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12:25 PM ET, July 9, 2011


 Top Items: 
Enid Nemy / New York Times:
Betty Ford, Former First Lady, Dies at 93  —  Betty Ford, the outspoken and much-admired wife of President Gerald R. Ford who overcame alcoholism and an addiction to pills and helped found one of the best-known rehabilitation centers in the nation, died Friday in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 93.
Jake Tapper / ABCNEWS:
Former First Lady Betty Ford Dead at 93  —  Betty Ford, wife of former President Gerald Ford and the founder of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction, has died at age 93.  —  In public, she was one of the most visible and outspoken first ladies in history.
Former first lady Betty Ford dies at the age of 93
Elisabeth Bumiller / New York Times:
Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda ‘Within Reach’  —  KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense secretary Leon E. Panetta, who arrived in Kabul on Saturday, said the United States was “within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda” and that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 …
David S. Cloud / Los Angeles Times:
Panetta says U.S. is ‘within reach’ of defeating Al Qaeda  —  The new defense chief says intelligence uncovered in the Bin Laden raid showed that 10 years of U.S. operations against the terror network had left it with fewer than two dozen key operatives.  Panetta is visiting Afghanistan for the first time as defense secretary.
Discussion: Emptywheel
Associated Press:
Leon Panetta goes to Afghanistan
Discussion: ABCNEWS
Mark Halperin / The Page:
The Road (Maybe) Ahead  —  HALPERIN'S TAKE  —  This isn't a prediction, but here is one highly plausible sequence of a series of events that could play out on the debt crisis:  —  Some time in the next 5 days, the President reaches an understanding with Speaker Boehner, Congressman Hoyer …
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Jamie Klatell / The Hill:
Obama calls for a ‘balanced approach,’ sacrifices in debt deal  —  As the debate intensifies over raising the debt ceiling and kick-starting the economy, President Obama attempted to rise above the fray in his weekend address.  —  “We can meet our fiscal challenge,” the president said.
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Rep. Cantor ‘cannot fathom’ support for tax increases after bleak jobs report
Bree Tracey / Fox News:
Religion, Rangel and the Debt Ceiling
Eli / Firedoglake:
Worst President Ever, Revisited  —  No, I'm not ready to crown Barack Obama the Worst President Ever just yet, but consider this:  —  Yes, George W. Bush wrecked our economy, destroyed New Orleans, turned a budget surplus into massive deficits, ignored warnings of a major terrorist attack …
Peter Nicholas / Los Angeles Times:
Obama turns to small-scale solutions to a weak economy  —  The White House, threatened by the high unemployment rate, proposes free-trade agreements and more spending on high-speed rail in the absence of more ambitious tools, such as stimulus spending.  —  President Obama delivers a statement …
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Trailing G.O.P. With Cameras, Seeking Gaffes  —  AMHERST, N.H. — Aaron Fielding quietly stalks his prey — Republicans — with his video camera, patiently waiting for a political moment worthy of YouTube.  —  At 27, he is a full-time “tracker” for American Bridge 21st Century …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Tara Siegel Bernard / New York Times:
As Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal, Some Choices May Be Lost  —  Now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York, at least a few large companies are requiring their employees to tie the knot if they want their partners to qualify for health insurance.
Discussion: Althouse and Prop 8 Trial Tracker
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Our Excuser-In-Chief  —  We haven't yet said anything about today's disastrous employment news.  What is to be said?  Unemployment is up to 9.2%, with underemployment much higher.  A mere 18,000 jobs were added in June, less than one-fifth of what economists expected.
Discussion: Associated Press
Susan Crabtree / TPMDC:
Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath  —  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.
Erick Erickson / RedState:
Possibly Drunk Rutgers Economist Susan Feinberg Whines To Susan Crabtree Who Is Hard Up For A Story
Discussion: Cold Fury
Joshua Green / The Atlantic Online:
Paul Ryan's $350 Bottle of Wine
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Following Controversy Over Pledge, Family Leader Clarifies Anti-Porn Statement  —  GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum both signed a candidate pledge by the influential social conservative group THE FAMiLY LEADER which ThinkProgress, ABC, the Washington Post …
Paul Krugman:
Charting Our Policy Insanity  —  Just to say what should be obvious: unemployment is extremely high by historical standards, while interest rates are very low.  Yet unemployment has almost disappeared from policy discussion, which is preoccupied with the need to appease hypothetical bond vigilantes.
Dave Johnson / Seeing the Forest:
False Conventional Wisdom In The UK, Too  —  In England people “know” many of the same false things that people here “know.”  Except in England the false things work against English working people instead of against American working people.  —  I am in England this week and next and am enjoying some pub conversations while here.
Discussion: Corrente
Paul Tough / New York Times:
No, Seriously: No Excuses  —  In the early days of the education-reform movement, a decade or so ago, you'd often hear from reformers a powerful rallying cry: “No excuses.”  For too long, they said, poverty had been used as an excuse by complacent educators and bureaucrats who refused …
Dana Goldstein:
Intervening in the Education Wars
Discussion: New York Times
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 More Items: 
Dan Mitchell / Big Government:
Bacon, Duct Tape, and the Free Market
Carl Campanile / New York Post:
Queens Democratic Party boss lives in northern Virginia
Discussion: PolitickerNY and JammieWearingFool
Carlos Lozano / L.A. NOW:
Federal government says marijuana has no accepted medical use
Discussion: ASA, TalkLeft and LAist
Douglas Belkin / Wall Street Journal:
Chicago Power Broker Gets Heat Over Security Detail
The Politico:
Perry calling Iowa activists as potential donors convene
Discussion: The Note and FrumForum
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Yglesias / ThinkProgress:
What Really Matters
Dan Amira / New York Magazine:
President Obama Receiving Sycophantic Laughter
Discussion: Wizbang and Pajamas Media
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
GOP allies hatching sleazy dirty tricks in Wisconsin recall wars