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10:55 PM ET, August 18, 2009


 Top Items: 
Mark Murray /
NBC poll: Doubts over Obama health plan  —  NBC poll: Misperceptions abound on president's health overhaul initiative  —  WASHINGTON - Two weeks since raucous congressional town-hall meetings on health care became a national story — and days after President Barack Obama began holding his own town halls …
Noam Scheiber / The New Republic:
Why the Public Option S**t Storm is Great News  —  I'm almost certainly going to get in trouble for blogging on vacation, but I thought this point needed to be made and didn't see anyone making it: I have no idea whether the administration intended to shift its position on the public option over the weekend …
Mark Murray /
NBC POLL: PLURALITY OPPOSES PUBLIC OPTION  —  From NBC's Mark Murray  —  The question of whether or not the eventual health-care reform legislation will include a public/government option to compete with private insurers has dominated the health-care debate over the past two days.
New York Times:
Alternate Plan as Health Option Muddies Debate
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson / Human Events:
Robert Novak (1931-2009)  —  The Evans-Novak column ran under the title “the Sonnenfeldt Doctrine.”  When I finished reading that early spring day in 1976, I remember thinking, this is quintessential Bob Novak.  —  State Department Counselor Helmut Sonnenfeldt had told a London gathering …
Adam Bernstein / Washington Post:
Conservative Columnist Robert D. Novak Dies at 78
Fred Barnes / Weekly Standard:
Robert Novak, 1931-2009  —  Robert Novak terrified Washington.
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Woman yells ‘Heil Hitler’ to Jewish man praising Israel's national health care system.  —  Conservatives have strenuously denied that there is any anti-Semitism on display by anti-health reform protesters at town hall meetings nationwide — despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Marist Poll:
8/18: 2012 Prospects: Palin a Force in GOP But Not General Electorate  —  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin may still be making news headlines, but the U.S. electorate has news for her.  If the 2012 presidential election were held today and she were the Republican candidate, Palin would not defeat President Barack Obama.
Poll: Was Palin's resignation a smart move?
Pallab Ghosh / BBC:
Science proves zombies could annihilate humans  —  If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.  —  That is the conclusion of a mathematical exercise carried out by researchers in Canada.
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Obama to hold call with supporters
Discussion: The Swamp
Chris Bowers / Open Left:
I Am Vaguely Calling You Out  —  This is a message for all you Chicken Littles, you handwringers, you wannabe strategists, you people who have suggestions or doubts: I am vaguely calling you out.  —  Who you are is not really important.  Why I am vaguely calling you out is also not important.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
For the Left, war without Bush is not war at all  —  Remember the anti-war movement?  Not too long ago, the Democratic party's most loyal voters passionately opposed the war in Iraq.  Democratic presidential candidates argued over who would withdraw American troops the quickest.
Hugh Hewitt /
David Axelrod's Very Big Problem  —  The allegations in this Bloomberg story —if true— pose a huge problem for a senior advisor to the president, David Axelrod.  This is the heart of the problem: … The problem is that Axelrod's former firm is currently receiving huge fees …
Kevin Drum / MoJo Blog Posts:
60 Votes  —  Quick background: Republicans will filibuster any healthcare bill that reaches the floor of the Senate, and it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster.  If a healthcare bill includes a public option provision, it's vanishingly unlikely that we can find those 60 votes.
Discussion: Ezra Klein, Macsmind and TalkLeft
David Roberts / Grist:
Netroots Nation frustration and the impediments to progressive change  —  I just returned to Seattle from Netroots Nation, the yearly gathering of progressive bloggers, journalists, and activists.  Last year, in Austin, the atmosphere was absolutely electric, with the election approaching …
Victor Zapanta / Think Progress:
Rep. Markey Reveals Five More Forged Astroturf Letters  —  Last month, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a congressional investigation of the DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates.  The firm, which has a long history of astroturfing, was caught forging anti-clean energy reform letters …
Think Progress:   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  —  Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Select Committee, 202-225-4012
Brian Maloney / The Radio Equalizer:
Howard Dean Says Senate Republicans Want Obama Dead  —  A QUIET SCREAM  —  Former DNC Head Plays Games With Incendiary Language  —  Apparently, libtalkers aren't the only ones asserting that conservatives want Obama dead.  After a week of reckless rhetoric from the left side of the dial …
Judith Burns / BBC:
Methane seeps from Arctic sea bed  —  Methane bubbles observed by sonar, escape from sea bed as temperatures rise  —  Scientists say they have evidence that the powerful greenhouse gas methane is escaping from the Arctic sea bed.  —  Researchers say this could be evidence of a predicted positive feedback effect of climate change.
Discussion: Shakesville and The Strata-Sphere
Jonah Goldberg / Los Angeles Times:
Why ‘Obama-care’ is failing  —  The president and his supporters are blaming the wrong people for his healthcare woes — they should look in the mirror.  —  To listen to the White House and its supporters, in and out of the media, you would think that opposition to “Obama-care” is the hobgoblin of a few small minds on the right.
Discussion: Don Surber
Political Punch:
Will Bagram Be President Obama's Guantanamo?  —  The White House declined to comment Tuesday about a letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union asking why President Obama is refusing to make public information about the detainees imprisoned at the US military's Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice:
Remembering Rose Friedman  —  Rose Director Friedman passed away Tuesday, August 18, 2009, in her home in Davis, California, of heart failure.  While the exact date of her birth is uncertain, she is believed to have been 98 years old.  —  She will be remembered both as a talented economist and an influential advocate of freedom.
David Owens / Hartford Courant:
Lawyer: FBI Trained Hal Turner As An “Agent Provocateur”  —  HARTFORD — Internet blogger Harold “Hal” Turner's attorney said today that Turner's background as an FBI informant will be a key part of his defense to charges that he incited violence against two state legislators and a state ethics official.
Discussion: CANNONFIRE and Emptywheel
Obama's MySpace page: I'm 52 years old, not 48  —  Would place president's birth during time Hawaii was a territory  —  If President Obama were indeed born in Hawaii, was it while the islands were a territory of the United States?  —  A new wrinkle in the dispute over his birth …
Felix Salmon:
Just because you're rich doesn't mean you're smart  —  A tweet from Joe Weisenthal yesterday, on the subject of Annie Leibovitz, is I think revealing of a particularly American mindset: call it the Wealth Corollary of the Efficient Market Hypothesis.  In a nutshell, it says that if you've made lots of money, you must be pretty smart.
Discussion: Clusterstock and Matthew Yglesias
Wall Street Journal:
Harry Reid's ‘Evil’ Moment  —  And Democrats wonder why their health plan isn't selling.  —  Printer  —  Friendly  —  Remember when polite society treated a politician's use of the word “evil” as a sign that the old boy was dangerously lacking upstairs?
Discussion: Flopping Aces
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 More Items: 
Allison Rupp / Billings Gazette:
Enzi: Reform health care in stages
Joe Arnold /
Grayson, Mongiardo lead in Senate poll
Markcuban / blog maverick:
Some Thoughts on the Economy  —  I got some interesting questions …
Discussion: Angry Bear and Outside The Beltway
Steve Gorman / Reuters:
Building block of life found on comet
Amy Taxin / Associated Press:
ICE boss says he suspended use of arrest quotas
 Earlier Items: 
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Troubled History  —  As we track the escalating number …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Andrew Klavan / Wall Street Journal:
The Panel  —  What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like.
Discussion: The Daily Dish
Wall Street Journal:
Why Obama's Ratings Are Sinking