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2:10 PM ET, December 29, 2009


 Top Items: 
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 …
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 custody battle open: Tripp
Discussion: D.C. Now
Lisa Demer / Anchorage Daily News:
Judge orders records opened in Palin custody case
Discussion: La Figa and The Daily Dish
Andy Barr / The Politico:   Palins wanted custody case private
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
Peter Baker / New York Times:
A Phrase Sets Off Sniping After a Crisis  —  HONOLULU — To the list of phrases it may be best for political leaders to avoid after a major security incident, add “the system worked” right after “Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.”  —  Just as the public did not really share President …
Discussion: Prairie Weather
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
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.
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Wall Street Journal:
Obama Ends Silence With Stern Warning
Discussion: Hot Air
Huma Khan / ABCNEWS:
Did Obama Respond Too Late to Terror Plot? Critics Assail President
Discussion: Flopping Aces and Political Punch
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.
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.”
Joanna Sugden / Times of London:
‘Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants planning attacks from Yemen’
Discussion: GayPatriot and Classical Values
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:
Iran's turning point  —  ONE WAY or another, Sunday's Ashura holiday in Iran probably will be a turning point in the struggle between an extremist regime and an increasingly radical opposition.  At least eight people were killed when hundreds of thousands of Iranians turned out in cities across …
Robert F. Worth / New York Times:
Iran Lashes Out at West Over Protests
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
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 …
Avi Zenilman / The Plum Line:
Skittish Democrats Refuse To Defend Obama On National Security  —  Are Democrats so cowed by Republican attacks on Obama's foreign policy that they're unwilling to defend him?  —  It's now been five days since the attempted bombing of Flight 253 in Detroit, and Congressional Democrats …
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 … News in English:
Obama greater than Jesus  —  The U.S. president - the practical saviour of our times  —  He is provocative in insisting on an outstretched hand, where others only see animosity.  —  His tangible results in the short time that he has been active - are few and far between.
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.
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 More Items: 
Robert Shibley / Pajamas Media:
Yale Wimps Out Again
Discussion: Joanne Jacobs
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
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Former Sen. Chafee to run for governor of R.I.
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
Mark Steyn / The Corner on National Review Online:
Allegedly Allergic — By: Mark Steyn
Discussion: Gateway Pundit and Atlas Shrugs