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3:50 PM ET, December 15, 2010

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 Top Items: 
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
DeMint will force readings of START Treaty and omnibus bill  —  Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will force readings of both a nuclear arms treaty and $1.1 trillion spending bill that could eat up hours of the remaining lame-duck Congress.  —  DeMint will invoke a senatorial privilege to ask …
RELATED:
Wall Street Journal:
Harry Reid's Holiday Jam  —  What the Senate wants to pass while you're not paying attention.  —  In the famous formulation often attributed to George Washington, the U.S. Senate is the saucer designed to cool the drink before it becomes law.  In Majority Leader Harry Reid's rush to beat …
Carrie Budoff Brown / Reuters:
Tax-cut plan clears Senate easily  —  The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to advance President Barack Obama's tax package to the House, where the $858 billion bill is expected to receive a final vote Thursday.  —  The Senate vote was 81-19, with 13 Democrats, five Republicans and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) voting no.
Manu Raju / The Politico:
DeMint calls votes before Christmas ‘sacrilegious’  —  Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas “sacrilegious,” and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections.
Discussion: Washington Monthly, CNN and FP Passport
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Senate GOP leaders take heat over earmarks
Discussion: ABCNEWS and The Gateway Pundit
Myglesias / Yglesias:
The Christmas Session  —  Jon Kyl, rather preposterously …
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
McCain cools to ratifying New START this year
Washington Post:
Senate spending bill contains thousands of earmarks
Peter Baker / The Caucus:   DeMint Plans to Stall Arms Treaty
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Congress' Job Approval Rating Worst in Gallup History  —  Thirteen percent approve of the way Congress is handling its job  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans' assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job.
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Post-ABC Poll: Public not yet sold on GOP  —  Republicans made major gains in the November elections, but they have yet to win the hearts and minds of the American people, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  —  The midterm elections - where Republicans gained 63 seats …
Ben Dimiero / Media Matters for America:
FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science  —  In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network's journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed …
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Reuters:
Financial Crisis Panel In Turmoil As Republicans Defect; Plan To Blame Government For Crisis  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION? … The four Republicans appointed to the commission investigating the root causes of the financial crisis plan to bypass the bipartisan panel and release their own report Wednesday …
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Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention  —  (updated below)  —  Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime.  Despite that, he has been detained …
Melissa Bell / BlogPost:
School board shooting (Video)  —  A school board meeting went from discussing head lice to members pleading for their life Tuesday in Florida when an ex-convict, Clay Duke, interrupted the Bay District School Board meeting, brandishing a gun and mumbling about how the school board had fired his wife …
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David M. Herszenhorn / New York Times:
Senate Passes Compromise Tax Plan by Wide Margin  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday approved the $858 billion tax plan negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders — the first concrete product of a new era of divided government and acid compromise.
RELATED:
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Senate passes tax package 81-19, sending Obama deal to the House
Discussion: msnbc.com
Lev Grossman / Time:
Mark Zuckerberg  —  On the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2010, Mark Zuckerberg was leading a meeting in the Aquarium, one of Facebook's conference rooms, so named because it's in the middle of a huge work space and has glass walls on three sides so everybody can see in.
The Politico:
Obama plans 2011 staff makeover  —  President Barack Obama has delayed the most significant staff shuffle of his presidency until after New Year's — but the changes may be more sweeping than anticipated and could include the hiring of high-profile Democrats defeated in the midterms.
RELATED:
David Cay Johnston / Nieman Reports:
It's Scary Out There in Reporting Land  —  ‘Beats are fundamental to journalism, but our foundation is crumbling.’  —  To understand how badly we're doing the most basic work of journalism in covering the law enforcement beat, try sitting in a barbershop.  When I was getting my last haircut …
Brad Phillips / Mr. Media Training:
2012 Election Preview: The Final Rankings  —  Editor's Note: This morning, we issued a press release on the national wires that ranks the 18 most likely 2012 Republican contenders - and President Obama - on their communications skills.  Below, you'll find the full text of that release.
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Brown could be in trouble  —  Sherrod Brown hasn't proven to have much appeal to Republicans or independents during his first four years in the Senate and as a result he could be vulnerable for reelection in 2012 if the GOP runs a strong candidate against him.
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones:
Why Are Bankers So Rich?  —  Tyler Cowen has a big piece about income inequality in The American Interest that's well worth reading.  However, it's not really about the growth of inequality.  It's about Wall Street.  In particular, it's about this question: why do financial professionals make so damn much money?
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Wire:
START Passage Looks Dead for 2010  —  In what looks like a decisive blow, at least eight Republican senators - including some the White House was counting on - will announce this afternoon they cannot vote to ratify President Barack Obama's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia this year.
Discussion: National Review
Manny Fernandez / New York Times:
No to New York?  There Must Be Some Mistake  —  The Dodgers and the Giants did it.  Johnny Carson did it.  So did I.B.M., American Airlines, the United States Olympic Committee and President Gerald R. Ford.  —  Late Monday night, Cliff Lee did it, too.  Lee, the prized pitcher who helped …
Discussion: The Awl and City Room
Jamie Dupree / Jamie Dupree Washington Insider:
Those Pesky GOP Earmarks  —  While Republicans denounced the 1,924 page Omnibus budget bill that was unveiled by Senate Democrats yesterday, their arguments against earmarks ran into some trouble during a news conference today.  —  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) joined Sen. John Thune (R-SD) …
Discussion: TPMDC, Weigel and Open Congress
Radley Balko / The Agitator:
An Honest Question for Lefties  —  First, read Julian Sanchez on the health care mandate and the Commerce Clause.  —  Next, I posed this question to Chris Hayes on Twitter, so I'll pose to those of you who read this site who are outraged by the Hudson ruling: Putting aside what's codified Bill of Rights …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Malcolm Moore / Telegraph:
China launches ‘Red Twitter’
Discussion: Mashable!, BlogPost and AOL News
Just A Grunt / JammieWearingFool:
Here Are Your Senate Porkers
Associated Press:
Border Patrol agent killed in Southern Arizona
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Sister Toldjah
Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press:
Iraq: Plot to bomb US, European countries revealed
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
The Huffington Post:
Geithner Blocking Legal Help For Foreclosure Victims
Discussion: TalkLeft
Tara Bahrampour / Washington Post:
Muslims criticize handling of Israelis' stay at D.C. hotel
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Weasel Zippers
Seema Mehta / Los Angeles Times:
Brown wants to fast-track budget agreement within 60 days
 Earlier Items: 
New York Times:
Dozens Die in Suicide Bombing in Iran
Discussion: Wonk Room
Myglesias / Yglesias:
Deficit-Talk
Discussion: TalkLeft and Ezra Klein
Donna Leinwand / USA Today:
Kids write Santa this year for basic needs instead of toys
Kevin Sessums / The Daily Beast:
Kevin Spacey on Casino Jack
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Christian Heinze / Ballot Box:
In shift, Sarah Palin stresses electability as a reason to run for president
Discussion: Taylor Marsh and Classical Values