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11:55 AM ET, January 18, 2011


 Top Items: 
Joe Scarborough / The Politico:
Moving past right-wing rhetoric  —  We get it, Sarah Palin.  You're not morally culpable for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. All of us around the “Morning Joe” table agree, even if we were stunned that you would whine about yourself on Facebook as a shattered family prepared to bury their 9-year-old girl.
Alexander Mooney / CNN:
Palin: ‘I am not going to shut up’  —  (CNN) - In her first interview since the Arizona shootings, Sarah Palin Monday sharply beat back critics who have suggested her at-times charged political rhetoric and use of a graphic featuring crosshairs may have contributed to the shooter's motivations.
Jeff Zeleny / The Caucus:
Palin Defends Use of ‘Blood Libel’ Phrase  —  WASHINGTON - Sarah Palin said in a television interview on Monday evening that she agreed with bipartisan calls for civility in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage, but she vowed to not be deterred from political debates while deciding whether to run for president.
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Kent Conrad to retire  —  North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad plans to announce his retirement today, according to two informed Democratic sources, creating a potentially prime pickup opportunity for Republicans in a GOP-leaning state.  —  Conrad, who currently chairs the Senate Budget Committee …
The Politico:
Sen. Kent Conrad won't seek reelection  —  North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad will not seek reelection in 2012, handing Republicans a prime opportunity for a pick-up in a red-leaning state.  —  “After months of consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2012.
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
Sean J. Miller / Ballot Box:   With Sen. Conrad to retire, GOP eyes possibility of 2012 pick-up
Barack Obama / Wall Street Journal:
Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System  —  If the FDA deems saccharin safe enough for coffee, then the EPA should not treat it as hazardous waste.  —  For two centuries, America's free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force …
Elizabeth Williamson / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Launches Rule Review, Pledging to Spur Jobs, Growth
Discussion: protein wisdom, Althouse and FrumForum
Obama Approval Rises, But Hazards Remain  —  Obama's Job Approval Has Matched his Highest in More Than a Year  —  Aided by his response to the Tucson shootings, popular lame-duck legislation and a hint of economic relief, Barack Obama has matched his highest job approval rating in more than a year …
Washington Post:
Poll shows high marks for Obama on Tucson, low regard for political dialogue  —  Americans overwhelmingly describe the tone of political discourse in the country as negative, verging on angry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but more than half say the culture did not contribute …
Marissa Calhoun / CNN:   CNN Poll: Obama's job approval rating on the rise
Amy Goldstein / Washington Post:
Government finds up to half of Americans under 65 have preexisting conditions  —  As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have medical problems that are red flags for health insurers, according to an analysis that marks the government's first attempt to quantify the number of people …
Associated Press:
Court rejects appeal over DC gay marriage law  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who want to overturn the District of Columbia's gay marriage law.  —  The court did not comment Tuesday in turning away a challenge from a Maryland pastor …
Mark Pazniokas /
Bysiewicz declares for U.S. Senate  —  Susan Bysiewicz today declared herself a candidate for U.S. Senate, trying to put the disasters of 2010 behind her by getting an early jump on 2012, when U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is up for re-election.  —  Bysiewicz, 49, a Democrat whose career derailed …
Discussion: Ballot Box, TPMDC and Hotline On Call
Patrick J. Michaels / Washington Times:
China-style dictatorship of climatologists  —  NASA's Hansen prefers rule by decree to fight ‘global warming’  —  November's election made it quite clear that the people of the United States do not want to radically change our society in the name of global warming.
Sara Rimer / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Study: Many college students not learning to think critically  —  NEW YORK — An unprecedented study that followed several thousand undergraduates through four years of college found that large numbers didn't learn the critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills …
David Brooks / New York Times:
Amy Chua Is a Wimp  —  Sometime early last week, a large slice of educated America decided that Amy Chua is a menace to society.  Chua, as you probably know, is the Yale professor who has written a bracing critique of what she considers the weak, cuddling American parenting style.
