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12:55 PM ET, June 21, 2011


 Top Items: 
Los Angeles Times:
Obama expected to announce major Afghan drawdown  —  Pentagon and White House officials say about 10,000 troops will probably come home this year, a bigger number than Gen. David Petraeus wanted.  —  U.S. troops examine confiscated weapons and ammunition during a raid in Sabari, in eastern Afghanistan, on Sunday.
Obama to announce plan to pull 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan  —  Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama is expected to announce this week that 30,000 U.S. “surge” forces will be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official has told CNN.
David Brooks / New York Times:
Smart Power Setback  —  So far, few politicians have embraced my plan for a Marshall Plan Tax.  The idea is that every time a think-tanker, op-ed writer or retired senator calls for a new Marshall Plan or a moonshot-type initiative to solve a social problem, they would have to pay a tax of $50.
Spencer Ackerman / Danger Room:
Never Mind The Drawdown: Taliban Talks, Not Troop Numbers, Are What Really Matter for Afghanistan
Katie Glueck / Washington Wire:
Sarah Palin, Daughter Bristol Trademark Their Names
Discussion: The Wire
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
Huntsman announces presidential bid, warns of ‘un-American’ future  —  Liberty State Park, New Jersey (CNN) - Not known for throwing out red meat to conservative audiences, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman warned voters the country is facing an “un-American” future in his campaign kick-off speech Tuesday.
Discussion: Taylor Marsh
Mark Egan / Reuters:
Huntsman enters 2012 race, vows “hard decisions”
Discussion: and USA Today
The Politico:
Jon Huntsman's venue, Liberty State Park, has storied history
Discussion: CNN and
Michael O'Brien / Ballot Box:
Huntsman launches bid for White House, attacks ‘corrosive’ politics
Discussion: CNN
John Merline / Investor's Business Daily:
Did Obama Really Prevent A Second Great Depression?  —  It has become a common refrain at the White House and among administration supporters that President Obama's aggressive efforts to stimulate growth prevented an economic catastrophe.  —  “We had to hit the ground running and do everything …
Discussion: Power Line and Wizbang
Josh Gerstein / The Politico:
Donor meeting at White House draws fire  —  A meeting President Barack Obama hosted in the White House for his key political backers from Wall Street is under fire from good government advocates and a Bush administration ethics official who say the session appeared to bring activity related … Truth-O-Meter rulings from National:
Jon Stewart: “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? ...  Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”  —  “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? ...  Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”  —  “President Obama and liberal former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine's $787 billion stimulus failed to create jobs.”
Rich Lowry / National Review:
The Rise of Uncompassionate Conservatism  —  The Republican noncandidate flavor of the week is Texas governor Rick Perry.  If you squint just right, you could mistake him at a podium for his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Except for his message.  —  There might be no more powerful symbol …
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Perry aids prepped for rumor rehash
Barry Harrell / Austin American-Statesman:
Amazon negotiating for sales-tax exemption in trade for 5,000 new Texas jobs
Discussion: National Review and Off the Kuff
Richard Black / BBC:
World's oceans in ‘shocking’ decline  —  Coral reefs are subject to “multiple stressors” that could destroy many within a human generation  —  The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.  —  In a new report, they warn that ocean life is …
Louise Gray / Telegraph:   World's oceans move into ‘extinction phase’
Travis Donovan / The Huffington Post:
State Of The Ocean: ‘Shocking’ Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress
Discussion: Firedoglake
Nathan Hodge / Washington Wire:
Straight Talk From Top Enlisted Marine on 'Don't Ask' Repeal  —  The Command Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the service's top non-commissioned officer, is supposed to be tough, hard-charging — and more than a little intimidating. … In that respect, Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett …
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
San Francisco Chronicle:
Stunning result, twice  —  The result stunned poll director Mark DiCamillo, who said he initially dismissed as an aberration a similar outcome in a March poll that had one of the state's most-popular politicians falling so far from favor.  The nonpartisan Field Poll is considered one of the most reliable surveys in the state.
Discussion: CNN, The Politico and Hotline On Call
Steven Greenhouse / New York Times:
N.L.R.B. Rules Would Streamline Unionizing  —  In a move that will undoubtedly please labor unions, the National Labor Relations Board announced on Tuesday morning that it was proposing new rules to speed up unionization elections, largely by streamlining various procedures.
Cigarette Health Warnings  —  Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States.  These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement …
Dahlia Lithwick / Slate Magazine:
Class Dismissed … Like This Story … - Can Airlines Really Insist That You Pull Your Pants Up?  - How Your Relationship To Debt Changes Completely When You Turn 28- Holy Gamoly!  TV Chefs Reacting to the Taste of Their Own Food- Shafer: Why Synthetic Pot Is Worse …
Audrey Hudson / Human Events:
Obama's Food Police in Staggering Crackdown on Market to Kids  —  Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts will be out of a job unless grocery manufacturers agree to reinvent a vast array of their products to satisfy the Obama administration's food police.
Katie Moisse / ABCNEWS:
N.C. Man Allegedly Robs Bank of $1 to Get Health Care in Jail  —  A 59-year-old man has been jailed in Gastonia, N.C., on charges of larceny after allegedly robbing an RBC Bank for $1 so he could get health care in prison.  Richard James Verone handed a female teller a note demanding the money …
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 More Items: 
Lucia Mutikani / Reuters:
Home sales hit 6-month low, prices decline
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture:
A License to Lie, Backdated
Muslim woman Carnita Matthews escapes jail by remaining behind her burqa
Discussion: National Review and Moonbattery
Michelle Obama Meets With Nelson Mandela, Says President Is ‘Pouty’
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Liz Goodwin / Yahoo! News:
Study: Nearly half of college-educated gay Americans are in the closet at work
Felix Salmon:
Charts of the day: The rise in structural unemployment
Annamaria Andriotis / Wall Street Journal:
Another Pricing Test for Insuring People With Pre-Existing Conditions
Discussion: ThinkProgress and New York Times
 Earlier Items: 
David W. Dunlap / New York Times:
Mysteries of a Nazi Photo Album
Patrik Jonsson /
Actions in Alabama and New York highlight opposite directions
Discussion: Right Wing News
Guy Kovner / Santa Rosa Press-Democrat:
Sources: Woolsey to announce retirement
Discussion: Ballot Box and USA Today