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12:40 PM ET, February 17, 2011


 Top Items: 
Colum Lynch / Foreign Policy:
In major reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council  —  The U.S. has informed Arab governments that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” …
New York Times:
Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital  —  MANAMA, Bahrain — The Bahrain military, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, took control of most of this capital on Thursday hours after hundreds of heavily armed riot police officers fired shotguns …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
U.S. offered to back U.N. Israel rebuke [UPDATED]
Discussion: Israel Matzav and The Right Scoop
John Markoff / New York Times:
Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!’:  Trivial, It's Not  —  YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. — In the end, the humans on “Jeopardy!” surrendered meekly.  —  Facing certain defeat at the hands of a room-size I.B.M. computer on Wednesday evening, Ken Jennings, famous for winning 74 games in a row on the TV quiz show, acknowledged the obvious.
Ken Jennings / Slate:
My Puny Human Brain  —  Jeopardy! genius Ken Jennings on what it's like to play against a supercomputer.  —  When I was selected as one of the two human players to be pitted against IBM's “Watson” supercomputer in a special man-vs.-machine Jeopardy! exhibition match, I felt honored, even heroic.
Jonathan Weisman / Wall Street Journal:
Deficit Plan Details Emerge  —  Bipartisan Senate Group Mulls Spending Caps That Could Trigger Tax Increases  —  A bipartisan group of senators is considering legislation that would trigger new taxes and budget cuts if Congress fails to meet a set of mandatory spending targets and other fiscal goals aimed at reducing federal deficits.
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Grand Bargain Would Be Tilted Toward Spending Cuts  —  Welcome to Bargain City.  (photo: sebastien.b via Flickr)  —  Jonathan Chait, who just a couple days ago was doubting the existence of a grand bargain on the deficit, today comes out with his hair on fire about the grand bargain on the deficit being negotiated in the Senate.
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Hullabaloo
Kendra Marr / The Politico:
Experts: His 2012 moment is now  —  With just one impressive speech, Chris Christie put three full days of CPAC speakers to shame.  —  That's the bottom line from a bipartisan panel of experts, who watched the New Jersey governor's address on Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute for POLITICO …
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
The Christie speech: We must fix America  —  Chris Christie took Washington by storm on Wednesday with his first national address - a blunt call for the country's leaders to follow in his fiscal footsteps by making real cuts in unsustainable levels of spending if they want to pull America back from the “edge of disaster.”
Sean J. Miller / Ballot Box:   Gov. Christie chides Republicans over entitlement reform
Phil Gast / CNN:
Wisconsin teachers give labor bill an ‘F’  —  Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WISC.  —  (CNN) — At least 15 school systems in Wisconsin canceled Thursday's classes because teachers and other public employees will continue protests at the state Capitol over a bill that would strip …
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
Nameless Republican Ties Obama in 2012 Election Preferences  —  Young voters less supportive of his re-election than of his election in 2008  —  PRINCETON, NJ — U.S. registered voters are evenly split about whether they would back President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 (45%) or “the Republican Party's candidate” (45%).
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:   Gallup finds Obama deadlocked against generic Republican
Colin Powell demands answers over Curveball  —  Former US secretary of state asks why CIA failed to warn him over Iraqi defector who has admitted fabricating WMD evidence  —  Colin Powell, the US secretary of state at the time of the Iraq invasion, has called on the CIA and Pentagon to explain …
Jennifer Epstein / The Politico:
Powell: C.I.A. should answer for faulty WMD intel
Discussion: Guardian
Russell Berman / The Hill:
House adds $500 million in cuts  —  The House on Wednesday made its first substantive changes to a $1 trillion Republican spending bill, adopting amendments that underscore the new Tea Party bent in Washington.  —  Yet the most costly questions will come before lawmakers on Thursday …
David Rogers / Reuters:
Republican centrists join Democrats on cuts
Discussion: Ezra Klein and RedState
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution  —  BOSTON — Halfway around the world from Tahrir Square in Cairo, an aging American intellectual shuffles about his cluttered brick row house in a working-class neighborhood here.  His name is Gene Sharp.
