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12:50 PM ET, October 28, 2009


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll  —  KABUL, Afghanistan — Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years …
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
Don't Build Up  —  It is crunch time on Afghanistan, so here's my vote: We need to be thinking about how to reduce our footprint and our goals there in a responsible way, not dig in deeper.  We simply do not have the Afghan partners, the NATO allies, the domestic support …
New York Times:
U.S. to Protect Populous Afghan Areas, Officials Say  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama's advisers are coalescing around a strategy for Afghanistan aimed at protecting about 10 top population centers, administration officials said Tuesday, describing an approach that would stop short …
Abu Muqawama:
The Most Important Article on Afghanistan You'll Read This Week
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:
The CIA Is In Afghanistan
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Matthew Mosk / Washington Times:
EXCLUSIVE: Democratic donors rewarded with W.H. perks  —  Offered access to bowling alley, movie theater  —  During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers …
Bonnie Erbe:
Obama Not Comfortable With Women in Basketball, Golf ... or Anywhere Else  —  By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog  —  President Obama drew heat last week for a story that surfaced outing his private White House male-only b-ball games.  The story was that even though two female members …
David Zurawik / Z on TV:
Another bad moment for White House in war on Fox  —  The White House keeps up its attack on Fox News as biased in this video with Valerie Jarrett, another senior adviser to President Obama making the claim.  But watch how fast Jarrett folds when CNN anchor Campbell Brown asks her if pro-administration MSNBC isn't just as biased.
Discussion: Riehl World View and AmSpecBlog
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:   Donors got access to bowling alley, WH movies, Messina
Tim Redmond / Politics:
Arnold to SF: F**k You  —  It was hardly a bill of cosmic import, but Assemblymember Tom Ammiano's AB 1176 would have helped the Port of San Francisco with some financing issues.  It's the kind of bill that legislators offer on behalf of their cities all the time — and generally, they are non-controversial.
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:   Schwarzenegger's secret message to the state Assembly: ‘F*ck you.’
Washington Wire:
Schwarzenegger's Veto Message Delivers Another Message
Domenico Montanaro /
FIRST THOUGHTS: BUSINESS AS USUAL  —  From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg  —  *** Business as usual: We're soon coming up on the one-year anniversary of Barack Obama's presidential win.  And one of the messages he used during the two-year campaign …
Carrie Budoff Brown / The Politico:
Defections have Dems ISO Plan B  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's appeals for party unity landed with a thud Tuesday with the very group he needs for his public-option push to pay off: centrists who hold the key to health reform.  —  And not just any centrists but one who makes liberals see red …
Wall Street Journal:
Lieberman Steps Up  —  Opposing Reid's public option gambit.  —  Printer
Discussion: Commentary
The Hill:
Kyl prefers opt-in healthcare over opt-out
CNN Poll: 7 in 10 say Palin not qualified to be president  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) - More than seven in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president, according to a new national poll.  —  Seventy-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey …
John Koblin / New York Times:
Times Buyout Package Reveals More than Expected  —  Just over a week ago, every person in the Times newsroom was sent out a buyout package via UPS Next Day Air.  If 100 staffers don't raise their hands by Dec. 7, there will be layoffs.  —  We got our hands on one of the thickish brown envelopes that went to employees' homes.
Discussion: Mediaite, Gawker and The Awl
Wall Street Journal:
GMAC Asks for Fresh Lifeline  —  Lender in Advanced Talks for Third Slug of Taxpayer Cash — at Least $2.8 Billion More  —  In a stark reminder of how some battered financial firms remain dependent on government lifelines, GMAC Financial Services Inc. and the Treasury Department …
New York Times:
Big Lender GMAC Asks for More U.S. Aid
Michael Calderone / The Politico:
News gets worse for the MSM  —  There have been a lot of bad days recently for what's come to be known as the mainstream media — or MSM — but Monday was one of the worst.  —  New circulation figures showed that big city papers had lost as much as a quarter of their circulation in the past six months.
Mary Katharine Ham / Weekly Standard:
Pew Political IQ Poll: Republicans Consistently More Knowledgeable  —  You likely won't see this poll result elsewhere, so I thought I'd highlight it here.  This is a Pew Political IQ test conducted over the phone with 1,002 adults from Oct. 1-4.  They were asked 12 questions …
Discussion: Don Surber
Chris Good / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Steele Still On Board With Scozzafava  —  As high-profile Republicans (other than Newt Gingrich) flock to endorse Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd district special election over the Republican in the three-way race, Dede Scozzafava (R) still has one prominent supporter besides …
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
The phony quotes keep coming — and they go viral before even very quick corrections.  —  Yesterday, Yale lawprof Jack Balkin had to backtrack: … Although Professor Balkin picked up the story and wrote about it, to his credit, from the start, he hedged with phrases like “[i]f the current report is accurate.”
Paul Begala / Blogs and Stories:
Traitor Joe  —  Blogs and Stories  —  The ex-Democrat now says he'll join the GOP in a health-care filibuster.  Paul Begala on Lieberman's latest and most shameless betrayal.  —  It's journalistic shorthand to note a politician's party identification and state after his or her name.
Discussion: Glenn Thrush's Blog
Josh Rogin / The Cable:
Hagel to lead Obama's intelligence oversight panel  —  Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will soon have a new role in the Obama administration, he will be named co-chair of President's Intelligence Advisory Board.  —  In that capacity, Hagel will be charged with overseeing the work …
Craig Robinson / The Iowa Republican:
Palin Headed to Iowa?  — has learned that former Alaska Governor and Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could be the featured speaker for the Iowa Family Policy Center's fall fundraiser in Des Moines on November 21.  The appearance would be Palin's first in Iowa since …
Darren Samuelsohn / New York Times:
Baucus Has ‘Serious Reservations’ With Senate Climate Bill  —  Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said today that he has “serious reservations” about a major global warming bill and warned fellow Democrats to water down the measure in hopes of getting it through the Senate.
Discussion: Hot Air and AmSpecBlog
John Meroney / The Atlantic Online:
A Conversation With Gore Vidal  —  At age 83, Gore Vidal remains a sharp provocateur, as irascible and irreverent as ever.  —  Snapshots in History's Glare, a new memoir by Vidal released this month, renews interest in this American literary and cultural icon—offering readers a pictorial look …
Discussion: The Huffington Post
USA Today:
Early reports: Job gains signal stimulus impact  —  WASHINGTON — States have reported using stimulus money to create or save more than 388,000 jobs so far this year, buttressing the Obama administration's claim that the $787 billion plan has had a significant impact on the economy.
Discussion: Columns
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 More Items: 
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Palin created company while in office
Discussion: Gawker
Michael Hirsh / Newsweek:
Converting the Preachers  —  George Soros launches …
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
Jesse McKinley / New York Times:
Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California
Discussion: TalkLeft and Raw Story
David Cho / Washington Post:
N.Y. Fed pushed AIG on contracts
Discussion: Hot Air, Truthdig and Bloomberg
 Earlier Items: 
Terrence Dopp / Bloomberg:
Corzine Ahead in N.J. Governor's Race, Poll Finds
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Romney: Mass. plan had no impact on cost
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
John McCain / CNN:
McCain: Why we must win the war in Afghanistan
Discussion: Boston Globe and TPM LiveWire