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7:55 PM ET, March 1, 2010


 Top Items: 
The World Newser:
Sen. Bunning is Angry: ‘This Is a Senators Only Elevator!’  —  ABC's Jonathan Karl and Z. Byron Wolf report from Washington:  —  An angry Senator Jim Bunning refused to answer questions from ABC News about his decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits.
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
Bunning Blockade Leads To 21 Percent Fee Cut For Doctors  —  Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans.  But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors …
Republican senator gives journalist the middle finger  —  An angry Sen. Jim Bunning refused to answer questions from CNN and ABC News Monday afternoon.  An ABC News producer who was there says Bunning gave him the middle finger in response to a question.  —  Washington (CNN) …
Discussion: Raw Story
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Top Democrats look to shame Bunning on unemployment benefits filibuster
Discussion: The Politico
The Note:
Pelosi Catches a Break: House Magic Number Set to Drop to 216  —  ABC News' Rick Klein reports: Democrats may or may not be advancing the ball on health care reform.  But the goal line is set to move a little closer.  —  Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., announced today that he plans to resign his seat …
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:   Harkin fears reviving public option could kill whole health bill
The Politico:
Pelosi's brutal reality check
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
How many beers a day would Obama need to be drinking before his doctor would recommend “moderation of alcohol intake”?  —  Drudge picks out this bit from Obama's health report:  —  The link goes to this report — which stresses the advice to “continue smoking cessation efforts” (which means he's still smoking, apparently) — and ends:
Mark Murray /
Moderation, please  —  From NBC's Mark Murray, Chuck Todd and Domenico MontanaroThe Drudge Report has a provocative photo and link to a story on President Obama's recent physical exam.  It shows Obama drinking a beer at a basketball game with this headline: “PAPER: Obama doctors recommend 'moderation …
Ewen MacAskill / Guardian:
Doctors tell Barack Obama to quit smoking  —  The american president has been trying to kick the habit for sometime, apart from the smoking he is in excellent health  —  Barack Obama is still struggling to kick smoking, according to his first medical examination since becoming president.
Ezra Klein:
A reconciliation primer  —  It is amazing how few reporters understand what the budget reconciliation process is: Either how it works, or what it's traditionally been used for, or what Democrats are proposing to use it for.  That confusion creates comical exchanges like this one …
Mark B. Evans / Tucson Citizen:
Arizona Tea Party Leaders Decline to Endorse in AZ Senate Race  —  For Immediate Release  —  The organizers of the four largest Arizona Tea Party organizations - including the Tucson Tea Party, Greater Phoenix Tea Party, Flagstaff Tea Party, and Mohave County Tea Party …
Steven R. Hurst / Associated Press:
Analysis: Republicans setting filibuster record  —  WASHINGTON — The filibuster — tool of obstruction in the U.S. Senate — is alternately blamed and praised for wilting President Barack Obama's ambitious agenda.  Some even say it's made the nation ungovernable.  —  Maybe, maybe not.
Charles Babington / Associated Press:
Some House foes eye switch to ‘yes’ on health care  —  WASHINGTON — Ten House Democrats indicated in an Associated Press survey Monday they have not ruled out switching their “no” votes to “yes” on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, brightening the party's hopes in the face of unyielding Republican opposition.
Discussion: The Atlantic Online and USA Today
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Scott Brown And Jeff Bingaman To Be Added To Senate Armed Services Committee
Discussion: TPM LiveWire
Associated Press:
Official: Substance at IRS building not a hazard  —  FBI says those with medical emergencies were unrelated to the incident  —  OGDEN, Utah - An official with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says a suspicious substance found at an IRS building in Ogden, Utah, is not hazardous.
Discussion: TPM LiveWire
Andy Barr / The Politico:
Buffett would scrap health bill  —  Billionaire investor Warren Buffett advised President Barack Obama on Monday to scrap the health care bill and start over.  —  In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said the current bill does not focus on controlling costs, which he sees as the central problem …
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
A Republican Surprise  —  Set a group of plugged-in conservatives to talking presidential politics, and you'll get the same complaints about the 2012 field.  —  Mitt Romney?  He couldn't make the voters like him last time ... Sarah Palin?  She'd lose 47 states ... Mike Huckabee?