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Arizona statute could endanger Gabrielle Giffords's hold on seat  —  TUCSON - Even as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows signs of a near-miraculous recovery, with doctors on Sunday upgrading her condition from critical to serious, a little-known statutory provision in Arizona state law could endanger …
Charles Gasparino / The Huffington Post:
Meredith Whitney Should Show Her Cards  —  What's Your Reaction:  —  Meredith Whitney should finally come clean.  —  The banking analyst who made a name for herself properly warning investors about the dire condition of the big banks a full year before the 2008 financial collapse …
Discussion: Clusterstock and Dealbreaker
Ezra Klein:
Wonkbook: Health-care debate, round two  —  Health-care reform isn't getting repealed this week.  It's getting re-debated.  The GOP's control of the House — and thus of at least some of the agenda — gives them a second opportunity to make their case against the bill.
David White / The Birmingham:
Gov.-elect Robert Bentley intends to be governor over all, but says only Christians are his ‘brothers and sisters’  —  MONTGOMERY — Gov.-elect Robert Bentley in a speech at a Baptist church this afternoon said he plans to be the governor of all Alabamians and be color-blind …
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
Cheney: Obama has learned that Bush policies were right  —  President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration's decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.  —  In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery …
Myglesias / Yglesias:
Pay to Play On Texas Inauguration Day  —  If you live in Texas, or if your professional life is in some way impacted by Texas public policy, you might like a meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry.  And he's happy to meet with you if you help throw him a lavish party:
Sean J. Miller / Ballot Box:
Democrats losing too many white voters, says civil rights leader  —  A leading civil rights leader in Congress believes the Democratic Party is losing too many white voters.  —  In an interview, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said Democrats need to “go all out” to win back white, Southern voters before the next election.
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Michael Sheridan / NY Daily News:
Suicide bomber targets police recruits in Tikrit; nearly 60 believed dead, 150 more wounded  —  A suicide bomber wrapped in explosives blew himself up among hundreds of young recruits looking to become police officers in Tikrit on Tuesday.  —  Latest estimates suggest as many as 60 were killed, another 150 wounded in the blast.
Discussion: The Jawa Report
Joshua Green / The Atlantic Online:
Watch Herman Cain Battle Bill Clinton on Health Care  —  In my short profile of Herman Cain, the Tea Party favorite and GOP presidential hopeful, I mentioned his auspicious debut on the national political stage.  It came in 1994, when Cain was CEO of Godfather's Pizza and challenged Bill Clinton …
Discussion: AmSpecBlog and Betsy's Page
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 More Items: 
Manu Raju / The Politico:
Rookie Rand Paul tackles budget head-on
Discussion: The Note and National Review
Associated Press:
Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse
Shane D'Aprile / The Hill:
Used to being an underdog, Santorum bets the house on '12 Iowa caucuses
Stanley Fish / Opinionator:
Exceptionalism, Faith and Freedom: Palin's America
Discussion: Althouse and Conservatives4Palin
Liz Goodwin / Yahoo! News:
Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’
Richard Cohen / Washington Post:
Two different speeches, two different Obamas
Discussion: Wonkette, Booman Tribune and Daily Kos
Alexander Mooney / CNN:
Palin needs to ‘be more careful,’ Gingrich says
Discussion: The Politico and Ben Smith's Blog
Doug McKelway / Fox News:
Obama Coal Crackdown Sends Message to Industry
 Earlier Items: 
How to date a vegan  —  Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating.
Discussion: Right Wing News
Associated Press:
Sexting prosecutor claims immunity
Discussion: Hit & Run
Pirates seized record 1,181 hostages in 2010 - report
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Nicholas Wade / New York Times:
Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
Big health bucks roll in for K St.
Discussion: The Foundry and Prairie Weather
Meredith Shiner / The Politico:
Michele Bachmann's real test
Poll shows Hatch may face tough re-election in 2012
Discussion: The Fix, GOP 12 and Hotline On Call