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Bachmann on Obama's birthplace: 'That isn't for me to state'  —  Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Thursday it's not for her to say whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States — or a Christian.  —  “That isn't for me to state; that's for the president to state,” Bachmann …
Myglesias / Yglesias:
Urban Planning in South Sudan  —  Southern Sudan, the world's newest country, seems to me to be off to a bad start with its urban planning concepts:  —  And:  —  I don't think you necessarily want too much “planning” of a growing city at all.  I'd like to see land used roughly as densely as market conditions warrant.
Discussion: Sudan Votes
David Brody / The Brody File:
John Thune to Brody File on Social Issues: 'I don't think we can minimize those in the debate'  —  Rather than call a “truce” on social issues as possible presidential contender Mitch Daniels suggests, Sen. John Thune tells The Brody File that, “I don't think we can minimize those in the debate.”
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Thune: GOP can't ‘minimize’ social issues in picking president
Discussion: GOP 12, The Brody File and CNN
Scott Turow / New York Times:
The One-Man Political Machine  —  On a brutally cold morning in mid-December, Rahm Emanuel, hatless and wearing a glove on only his left hand, stood for an hour in front of the turnstiles at the Paulina el station, which sits in his old Congressional district on Chicago's North Side.
Gail Collins / New York Times:
Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas  —  Today, let's discuss choices, starting with Barbara Bush raising an alarm and Gov. Rick Perry's personal experience with sexual abstinence.  —  I did throw in the last one to keep you interested.  Sue me.  —  This month, The Houston Chronicle published …
Discussion: Pam's House Blend and Daily Kos
Dan Froomkin / The Huffington Post:
Government Spending Goes From Hero To Goat … WASHINGTON — It wasn't so very long ago that many economists and even some White House officials were talking about the need for more government spending to address the continued unemployment crisis and preclude a double-dip recession.
Jay Nordlinger / National Review:
The Thugs Come Out in Wisconsin  —  Many of the letters from Wisconsin today have to do with violence: threats against Governor Walker and members of his administration, the increases in their security details, their worries about their spouses and children, and so on.
Discussion: Moe Lane and GayPatriot
Steven Mufson / Washington Post:
Obama budget plan shows interest owed on national debt quadrupling in next decade  —  Interest payments on the national debt will quadruple in the next decade and every man, woman and child in the United States will be paying more than $2,500 a year to cover for the nation's past profligacy …
PJ O'Keefe / WCPO-TV:
Exclusive: Obama sits down with 9 News  —  WASHINGTON - 9 News anchor Carol Williams sat down with President Barack Obama for an exclusive interview Wednesday afternoon to discuss the historic budget proposal he sent to Congress Monday and how it affects the nation as well as residents of the Tri-State.
Investor's Business Daily:
The Tyrants Lunge  —  Foreign Policy: Amid President Obama's vow to enact “smart diplomacy” and to raise U.S. stature overseas, it's never been more dangerous to be an American abroad.  From Tehran to Havana, tyrants are taking U.S. hostages.  —  One after another, our nation's enemies …
Discussion: Power Line
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 More Items: 
Brendan O'Neill / TheAustralian:
Palestine an obsession of radical West, not Arabs
Vanita Salisbury / New York Magazine:
Ed Schultz Drinks Whiskey in the Winter, Gin and Tonics in the Summer
Discussion: FishbowlDC, Mediaite and TVNewser
Paul Bedard / US News:
Border Patrol Controls Just 44 Percent of South
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and The Jawa Report
Jake Tapper / Political Punch:
Borrowing to Pay Interest on a Debt Isn't Creating Debt?: Today's Q's for O's WH - 2/16/2011
Libya protests: Activists call for ‘day of anger’
 Earlier Items: 
Obama to sign bill naming courthouse after slain Arizona judge
Discussion: USA Today and FrumForum
Bob Egelko / San Francisco Chronicle:
California high court to rule on key Prop. 8 issue
John Stossel /
Is Seasteading the Future?  —  Here's a novel idea …
Discussion: Firedoglake
Alana Semuels / Money & Company:
Businesses are refusing to hire the unemployed, commission told
Discussion: Outside the Beltway