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9:50 AM ET, December 29, 2009


 Top Items: 
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.  —  Former Guantanamo Prisoners Believed Behind Northwest Airlines Bomb Plot; Sent to Saudi Arabia in 2007  —  Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet …
Baltimore Sun:
Obama Vows to Press Attack on Militants in Yemen as Al Qaeda …
Discussion: Firedoglake and GayPatriot
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.
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.
Margaret Talev / Washington Post:
Republican senator DeMint holds up nomination for TSA chief
Discussion: Think Progress
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 …
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
Jim Hoft / Gateway Pundit:
Krauthammer Rips Obama's “Flaccid, Meaningless” Words On Iranian Freedom Protests (Video)  —  “This is a moment in history, and he's missing it.”  —  On Special Report tonight Charles Krauthammer ripped President Obama for his “flaccid, meaningless” words on the Iranian freedom protests.
Discussion: Hot Air and Israel Matzav
Mark Steyn / The Corner on National Review Online:
Allegedly Allergic — By: Mark Steyn  —  Jonah, your allegedly alleged reader's observation on “clinical legalism” is just right.  Putting aside the stuff that was just plain wrong (this guy's an “isolated extremist” - oh, yeah?), the President's remarks had a horrible desiccated complacency.
Discussion: Gateway Pundit and The Rhetorican
Washington Post:
Transcript of Obama remarks on airline security and terror watch lists  —  President Obama's remarks Monday about airline security and this weekend's protests in Iran.  The Washington Post maintains a full database of Obama's speeches here.  —  Good morning, everybody.
Macon Phillips / White Blog Feed:
The President Addresses the Public on the Attempted Terrorist Attack
Discussion: CNN and Pajamas Media
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.”
The Smoking Gun:
TMZ Falls For JFK Photo Hoax  —  Photo that “could have changed history” actually from a Playboy shoot  —  In a colossal screw-up, the gossip web site today published a photo purporting to show John F. Kennedy frolicking on a yacht with a harem of naked women—except …
David Weigel / The Washington Independent:
The ‘Drunk’ Smear  —  At the end of a slow holiday weekend, Matt Drudge linked to a video posted by YouTube member SocialistsSteal, labeled “Senator Max Baucus Drunk/Intoxicated on Senate Floor.”  SocialistsSteal had, ironically, stolen the video from ThinkProgress, which had grabbed the lengthy clip …
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Democrat Max Baucus' really, uh, passionate Senate speech …
Gabriel Schoenfeld / Los Angeles Times:
Politics and the no-fly list  —  The agencies that maintain watch lists have come under withering criticism that rights are being abused, which may have led to the under-inclusion of potential terrorists.  —  The case of the alleged Christmas bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is being called a massive intelligence failure.
Discussion: Hot Air
Jackie Calmes / The Caucus:
Peter Orszag to Wed ABC News Reporter  —  Rahm Emanuel once said of Peter R. Orszag, the bespectacled economist who is President Obama's budget director, “He's made nerdy sexy.”  So perhaps the White House chief of staff won't be surprised to learn that Mr. Orszag got engaged over lunch …
New York Times:
Iran's War on Its People  —  We are inspired by the bravery of Iranians who continue to demand their rights, even in the face of their government's relentless and shameful brutality.  Iran's leaders are so desperate to repel a rising tide of popular unrest that even Ashura …
David Weigel / The Washington Independent:
Orly Taitz Ally Breaks Away, Says He Fell in Love With Her  —  The word for this is “strange.”  For much of 2009, a disbarred attorney named Charles Lincoln played key roles in Orly Taitz's multiple “birther” lawsuits against President Obama.  Lincoln claimed to be a “law clerk” for Taitz …
Discussion: Raw Story, Firedoglake and TPMMuckraker
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: Hot Air and RedState
Jim Hoft / Gateway Pundit:
First Family to America: Everyone Must Sacrifice, Everyone Must Have Some Skin in the Game... We'll Be In Hawaii  —  Back in January, before he signed his failed $787 billion stimulus bill into law, Barack Obama told America that everyone must sacrifice for the greater good.  Everyone must have “some skin in the game.”
Discussion: TBogg
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 More Items: 
Steve Sternberg / USA Today:
Cardiologists sue Sebelius over Medicare fee cuts
Discussion: The Politico and The Page
Kevin J. O'Brien / New York Times:
Cellphone Encryption Code Is Divulged
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Mashable!
A.C. Kleinheider / Nashville City Paper:
Post Politics: New GOP is a she
Discussion: Riehl World View
North Korea says it's holding American
Fury as China executes British drug smuggler
Discussion: TalkLeft and AMERICAblog News
Chicago Tribune:
Titanic debt  —  Decades or centuries from now, scholars …
Discussion: The Jawa Report
 Earlier Items: 
Megan McArdle:
TSA Fails to Intercept Terrorist; We Pay the Price
Discussion: Jeffrey Goldberg
David Cho / Washington Post:
As college costs rise, loans become harder to get
Discussion: MyDD and Gawker
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
10 Questions About Terrorism, Obama and the Christmas Day Plot
Discussion: Commentary
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Now, Michelle Obama too is sliding in the polls
Avi Zenilman / The Plum Line:
Tea Partiers To Republicans: You Better Call For Full Repeal of Reform, Or Else