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7:55 AM ET, October 2, 2009


 Top Items: 
Michael Schneider / Variety:
Letterman reveals extortion attempt  —  ‘Late Show’ host also admits sex with staffers  —  In an uncharacteristically personal revelation for David Letterman, the host took to his “Late Show” stage Thursday to admit that he was the victim of an extortion attempt — and acknowledge …
Michael S. James / ABCNEWS:
David Letterman Confession: I Had Sex With Staffers, Got Targeted by Extortionist  —  Tells Fans of Scandal During Thursday Night Show  —  David Letterman told the audience of his late night talk show that he had sexual relationships with female members of his staff, and added he forked …
Letterman Says Someone's Extorting Him  —  David Letterman says someone has demanded $2 million from him in return for not blowing the lid on Letterman's sexual liaisons in his office.  —  Letterman said on his show tonight he received a package 3 weeks ago from someone claiming to have info …
Benjamin Spillman / Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Reid: Final health bill will have a ‘public option’  —  U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said today there will be a “public option” in whatever health insurance reform bill comes out of Congress.  —  “We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk,” …
Tom Beaumont / Des Moines Register:
Harkin: No place for GOP at Senate health-bill table  —  Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said today Republicans will not be at the table when the Senate merges the health-care bills from two committees before sending one to the floor.  —  Harkin, a Democrat and chairman of one of the committees …
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Kerry blocks DeMint trip to Honduras  —  Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blocked Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) trip to Honduras slated to begin Friday, according to DeMint's office.  —  DeMint's office informed The Hill of Kerry's decision Thursday afternoon.
New York Times:
Senator's Aid After Affair Raises Flags Over Ethics  —  WASHINGTON — Early last year, Senator John Ensign contacted a small circle of political and corporate supporters back home in Nevada — a casino designer, an airline executive, the head of a utility and several political consultants …
The Huffington Post:
Senate Committee Passes Quasi-Public Option Amendment  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?  —  The Senate Finance Committee narrowly passed an amendment Thursday from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that moves the conservative panel as close as it will likely get to a public health insurance option.
Matt Corley / Think Progress:
Kristol Floats ‘Plausible Rumor’ That Hagel Will Replace Gates, Calls Him ‘An Advocate Of Retreat Everywhere’  —  Yesterday, Foreign Policy Initiative co-founder Bill Kristol appeared on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, where he said that he now believes “for the first time that he will not accept …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Hugh Store /
Show Transcripts  —  Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol now worried about Obama foreign policy
Discussion: Power Line
Weekly Standard:   Rumint: Hagel to Replace Gates By End of Year
Wall Street Journal:
Springtime for Mullahs  —  The Geneva talks rehabilitate Iran's beleaguered regime.  —  Printer  —  Friendly  —  From Geneva yesterday come all kinds of good diplomatic vibrations.  Iran may allow U.N. inspectors into a recently unveiled uranium-enrichment plant “within two weeks.”
Jonah Goldberg / Commentary:
How Politics Destroyed a Great TV Show  —  Either you are with me, or you are my enemy!" shouted a young Darth Vader in 2005's Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, one of the execrable prequels to the original films by George Lucas.  In response to this all-or-nothing provocation …
Steven F. Hayward / Washington Post:
Is Conservatism Brain-Dead?  —  Over his decades as a columnist, lecturer, TV host and debater, William F. Buckley Jr. lost his cool in public only once — when he threatened to sock Gore Vidal “in your goddamn face” on the third night of their joint appearances on ABC during the ill-fated 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Discussion: Hot Air
Eugene Volokh / The Huffington Post:
Is the Obama Administration Supporting Calls to Outlaw Supposed Hate Speech?  —  That's what it looks like, with this Joint U.S./Egypt draft U.N. Human Rights Council resolution (dated Sept. 2005).  The resolution generally seems to be an attempt to urge more protection for free speech throughout the world …
Austin Walsh / Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Grant gives Grateful Dead archive new life online  —  SANTA CRUZ — The Grateful Dead Archive has taken another step in its long strange trip, from the UC Santa Cruz library to its own Web site, The Virtual Terrapin Station.  —  One of the most popular bands in rock ‘n’ roll history …
Jamie Shreeve / National Geographic:
Oldest “Human” Skeleton Found—Disproves “Missing Link”  —  Move over, Lucy.  And kiss the missing link goodbye.  —  Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor.  The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage …
Chicago-Rio Olympic battle ‘close as hell’  —  COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) — As First Lady Michelle Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey wrapped up a day of furious behind-the-scenes lobbying of International Olympic Committee members here, two sources close to the process tell CNN …
Discussion: Washington Wire
Alex Isenstadt / The Politico:
McCain's mission: A GOP makeover  —  Fresh from a humbling loss in last year's presidential election, Sen. John McCain is working behind-the-scenes to reshape the Republican Party in his own center-right image.  —  McCain is recruiting candidates, raising money for them and hitting the campaign trail on their behalf.
