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2:15 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 …
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
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 …
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 …
San Francisco Chronicle:
Did Schwarzenegger drop 4-letter bomb in veto?  —  Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists  —  (10-27) 19:19 PDT SACRAMENTO — Did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office use a coded veto message to send the f-bomb to Tom Ammiano, soon after the San Francisco assemblyman made news by telling the governor to “kiss my gay ass”?
Michael Arrington / TechCrunch:
Schwarzenegger Gives California Legislature A Hidden Finger
Discussion: Mediaite
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Schwarzenegger's secret message to the state Assembly: ‘F*ck you.’
Discussion: Moonbattery
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: Outside The Beltway and Don Surber
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
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.
Wall Street Journal:
Obama Is Right About Fox News  —  Journalism has a special, hallowed place for stories of its practitioners' persecution.  There is no higher claim to journalistic integrity than going to jail to protect a source.  And the Newseum in Washington, D.C., establishes the profession's legitimacy …
Discussion: Mediaite
Jason Horowitz / Washington Post:
To find right PR guru, Beck looked to his left  —  A few weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, Glenn Beck, a young Tampa-based disc jockey eager to break into conservative talk radio, called his new Manhattan agent, George Hiltzik, to help arrange a visit to Ground Zero.
Michael Hirsh / Newsweek:
Converting the Preachers  —  George Soros launches a $50 million effort to purge economics of its free-market zeal.  —  “Large swaths of economics are going to have to be rethought on the basis of what's happened.”  So said Larry Summers, President Obama's chief economic adviser …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Palin created company while in office  —  A small mystery in Sarah Palin's personal financial disclosure: In April, while still governor, she founded what she describes as a “marketing” business, called “Pie Spy.”  —  Palin lists herself as the owner of the limited liability corporation …
Discussion: The Awl and Gawker
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.”
The Hill:
Rep. Stupak threatens to work with Republicans to kill healthcare bill  —  Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) on Tuesday threatened that he may work with Republicans to torpedo healthcare reform unless he gets a vote to strip abortion-related provisions out of the House bill.
Rasmussen Reports:
Election 2009: Virginia Governor Election  —  Virginia Governor: McDonnell Stretches Lead To 13  —  Republican Robert F. McDonnell has now opened a 13-point lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds with less than a week to go in the race for governor of Virginia.
Bruce Drake / Politics Daily:
For First Time Under Obama, Majority Says U.S. Is on Wrong Track  —  While the stock market has picked up and the country appears to be pulling out of the recession, a majority of Americans - for the first time in the Obama presidency - says the U.S. is headed down the wrong track …
Noel Sheppard /
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: Larry David Urinates on Picture of Jesus  —  HBO's hit series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has pushed the comedic envelope for many years, but what happened in Sunday's episode was so disgraceful it's already received comment from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue.
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
Tom Matzzie / The Huffington Post:
Meet Wall Street's Man in the Adirondacks  —  A funny thing is happening in upstate New York right now.  The collusion between the grassroots populist anger of the “teabaggers” and the more elitist pro-Wall Street agenda of the Club for Growth is being unmasked all at once—just in time for Halloween.
Discussion: Glenn Thrush's Blog
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Krauthammer: Obama attacks on Bush “disgusting”  —  When does a President stop blaming his predecessor and start taking responsibility for his own actions?  To be fair, that has been an eternal question in the American context, but it does seem as though Barack Obama has a crutch that he refuses to put aside.
Discussion: and
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.
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Americans See More Priorities Vying for Obama's Attention  —  Economy still top issue, but Iraq and Afghanistan, healthcare, deficit up  —  PRINCETON, NJ — When given a choice of five issues, 4 in 10 Americans name the economy as the top priority for Barack Obama as president, easily the top percentage.
Discussion: Politics Daily and HotAirPundit
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 …
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 More Items: 
Harold Meyerson / Washington Post:
Why the Senate's health bill won't fill workers' pockets
Washington Post:
Scientist accused of espionage described as gifted, ambitious
Discussion: TPMMuckraker and Politics Daily
David Carr / Media Decoder:
Grim Math at Forbes
Discussion: DailyFinance
Jesse McKinley / New York Times:
Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California
Discussion: TalkLeft and Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
John Meroney / The Atlantic Online:
A Conversation With Gore Vidal
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Terrence Dopp / Bloomberg:
Corzine Ahead in N.J. Governor's Race, Poll Finds
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
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