Mitch Daniels / Wall Street Journal:
Hoosiers and Health Savings Accounts
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Obama's Drop  —  Barack Obama now has a negative approval rating in every state he flipped from the Bush column to his in 2008.  In each of those places his level of support is now in the 44-46% range.  It's probably a good thing he doesn't have to run for reelection this year.
Discussion: Hot Air and Taylor Marsh
Peter Beinart / The Daily Beast:
The Photo That Could Doom the Democrats  —  Blogs and Stories  —  Nancy Pelosi is protecting Rep. Charles Rangel, who failed to pay taxes on his Caribbean villa, among other miscues.  But the ethically challenged congressional baron is endangering the Democrats' control of Congress.
Ezra Klein:
Paul Ryan and the true cost of health-care reform  —  After the Blair House Summit, a bunch of you e-mailed to ask what I thought of Rep. Paul Ryan's argument that the bill “does not control costs” and it “does not reduce deficits.”  There's a lot going on in Ryan's remarks (which you can read here), so this might take awhile.
John Yoo /
Closing Arguments: Finally, an end to Justice Dept. investigation  —  I've been under investigation for more than five years for legal advice that I gave in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  This month, the Justice Department's top career lawyer finally put an end to the farce.
Discussion: The Hill, TPMMuckraker and Main Justice
Stan Isaacs /
Obama should expand court  —  writes a weekly column on  —  This may come as a surprise to some people, but the U.S. Constitution does not specify the size of the Supreme Court.  —  The original Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number of justices at six.  It shrank to five in 1801.
New York Times:
Network News at a Crossroads  —  ABC News is making no secret about what is behind the sweeping staff cuts it now faces: raw survival instinct.  —  “I just looked out at the next five years and was concerned that we could not sustain doing what we were doing,” said David Westin …
Walter Alarkon / The Hill:
Hoyer: Raising taxes a realistic option for cutting $12 trillion debt  —  Tax increases may be necessary to rein in $12 trillion in federal debt, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Monday.  —  Hoyer emphasized the need to reform Social Security and Medicare …
Discussion: The Politico and CNN
The Note:
Sen. Bunning Single-handedly Causes 2,000 Federal Worker Furloughs  —  ABC News' Lisa Stark reports: Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., didn't just stop extensions of unemployment and health insurance benefits with his “hold' on these funding measures last week, he also stopped an extension of the Highway Trust Fund for 30 days.
Taniel / Campaign Diaries:
Where the House stands on health-care  —  A lot of attention has been devoted to the Senate in recent months, but as we approach make-or-break time in the health-care debate it has become clear that the suspense lies in the House.  —  The approach Democrats are now openly pursuing …
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Gun case presents quandary for Supreme Court justices  —  As a member of the Junior ROTC, teenager Antonin Scalia toted his rifle on the subway ride back and forth to Queens.  As a hunter, he speaks lyrically of stalking wild turkeys.  And as a justice, he may have reached the pinnacle …
Discussion: Stop The ACLU and
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 More Items: 
Brown to announce gubernatorial bid Tuesday
Discussion: The Note
Maxim Tkachenko / CNN:
Medvedev rips Olympic ‘fat cats’
Discussion: Althouse and American Power
Pew Internet:
Understanding the Participatory News Consumer
Discussion: Politics Daily
Ezra Klein:
The 1982 election and pundit fallability
Discussion: The Daily Dish and Ross Douthat
Angela Sachitano / WPTV:
Ex-Congressman opens consignment shop
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog and TPM LiveWire
 Earlier Items: 
Kenneth Anderson / Weekly Standard:
Predators Over Pakistan  —  The U.S. drone campaign is effective—and legal.
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Jake Sherman / The Politico:
Pete Stark's bizarre ethics interview
Discussion: The New Editor