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1:45 PM ET, December 29, 2009


 Top Items: 
Carol E. Lee / The Politico:
Handling problems the Obama way  —  HONOLULU — There is a sense of déjà vu in the Obama administration's response to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day.  A by-now familiar pattern has been established for dealing with unexpected problems.
Margaret Talev / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Who's running the TSA?  No one, thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint  —  WASHINGTON — An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.
The Grand Rapids /
Complete text of U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra's fundraising letter sent in aftermath of attempted Detroit terrorist attack … Dear Friend:  —  We don't have much time, so I will get right to the point.  —  In the midst of enjoying Christmas with my family, we were quickly reminded that there is still …
Margaret Talev / Washington Post:
Republican senator DeMint holds up nomination for TSA chief  —  An alleged attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.
Discussion: Firedoglake and Think Progress
The Politico:
GOP seizes on terror issue  —  Republicans have wasted no time in attacking Democrats on intelligence and screening failures leading up to the failed Christmas Day bombing of Flight 253 — a significant departure from the calibrated, less partisan responses that have followed other recent terrorist activity.
Peter Baker / New York Times:
A Phrase Sets Off Sniping After a Crisis
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Avi Zenilman / The Plum Line:
Skittish Democrats Refuse To Defend Obama On National Security
Huma Khan / ABCNEWS:
Did Obama Respond Too Late to Terror Plot? Critics Assail President
Discussion: Flopping Aces and Political Punch
Bob Herbert / New York Times:
A Less Than Honest Policy  —  There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate's version of President Obama's effort to reform health care.  —  The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans …
Alaska Dispatch:
Palin daughter sues for custody  —  The custody battle between Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin became public last week when two Superior Court judges issued orders unsealing the court record and denying the use of pseudonyms to protect the feuding parents' identities.
Associated Press:
Sarah Palin's daughter seeks full custody of baby  —  ANCHORAGE (AP) — A judge's ruling has revealed a heated legal custody battle between Sarah Palin's daughter and the father of her grandson.  —  Bristol Palin's request to keep the proceedings closed was denied last week by a Superior Court judge.
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Bristol Palin's baby Tripp: custody battle
Discussion: D.C. Now
Andy Barr / The Politico:   Palins wanted custody case private
Lisa Demer / Anchorage Daily News:
Judge orders records opened in Palin custody case
Discussion: The Daily Dish and La Figa
Rasmussen Reports:
Election 2012: Nebraska Senate  —  Health Care Vote Puts Nelson 30 Points Down in Reelection Bid  —  The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn't have to face Nebraska voters until 2012.  —  If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports …
Rasmussen Reports:
Toplines - 2012 Nebraska Senate Election - December 28, 2009
EXCLUSIVE: Photos of the Northwest Airlines Bomb  —  Accused Bomber Abdulmutallab's Underwear, Explosive Packet and Detonator  —  A singed pair of underwear with a packet of powder sewn into the crotch, seen in government photos obtained exclusively by ABC News, is all that remains …
Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Obama still plans to close Gitmo
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Rove granted divorce in Texas  —  Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, has been granted a divorce in Texas after 24 years of marriage, a family spokesperson said.  —  Dana Perino, the spokesperson, said: “Karl Rove and his wife, Darby, were granted a divorce last week.
Virginia / Dynamist Blog:
The Collapse of Professional Journalism, Cont'd  —  The latest “ethics” scandal buzzing through the journalism blogs provides another reminder that the culture and norms of the traditional journalism guild are ill-suited to the new “FREE” era.  But first, a bit of personal context.
Discussion: The Other McCain, Hit & Run and Gawker
Mark Hemingway / Washington Examiner:
Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency  —  Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it's worth mentioning that one Senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets …
Discussion: RedState
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:   Dodd cut aviation security funding in July
Washington Post:
In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide  —  The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was “lonely” and had “never found a true Muslim friend.”
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Former Sen. Chafee to run for governor of R.I.  —  Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) will announce his candidacy for governor of Rhode Island next month.  —  Chafee, who established an exploratory committee to run for governor in April of 2009, will make his bid official next Monday, Jan. 4, according to reports.
Discussion: The Page
Robert F. Worth / New York Times:
Iran Lashes Out at West Over Protests  —  BEIRUT, Lebanon — Iranian authorities continued arresting hundreds of opposition members and accused the United States and Britain on Tuesday of orchestrating the violent demonstrations that rocked the capital and other cities on Sunday.
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
Nick Anderson / Washington Post:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan's legacy as Chicago schools chief questioned  —  CHICAGO — Soon after Arne Duncan left his job as schools chief here to become one of the most powerful U.S. education secretaries ever, his former students sat for federal achievement tests.
Discussion: Riehl World View and The Page
Hillary Chabot / Boston Herald:
GOP lets Scott Brown fend for himself  —  Local Republicans outraged committee not giving more in Senate battle  —  GOP U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown has been all but abandoned by the same national Republican committees that pumped hundreds of thousands in campaign cash …
Paul Waldman / American Prospect:
Ten Things to Watch in the Health-Care Reform Conference  —  It's not just about abortion and the public option.  Every decision Congress faces while merging the Senate and House health bills will give it the opportunity to make reform better.  —  Schoolhouse Rock undersold the excruciating difficulty involved in making a bill a law.
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 More Items: 
Abdon M. Pallasch / Chicago Sun Times:
GOP opponent claims front-runner Mark Kirk is gay in attack ad
Discussion: Pam's House Blend
Steve Rosenthal / The Politico:
Five steps to recovery for Dems
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog
Karni Eldad / Haaretz:
Comment / Settlement freeze is like racial segregation in U.S.
Wall Street Journal:
The Deficit Commission Trap
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Ezra Klein
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Gingrich: ‘It is time to go to profiling of dangerous people.’
 Earlier Items: 
John Pomfret / Washington Post:
U.S. concerned about new Japanese premier Hatoyama
Discussion: Weekly Standard and The Page
Steve Sternberg / USA Today:
Cardiologists sue Sebelius over Medicare fee cuts
Mark Steyn / The Corner on National Review Online:
Allegedly Allergic — By: Mark Steyn
Discussion: Gateway Pundit and Atlas Shrugs