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4:30 PM ET, June 19, 2009


 Top Items: 
Las Vegas Sun:
Text of Doug Hampton's letter to Fox News  —  Editor's note: Doug Hampton, the husband of Cynthia Hampton, who had an affair with Sen. John Ensign, explains in a letter to a Fox News Channel anchorwoman, Megyn Kelly, how the senator's affair with his wife has"completely ruined" the couple's lives.
Jeff German / Las Vegas Sun:
Spouse in Ensign affair sought help in letter to Fox News  —  Husband's account of how wife's affair with Ensign ‘ruined our lives and careers’ comes to light  —  Doug Hampton, husband of Sen. John Ensign's affair partner, Cynthia Hampton, appears in this KLAS-TV video Wednesday.
The Huffington Post:
Fox News Denies Report: We Didn't Force Ensign To Admit Affair  —  Fox New is denying claims that Doug Hampton — whose wife Cynthia is the other woman in Senator John Ensign's sex scandal — sent the network a letter pleading for help exposing the affair five days before the Senator announced …
New York Times:
As Confrontation Deepens, Iran's Leader to Speak  —  TEHRAN — As another day of defiance and uncertainty loomed in Iran's capital on Friday, it was increasingly apparent that there was no clear path out of a deepening confrontation that has posed the most serious challenge to the Islamic republic in its 30-year history.
Shane M. / New York Times:
A Different Iranian Revolution  —  WE look over this wall of marching people to see what our friends in the United States are saying about us.  We cannot help it — 30 years of struggle against the Enemy has had the curious effect of making us intrigued.  To our great dismay …
Discussion: CNN, BBC, neo-neocon and The Washington Note
Ayatollah demands end to protests  —  Iran's supreme leader has issued a stern warning that protests against the country's disputed presidential election results must end.  —  In his first public remarks after days of protests, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the outcome had to be decided at the ballot box, not on the street.
Jon Lee Anderson / News Desk:
Understanding The Basij  —  Thirty years ago, during …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Obama Misses the Point With Iran Response  —  Millions of Iranians take to the streets to defy a theocratic dictatorship that, among its other finer qualities, is a self-declared enemy of America and the tolerance and liberties it represents.  The demonstrators are fighting on their own …
Paul Wolfowitz / Washington Post:
Obama Needs to Change Stance on Iran  —  President Obama's first response to the protests in Iran was silence, followed by a cautious, almost neutral stance designed to avoid “meddling” in Iranian affairs.  I am reminded of Ronald Reagan's initially neutral response to the crisis following …
The New Republic:
Will the Conservatives Please Attempt An Argument?  —  President Obama has taken a cautious tone toward the demonstrators in Iran, with his stated reason being that more open support would discredit their cause.  This strikes me as a sensible position.  The revealed preferences of both sides suggest …
Joe Klein / Swampland:   There Will Be Blood  —  The Washington Post's increasingly …
Jacob Heilbrunn / TPMCafe:
Is Obama Selling Out the Iranian Revolution?
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Poll: Republican Party Now Less Popular Than Dick Cheney  —  Lost in the news yesterday about the polls showing eroding support for Obama's policies was a funny detail in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: The overall popularity of the Republican Party has now dropped below even the abysmal level of approval enjoyed by Dick Cheney.
Ezra Klein:
Listen to the Polls  —  Yesterday's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll …
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
United States House of Representatives …:
Statement of Congressman Ron Paul United States House of Representatives  —  Statement Opposing Resolution on Iran  —  I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country.
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Obama aides toned down Iran resolution
Xuan Thai / CNN:
Obama press secretary chronically tardy  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) — White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs delayed the start of his daily briefing Thursday — which is only remarkable for the fact it's so unremarkable.  —  The Bush White House briefings were only rarely delayed.
Jane Hamsher / Campaign Silo:
Froomkin v. Washington Post — The Battle Continues
Discussion: Firedoglake and The BRAD BLOG
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
DEPT. OF ELECTIONS, CONSEQUENCES.... In light of George W. Bush's …
Discussion: The Nation and The Hill
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Gay Rights Lawyers: Obama Administration Rebuffed Our Requests For Dialogue  —  Two prominent gay rights lawyers litigating high-profile cases against the Obama administration tell me that their requests to meet with administration lawyers to discuss the cases were rebuffed …
Fox News:
U.S. Military Set to Intercept North Korean Ship Suspected of Proliferating Missiles, Nukes  —  The USS John McCain, a navy destroyer, will intercept the ship Kang Nam as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China, according to a senior U.S. defense official.  —
The Politico:
Obama health plan imperiled  —  President Obama's campaign for health care reform by this fall, once considered highly likely to succeed, suddenly appears in real jeopardy.  —  Top White House advisers, especially Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are still privately predicting massive changes to the health care system in 2009.
Ben Smith / The Politico:
Sabato's program earmark dries up
Alison Leigh Cowan / New York Times:
Pick for Protocol Post Corrects Failure to File Taxes in 2 Years  —  President Obama's choice as chief of protocol for the State Department, a position that carries the status of an ambassadorship, did not file tax returns for 2005 and 2006, errors she corrected last November.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
How Republicans can crack the AmeriCorps scandal  —  What's next in the budding scandal over President Obama's abrupt firing of Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of AmeriCorps?  —  Republican investigators on Capitol Hill know one thing very well.  As minorities in both House and Senate …
Elianne Friend / CNN:
Mom fined to tune of $1.9M for 24 illegal songs  —  (CNN) — A federal jury Thursday found a 32-year-old Minnesota woman guilty of illegally downloading music from the Internet and fined her $80,000 each — a total of $1.9 million — for 24 songs.  —  Jammie Thomas-Rasset's case …
Sam Youngman / The Hill:
At fundraiser, Obama laughs at critics  —  As he looks to expand Democratic majorities in Congress, President Obama on Thursday night also used a fundraiser for his congressional allies to target his critics.  —  The president, speaking at a joint fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee …
David Whelan / Forbes:
Obama's Doctor Knocks ObamaCare  —  Dr. David Scheiner took care of Obama for 22 years.  But they don't see eye-to-eye on how to fix the health care system.  —  David Scheiner, an internist based in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park, has a diverse practice of lower-income adults …
Discussion: Gawker and Top of the Ticket
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Out of the Shadows  —  Would the Obama administration's plan for financial reform do what has to be done?  Yes and no.  —  Yes, the plan would plug some big holes in regulation.  But as described, it wouldn't end the skewed incentives that made the current crisis inevitable.  —  Let's start with the good news.
John M. Shalikashvili / Washington Post:
Data Must Rule the Debate on Gays in the Military  —  The Supreme Court announced last week that it would not review a lawsuit challenging the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy forbidding homosexuals from serving openly.  The Obama administration had asked the court not to take the case …
Discussion: News Desk, Hot Air and HRC Back Story
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 More Items: 
David Zucchino / Los Angeles Times:
In Afghanistan, halting civilian deaths in strikes is a tough mission
Los Angeles Times:
California unemployment rises to 11.5% in May
Jesse Lee / Blog:
Bo: The Portrait, the Baseball Card
Discussion: White House Watch
Betsy McCaughey / Wall Street Journal:
Dissecting the Kennedy Health Bill
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
The Khamenei-Neocon Agreement
President Barack Obama / PARADE Magazine:
‘We Need Fathers To Step Up’
David Brooks / New York Times:
Fragile at the Core
 Earlier Items: 
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Protests Are a Real Threat to Iran's Rulers
Associated Press:
Judge rules David Goldman can have custody of son, but only in Brazil
Chicago Sun Times:
Legendary CBS journalist Walter Cronkite reportedly gravely ill