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2:45 PM ET, July 20, 2009


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
Approval Ratings Drop for Obama on Health Care, Other Issues  —  Approval Rating on Health Care Falls Below 50 Percent  —  Obama's approval ratings on other front-burner issues, such as the economy and the federal budget deficit, have also slipped over the summer, as rising concern …
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Kristol: Kill It, and Start Over  —  With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible.  There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats' plans sink of their own weight …
Tom Raum / Associated Press:
White House putting off release of budget update  —  WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.  —  The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits …
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Pelosi: Make millionaires pay  —  Trying to sell a historic health bill to a balky caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told POLITICO in an interview that she wants to soften a proposed surcharge on the wealthy so that it applies only to families that make $1 million or more.
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
The Most Important Number in Politics Today  —  That's the percentage of independent voters who approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling health care reform as compared to 49 percent who disapprove of his performance, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey.
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
How Worried Should You Be About Health Reform?
Discussion: The Plum Line and Washington Post
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Mark Murray /
Discussion: Sunlight Foundation
Faiz Shakir / Think Progress:
Fox News Guest Ralph Peters Suggests Taliban Should Kill U.S. Soldier If He Deserted  —  Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who has been captured by the Taliban and appears in a video released this weekend by his captors, “went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan on June 30.”
Michelle Malkin:
Questions about the reported abduction of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl; Update: Reports of desertion mounting  —  Scroll down for updates...evidence of desertion mounting...  My prayers are with the family of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier seen on the Taliban abduction video released this weekend.
P.J. Tobia / Afghan Desk:
Source: Bergdahl Deserted
Discussion: The Jawa Report and BLACKFIVE
Rasmussen Reports:
2012 Match-ups: Obama, Romney Tied at 45%; Obama 48%, Palin 42%  —  If the 2012 presidential election were held today, President Obama and possible Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be all tied up at 45% each, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
Race in 2028  —  During last week's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Republican senators kept bringing the conversation back to 2001 — the year when Sonia Sotomayor delivered the most famous version of her line about how a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences” might outshine a white male judge.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
REJECTING THE IDEA OF AN OVERHAUL.... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, talking about his opposition to the health care reform proposal(s).  That's fine; he's the opposition leader.  Of course he's going to oppose the majority's agenda.
Jonathan Cohn / The Treatment:
Mitch McConnell Makes the Dems Look Good
Binyamin Appelbaum / Washington Post:
Financial Rescue I.G. Says Banks Funneled TARP Aid to Various Expenses  —  Many of the banks that got federal aid to support increased lending have instead used some of the money to make investments, repay debts or buy other banks, according to a new report from the special inspector general overseeing …
Rachel Slajda / Talking Points Memo:
Steele On Health Care: What's Individual Requirement?  —  Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC, doesn't seem to know the basic terminology of the health care debate.  —  In a Q&A at the National Press Club just now, Steele was asked if Republicans support an individual requirement to get health care …
James H. Warner / Herald-Mail:
A different take on moon landing  —  marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing by astronaut Neil Armstrong.  Almost everyone who was alive at the time will remember the day.  They will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.
Stuart Koehl / Weekly Standard:   From the Moon to Hanoi  —  Many people will write tributes today …
Peter S. Goodman / New York Times:
Subprime Brokers Resurface as Dubious Loan Fixers  —  LOS ANGELES — From the ninth floor of a downtown office building on Wilshire Boulevard, Jack Soussana delivered staggering numbers of mortgages to homeowners during the real estate boom, amassing a fortune.  —  By Mr. Soussana's own account, his customers fared less happily.
New York Post:
JENNA AND BARBARA BUSH GAVE SECRET SERVICE FITS  —  WHEN it came to protecting Jenna and Barbara Bush, the Secret Service truly had its hands full, with President George W. Bush's wild and crazy daughters doing everything in their power to escape them, a new book reveals.
