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12:50 PM ET, September 4, 2009


 Top Items: 
Political Punch:
Controversial Obama Administration Official Denies Being Part of 9/11 “Truther” Movement, Apologizes for Past Comments  —  A top environmental official of the Obama administration issued a statement Thursday apologizing for past incendiary statement and denying that he ever agreed …
Gateway Pundit:
Busted.  Van Jones Linked to 9-11 Truther Movement Back in **January 2002**  —  Yesterday, news broke out that Barack Obama's communist Green Czar was a 9-11 Truther.  The administration much later in the day released a statement saying Van Jones was “not now or ever” involved in the 9-11 Truther movement.
Joe Klein / Swampland:
It Gets Worse  —  I was at a Blanche Lincoln town hall meeting in Russellville, Arkansas, yesterday—and the number of people who believe that the President has larded the government with communists (!) was astonishing.  One woman said there were four known communists in the government and that she'd researched it on the internet.
Joe Gandelman / The Moderate Voice:
Quote of the Day: Where Is America's Partisan Political Ugliness Heading?  —  Our political Quote of the Day comes from Time's Joe Klein, who attended a health care reform town hall in Arkansas and asks the question I've asked here at TMV many times: just where is America's accelerating trend towards political ugliness headed?
Discussion: JustOneMinute and Don Surber
Amanda Carpenter / The washington times Blogs:
Another apology may be coming from Van Jones
Discussion: RedState
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Jones apologizes for statements, denies 9/11 doubts
Political Punch:
Another Possible Link Emerges Between Top Obama Official and “9/11 Truther” Movement
Nia-Malika Henderson / The Politico:
School speech backlash builds  —  School districts from Maryland to Texas are fielding angry complaints from parents opposed to President Barack Obama's back-to-school address Tuesday - forcing districts to find ways to shield students from the speech as conservative opposition to Obama spills into the nation's classrooms.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
IT'S COME TO THIS.... In 1988, then-President Reagan spoke to students nationwide via C-SPAN telecast.  Among other things, he talked about his positions on political issues of the day.  Three years later, then-President Bush addressed school kids in a speech broadcast live to school classrooms nationwide.
New York Times:
Some Parents Oppose Obama Speech to Students
Political Punch:
School Districts in Six States to Refrain from Showing Presidential …
Richard Wolf / USA Today:
White House to reveal visitor names  —  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to change White House policy by releasing the names of thousands of visitors whose comings and goings traditionally are kept secret by presidents.  —  President Obama's announcement scheduled for today follows a lengthy legal review.
Rex Nutting / MarketWatch:
US unemployment rate jumps to 26-year high of 9.7%  —  WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to a 26-year high of 9.7% in August as nonfarm payrolls fell by 216,000, the 20th consecutive monthly decline, the Labor Department estimated Friday.
Jack Healy / New York Times:
Unemployment Hits 9.7%, but Job Loss Slows in August  —  Employers eliminated 216,000 jobs in August even as the larger American economy showed signs of turning around, suggesting that while the pace of job losses continues to slow, workers will still be among the last to benefit from a recovery.
National Review:
Despite Best Efforts, Rep. Baron Hill Ends Up on YouTube In a Compromising Position  —  Rep. Baron Hill (D., Ind.) cannot possibly be this big a jerk all the time.  At a recent town hall, a young woman raised her hand and identified herself as a journalism student working on a school project …
Discussion: RedState and
Chris Good / The Atlantic Politics Channel:   “This Is My Town Hall For You”  —  That's what Rep. Baron Hill …
New Jersey Online:
GOP gov. candidate Chris Christie not issued traffic ticket after accident that injured motorcyclist in 2002  —  Adding to Chris Christie's campaign trail headaches over his driving record, officials in Elizabeth confirmed tonight the Republican gubernatorial candidate was in a traffic accident …
Discussion: The Huffington Post and MyDD
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
A Bit of a Menace?  —  Looks like more evidence that New Jersey …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
David Brooks / New York Times:
Let's Get Fundamental  —  If I were magically given an hour to help Barack Obama prepare for his health care speech next week, the first thing I'd do is ask him to read David Goldhill's essay, “How American Health Care Killed My Father,” in the current issue of The Atlantic.
