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2:00 PM ET, March 31, 2011


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels  —  WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and contact rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's forces, according to American officials.
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
On The Latest From Libya  —  I'm still absorbing this news and don't want to vent immediately, because there is still part of me that simply cannot believe that president Obama has already ordered covert action in Libya on one side in a civil war, and is now actively discussing whether to arm …
Matt Negrin / The Politico:
Tapper offers Carney ‘straw men’  —  The temperature in the White House briefing jumped up Wednesday afternoon as Jake Tapper and Jay Carney vented some of their frustrations with each other publicly.  —  At one point, Tapper dissed Carney by saying he could provide a “room full of straw men” for the White House press secretary.
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Susan Crabtree / TPMDC:
Clinton To Congress: Obama Would Ignore Your War Resolutions  —  Update: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked Clinton about the War Powers Act during a classified briefing, said Clinton and the administration are sidestepping the measure's provisions giving Congress the ability to put a 60-day time limit on any military action.
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:   The Imperial President, Ctd
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
Hillary Clinton's top score
Ann Coulter / Human Events:
Obama Cried, Kids Died
Discussion: Maggie's Notebook and CNSNews
Craig McMurtrie / ABC News:   The reluctant warrior
Mark Joyella / Mediaite:
GMA Takes On ‘Tea Party Darlings On The Dole’  —  Thursday morning, ABC's Good Morning America suggested some of the Tea Party's leaders have a case of “Hill Hypocrisy” for attacking government spending while taking millions in government money.  ABC's senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl reported …
David Rogers / The Politico:
Budget deal close with $33B in cuts
Tea Party Hypocrisy? Some Lawmakers With Tea Party Ties Are on the Government Dole
First Read /
First thoughts: Caving in  —  White House and Democrats continue …
Margaret Carlson / Bloomberg:
Kennedy Pal Goes AWOL as Tea Party Cashes In: Margaret Carlson
Andrew Taylor / Associated Press:
Budget talks aimed at avoiding shutdown resume
Discussion: The Politico, Mother Jones and Grist
Billy House /
Tea Party Leverage Fading in Spending Talks?
Discussion: The Note, Dot Earth and FrumForum
Judge Says Union Bargaining Bill Not In Effect  —  Sumi Amends Temporary Restraining Order  —  MADISON, Wis. — The contentious collective bargaining law that strips most public workers of nearly all collective bargaining rights and force them to contribute more to their pension and health plans …
Marc Lacey / New York Times:
An Arizona Senate Race Waits to See if Giffords Emerges to Run  —  TUCSON — Representative Gabrielle Giffords is still in the hospital, but some of her most ardent backers are so enamored of the idea of her running for the Senate that they describe the inevitable campaign commercials …
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Democrats consider proposing tax hikes  —  Senate Democrats are discussing plans to introduce tax policy changes that they say would raise federal revenues and broaden the budget debate beyond discretionary spending cuts.  —  Democrats feel they have been boxed by Republicans into a debate …
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Iowa GOP threatens effort to strip Florida of 2012 Republican convention  —  The chairman of Iowa's Republican Party on Thursday backed an effort to possibly move the 2012 Republican National Convention out of Florida if that state sticks to its January primary date.
Discussion: The Politico, CNN and The Note
Ben Smith / The Politico:
S.C. Republicans escalate calendar feud
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Steve Kornacki / Salon:
The unbeatable Republican?  —  Massachusetts is a deeply Democratic state, one in which barely more than 15 percent of the seats in the state Legislature are held by Republicans and fewer than 15 percent of all registered voters belong to the GOP.  So it's hardly surprising that national Democrats …
Discussion: Pundit Press and National Review
Abby Phillip / The Politico:
Shh!  Obama gets anti-secrecy award  —  The president accepted a transparency award in a closed, undisclosed meeting.  —  President Obama finally and quietly accepted his “transparency” award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday.
Zaid Jilani / ThinkProgress:
Rand Paul Mocks Newt Gingrich: ‘He Has More War Positions Than He Has Wives’  —  Potential GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich has been in hot water lately after ThinkProgress caught him flipping his position on the Libyan war rapidly over the span of just a few weeks …
Discussion: Firedoglake, TPMDC and GOP 12
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Rubio Takes the Lead  —  Urges Congress to authorize military action, endorse regime change.  —  THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained the text of a letter freshman senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent tonight to the Senate majority and minority leaders.  In it, Rubio proposes that the Senate authorize …
Mike McIntire / New York Times:
Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party  —  The Tea Party does not have a presence in Indonesia, where the term evokes cups of orange pekoe and sweet cakes rather than angry citizens in “Don't Tread on Me” T-shirts.  —  But a Tea Party group in the United States, the Institute for Liberty …
Stack / USW Blog:
A Well-Intentioned Bad Idea  —  International Vice President, United Steelworkers  —  By now anyone who had not yet heard of the Koch brothers has been introduced to them.  Every major newspaper and magazine has run an article about the brothers who until recently lived largely under …
Steve Lohr / New York Times:
Antitrust Cry From Microsoft  —  The wheel of technology history turns remarkably fast.  Microsoft, whose domination of the technology industry provoked a landmark federal antitrust case, is crying foul against Google and urging European Union antitrust officials to go after the search giant.
Associated Press:
Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Curbing Unions  —  COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Legislature voted Wednesday to severely limit the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 public workers, sending a bill that sparked weeks of pro-labor protests to Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to sign it by the end of the week.
Tanya Somanader / ThinkProgress:
VIDEO: Indiana GOP Rep Says Women Will Pretend To Be Raped To Get Free Abortions  —  Yesterday morning, the Indiana House considered an anti-abortion bill that “would put some of the tightest abortion restrictions in the nation into Indiana law.”  Introduced by state Rep. Eric Turner (R) …
Benjamin Svetkey / PopWatch:
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as ‘The Governator’ — EXCLUSIVE  —  He's been a famous body builder.  He's been a killer cyborg from the future.  He's been Governor of California.  And now, in this week's exclusive cover scoop, Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals his plans for the next phase …
Ari Berman / The Nation:
Jim Messina, Obama's Enforcer  —  In March 2009 the Campaign for America's Future, a top progressive group in Washington, launched a campaign called “Dog The (Blue) Dogs” to pressure conservative Blue Dog Democrats to support President Obama's budget.  When he heard about the effort …
Discussion: Booman Tribune
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 More Items: 
Sean J. Miller / Ballot Box:
Poll: Young voters increasingly happy with Obama
Bennett Roth / Roll Call:
AARP Is Next on GOP Target List
Rasmussen Reports:
Just 21% Say U.S. Has Clearly Defined Mission in Libya
Discussion: Pajamas Media, HotAirPundit and Hot Air
Bob Cusack / Ballot Box:
Rep. Ron Paul to decide on White House bid soon
Discussion: The Politico
Amanda Terkel / The Huffington Post:
Maine GOP Legislators Looking To Loosen Child Labor Laws
 Earlier Items: 
Doug McKelway / Fox News:
Report Accuses DHS of Witness Tampering and Attempted Theft of Congressional Committee Documents
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit and Don Surber
Timothy R. Homan / Bloomberg:
Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell by 6,000 Last Week to 388,000
Catherine / VisualizingEconomics:
Increase in Housing Quality and its effect on Home Values: 1940-2010
Discussion: The Big Picture
Wall Street Journal:
Sokol Resigns After Stock Disclosure; Berkshire Succession Thrown Into Question
Discussion: The Atlantic Online and Law Blog
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
Obama issues veto threat over union measure in FAA bill