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1:50 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(CNN) — President Barack Obama is expected to announce this week that 30,000 U.S. “surge” forces will be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official has told CNN.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
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Today in Endless War
Sheila Marikar / ABCNEWS:
Bristol Palin Reveals True Feelings About the McCains, ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Levi Johnston and More  —  From Levi Johnston to Meghan McCain, Bristol Palin has been put off by a lot of people.  —  In her upcoming memoir, “Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far,” the 20-year-old daughter …
Katie Glueck / Washington Wire:
Sarah Palin, Daughter Bristol Trademark Their Names
Discussion: The Wire
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 …
The Note:
Huntsman Campaign Launch Begins Day with Misspelling of His Own Name  —  ABC News' Sarah Kunin (@Sarah_Kunin) reports:  —  Every detail of Jon Huntsman's long-awaited campaign launch was meticulously planned, except of course for one minor detail: the misspelling of the candidate's name.
Shannon McCaffrey / Associated Press:
APNewsBreak: Gingrich campaign finance team quits  —  ATLANTA — The top fundraisers for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign have abandoned his struggling bid amid anemic fundraising and heavy spending.  —  Campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond is confirming to The Associated Press …
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
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 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.”
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.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Pawlenty buys ads in Iowa  —  Tim Pawlenty will become the first Republican candidate to launch a major media buy in Iowa.  —  Pawlenty is going up with ads in the first-in-the-nation caucus state starting tomorrow on Fox News with a buy just under $50,000 in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines …
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’
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 …
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 …
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 …
Schumer adds new weight to repatriation tax talks  —  Apple, Cisco, and other multinationals are lobbying hard for a tax break on foreign income.  They may have a new ally in Sen. Chuck Schumer.  —  By Tory Newmyer, writer  —  FORTUNE — The campaign by U.S. multinationals to sell Congress …
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.
Barry Harrell / Austin American-Statesman:
Amazon negotiating for sales-tax exemption in trade for 5,000 new Texas jobs  — is negotiating a deal with Texas officials that would see the online retail giant promise to bring more than 5,000 jobs and $300 million in capital investments to the state over the next three years …
Discussion: National Review and Off the Kuff
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Perry aids prepped for rumor rehash
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture:
A License to Lie, Backdated  —  Steve Randy Waldman writes about finance and economics at the website Interfluidity.  —  In a party-line, 5 to 4 split, the Supreme Court last week severely curtailed investors' practical ability to hold financial intermediaries accountable for fraud.
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 …
Muslim woman Carnita Matthews escapes jail by remaining behind her burqa  —  Debate ... Carnita Matthews was pulled over last June.  Picture: Channel 9 HWT Image Library  —  Supporters shield Carnita Matthews as she leaves court.  Picture: Cameron Richardson.  Herald Sun
Michelle Obama Meets With Nelson Mandela, Says President Is ‘Pouty’  —  First lady Michelle Obama visited Nelson Mandela on the first day of her trip to South Africa today and told one greeter that her husband was “pouty” that he couldn't come along.  —  The first lady's weeklong trip …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
The Huffington Post:
Van Jones Considers Legal Action Against Fox News, Demands Glenn Beck Retraction … NEW YORK — After challenging Glenn Beck to a debate over the weekend at Netroots Nation and in a ad Monday, Van Jones may have taken his beef with Beck a step further.
Richard E. Cohen / The Politico:
GOP eyes tax breaks, loopholes  —  Last week's resounding votes on ethanol subsidies were just the start.  Republicans are now starting to eye all sorts of tax breaks and special-interest loopholes once considered sacred cows as they seek ways to increase government revenue without actually raising tax rates.
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 More Items: 
John Sides / News:
The Effects of a Tax Receipt
Discussion: ThinkProgress and National Review
Keith Laing / The Hill:
Astronaut husband of Rep. Giffords to retire
Discussion: The Politico
Alan S. Blinder / Wall Street Journal:
The GOP Myth of ‘Job-Killing’ Spending
Lucia Mutikani / Reuters:
Home sales hit 6-month low, prices decline
Eric Hananoki / Media Matters for America:
Fox News Sunday Edits Out Jon Stewart's Criticism Of Fox Exec
 Earlier Items: 
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
David Kravets / Threat Level:
Righthaven Loss: Judge Rules Reposting Entire Article Is Fair Use
David W. Dunlap / New York Times:
Mysteries of a Nazi Photo Album
Patrik Jonsson /
Actions in Alabama and New York highlight opposite directions
Discussion: Pirate's Cove
Guy Kovner / Santa Rosa Press-Democrat:
Sources: Woolsey to announce retirement
Discussion: Ballot Box, USA Today and TPMDC