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2:26 AM ET, October 2, 2009

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 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 …
RELATED:
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 …
TMZ.com:
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,” …
RELATED:
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.
RELATED:
Elisabeth Malkin / New York Times:
Businessmen in Honduras Offer Plan to End Crisis
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Grayson Breaks the Rules  —  Representative Alan Grayson's statement that the Republican plan for health care amounts to “don't get sick” and if you do “die quickly” probably doesn't meet a test of literal accuracy.  Reality is I guess closer to “only get sick if you're stably employed in a good …
RELATED:
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.
RELATED:
Jeffrey Young / The Hill:
Senate Finance Committee approves state-based public options
Discussion: Ezra Klein and Wonk Room
David M. Herszenhorn / Prescriptions:
Washington's Way on Health Care (The Other Washington)
Discussion: Swampland and The Politico
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 …
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
RELATED:
Weekly Standard:   Rumint: Hagel to Replace Gates By End of Year
Hugh Store / hughhewitt.com:
Show Transcripts  —  Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol now worried about Obama foreign policy
Discussion: Power Line
Katha Pollitt / The Nation:
Roman Polanski's Powerful Friends  —  If a rapist escapes justice for long enough, should the world hand him a get out of jail free card?  If you're Roman Polanski, world-famous director, a lot of famous and gifted people think the answer is yes.  Polanski, who drugged and anally raped …
RELATED:
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
A Right-Left consensus building on Polanski
Discussion: Whiskey Fire and Hit & Run
Los Angeles Times:
In Roman Polanski case, is it Hollywood vs. Middle America?
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 …
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Carter walks back racism charge  —  Former President Jimmy Carter insisted Thursday that he did not say protests against President Barack Obama were driven by racism.  —  Carter touched off a firestorm three weeks ago when he said Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) “You Lie!” outburst was …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
RELATED:
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 …
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 …
Mickey McLean / WORLDmag.com:
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 …
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 …
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 …
Marc Lynch:
What's wrong with muddling through in Afghanistan?  —  I've been hearing two things a lot about the President's choices on Afghanistan strategy: first, that it's time to either “go all in or get out”, the second that he is “dithering” in the face of an urgent decision.
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Poll: 43% say Olympics trip ‘bad idea’  —  A plurality of Americans thinks President Barack Obama's trip to Copenhagen to lobby International Olympic Committee officials was a “bad idea,” according to a poll released Thursday by Rasmussen Reports.  —  Forty-three percent of the 1,000 adults …
RELATED:
New York Times:
McChrystal Rejects Scaling Down Afghan Military Aims  —  LONDON — The top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, rejected calls for scaling down military objectives there on Thursday and said Washington did not have unlimited time to settle on a new strategy to pursue the eight-year-old war.
RELATED:
Tony Romm / The Hill:
Senate votes to summon McChrystal for testimony
Discussion: The Politico
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: Politics Daily and Salon
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Boehner hasn't met “anyone” who backs public option  —  House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has just more or less dared proponents of a public option to bombard his office with their expressions of support of the plan.  —  Boehner claimed, with a semi-straight face …
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.  —  FOXNews.com  —  The top American commander in Iraq said Thursday …
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 …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Chris McGreal / Guardian:
Revealed: millions spent to fight Obama health reforms
Discussion: MyDD and Truthdig
BBC:
Court order served over Twitter
Discussion: Mashable!
 Earlier Items: 
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Short Takes: RGA Plays Hole Card Against Deeds
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The Daddy Factor  —  Something you see a fair amount …
Reid Wilson / The Hill:
GOP tried to recruit hero pilot ‘Sully’ for 2010 Congress bid
Discussion: Associated Press and On Deadline
Brendan Nyhan / Pollster.com:
Assessing the GOP brand
Patrick Gavin / The Politico:
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE TAKES THE PRIZE