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1:35 PM ET, March 15, 2010


 Top Items: 
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.
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 …
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
Obama takes health care push to Ohio
Discussion: JammieWearingFool
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.
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
Wall Street Journal:
Obama's Turn Against Israel  —  The U.S. makes a diplomatic crisis out of a blunder.  —  In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has endorsed “healthy relations” between Iran and Syria, mildly rebuked Syrian President Bashar Assad for accusing the U.S. of “colonialism,” …
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!
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.
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Social Security starts cashing in US debt  —  We've noticed the cash shortfalls at Social Security for more than a year, and now they appear to be permanent.  For the first time, the Social Security Administration will start cashing in its IOUs from the Treasury in order to meet its benefits obligations.
Financial Times:
Ratings agency warns on US public finances
Matthew Brown / Bloomberg:
U.S., U.K. Move Closer to Losing Rating, Moody's Says
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.
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: Dennis the Peasant and RedState
Michelle Oddis / Human Events:
No Support for Graham to Cut Deal on GITMO Says Inhofe  —  Republican Senator Lindsay Graham (S.C.) is trying to cut a deal with the Obama Administration.  Last week Graham said that if President Obama agrees to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, master mind of the Sept. 11th attacks …
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias
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 …
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 More Items: 
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Senate Dems consider jobs all-nighter
Discussion: CNN and
Michael W. McConnell / Wall Street Journal:
The House Health-Care Vote and the Constitution
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
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Bachmann: Obama is first “post-American” president
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
 Earlier Items: 
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Two Pictures Tell the Story on Health Care Debate
Wall Street Journal:
Swing Districts Oppose Health Reform
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
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
Early races for Congress may give forecast for November
Discussion: The Page
Art Beast / The Daily Beast:
Democrats, Forever Changed
Fred Hiatt / Washington Post:
Obama's happiness deficit
Discussion: Commentary, Sadly, No! and Althouse