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4:00 PM ET, December 16, 2011


 Top Items: 
Juli Weiner / Vanity Fair:
In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011  —  Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62.  Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir …
William Grimes / New York Times:
Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011: Christopher Hitchens Is Dead at 62 — Obituary  —  Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa …
Christopher Buckley / News Desk:
Postscript: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011  —  We were friends for more than thirty years, which is a long time but, now that he is gone, seems not nearly long enough.  I was rather nervous when I first met him, one night in London in 1977, along with his great friend Martin Amis.
Nick Gillespie / Reason:
Christopher Hitchens, RIP
Discussion: The Agitator and Hit & Run
Matt Schudel / Washington Post:
Christopher Hitchens dies; Vanity Fair writer was a religious skeptic, master of the contrarian essay
Discussion: Reuters, CNN and Michael Totten
Christopher Hitchens dies at 62 after suffering cancer
Discussion: Guardian
New York Post:
Long Island high-school students suspended for ‘Tebowing’  —  The Tebow mania sweeping the nation sacked a group of Long Island high-school students who were suspended for mimicking the quarterback's famous prayer pose.  —  Twin brothers Tyler and Connor Carroll of Riverhead HS …
Brian Beutler /
TPMDC  —  McConnell Demands Keystone XL In Any Payroll Tax Agreement  —  It's gut check time for Congressional Democrats on the payroll tax cut bill.  —  Regarding that legislation, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell emails me with the following statement …
Jake Shermanand Manu Raju / The Politico:
Keystone Pipeline may end up in payroll deal
Discussion: The Hill, Taylor Marsh and Daily Kos
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Pelosi: GOP House leads ‘do-nothing’ Congress
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Stephen Dinan / Washington Times:
Congress overturns incandescent light bulb ban  —  Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.  —  That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill …
Darren Samuelsohn / The Politico:
GOP wins light bulb fight  —  The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs.  —  GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes …
A.Killough / CNN:
Haley explains her decision to back Romney, not Gingrich  —  Sioux City, Iowa (CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said her decision to endorse Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race became clear two weeks ago.  —  At the end of November, Haley ducked out of a Republican Governors …
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Dems call on Rep. West to apologize for Joseph Goebbels comparison  —  Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) landed in hot water on Friday for his remarks the previous day comparing the Democrats' proficiency in getting out their message to the notorious head of the Nazi Party's propaganda department under Hitler.
Tanya Somanader / ThinkProgress:
Rep. Allen West: 'If Joseph Goebbels Was Around, He'd Be Very Proud Of The Democrat Party'
Maxim Lott / Fox News:
Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov't Help Hide Climate Data?  —  Are your tax dollars helping hide global warming data from the public?  Internal emails leaked as part of “Climategate 2.0” indicate the answer may be “Yes.”  —  The original Climategate emails — correspondence stolen …
Discussion: Biased BBC
Steven Jiang / CNN:
‘Batman’ star Bale punched, stopped from visiting blind Chinese activist  —  DONGSHIGU VILLAGE, China (CNN) — As Christian Bale approached an impromptu checkpoint leading to this tiny village in eastern China, four men blocking the narrow path started marching toward him in menacing unison.
Yolanda Jones / The Commercial Appeal:
Southaven Mayor Greg Davis' expense receipts prompt frank revelation  —  Purchase at store for gay men leads to mayor's admission  —  Southaven Mayor Greg Davis addresses the media last month following a meeting with the state auditor.  —  Receipts from embattled Southaven Mayor Greg Davis reveal …
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Romney accuses Obama of deliberately harming America for political reasons  —  I'm not sure why this isn't getting more attention.  After the debate spin last night, Mitt Romney made an accusation during an interview with Fox News I haven't seen him make before: He accused the President …
Discussion: Washington Monthly Truth-O-Meter rulings from National:
Michele Bachmann: “After the debate that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything I said was true."  —  “After the debate that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything I said was true.”  —  DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz “denied unemployment went up under Obama.”
Michael O'Brien /
GOP candidates for Congress bullish on Gingrich at top of ticket  —  The hottest argument in Republican circles these days isn't about immigration, taxes or even health care policy.  It's about New Gingrich and whether nominating him as the party standard-bearer would be disastrous or providential.
