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10:05 AM ET, December 16, 2010


 Top Items: 
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Obama tells lawmakers not passing tax deal could end presidency, Dem says  —  In urging lawmakers to vote for his tax deal, President Obama is using one of his go-to lines from the healthcare debate, according to a Democratic lawmaker.  —  Obama is telling members of Congress that failure …
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Dem rep: Obama told us if the tax deal doesn't pass, it's the end of his presidency
Discussion: Fox Nation
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
U.S. Tries to Build Case for Conspiracy by WikiLeaks  —  WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors, seeking to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for his role in a huge dissemination of classified government documents, are looking for evidence of any collusion in his early contacts …
Matthew Weaver / Guardian:
Julian Assange granted bail at high court
Vikram Dodd / Guardian:
Julian Assange bail decision made by UK authorities, not Sweden
Duncan Gardham / Telegraph:
Drone kills white al-Qaeda pair in Pakistan mountains  —  A pair of white British Muslim converts who joined al-Qaeda have been killed in a drone attack in a mountainous region of Pakistan, according to reports.  —  The men, one of whom was apparently called Steve, died five days ago …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and FrumForum
Karen DeYoung / Washington Post:
July troop withdrawal on track, review of Afghan war strategy indicates  —  A White House review of President Obama's year-old Afghan war strategy concluded that it is “showing progress” against al-Qaeda and in Afghanistan and Pakistan but that “the challenge remains to make our gains durable and sustainable …
Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Puts Off Afghan Moves
Discussion: New York Times and The Page
Mark Murray /
Poll: Obama down but not out  —  NBC/WSJ survey shows president leading in 2012 match-ups  —  Below:  —  Deputy Political Director  —  After his party's midterm losses and with the unemployment rate still hovering around 10 percent, President Barack Obama might be down.
Wall Street Journal:
Support for Obama's Move to the Center
Discussion: Hotline On Call and The Caucus
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Wire:   WSJ/NBC Poll: Obama in Lead for 2012
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
Two Californias  —  The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California.  I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements …
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Servicers Downgraded Credit Score of Man Who Asked for His Note  —  (Graphic via SEIU's site)  —  Many homeowners have taken advantage of SEIU's Where's the Note website.  It helps you generate letters to your bank to ask for evidence that they hold the mortgage note, or the IOU on the property.
Discussion: CNBC and The Big Picture
Hotline On Call:
Updating Hotline's RNC Chairman's Race Whip Count  —  Republican National Committee members now have a total of six candidates from which to choose as they contemplate their next chairman.  And, slowly, the 168 members of the committee are making their decisions public.
Tim Mak / FrumForum:
RNC Candidate's Firm Got Clients Stimulus Funds
Alex Kowalski / Bloomberg:
Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell to 420,000 Last Week  —  The number of U.S. workers filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week, pointing to a labor market that is on the mend.  —  Applications for jobless insurance payments decreased by 3,000 to 420,000 …
Discussion: The Page and Right Wing News
William J. Broad / New York Times:
U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable  —  Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb.  What should people there do?  The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee.  Get inside any stable building and don't come out till officials say it's safe.
Kenneth P. Vogel / The Politico:
Sarah Palin goes ‘lamestream’  —  After making attacks on what she memorably labeled “the lamestream media” one of her signature issues, Sarah Palin has begun to experiment with a new strategy toward the press - engaging it.  —  The former Alaska governor has started cautiously cooperating …
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
Michael Moore's Comments on Julian Assange Rape Allegations Spark Outrage  —  Filmmaker Michael Moore is in hot water over comments he made during Tuesday night's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.  In discussing rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Moore appeared to dismiss …
Richard Florida / The Atlantic Online:
America's Most Walkable Cities  —  The great economic reset we are in the midst of extends even to Americans' choices of places to live.  The popularity of sprawling auto-dependent suburbs is waning.  A majority of Americans—six in 10—say they would prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods, in both cities and suburbs, if they could.
