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11:40 PM ET, December 31, 2009


 Top Items: 
'Underwear Bomber's' Alarming Last Phone Call  —  Abdulmutallab Called His Father to Say It Would Be Their Last Contact  —  The accused “underwear bomber” made a dramatic final call to his father that he found so alarming, the father approached Nigerian officials who took him directly …
Spencer Ackerman / The Washington Independent:
Is This Really an Intelligence Failure?  Real Talk on Abdulmutallab  —  In an appearance on “Democracy Now!” yesterday morning to discuss Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, I made the point that Abdulmutallab's ability to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 demonstrates a policy failure more than an intelligence failure.
Rocket Launcher Found In Apartment  —  No Charges Filed  —  HOUSTON — Police went to a southwest Houston apartment to break up a disturbance but ended up finding something else, KPRC Local 2 reported Wednesday.  —  A woman called police on Monday and said a man was forcing his way into her apartment in the 5300 block of Elm Street.
Robert / Jihad Watch:
Houston: Rocket launcher, jihadist writings found in apartment — no charges filed  —  Rocket launcher?  Check.  Jihadist writings?  Check.  But no worries — the Feds found no ties to terrorism!  —  Keystone Kops Alert from Houston: “Rocket Launcher Found In Apartment: No Charges Filed …
Patrick Gavin / The Politico:
DIVERSE REACTIONS TO LIMBAUGH  —  As news broke Wednesday night of radio show host Rush Limbaugh's hospital visit due to chest pains, many of his political counterparts on the left put down their ideological swords and wished him well on Twitter.  —  “All best wishes to Mr. Limbaugh tonight …
Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press:
Rush Limbaugh felt pains similar to heart attack
Discussion: RedState, Pajamas Media and
Rasmussen Reports:
58% Favor Waterboarding of Plane Terrorist To Get Information  —  Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day.
John Cole / Balloon Juice:
A Thing of Beauty  —  This Chris Matthews quote is a Palinesque work of art: … Yes, Gerald.  I hope you and your loved ones have a Happy New Year, even though we live under the grave threat of KUNG FU FIGHTING TERRORISTS!
Discussion: The Reaction
‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ for Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Bill Roggio / Weekly Standard:
Did The Obama Administration Violate An Executive Order By Releasing Qais Qazali?  —  Did the Obama administration, by releasing Qais and Laith Qazali and more than 100 members of the Iranian-backed Asaib al Haq, violate an executive order put in place by President Ronald Reagan to prevent negotiations with hostage takers?
Discussion: Guardian
Paul / Power Line:
What ever happened to the “Duke 88”?  —  The “Duke 88” consisted of 88 Duke professors who signed an ad which implicitly assumed that Duke lacrosse players raped a black stripper, an allegation that proved to be entirely fraudulent.  The ad praised protesters who had put lacrosse players' photos on …
Micah L. Sifry / techPresident:
The Obama Disconnect: What Happens When Myth Meets Reality  —  “Collectively all of you, most of you whom are, I'm not sure, of drinking age, you've created the best political organization in America, and probably the best political organization that we've seen in the last 30, 40 years.
Aaron Blake / The Hill:
Dem recruits continue to head for exits  —  Democrats have lost yet another touted recruit, this time in Kansas.  —  State Sen. Laura Kelly (D) just announced her withdrawal from the race to face Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.).  She becomes the fifth formidable recruit to bow out in recent weeks.
'Sent from the candidate's BlackBerry.' Really?  —  (CNN) - A mass e-mail was sent on Tuesday from Carly Fiorina's senatorial campaign, appearing to not only come from the candidate herself, but from her personal BlackBerry.  —  While most campaigns send e-mails appearing to be written from the candidate …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
What Might Have Been  —  Looking back over a decade that was pretty great for China, India, much of Eastern and Central Europe, Brazil, and some parts of Africa but bad for the United States, it really is sobering to reflect on how contingent it all was.  —  As you know, I'm a firm believer …
Discussion: Dave Weigel
Del Quentin Wilber / Washington Post:
Judge dismisses all charges in Blackwater shooting  —  A federal judge on Thursday threw out charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 people in a 2007 shooting in downtown Baghdad.  —  In a 90-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled …
Judy Fahys / Salt Lake Tribune:
Snowstorm squelches climate change protest  —  A downtown protest of the climate change talks in Copenhagen became a victim of Wednesday's snowstorm.  —  “Not many people showed up because of the blizzard conditions,” said organizer Clea Major, an international studies student at the University of Utah.
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Comic Book Adaptation of the Decade  —  We had a lot of comic book adaptions in the zeros, and the best of them, contrary to what you might have heard, is Iron Man.  I promise you that this is a better movie than The Dark Knight.  Go back and watch them again if you don't believe me.
Discussion: Dave Weigel and Washington Monthly
SusanAnne Hiller / Big Government:
Democrats Officially Kill Successful DC Voucher Program  —  This is big government at its finest hour.  The Democrats have officially killed a successful private school voucher program banishing more than 3,300 low-income children back to the DC schools they so desperately wanted to escape.
Discussion: EconLog and RedState
Top 10 crackdowns 2009  —  Editor's note: Internet porn, drunk driving, human trafficking, someone wandering around the neighborhoods in pajamas...The Chinese government has good reason to keep itself busy all year long.  Here are the year's top ten crackdowns, some are timely …
Discussion: Law Librarian Blog
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill:
Obama to review intelligence report on New Year's Eve  —  President Barack Obama will review intelligence assesments Thursday evening on the failed Christmas Day airline bombing.  —  Obama had set a Thursday deadline for the initial assessment.  Earlier on Thursday, the White House …
Richard A. Oppel Jr / New York Times:
U.N. Moving Many Foreign Workers Out of Pakistan  —  ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United Nations is moving as many as 60 foreign employees, or about one-quarter of its international staff, out of Pakistan for at least six months over safety concerns, a United Nations official said Thursday.
Discussion: Wall Street Journal
Justin Elliott / TPM LiveWire:
The End Of TheConservatives.Com: Wash Times Cancels Site  —, the Washington Times Web project that was billed as an ambitious “multiplatform” venture to allow “the Joe the Plumbers of the world to speak up to major thinkers, like Newt Gingrich,” has gone silent.
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 More Items: 
Victor Davis Hanson / Pajamas Media:
A Humpty-Dumpty View of the World
Discussion: Atlas Shrugs and Doug Ross
Ray Takeyh / Washington Post:
In the face of protests, Iran's leaders are at an impasse
Joseph E. Stiglitz / CHINAdaily:
Harsh lessons we may need to learn again
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Democrats may take power from superdelegates
Discussion: TPMDC and Truthdig
 Earlier Items: 
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
The Top 10 weirdest moments of 2009
Jules Crittenden:
God Damn The Naughts
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama's slide: 2009 in review
Discussion: D.C. Now
Dean Baker / Beat the Press:
Washington Post Joins With Peter Peterson, Ends Pretense of Being …
Discussion: Washington Post and Hullabaloo
Wall Street Journal:
Spitzer's AIG Emails