Chris Matyszczyk / Technically Incorrect:
New iPhone app helps you score pot  —  States that are low on funds are steadily inhaling the idea of taxing the sale of a substance that gets you high.  —  Meanwhile, as if anticipating an uptick in demand, the folks at Apple have approved a new iPhone and iPod Touch app that will allow …
Megan McArdle:
One Small Step For Man . . .  If you're like me (and I know many of you are), you grew up reading the science fiction of the 1940's and 1950's, promising a quick and rapid expansion into the solar system, and not too long thereafter, the galaxy.  Your young mind tried, and failed …
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Morning Fix: Jindal Rises Again  —  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will wade into the national debate over health care this week by penning op-eds in Politico and the Wall Street Journal and appearing on a series of cable chat shows today and tomorrow.  —  “Governor Jindal has seen enough …
S.logan / insert clever s.logan here:
God, Guns, Guts, and CNN's Idiot Reporters  —  Greetings, Instapundit readers!  —  “You don't have a problem with God, do ya?”  —  This is a question posed to CNN reporter Carol Costello during a recent interview with Mark Muller, a Missouri car dealer whose company is offering an unusual incentive …
Discussion: Pundit & Pundette and AmSpecBlog
Winnie Hu / New York Times:
Parent-Paid Aides Ordered Out of New York City Schools  —  For years, top Manhattan public schools have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from parents to independently hire assistants to help teachers with reading, writing, tying shoelaces or supervising recess.
Jon Perr / Crooks and Liars:
Shorter Mark Sanford: God is On My Side  —  Politicians of both parties routinely paraphrase Abraham Lincoln's mantra that “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.”  But in fighting his own civil war to hold onto office …
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Feingold Hits Obama's Intel Chief: You're Wrong, CIA Officials May Have Broken Law  —  I told you last week that it was a big deal when Obama's top intelligence guy defended that secret, controversial CIA program as legal, because it's bound to result in a standoff between Congressional Dems and the White House.
Ian M. / Think Progress:
‘Operation Rescue’ founder warns of ‘violent convulsions’ if health bill doesn't ban abortions.  —  Fresh off his claim that “[t]o refuse to filibuster [Sotomayor] is to bow in abject obedience to the Angel of Death,” Randall Terry, founder of the right-wing extremist group Operation Rescue …
Wall Street Journal:
The New Old ‘Card Check’  —  Labor's top priority isn't dead yet.  —  Printer  —  Friendly  —  Politicians don't typically broadcast their defeat, and when they do it pays to watch for the blindside hit.  That's surely the case with last week's reports that six liberal Senators …
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 More Items: 
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Vilsack responds to Drudge
Washington Post:
Why Taxing Health Benefits Would Hurt
Discussion: and The Glittering Eye
Bruno Schirra / Wall Street Journal:
Germany's Spies Refuted the 2007 NIE Report
Michael Yon:
One Giant Leap  —  20 July 2009  —  Yesterday, a helicopter crashed …
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Maureen Wallenfang / Appleton Post-Crescent:
‘Joe the Plumber’ Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher pipes up for virtue …
Discussion: Think Progress
Jonathan Zittrain / New York Times:
Lost in the Cloud  —  EARLIER this month Google announced …
Discussion: Crooked Timber
Jared Allen / The Hill:
Healthcare marathon may hit wall this week
Discussion: Roll Call, The Provocateur and TPMDC
 Earlier Items: 
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Business Channel:
Amazon to World: We are Not Evil Totalitarians
Discussion: Law Librarian Blog
Allison Klein / Washington Post:
Drop in Violent Crime in D.C. Area and Some Other Major Cities Puzzles Experts
Discussion: Reason
Felix Salmon:
Shiller tries to defend subprime mortgages
Discussion: Marginal Revolution
Robert J. Samuelson / Washington Post:
President Obama, Democratic Congress's Squandered Stimulus
Discussion: ProPublica and The Glittering Eye
Wall Street Journal:
Afghan Villagers Attack Taliban
Jonathan Tobin / Jerusalem Post:
A pause for serious self-reflection
Bobby Jindal / The Politico:
‘A trillion here, a trillion there’  —  Things in Louisiana are looking up.
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
After bashing K Street, Dodd mingles with lobbyists