Poll: Assessment of Afghanistan War Sours  —  ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Record Six in 10 Say it's ‘Not Worth Fighting’  —  A record 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, a grim assessment — and a politically hazardous one …
Discussion: Hot Air
Frank Dikötter / New York Times:
Mao's Great Leap to Famine  —  HONG KONG — The worst catastrophe in China's history, and one of the worst anywhere, was the Great Famine of 1958 to 1962, and to this day the ruling Communist Party has not fully acknowledged the degree to which it was a direct result of the forcible herding …
Discussion: Instapundit and Althouse
Tim Webb / Guardian:
BP blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform revealed  —  Embassy cables reveal energy firm ‘fortunate’ to have evacuated workers safely after blast similar to Deepwater Horizon disaster  —  Striking resemblances between BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak …
Roxana Tiron / The Hill:
House approves 'Don't ask' repeal, 250-175  —  The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.  —  Lawmakers approved a standalone repeal bill by a vote of 250-175.  Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) gaveled the vote closed.
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Liberals to take last stab at estate tax rate before Thursday vote  —  The House will vote on President Obama's tax proposal Thursday after first giving liberal Democrats one last chance to force a change to the Senate-passed agreement.  —  The key question is whether the House will send …
DeMint Drops Bid to Delay Action on New START  —  Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., backed off threats today to force a reading of the New START arms-reduction treaty after the White House assailed the delay tactic as a “new low.”  —  Senate leaders had estimated that a full reading of the accord …
Quinnipiac University:
Casey Gets Ok Marks From Pennsylvania Voters, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Tax Deal, Split On Health Care Repeal  —  Pennsylvania voters give Sen. Robert Casey Jr. a 39 - 29 percent job approval rating; by 43 - 35 percent they favor him over an unnamed Republican for re-election …
Discussion: Ballot Box
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
We've Only Got America A  —  Former President José María Figueres of Costa Rica has a saying I like: “There is no Planet B” — so we'd better make Plan A work to preserve a stable environment.  I feel the same way about America these days.  There is no America B …
Discussion: Vox Popoli and The Talking Dog
Confederate Yankee:
God Help Me, I Agree with Greenwald  —  My feelings about U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning are well documented by The Google, which has my blog entries Let's Try Bradley Manning for Treason and Brad Manning, I Hope They Hang You High being the #1 and #2 search results for a search on “Bradley Manning traitor.”
Mike Jensen / Southeast Missourian:
Redistribution on steroids  —  Rep. Cleaver has proposed a $48 billion earmark  —  When absurdity gives way to hilarity, you must be talking about politics.  —  In the midst of a colossal global concern for the economic stability of our great nation, Emanuel Cleaver …
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 More Items: 
Madhu Rajaraman / American Journalism Review:
The Comment Police  —  NPR says it's pleased with the results …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and Poynter
David Kravets / Threat Level:
Court Rebuffs Obama on Warrantless Cell-Site Tracking
Michael Shedlock / Mish's Global Economic …:
Video: Fire bombs, Stones Fly in Greek Riots; All Flights to/from Athens Cancelled
Jon Ward / The Daily Caller:
Senate Democrats reject elimination of unemployment benefits for millionaires
Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Tax-cut legislation includes $55 billion in benefits for a host of industries
 Earlier Items: 
Jennifer Jacobs / Des Moines Register:
Lawsuit says Iowa judicial retention vote was illegal
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Chris Edwards / Cato @ Liberty:
U.S. Corporate Tax Rate the Highest
Simmi Aujla / The Politico:
Tea Party leader slams John Boehner for Michele Bachmann snub
Discussion: Washington Post
Dylan Ratigan / The Huffington Post:
Get America Working: We Need a Movement to Solve a Crisis
Discussion: Firedoglake and naked capitalism
John Hawkins / Right Wing News:
The 40 Best Conservative Blogs For 2010 (Version 4.0)