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4:25 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 …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
DNC playing role in Wisconsin protests  —  The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America arm — the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign — is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights.
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 …
Dennis Cauchon / USA Today:
Wisconsin Democrats AWOL for heated vote  —  As government workers flooded the state Capitol to protest, Wisconsin legislators were tripped up in attempts to vote Thursday on a game-changing law that would force public employees to pay more for pension and health benefits while limiting their union's power to negotiate.
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
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
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights
Eric Lach / TPMDC:
Paul Ryan On Wisconsin Protests: 'It's Like Cairo Has Moved To Madison' (VIDEO)
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 …
Russell Berman / The Hill:
GOP escalates showdown with Obama over funding measure
Discussion: CNN, Booman Tribune and The Hill
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
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
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Secret Report Ordered by Obama Identified Potential Uprisings  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt …
RELATED:
Colum Lynch / Foreign Policy:
In major reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council
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 …
RELATED:
Jake Sherman / The Politico:
Boehner ups chance of shutdown
Discussion: Swampland and USA Today
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 …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones:
The Secret Weapon of the Rich: Money
Discussion: Free exchange and Yglesias
Robert Farley / Lawyers, Guns & Money:
A Dry America is a Weak America
Discussion: Yglesias and Outside the Beltway
Greg Hengler / Townhall.com:
Out Of The Blue Stephanopoulos Asks Bachmann To Declare Obama's A Christian & American
Discussion: Hot Air and theblogprof
 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
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
Nameless Republican Ties Obama in 2012 Election Preferences