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and The Plank
 Earlier Items: 
Richard Pérez-Peña / New York Times:
Times Will Cut Sections to Lower Costs
Andrew Gelman / FiveThirtyEight:
Red and Blue Economies?
Alaska's Palin facing polarizing problems
MJ Rosenberg / Mideast Peace Pulse:
Emanuel Says Obama Insists On Implementing Two State Solution, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
The Independent:
1,500 farmers commit mass suicide in India
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Jindal to Cheney: Lay off Obama