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3:10 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.
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 …
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
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
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.
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 …
Patrick Gavin / The Politico:
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE TAKES THE PRIZE  —  White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee took home the top prize in the 16th annual “D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity” contest on Wednesday evening, and he did so in a very unconventional way.  Instead of adopting a traditional comedic routine of joke buildup and punchline …
Dan Zak / Washington Post:
At D.C. Improv, ‘Celebrities’ Bring the Funny
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.  —  —  The top American commander in Iraq said Thursday …
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
Wall Street Journal:
Wall Street Wizardry Reworks Mortgages  —  Repackaged Investments Are Good for Bankers and Ratings Firms, but the Regulators Scoff  —  A new wave of financial alchemy is emerging on Wall Street as banks and insurers seek to make soured securities look better.
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Hannity Targeting Gay Admin Figure Because He's Feeling Heat From Glenn Beck?  —  As devoted watchers of Fox News know, Sean Hannity has been waging something of a jihad against Kevin Jennings, a high level education official in the Obama administration who has been targeted by conservatives because of his past as a gay rights advocate.
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 More Items: 
Chris McGreal / Guardian:
Revealed: millions spent to fight Obama health reforms
Discussion: MyDD and Truthdig
 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 /
Assessing the GOP brand
New York Times:
McChrystal Rejects Scaling Down Afghan Military Aims