New York Times:
Scores Are Dead in NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan  —  KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO airstrike before dawn on Friday killed 80 people or more, at least some of them civilians, in a once-calm region of northern Afghanistan that has recently slipped under control of insurgents, Afghan officials said.
Fraidoun Elham / Reuters:
NATO strikes fuel tankers in Afghanistan, many dead
Discussion: Associated Press and Firedoglake
Holly Rosenkrantz / Bloomberg:
Public Option Not Vital to Health Reform, Teamsters' Hoffa Says  —  Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) — Teamsters President James Hoffa said dropping the so-called public option wouldn't be a “deal killer” for health-care legislation, signaling a split among leaders of unions that are a core constituency of President Barack Obama.
Discussion: TalkLeft, Firedoglake, RedState and The Page
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Americans Divided on Investigating Bush-Era Interrogations  —  Forty-seven percent approve and 49% disapprove  —  PRINCETON, NJ — The American public is evenly divided on the Justice Department's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects.
Patrick Ruffini / The Next Right:
Can We Have Buckley Back?  —  Over the last few days, Jon Henke has laid out the case for the Right more strongly disavowing outfits like WorldNetDaily that actively peddle Birther nonsense.  To the extent the mainstream Right has weighed in, it has been to urge Jon to ignore WND and move on …
Discussion: AmSpecBlog, Balloon Juice and Reason
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Ben Nelson: Keeping Public Option Will Cause Reform To “Implode”  —  Centrist Dem Senator Ben Nelson, who's drawing fire from the left over his refusal to clearly state a position on the public option, now seems to have settled on one: Keeping the public option will destroy health care reform.
Washington Times:
EXCLUSIVE: CIA asks Justice to probe leaks of secrets  —  Besieged by leaks of several closely held secrets, the CIA has asked the Justice Department to examine what it regards as the criminal disclosure of a secret program to kill foreign terrorist leaders abroad, The Washington Times has learned.
Discussion: Weekly Standard and Hot Air
Mickey Kaus / Kausfiles:
Ezra Klein's Most Cracked Spin Yet?  —  Delusion Watch: Ezra Klein thinks the good news is that Obama “hasn't given a speech on health-care reform ...” You could have fooled me.  The problem, Klein reports, is that … You mean they weren't attempts to set the agenda?  That explains it! ...
Discussion: QandO
Charlie Cook / National Journal Online:
Bleeding Independents  —  OBAMA'S AGENDA HAS FANNED FEARS THAT GOVERNMENT IS EXPANDING TOO FAR, TOO FAST.  —  Listening to two briefings — one by a Democratic pollster who had just conducted a survey for a group favoring health care reform, the other by a Republican pollster more skeptical …
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 More Items: 
David Folkenflik / NPR:
Why ‘GQ’ Doesn't Want Russians To Read Its Story
Discussion: The Daily Dish
Michael Kinsley / Washington Post:
Newspaper Corrections Run Amok With Trivia
Discussion: MoJo Blog Posts and Reason
Tom Vander Ark / The Huffington Post:
The role of the private sector in education
The Politico:
Petraeus, Scarborough eyed for '12
Matt Viser / Boston Globe:
Order to close office strands constituents
Discussion: The Hill
Jordan Rau / Kaiser Health News:
Health Bills Might Not Protect Some Needy Americans, Experts Say
Discussion: Swampland and TPMDC
 Earlier Items: 
New York Post:
Discussion: Gawker, Weekly Standard and Gothamist
Joseph Curl / Washington Times:
Biden fills vacationing Obama's void
Discussion: Pat Dollard and Gawker
Rick Pearson / Chicago Tribune:
Barack Obama support a bit shaky in Illinois, Tribune poll finds
Discussion: Politics Nation
Jules Crittenden:
How To Live Forever Part 2
Peter Baker / The Caucus:
Bush Hires Ex-Journalist to Run Think Tank
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Obama's Magic Evaporates in the Heat of the Health-Reform Debate