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2:20 PM ET, July 17, 2009


 Top Items: 
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Exclusive: Conservative group offers endorsement for $2M  —  The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group's endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group's president flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.
Jonathan Allen / Notepad:
Another Alleged Affair Tied to Christian House on Capitol Hill  —  A Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as a dormitory and meeting place for a band of conservative Christian lawmakers has been linked to a third episode of marital infidelity, this time in a Mississippi court filing by a former lawmaker's estranged wife.
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
C Street on the Skidz  —  You remember the C Street Group, the combo Bible fellowship and group home for members of Congress up on Capitol Hill.  But it's been occurring to us that the C Street Group, which is an emanation of a shadowy religious outfit called “the Family” …
Rasmussen Reports:
50% Oppose Government Health Insurance Company  —  Just 35% of U.S. voters now support the creation of a government health insurance company to compete with private health insurers.  —  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 50% of voters oppose setting …
Jimmie Bise / AIP Blog:
Let's Put Some Real Faces on the Casualties of Obamacare  —  On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the President and his Democratic allies in Congress intend to force small business with payrolls more than $250,000 per year to provide health insurance to their employees.
Wall Street Journal:   The Grassley Test  —  An Iowa Republican may decide the fate of ObamaCare.
The Huffington Post:
Gang Of Six Centrist Senators Demands Delay On Health Care Reform  —  A bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday urging delay in consideration of health care reform.  —  The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post …
Jonathan Cohn / The Treatment:
Elmendorf: More Cost Control; Orszag: We're Already On It.  —  Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congresional Budget Office, sent tremors through Washington when he gave congressional tesitmony on Thursday.  Appearing first before the Senate Finance Committee and then the House Ways and Means Committee …
Ezra Klein:
Rules For Commenting On The CBO's Judgments
Political Punch:
President Obama Continues Questionable “You Can Keep Your Health Care” Promise
Steven Greenhouse / New York Times:
Democrats Drop Key Part of Bill to Assist Unions  —  A half-dozen senators friendly to labor have decided to drop a central provision of a bill that would have made it easier to organize workers.  —  The so-called card-check provision — which senators decided to scrap to help secure …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
AFL: Dropping card check is ‘normal process’
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:   “Card Check” Is As Good As Dead; Binding Arbitration Lives
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Joy of Sachs  —  The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed.  Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it's preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis.  What does this contrast tell us?
David G. Savage / Los Angeles Times:
A mechanic in a black robe  —  Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is embraced by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) after completing her testimony.  One law professor said the hearing was “less than useless.  If Judge Sotomayor won't meaningfully discuss any legal topics in front of the Senate, then what's the point?”
Washington Post:
Sen. Graham's Exchanges With Sotomayor Among Most Anticipated of Judiciary Panel
Mo. Gop / The Hill:
Sotomayor represents judicial activism (Rep. Todd Akin)
Discussion: The Note
Dominic Casciani / BBC:
Inside the UK Supreme Court
Kenneth P. Vogel / The Politico:
Sanford flies high on taxpayers' dime  —  Aside from the damage done to his standing as a social conservative, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's recent admission of an extramarital affair may end up tarnishing another of his political credentials—his carefully-honed reputation as a tight-fisted steward of taxpayer money.
Discussion: The Swamp, Daily Kos and GOP 12
Associated Press:
AP Investigation: ‘Frugal’ SC gov flew in style
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
No Pity for the Rich  —  When considering the alleged plight of the very rich groaning under the socialist yoke of Charlie Rangel's tax proposals, it's worth keeping in mind that the super-rich's share of the overall income pie is been skyrocketing:  —  The reasons behind this trend are complicated.
Richard Wolf / USA Today:
Tax rates on track to soar as proposals form
Discussion: Wonk Room
Douglas Elmendorf / Director's Blog:
The Long-Term Budget Outlook  —  Today I had the opportunity to testify before the Senate Budget Committee about CBO's most recent analysis of the long-term budget outlook.  —  Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.
Rafsanjani rounds on Tehran regime  —  One of Iran's most powerful clerics, Hashemi Rafsanjani, attacked the Iranian government for its handling of the unrest that followed the disputed presidential elections.  His sermon provoked more protests, followed by another crackdown.  Follow how the day unfolded
Saeed Valadbaygi / Revolutionary Road:   Live Blogging from Tehran!
Chris / TVNewser:
Susan Roesgen Out at CNN  —  Breaking: TVNewser has learned CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen's contract will not be renewed and she will be leaving the network.  —  Roesgen, you'll recall, was criticized for her coverage at the tax day tea parties in April, when she said the event she was covering …
Economic Club of Chicago  —  As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Chicago, IL, Thursday, July 16, 2009  —  Thank you, Secretary Daley, for that kind introduction.  —  It's an honor to be at the Economic Club of Chicago.  I certainly appreciate the special arrangements you made to have me here this afternoon.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Health reform foes plan Obama's ‘Waterloo’  —  Conservative leaders will push delay any vote on health care reform until after the August recess to capitalize on what they say is a growing tide of opposition to reform measures, they said on a conference call with “tea party” participants today.
Discussion: GOP 12
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Big Dem cash dump on eve of climate vote  —  Three House Democratic leaders who were whipping members on the climate change bill gave tens of thousands in campaign cash to party moderates around the time of the 219-212 vote on June 26, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Discussion: Hot Air and Say Anything
Wall Street Journal:
Sotomayor Hearing Escapes Gravity  —  They put a man on the moon, and a comedian in the Senate.  —  Printer  —  Friendly  —  Everyone is noting the 40th anniversary, on July 20, of the moon landing.  Good.  It was an epic moment in history, though its memory is accompanied by an unsatisfied feeling …
Hilzoy / Obsidian Wings:
Read It And Weep  —  Fester at Newhoggers links to a set of right-wing bloggers' predictions for 2003.  It's pretty stunning.  For instance: … More from another pre-war interview with Tim Blair: … If only.  —  Except for Rachel Lucas', those are some pretty embarrassing predictions.
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 More Items: 
CBS News:
Texas Gov. Who Refused Stimulus Funds Asks for Loan
Ezra Klein:
An Interview With Bruce Bartlett
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Waxman force-fed GOP amendment
Al-Jazeera Guantánamo inmate to sue Bush
Discussion: Raw Story and Truthdig
David Axe / Danger Room:
Air Force Plans for All-Drone Future
Wayne Drash / CNN:
Obama on slavery: ‘Capacity for cruelty still exists’
Discussion: Big Brass Blog
 Earlier Items: 
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Clinton: “100 Percent Committed”
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Dept. of unlikely sources
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
David Carr / New York Times:
A Hollywood Blogger Feared by Executives
Discussion: The Awl and Mediaite
Ehud Olmert / Washington Post:
Stop Focusing on the Settlements to Achieve Peace in the Middle East
Discussion: Israpundit, Commentary and Mondoweiss
Penny Starr / CNSNews:
Joe Biden: ‘We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’