Discussion: GOP 12 and Indecision Forever
Peter Hitchens / Daily Mail:
In Memoriam, my courageous brother Christopher, 1949-2011  —  How odd it is to hear of your own brother's death on an early morning radio bulletin.  How odd it is for a private loss to be a public event.  —  I wouldn't normally dream of writing about such a thing here, and I doubt if many people would expect me to.
Discussion: Verum Serum
Lymari Morales / Gallup:
Fewer Americans See U.S. Divided Into “Haves,” “Have Nots”  —  The majority would put themselves in the “haves” category if they had to choose  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are now less likely to see U.S. society as divided into the “haves” and “have nots” than they were in 2008, returning to their views prior to that point.
Kevin Zieber / Media Matters for America:
Cartoon Regularly Featured On Big Journalism Connected To Nazi-Era Magazine  —  In at least three instances, Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism website has used an image connected to a Nazi-era German magazine noted for anti-Semitic cartoons and pro-Hitler leanings.
Ryan Jones / Israel Today:
Hamas: Vote for us, we kill more Jews!  —  Hamas on Wednesday marked its 24th anniversary by playing up how many Jews it has managed to murder.  The highly publicized event (and grisly casualty figures) came just months before Palestinians are scheduled to go to the polls to elect a new parliament and president.
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Atlas Shrugs
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:
SEC CHARGES FORMER FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC EXECUTIVES WITH SECURITIES FRAUD  —  Companies Agree to Cooperate in SEC Actions  —  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  —  2011-267  —  Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged six former top executives …
Russia: Kostroma Region to implement a ban on propaganda of homosexuality  —  Law is being discussed in Regional Parliament  —  Meeting of the Kostroma Duma Committee  —  Kostroma, a region located 300 km north east of Moscow, may become the third Russian region to outlaw so called propaganda of homosexuality to minors.
Discussion: Joe. My. God.
Mark Tapscott / Campaign 2012:
Congressmen can't say ‘Merry Christmas’ in mail  —  Looks like the PC police have threatened members of the House of Representatives against wishing constituents a “Merry Christmas,” if they want to do so in a mailing paid for with tax dollars.  —  Members who submit official mailings …
Discussion: Hot Air and Weasel Zippers
Rose French Updated / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Archbishop issues “marriage prayer” for Catholics to recite at mass  —  In an effort to promote the passage of the marriage amendment to the state's constituion, Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt wants Catholics to recite a special prayer during mass.  —  He's also urging area Catholics …
James Kirkup / Telegraph:
French leaders declare a war of words on Britain  —  French leaders have launched outspoken public attacks on Britain, calling for the UK to lose its AAA credit rating and comparing its economy with that of Greece.  —  Christian Noyer, the governor of the Bank of France
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 More Items: 
Richard W. Stevenson / The Caucus:
Group Clears Path for a Third-Party Ticket
Detroit Free Press:
Howell mom sues over son getting suspended after debate about gays in school
Matt Brooks / Washington Post:
Mike McQueary: I saw Sandusky molesting boy
Howard Beck / New York Times:
Former N.B.A. Employee Says Sexual Harassment Concerns Were Ignored
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Deadspin
Lyndsey Layton / Washington Post:
Teachers union leads effort that aims to turn around West Virginia school system
Jamie Weinstein / The Daily Caller:
VICE sheds light on N. Korean labor camps inside Russia in new video
Discussion: Sister Toldjah and Verum Serum
Walter Russell Mead / Via Meadia:
Leftie Populism Still Looks Like A Loser
Discussion: Power Line and Gallup
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House approves omnibus spending bill
Discussion: Daily Kos
 Earlier Items: 
Associated Press:
Russian fishing boat sinking in Antarctic waters
Discussion: Liberty Street
Voting Rights Controversies Wreak Havoc in Texas
James V. Grimaldi / Washington Post:
FBI considered a sting aimed at Newt Gingrich in 1997
Wayne Besen / Truth Wins Out:
Marcus Bachmann Backs Down and Caves on Bogus $150 ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy Bill
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Scott Peterson / Christian Science Monitor:
Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer