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1:45 PM ET, February 4, 2010


 Top Items: 
Laurie Goodstein / New York Times:
National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy  —  For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has served as a prime networking event in Washington, bringing together the president, members of Congress, foreign diplomats and thousands of religious, business and military leaders for scrambled eggs and supplication.
Ben Frumin / TPM LiveWire:
Obama Makes Birther Joke At Prayer Breakfast (VIDEO)  —  At this morning's national prayer breakfast in Washington D.C., President Obama made a birther joke.  —  Calling once again for a return to civility in politics, the president declared that civility is “not a sign of weakness” …
Discussion: Newsalert
Matea Gold / Los Angeles Times:
Comedian Jon Stewart takes the hot seat with Bill O'Reilly  —  In a vigorous, policy-laden debate, ‘The Daily Show’ host blasts Fox's ‘panic attack’ coverage of Obama and the economy.  O'Reilly says ‘the narrative of a couple of guys’ doesn't represent the whole network.
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:   Jon Stewart to O'Reilly: Fox foments 'full-fledged panic attack …
Philip Terzian / Weekly Standard:
Clarence Thomas on Why He Skips the State of the Union  —  I don't go because it has become so partisan.  —  One final contribution to the post-mortem on the State of the Union address.  —  In a question-and-answer session at Stetson University College of Law in Florida this week …
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Justice Defends Ruling on Finance  —  WASHINGTON — In expansive remarks at a law school in Florida, Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday vigorously defended the Supreme Court's recent campaign finance decision.  —  And Justice Thomas explained that he did not attend State of the Union addresses …
Allan Sloan / Yahoo! Finance:
Next in Line for a Bailout: Social Security  —  Don't look now.  But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.  —  A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years …
Discussion: and Hot Air
Tyler Cowen / Marginal Revolution:
Medicare vouchers  —  Ross Douthat surveys and evaluates the debate over Paul Ryan's “Medicare vouchers” plan.  Here Ezra interviews Ryan.  —  I am very interested in voucher plans but here is one source of my unease.  Let's say you are given a voucher for a health insurance plan …
Jim Treacher / The DC Trawler:
Last night I got hit by a car and broke my knee  —  Sometime between 7 and 7:30, not long after I got home from work, I walked to the CVS on 22nd and M to get some bread, milk, and a SmartTrip card.  I was right across the street from the CVS, and I waited for the crosswalk light to tell me to go before I crossed.
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Off-message, Biden recasts the Obama agenda  —  Vice President Biden is tired of seeing the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan demeaned, derided and dismissed, and he wanted to talk about it.  —  But a funny thing happened in the course of an interview at Biden's White House office on Tuesday afternoon.
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Tough talk comes after Obama exits  —  Senate Democrats held back from asking President Barack Obama about healthcare reform during a carefully scripted question-and-answer session in front of television cameras.  —  With the cameras rolling, a group of senators selected in advance …
Larry O'Connor / Big Journalism:
James O'Keefe vs. Max Blumenthal: How the Left Distorts, Invents and Lies  —  It started with a blog post at something called One People's Project, in which someone named Daryle Jenkins claimed: … The photograph that One People's Project shows as its proof (above) is cropped and just shows O'Keefe from the shoulders up.
Chicago Breaking News:
Emotional Hynes ends Democratic governor campaign  —  Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes concedes to Gov. Pat Quinn at Hynes campaign headquarters in Chicago today.  (José M. Osorio/ Chicago Tribune)  —  Dan Hynes ended his Democratic governor campaign today, calling Gov. Pat Quinn and pledging his support in the fall campaign.
Discussion: USA Today and Hotline On Call
Newsdesk / Clout St:
Emotional Hynes ends Democratic governor campaign; Quinn praises his “lion” heart
Discussion: The Hill and CNN
Corey Pein / Santa Fe Reporter:
BORN POOR?  —  SANTA FE ECONOMIST SAMUEL BOWLES SAYS YOU BETTER GET USED TO IT  —  Consider these two numbers.  Don't worry, there won't be a quiz.  —  The first number is 3,500.  —  The second is 32.  —  The first is how many jobs Santa Fe County lost in 2009, according to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
Kate Hoit / The Huffington Post:
The Hurt Locker Doesn't Get This Vet's Vote  —  Military personnel everywhere should be celebrating: the war flick The Hurt Locker has been nominated for nine Oscar's.  American's were so curious about the war and the soldiers who fight in it they bought 10 dollar movie tickets.
Wall Street Journal:
GOP Chases Wall Street Donors  —  Data Show Fund-Raisers Begin Capitalizing on Bankers' Regret Over Backing Obama  —  Republicans are stepping up their campaign to win donations from Wall Street, trying to capitalize on an increasing sense of regret among executives at big financial institutions for backing Democrats in 2008.
