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11:30 AM ET, July 31, 2009


 Top Items: 
Saaret /
‘An Accident of Time and Place’  —  Henry Louis Gates Jr. on his meeting with Sgt. Crowley at the White House.  —  “...I thank God that I live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I've come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf.”
New York Times:
Over Beers, No Apologies, but Plans to Have Lunch  —  WASHINGTON — They came, they met, they drank.  They did not apologize.  —  The much-anticipated “beer summit” of President Obama, the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department …
Obama More Bartender Than Mediator At Beer Summit  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama played bartender-in-chief on Thursday at a “beer summit” of the main players in a racially charged case that he hoped would be a “positive lesson” in a national dialogue on race.
The Note:
Deadlines, Schmeadlines — No Breakthroughs, No Deals, No Health Care Bill  —  ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports:  —  With the health care bill languishing in the Senate and under fire in the House, Democratic leaders are quietly preparing for Plan B.  —  Under the scenario now being discussed …
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
Dem memo plots message war on insurers
Patrick O'Connor / The Politico:
Waxman gets deal on health bill
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Ken Thomas / Associated Press:
AP sources: Govt to suspend ‘cash for clunkers’ … WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular “cash for clunkers” program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases.  —  The Transportation Department …
Wall Street Journal:
‘Cash for Clunkers’ Runs Out of Gas  —  White House officials and lawmakers were studying late Thursday how to keep alive the government's cash-for-clunkers incentive program because of concerns the program's $1 billion budget may have been exhausted after just one week.
Dana Hedgpeth / Washington Post:
‘Clunkers’ Program Is Running Out of Cash
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER.... A new Research 2000 poll conducted for Daily Kos asked respondents a rather straightforward question: “Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?”  Since the president was born in the U.S., ideally, the results would be around 100%.
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
58 percent of GOP not sure/doubt Obama born in US
Discussion: Think Progress
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Poll: 28% of Republicans don't believe Obama was born in U.S.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
NATIONAL INCOME AND PRODUCT ACCOUNTS  —  GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT: SECOND QUARTER 2009 (ADVANCE ESTIMATE)  —  COMPREHENSIVE REVISION: 1929 THROUGH FIRST QUARTER 2009  —  Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States …
Felix Gillette / New York Observer:
Controversy Surrounding Lou Dobbs Has Failed to Increase His Ratings  —  On the night of Monday, July 27, Bill O'Reilly welcomed Richard Cohen, the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, onto The O'Reilly Factor, to talk about Mr. Cohen's repeated public criticisms of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Porn prosecution fuels debate  —  President Barack Obama's Justice Department has quietly agreed to move a pornography prosecution out of socially conservative Montana to more urbane New Jersey - fueling perceptions by some attorneys that the new administration is stepping back from the aggressive approach …
Discussion: Althouse
J. Taylor Rushing / The Hill:
Baucus: ‘No idea’ how he'll vote on Sotomayor  —  Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Thursday he hasn't made up his mind on whether he will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.  —  Baucus this summer has infuriated liberals on and off Capitol Hill by working to strike a deal with Republicans on healthcare reform.
Alex Isenstadt / The Politico:
Town halls gone wild  —  Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops, congressmen fearful for their safety — welcome to the new town-hall-style meeting, the once-staid forum that is rapidly turning into a house of horrors for members of Congress.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran / Washington Post:
In Afghanistan, U.S. May Shift Strategy  —  Request for Big Boost in Afghan Troops Could Also Require More Americans  —  The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is preparing a new strategy that calls for major changes in the way U.S. and other NATO troops there operate, a vast increase …
Jonathan Cohn / The Treatment:
DEVELOPING: What's Happening on Capitol Hill  —  There were some major developments in both houses of Congress on Thursday.  And while it's not clear (to me) exactly why these developments took place—let alone what they mean—reform advocates both on and off Capitol Hill seem more than a little bit concerned.
Jack Healy / New York Times:
U.S. Economy Shrank Less Than Expected in Quarter  —  The American economy shrank at an annual rate of one percent from April through June, the government reported on Friday, stoking hopes that the longest recession since the Great Depression was nearly over.
Mary Williams Walsh / New York Times:
After Rescue, New Weakness Seen at A.I.G.  —  The dozens of insurance companies that make up the American International Group show signs of considerable weakness even after their corporate parent got the biggest bailout in history, a review of state regulatory filings shows.
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Obama Will Settle for Less on Health Care  —  Yesterday, Barack Obama was God.  Today, he's fallen from grace, the magic gone, his health-care reform dead.  If you believed the first idiocy — and half the mainstream media did — you'll believe the second.  Don't believe either.
Do quick tweets sink ships?  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican who represents the northern suburbs of Chicago and is running for Senate, also happens to be a Navy Reservist.  While on service in the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, he recently ‘tweeted,’ causing the Military to look into the situation.
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Aaron Blake / The Hill:
Dems plan ‘Heath Care ER’ August ad campaign  —  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has announced a “major” August advertising and grassroots campaign on healthcare.  —  The campaign is called “Health Care ER,” with the ER standing for “emergency response.”
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 More Items: 
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Morning Fix: House Democrats Play Offense on Health Care
Discussion: and The Fix
Roger Cohen / New York Times:
The Making of an Iran Policy
Discussion: The Agonist
Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Bad bridges passed up for stimulus cash
Discussion: Hot Air
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Health Care Realities
David Pauly / Bloomberg:
Wall Street Analysts Keep Telling Big Earnings Lie: David Pauly
Discussion: TigerHawk and AmSpecBlog
Christopher Toothaker / Associated Press:
Venezuela: ‘Freedom of expression must be limited’
Discussion: BBC, The Jawa Report and PoliBlog
 Earlier Items: 
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Encore: Master thespian reads Palin's Twitter free verse
Discussion: and GOP 12
Scott A. Hodge / Tax Foundation:
Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%
Carrie Johnson / Washington Post:
Rove Had Heavier Hand in Prosecutor Firings Than Previously Known