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6:55 AM ET, December 2, 2009


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
Obama's Afghan policy speech at West Point  —  Following is the transcript of President Obama's speech Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. (The Post's report on the president's address is here.)  —  Thank you.  Please be seated.  —  Good evening.
Paul / Power Line:
What I heard tonight  —  Earlier today I wondered whether President Obama's speech about Afghanistan would sound more like a description of a war plan or a structured settlement of a legal dispute.  What I heard tonight tilted decidedly in the latter direction.
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
Live-Blogging West Point  —  8.35 pm.  “Not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes.”  —  I confess I do not feel those highest hopes.  I do not share his confidence in American military and civilian power to turn the roiling region of Afghanistan and Pakistan into something less threatening.
Fred Barnes / Weekly Standard:
A Disappointing Speech in Support of the Right Policy  —  President Obama's speech on Afghanistan was disappointing.  Yes, the policy is right: more troops, a counter-insurgency strategy, a stronger alliance with Pakistan.  But the personal commitment of the president to pursue the war …
Discussion: Commentary and American Power
Just In: Key Obama speech excerpts released  —  (CNN) - The White House just released excerpts of President Obama's prime-time televised speech where he will outline his strategy on Afghanistan.
William Kristol / PostPartisan:
A war president  —  In his Monday open letter/cri de coeur to the man he supported for president, Michael Moore asked Barack Obama: … Well, it is so.  President Obama went to West Point, said it was an honor to be with young soldiers who embody what's finest about our country …
Spencer Ackerman / The Washington Independent:
McChrystal Praises Obama, Strategy Review  —  So much for the “dithering” critique.  Here is a statement just released by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, expressing full support and confidence in President Obama and the weeks-long strategy review.
Associated Press:
Military families brace for Obama's Afghan surge
Discussion: Riehl World View
Jeff Zeleny / The Caucus:
Analyzing Obama's Afghan Speech
Mary Katharine Ham / Weekly Standard:
McCain Press Release: ‘Success is the Real Exit Strategy.’
Discussion: Hot Air and Commentary
Laura Rozen / Laura Rozen's Blog:
Obama at West Point: I do not make this decision lightly
Discussion: The Note
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Obama Approval on Afghanistan, at 35%, Trails Other Issues
Discussion: Politics Daily
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Briefing the Afghanistan speech
Discussion: The Hill and Commentary
The White House:   Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the President's …
Hotline On Call:
Tanner To Retire  —  Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a leading Blue Dog Dem, will retire at the end of his current term, Dem sources tell Hotline OnCall.  —  [UPDATE: Tanner released a statement late tonight confirming the news.  “Betty Ann and I had considered retiring in 2007 at the end of the 110th Congress …
The Politico:
Blue Dog Tanner to retire from House  —  Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) announced Tuesday evening that he will retire at the end of his term, a move sure to spark speculation that other veteran House Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns may instead head for the exits.
Aaron Blake / The Hill:   Reports: Tanner to retire
Michael Calderone / Michael Calderone's Blog:
Obama lunches with top political writers  —  On the day of his major Afghanistan speech, President Obama had lunch with a group of top political writers at the White House, according to a source familiar with the lunch.  —  There were some attendees today who write extensively on foreign policy …
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Lunch With The President: The Politics Of Obama's War Plan
Jeff Poor /
Matthews Calls West Point, Site of Obama Speech ‘The Enemy Camp,’ ‘Strange Venue’  —  Either MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews let one slip tonight, or it was an extremely poor choice of words.  —  Following President Barack Obama's Dec. 1 speech, which he announced his intentions …
Christopher Soghoian / slight paranoia:
8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight  —  Disclaimer: The information presented here has been gathered and analyzed in my capacity as a graduate student at Indiana University.  This data was gathered and analyzed on my own time, without using federal government resources.
Associated Press:
UK climate scientist to temporarily step down  —  LONDON — Britain's University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.
Megan McArdle:
ClimateGate III: The Mystery of the Missing Data  —  Over the weekend, I came in for some probably deserved criticism from Clive Crook over my initial, somewhat airy, reaction to ClimateGate.  In my defense, he quotes my first post on the topic, not the follow up.
Jon Hilsenrath / Wall Street Journal:
Fed Debates New Role: Bubble Fighter  —  Not so long ago, Federal Reserve officials were confident they knew what to do when they saw bubbles building in prices of stocks, houses or other assets: Nothing.  —  Now, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke faces a confirmation hearing Thursday on a second four-year term …
Discussion: Beat the Press and The Big Picture
James Fallows:
In praise of George W. Bush  —  Since the results of the 2008 election became clear, the 43rd President of the United States has behaved in a way that brings honor to him, his family, his office, and his country.  By all reports he did what he could to smooth the transition to his successor …
November 30, 2009  —  There are news reports that on Decembers 1st, Obama will be at West Point to announce that he is sending tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan, this despite our rallies, vigils, petitions, phone calls and e-mails saying NO to MORE WAR.
Discussion: Conventional Folly
Ben Armbruster / Think Progress:
Grassley: 'I've lived off the public tit' as a congressman.  —  On C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was asked if he thought the health care reform bill before the Senate amounted to socialism.  “No,” Grassley said, but he then attacked the public option aspect of the bill, calling it “socialism.”
The Hill:
New public option plan to be unveiled  —  A new measure on the public option will be unveiled next week, which Senate Democratic leaders hope will break the logjam on healthcare reform.  —  Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who has been tapped by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) …
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Wall Street Journal:
FTC to Examine Possible Support of News Organizations  —  WASHINGTON -The head of the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday the agency will study whether government should aid struggling news organizations, which are suffering from a collapse in advertising revenues as the internet upends their centuries-old business model.
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 More Items: 
Ronald Kessler / Washington Post:
Secret Service under scrutiny for Salahi slipup
Discussion: ChattahBox News Blog
New York Post:
No data = no science
Discussion: The New Republic
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Gallup pegs Obama's approval as lowest on Afghanistan
Dan Collyns / BBC:
Peru human fat killings ‘a lie’
 Earlier Items: 
Ezra Klein:
Howard Dean: Health-care reform ‘worthless’ without the public option
Discussion: TalkLeft
Stage Right / Big Government:
Anatomy of a Beat-Down Part 2: Why Kenneth Gladney Was Beaten And by Whom
Media Relations / SPD Blotter:
Officer involved shooting in South Seattle
Discussion: New York Times, TalkLeft and CNN
John Cook / Gawker:
A Bravo Contract Delivered White House Gatecrashers to the Today Show
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill:
Palin blasts media for bus tour stories
Carrie Budoff Brown / The Politico:
Collins vote appears up for grabs
Max Blumenthal / Mondoweiss:
Gutsy progressive congressman Alan Grayson leads a double life
Discussion: TPMCafe and The Huffington Post