Dick Brass / New York Times:
Microsoft's Creative Destruction  —  AS they marvel at Apple's new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazon's popular e-book business.  But the much more important question is why Microsoft, America's most famous and prosperous technology company …
Discussion: Silicon Alley Insider and Engadget
Wall Street Journal:
Cuomo Charges BofA, Executives With Fraud  —  New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed civil securities fraud charges against former Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis and former Chief Financial Officer Joseph Price, alleging they decided not to disclose mounting losses at Merrill Lynch & Co …
Gail Collins / New York Times:
Florida, We Have a Problem  —  The Obama administration's proposed budget holds many surprises.  —  O.K., you have to be kind of dorky to make that statement.  —  Still, how can you not be fascinated when the White House announces it wants to cancel plans to put an American on the moon by 2020?
Discussion: JustOneMinute
Alan Duke / CNN:
Jackson's doctor is negotiating terms of surrender  —  Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is negotiating with prosecutors on plans to surrender to face charges related to Jackson's death, his attorney said Thursday.
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
NAACP flunks GOP on civil rights  —  The NAACP is out with its annual report card, and Republicans have been awarded F's virtually across the board, thanks to their position on a variety of civil right issues, most notably their killing of the DC voting rights bill.  —  [PDF of the rankings.]
Discussion: Think Progress and Naked Politics
Ariane De Vogue / ABCNEWS:
White House Prepares for Possibility of 2 Supreme Court Vacancies  —  SCOTUS Watchers Believe Justices Stevens and Ginsburg Could Decide to Step Aside  —  Lawyers for President Obama have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the possibility of one, and maybe two Supreme Court vacancies this spring.
Discussion: Shakesville
Joan E. Darrah / CNN:
My secret life under 'don't ask, don't tell'  —  Editor's note: Retired Navy Capt. Joan E. Darrah served 29½ years as a naval intelligence officer and was chief of staff and deputy commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence.  She has received several awards: three Legion of Merits …
Kristi Keck / CNN:
Fractures emerge as Tea Party convenes  —  (CNN) — As the Tea Party's first national convention gets under way, members are united in their anger but divided over the future of the movement.  —  The convention is marketed as an opportunity to bring Tea Party leaders from across …
Megan McArdle:
How Unions Work  —  In a valiant attempt to defuse the ideological conflicts between the reformist and traditionalist wings of the liberal education wonketariat, Matthew Yglesias argues that this disagreement is not not ideological at all.  Rather, it is an artifact of past decisions about educational structure:
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
Christopher S. Rugaber / Associated Press:
First-time jobless claims rise unexpectedly  —  Buzz up!  —  WASHINGTON - The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week, evidence that layoffs are continuing and jobs remain scarce.  —  The rise is the fourth in the past five weeks.
Discussion: Financial Times, Hot Air and Wizbang
Front Page Magazine:
Islamic Nazis  —  Posted by Robert Spencer on Feb 4th, 2010 and filed under FrontPage.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.  You can leave a response or trackback to this entry  —  Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch.
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Atlas Shrugs
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Sen.-elect Brown to be sworn in at 5 p.m.  —  Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will be sworn in to the Senate by Vice President Joe Biden Thursday at 5 p.m.  —  Brown's swearing-in ceremony was officially added to Biden's schedule Thursday after it was reported Wednesday that Brown would take his seat earlier than expected.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Ford hits paid speaking trail  —  Harold Ford appears to have taken some time out from his campaign for Senate in New York for a round of paid speeches, for which — an industry source tells me — he asks between $20,000 and $30,000, depending on whether the location is on the East or West coast.
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 More Items: 
Ari Shavit / Haaretz:
Peace will be found in Damascus, not Ramallah
Discussion: New York Times and Israel Matzav
Fox News:
House Faces Tough Vote on $1.9T More Debt
Discussion: Michelle Malkin and The Page
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Asian-Americans Lean Left Politically
Ed O'Keefe / Washington Post:
Obama criticizes Senate Republicans for delaying confirmation votes
Discussion: YID With LID
Al Baker / New York Times:
Chaplain Is Found With Blades at City Jail
Discussion: Gothamist and New York Magazine
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Sen. Sherrod Brown: Obama must push Dem lawmakers harder on healthcare
Discussion: Glenn Thrush's Blog
 Earlier Items: 
Peter Hamby / CNN:
Palin aide: Perry adviser's remark ‘crude’ and ‘disrespectful’
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog and Mediaite
Investor's Business Daily:
The White House's Illegal Piggy Bank
Chris Isidore /
Poof: Another 800,000 jobs disappear
Discussion: Hotline On Call and The Page
Los Angeles Times:
Congressional Democrats are nay-saying Obama's budget
Discussion: Dennis the Peasant