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12:25 PM ET, March 15, 2010


 Top Items: 
Lisa Depaulo / GQ Magazine: GQ:
Hello, America, My Name Is Rielle Hunter  —  We've heard from former senator John Edwards, we've heard from his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Saint Elizabeth, and we've heard (bleh) from Andrew Young, the former Edwards aide and faux father.  But through it all—the affair and the cancer-stricken spouse …
Reliable Source:
Rielle Hunter speaks for the first time in GQ interview about John and Elizabeth Edwards, Andrew Young, and the big-money donors  —  Rielle Hunter at her home in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Mark Seliger / Courtesy of GQ)  —  For more than two years after Rielle Hunter emerged at the center …
Art Beast / The Daily Beast:
Edwards Sex Tape Details  —  Hungry Beast Giving Beast Women in the World  —  Blogs and Stories  —  Andrew Young tells The Daily Beast he's going on the offensive against his old boss, John Edwards.  Diane Dimond reveals how the sex tape imperils the ex-candidate-and what exactly is on it.
Paul Ryan / Washington Post:
Rep. Paul Ryan on what real health reform should look like  —  Today, the House Budget Committee is to mark up a “reconciliation” vehicle, initiating the greatest expansion in government and entitlement spending in a generation through a partisan process to push “health-care reform” across the finish line.
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
House Democrats release bill for Budget markup Monday  —  House Democrats on Sunday night set into motion what they hope will be the final steps on healthcare reform.  —  The House Budget Committee on Sunday evening released text that will serve as the base legislation for the changes the House will seek to the Senate bill this week.
Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Democratic leaders say health bill will pass  —  Democratic leaders scrambled Sunday to pull together enough support in the House for a make-or-break decision on health-care reform later this week, expressing optimism that a package will soon be signed into law by President Obama despite a lack of firm votes for passage.
Jeffrey Young / The Hill:
Move on student loans could win healthcare votes, House Dems say
Michelle Malkin:
Big Government Burrito: A taste of the 2,309-pg Demcare/Student …
Jeffrey Toobin / New Yorker:
What will the Supreme Court be like without its liberal leader?  —  Supreme Court Justices are remembered for their opinions, but they are revealed by their questions.  For many years, Sandra Day O'Connor chose to open the questioning in most cases, and thus show the lawyers—and her colleagues …
James Oliphant / Los Angeles Times:
Obama losing chance to reshape judiciary
Discussion: Law Blog
Scott Wilson / Washington Post:
Obama's focus on financial rules, Supreme Court opinion could aid Democrats
Discussion: Wonk Room, The Hill and The Page
Jeff Zeleny / New York Times:
Millions Spent to Sway Democrats on Health Care  —  WASHINGTON — The yearlong legislative fight over health care is drawing to a frenzied close as a multimillion-dollar wave of advertising that rivals the ferocity of a presidential campaign takes aim at about 40 House Democrats whose votes …
Wall Street Journal:
Swing Districts Oppose Health Reform
Howard Kurtz / Washington Post:
The Beck Factor at Fox: Staffers say comments taint their work  —  In just over a year, Glenn Beck's blinding burst of stardom has often seemed to overshadow the rest of Fox News.  —  And that may not be a good thing for the top-rated cable news channel, as many of its staffers are acutely aware.
New York Times:
Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants  —  KABUL, Afghanistan — Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants …
Wall Street Journal:
Gitmo's Indefensible Lawyers  —  Legal counsel to some of the detainees went far beyond vigorous representation of their clients.  Doesn't the public have a right to know?  —  On the evening of Jan. 26, 2006, military guards at Guantanamo Bay made an alarming discovery during a routine cell check.
Barak Ravid / Haaretz:
Israel envoy: U.S. ties at their worst in 35 years  —  Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has told the country's diplomats there that U.S.-Israeli relations face their worst crisis in 35 years, despite attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office to project a sense of “business as usual.”
Not Larry Sabato:
COOCH GONE WILD  —  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been in the news a lot recently for his lawsuit against the EPA, his letter to colleges telling them to change their non-discrimination policies and his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.  But he's not done making news yet!
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Taking On China  —  Tensions are rising over Chinese economic policy, and rightly so: China's policy of keeping its currency, the renminbi, undervalued has become a significant drag on global economic recovery.  Something must be done.  —  To give you a sense of the problem …
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
New Health Care Whip Count: 191 Yes, 203 No  —  You can see the last whip count here.  Changes since Friday:  —  • House leaders have a firm target date for a vote, and have begun to whip the bill.  But for the first time today, James Clyburn admitted that he doesn't have the votes at the moment …
The Huffington Post:
J.D. Hayworth: Gay Marriage Law Could Produce Man-Horse Nuptials  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?  —  Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) primary challenger, former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth, warned this past weekend that the same-sex marriage decision handed down by the Massachusetts Supreme Court …
Discussion: Pam's House Blend, Raw Story and TPMDC
William Saletan / Slate:
Your vote on health care is more important than your re-election. … - Why Are Humans Ticklish?  Are Animals Ticklish, Too?  - Wines Under $10 That Are Actually Pretty Good- Could You Go To Prison for Causing a Fatal NASCAR Crash?  - Jeffrey Gettleman: Why Africa's Bloodiest Wars Never Seem …
Discussion: RedState
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
New York third party issues health care threat  —  New York's labor-backed Working Families Party, a major state player whose ballot line is a prized asset to Democratic candidates, will deny its endorsement to any member of Congress who votes “no” on health care legislation, party officials said.
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Bachmann: Obama is first “post-American” president  —  It's been — what? — and hour or so since Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) challenged someone's patriotism for disagreeing with her, so she rectified it by comparing President Obama to Hugo Chavez at a rally in St. Paul on Saturday.
Art Beast / The Daily Beast:
Democrats, Forever Changed  —  Hungry Beast Giving Beast Women in the World  —  Blogs and Stories  —  By pressing ahead on health care, President Obama is ending a decades-long internal debate within his party—and the Democratic Party will never be the same.
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 More Items: 
Inside Higher Ed:
The Shrunken Student Aid Bill
Discussion: Firedoglake
Goldman Sachs Demands Derivatives Collateral It Won't Dish Out
Discussion: Financial Times and DealBook
Matthew Brown / Bloomberg:
U.S., U.K. Move Closer to Losing Rating, Moody's Says
Eric Lichtblau / New York Times:
Report Is Critical of Obama's Efforts at Transparency
Discussion: Politics Daily
Laura Myers / Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Sarah Palin's father backs Tarkanian's Senate run
Discussion: The Politico
New York Times:
Two Drug Slayings in Mexico Rock U.S. Consulate
Discussion: The Agonist and ThreatsWatch
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Two Pictures Tell the Story on Health Care Debate
Charles Duhigg / New York Times:
Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly
Discussion: Eschaton
 Earlier Items: 
Bill Gertz / Washington Times:
Justice, CIA clash over probe of interrogator IDs
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
Hollywood's Political Fictions
Discussion: Eunomia and TBogg
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Ensign isolated by scandal
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Patrick O'Connor / The Politico:
Homestretch scramble for votes
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Early races for Congress may give forecast for November
Discussion: The Page
Fred Hiatt / Washington Post:
Obama's happiness deficit
Discussion: Commentary, Sadly, No! and Althouse
Financial Times:
Ratings agency warns on US public finances
Discussion: protein wisdom, QandO and Pajamas Media
Michael Pollak / New York Times:
Peter Graves, ‘Mission: Impossible’ Star, Dies at 83
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Scared Monkeys