Discussion: The Page and The Swamp
JIMMY CARTER DENIES SAYING MANY OBAMA CRITICS ARE DRIVEN BY RACISM  —  “That's not what I said.”  —  This is what he said today:  —  If you read the remarks carefully, you'll see that's not what I said.  I said those that had a personal vituperative attack [sic] on- on President Obama …
Matthew Vadum / Big Government:
EXCLUSIVE: ACORN Legal Memo Confirms Depths of Troubles … ACORN's lawyer warned ACORN 15 months ago to begin fixing its massive internal problems or face certain catastrophe.  It chose to do nothing.  —  The advice from Elizabeth Kingsley of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg Eisenberg LLP came …
Fox News:
Odierno: U.S. May Never Declare Victory in Iraq  —  Army Gen. Ray Odierno's comments came one day after he announced at a congressional hearing that he will send home about 4,000 additional troops by the end of October.  —  —  The top American commander in Iraq said Thursday …
Mickey McLean /
Palin cover released  —  On Monday night, Harper announced that Sarah Palin's memoir would be hitting the stores early, arriving just in time for Christmas.  —  By yesterday, the book, which was written with the help of WORLD senior writer Lynn Vincent, had already risen to the top …
National Enquirer:
JOHN AND ELIZABETH EDWARDS $53 MILLION DOLLAR DIVORCE  —  Elizabeth Edwards has finally had enough - she's threatened to divorce her cheating husband John and claim her share of their $53 million fortune!  —  The ENQUIRER has learned Elizabeth dropped the divorce bombshell after learning …
Discussion: Salon
Ben Smith / The Politico:
Palin co-author: Evangelical, partisan  —  McCain (no relation to the Arizona senator) didn't respond to an email from POLITICO, but brushed off  —  to the Washington Independent's any attempt to link Vincent to his own controversial past remarks on race.  —  “People are making assumptions …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Mission Not Accomplished  —  Stocks are up.  Ben Bernanke says that the recession is over.  And I sense a growing willingness among movers and shakers to declare “Mission Accomplished” when it comes to fighting the slump.  It's time, I keep hearing, to shift our focus from economic stimulus to the budget deficit.
Discussion: The Money Game
Robert Reich / Robert Reich's Blog:
The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants To Tell You  —  Unemployment will almost certainly in double-digits next year — and may remain there for some time.  And for every person who shows up as unemployed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' household survey, you can bet there's another either …
Discussion: The Money Game
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 More Items: 
Washington Post:
White House Considers Narrower War Effort in Afghanistan
Rasmussen Reports:
Importance of Issues  —  Government Ethics Edges Out Economy As Top Issue Among Voters
Discussion: Power Line
Chris McGreal / Guardian:
Revealed: millions spent to fight Obama health reforms
Discussion: MyDD and Truthdig
 Earlier Items: 
Dan Zak / Washington Post:
At D.C. Improv, ‘Celebrities’ Bring the Funny
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Short Takes: RGA Plays Hole Card Against Deeds
Discussion: Weekly Standard and TPMDC
Reid Wilson / The Hill:
GOP tried to recruit hero pilot ‘Sully’ for 2010 Congress bid
Discussion: Associated Press and On Deadline
Katha Pollitt / The Nation:
Roman Polanski's Powerful Friends