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8:55 AM ET, August 4, 2009


 Top Items: 
Steven Mikulan / LA Daily:
New Anti-Obama ‘Joker’ Poster  —  A new poster depicting President Obama as a version of Heath Ledger's Joker character in The Dark Knight has appeared in Los Angeles, according to rightwing sources.  Blog posters to such online sites as American Thinker and Tammy Bruce are predictably in the throes of political orgasm.
Los Angeles Times:
Bill Clinton visits North Korea in bid to free journalists  —  The former president's surprise mission is aimed at negotiating the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry.  —  Reporting from Washington and Seoul …
Reuters:   Bill Clinton Reported Heading to North Korea
David Weigel / The Washington Independent:
Is This the Source of the Forged ‘Kenyan Birth Certificate?’  —  [Update: Credit where it's due—my source tipped me off to this in the Politijab web forums, which have become a good site for “birther” debunking.]  —  One of my friends in the small community of Obama “birther” …
Evan Perez / Wall Street Journal:
White House Counsel's Job Is at Stake  —  WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials are holding discussions that could result in White House counsel Gregory Craig leaving his post, following a rocky tenure, people familiar with the matter said.  —  Mr. Craig, the top lawyer at the White House …
Siobhan Gorman / Wall Street Journal:
White House Cybersecurity Chief Quits
Discussion: Danger Room, On Deadline and Emptywheel
Peter Baker / New York Times:
Obama Renews Vow of No Middle-Class Tax Increase
Discussion: Wall Street Journal and Commentary
Wall Street Journal:
Geithner Vents as Overhaul Stumbles  —  WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner blasted top U.S. financial regulators in an expletive-laced critique last Friday as frustration grows over the Obama administration's faltering plan to overhaul U.S. financial regulation, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Are Democrats In For An August Slaughter?  —  Democrats know the rulebook.  The tactics being used against them by Republican and conservative groups were perfected by the party when it set out to defeat President Bush's Social Security privatization proposals.
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:   Ambinder  —  Marc Ambinder seems to think the tea-bagger effort …
Lee Fang / Think Progress:
Durbin Responds To Lobbyist-Run Efforts To Harass Town Halls: We 'Won't Fall For A Sucker-Punch Like This'  —  ThinkProgress reported today on the growing number of angry right-wing activists viciously harassing Democratic, as well as moderate Republican, members of Congress on health care reform.
Weekly Standard:
And That's the Way It Wasn't  —  From the Scrapbook.  —  It seems somehow oddly appropriate that the passing of TV news giant Walter Cronkite should have produced in turn a gigantic correction in the New York Times, which we reproduce here for your delectation:
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Kevin Helliker / Wall Street Journal:
Killer App for Clunkers Spurs Market  —  Rebate Program Prescribes Chemical to Stop Car Engines — for Good; Mechanics 'Can't Wait'  —  Robert Mueller deals in chemicals for a living — things that can unstick glue, thin paint, make plastic — but he'd never seen an order like the one he got for sodium silicate.
Discussion: Clusterstock
Jon Ralston / Las Vegas Sun Blogs:
Emails between Ensign NRSC lieutenants, Hamptons show affair was known inside organization more than a year ago  —  The emails, between Mike Slanker and Doug Hampton and Lindsey Slanker and Cindy Hampton, show the Slankers knew of the affair between John Ensign and Cindy Hampton while they were working …
Dion Lefler / Kansas City Star:
Kansas casino partner linked to son's sex scandal
Laura A. Munson / New York Times:
Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear  —  LET'S say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage.  You're still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together.  The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other's eyes in candlelit city bistros …
Discussion: Vox Popoli
Kathy Kiely / USA Today:
Republican support for Sotomayor looks paltry  —  WASHINGTON — As the Senate begins debate Tuesday on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, the veteran federal judge appears assured of confirmation but without the sweeping bipartisan majority her backers hoped for the nation's first Hispanic high court pick.
Hotline On Call:
McCain To Vote “No” On Sotomayor
Discussion: Hot Air and Wonkette
Bill Hennessy / St. Louis Tea Party:
ACTION: McMahon Ford on Gravois, Tuesday 10:00 a.m. *scroll for updates*  —  URGENT: Retirees, Home schoolers, Work from home, and self-employed: WE NEED YOU TOMORROW MORNING!!!  —  Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) will hold a press conference at McMahon Ford on Gravois tomorrrow (Tuesday) …
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
And for the Blue Team?  —  We spent most of Monday reporting on these tea-bagging crowds going to Democratic health care town hall meetings to shout down the hosts and shut the events down.  It's classic agitprop, very akin to the ‘Brooks Brothers riot’ down in Florida during the recount.
Discussion: The Plum Line
Glenn Thrush / The Politico:
5 things to watch during recess  —  House Minority Leader John Boehner has predicted a “very, very hot summer.”  —  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bracing for what she calls “the fight of our lives.”  —  Sleepy, sweltering August, typically a month for congressional beach getaways …
Discussion: Daily Kos, Maggie's Farm and Wonk Room
Gwen Ottinger / Washington Post:
When ‘Clunkers’ Are Greener  —  Want to be green?  Consider keeping your “clunker.”  —  The wildly popular “Cash for Clunkers” program is one of a number of policies funded by this year's stimulus package that encourage consumers to make major purchases in the name of the environment.
Alexandra Topping / Guardian:
Terror suspects detained in Australia  —  Australian police launched a major security operation last night, arresting four men accused of planning to stage a terrorist attack on a military establishment.  —  The four Australian men of Somali and Lebanese descent were arrested after a series …
Discussion: RADAMISTO
David Paul Kuhn / Real Clear Politics:
Both Parties Have Their Fanatics  —  Fully 35 percent of Democrats believe George W. Bush had advance knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Fully 28 percent of Republicans believe Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States.  —  Meet the fanatical third.
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Obama Administration Weighs in on State Secrets, Raising Concern on the Left  —  A Supreme Court filing from the Obama administration last month has set off alarm bells on the left.  —  The filing was a friend-of-the-court brief, and it mostly dealt with an excruciatingly technical question about the attorney-client privilege.
Discussion: The Politico and AMERICAblog News
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 More Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Deeds' Problem  —  We'll have the new Virginia Gubernatorial poll …
Discussion: FiveThirtyEight and Blue Virginia
The Hill:
Tax trial balloon pops
Wyatt Andrews / CBS News:
Protesters Trash Health Care Reform
Chris Good / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
GOP Polling Charts Galore
New York Times:
As ‘Clunker’ Rebates Help Ford, Aid May Be Extended
Discussion: Don Surber
Andy Vineberg /
Murphy hears it from both sides of issue
 Earlier Items: 
Ezra Klein:
Should We Envy Texas?  —  Ross Douthat has a strange column …
Daily Mail:
Three policewomen spend full day dressed in Muslim burkhas …