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4:10 PM ET, February 17, 2011

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Mary Katharine Ham / The Daily Caller:
Wisconsin budget fight escalates as Dems flee Madison to avoid vote  —  A three-day-long stand-off at the Wisconsin state capitol between union supporters and those backing the Republican governor's budget cuts just went to another level Thursday as Democratic senators apparently fled the state …
JSOnline:
Unions want to overturn election result  —  Say you generally liked Gov. Scott Walker's move to rein in government labor costs but had a few doubts on his method.  The last few days should have cleared that up nicely.  —  The public-sector union tantrums, meant to make lawmakers wobble …
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights  —  Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.  —  The reality is radically different.
Dennis Cauchon / USA Today:
Wisconsin Democrats AWOL for heated vote
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
Eric Lach / TPMDC:
Paul Ryan On Wisconsin Protests: 'It's Like Cairo Has Moved To Madison' (VIDEO)
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.
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New York Times:
Out of Control in the House  —  Are there any adults in charge of the House?  Watching this week's frenzied slash-and-burn budget contest, we had to conclude the answer to that is no.  —  First Speaker John Boehner's Republican leadership proposed cutting the rest of the 2011 budget by $32 billion.
Jonathan Chait / The New Republic:
Are Democrats Negotiating A Monumentally Stupid Deficit Deal?
Discussion: Ezra Klein and Guardian
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Grand Bargain Would Be Tilted Toward Spending Cuts
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Christian Heinze / GOP 12:
Rove: Confront birthers now  —  Savvy GOP strategist Karl Rove says a poll signaling that a majority of likely GOP primary voters have questions about Barack Obama's birthplace is “lousy”.  —  But last night, he urged prominent conservatives to stand up forcefully (and quickly) to kill birther talk.
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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 …
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.
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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.
Blue Texan / Firedoglake:
Chris Christie's Idea of “Doing Big Things”  —  I continue to be baffled by all the love New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie's getting among the chattering class.  Here's a typically fawning piece about his speech at AEI yesterday. … “Big things” to Christie simply means less money …
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Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Chris Christie isn't pretty, and he tells ugly truths
Discussion: CNN and Yglesias
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
The Christie speech: We must fix America
Discussion: UrbanGrounds
Lbentzterp / CNN:
TRENDING: Palin talks 2012, mocks Michelle Obama  —  Woodbury, New York (CNN) - Sarah Palin addressed a variety of issues Thursday at a gathering of business officials in Long Island, New York including her 2012 plans, first lady Michelle Obama, President Obama's proposed budget, the crisis in Egypt, and her feelings on the media.
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Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Palin knocks breastfeeding initiative
Russell Berman / The Hill:
GOP escalates showdown with Obama over funding measure  —  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday ruled out a short-term government-funding bill that maintains “current levels” of federal spending, escalating a showdown with Democrats and President Obama.
Discussion: CNN, Booman Tribune and The Hill
RELATED:
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,” …
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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.
Binyamin Appelbaum / New York Times:
As U.S. Agencies Put More Value on a Life, Businesses Fret  —  WASHINGTON — As the players here remake the nation's vast regulatory system, they have been grappling with a subject that is more the province of poets and philosophers than bureaucrats: what is the value of a human life?
Guardian:
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 …
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
How much respect did the demonstrators show for the State Capitol grounds?  —  Here are some photographs taken yesterday by Meade (my husband) at the demonstration against Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan:  —  “If I'm a GREAT worker WHY are you treating me THIS WAY?”  — an abandoned sign pleads.
Discussion: Publius Forum, Moe Lane and Instapundit
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%).
 
 
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 More Items: 
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones:
The Secret Weapon of the Rich: Money
Discussion: Free exchange and Yglesias
Greg Hengler / Townhall.com:
Out Of The Blue Stephanopoulos Asks Bachmann To Declare Obama's A Christian & American
Discussion: Hot Air and theblogprof
Political Punch:
President Obama Continues Claim that “We're Not Going to Spend Any More Money Than We're Taking In”
Reuters:
Three killed in Bahrain clashes as Mideast seethes
 Earlier Items: 
P.J. Orvetti / NBC Washington:
NPR's Take on D.C. Angers Locals
Gail Collins / New York Times:
Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas
Scott Turow / New York Times:
The One-Man Political Machine
Discussion: Lynn Sweet
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