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2:55 PM ET, December 18, 2011


 Top Items: 
Associated Press:
Vaclav Havel, Dissident Playwright Who Led Czechoslovakia, Dead at 75  —  PRAGUE — Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, has died.  He was 75.
J.Y. Smith / Washington Post:
Vaclav Havel, dissident playwright and former Czech president, dies  —  Václav Havel, a Czech writer who was imprisoned by his country's former communist rulers, only to become a symbol of freedom and his nation's first president in the post-communist era, died Sunday morning …
Ted Mann / The Atlantic Wire:
Vaclav Havel is Dead
Nick Gillespie / Hit & Run:
Vaclav Havel, RIP
Michael Winfrey / Reuters:
Vaclav Havel, leader of “Velvet Revolution,” dies
Ron Nixon / New York Times:
Boehner Says House G.O.P. Opposes Deal on Payroll Tax  —  WASHINGTON — A day after the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to extend a payroll tax cut for two months, House Republicans made clear Sunday that they would not support the measure.  —  Speaker John A. Boehner …
Discussion: Blue Mass Group
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Keystone climbdown leaves Obama supporters scratching their heads  —  President Obama put two conditions in end-game talks on extending the payroll tax holiday.  —  He wanted to pay for the extension with a surtax on millionaires, and he made clear that the Keystone XL oil pipeline should be kept out of the legislation.
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Boehner opposes Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension  —  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that neither he nor rank-and-file House Republicans supported the Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension, casting doubt on the chances for an agreement less than a week before Christmas.
Discussion: The Politico
Russell Berman / The Hill:
White House backs Senate payroll bill over House objections
Discussion: CNN, The Politico and RedState
Iowa Caucuses:
The Des Moines Register's GOP caucus endorsement: Mitt Romney is best to lead  —  Sobriety, wisdom and judgment.  —  Those are qualities Mitt Romney said he looks for in a leader.  Those are qualities Romney himself has demonstrated in his career in business, public service and government.
Reid J. Epstein / The Politico:
Mitt Romney has tame return to Sunday roster  —  After avoiding Sunday morning interview shows for nearly two years, Mitt Romney spent half an hour with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace largely repeating his campaign talking points and mini-stump speeches.
Discussion: CNN
Jennifer Jacobs / Iowa Caucuses:
10 factors that could determine Newt Gingrich's fate in Iowa
A.Killough / CNN:
Des Moines Register endorses Romney
Associated Press:
Gingrich says rivals' criticism taking a toll
Discussion: The Caucus
Max Fisher / The Atlantic Online:
A Photo That Encapsulates the Horror of Egypt's Crackdown  —  Three soldiers beat a defenseless woman, pull off her abaya, and drag her down a Cairo street  —  The above photo shows Egyptian army soldiers beating a young woman in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Saturday, the second straight …
Discussion: Sister Toldjah and
Inderdeep Bains / Daily Mail:
The brave women of the Middle East: Female protesters brutally beaten with metal poles …
Discussion: Atlas Shrugs
David D. Kirkpatrick / New York Times:
Egyptian Soldiers Chase and Beat Unarmed Civilians in Cairo
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Quote of the Day  —  At this week's debate for Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich emphasized one of his favorite subjects: his disgust for the federal judiciary.  The disgraced former House Speaker warned of “an uprising” against the courts, adding that he's …
Robert Stacy McCain / The Other McCain:
Minnesota Republican Resigns Post Over Allegation of ‘Inappropriate’ Relationship  —  This news was a shock to me, involving allegations — and we must stress that these are only allegations at this point — against a female politician whom I have actually met: … (Via TPM and Memorandum.)
New York Times:
Last Convoy of American Troops Leaves Iraq, Marking an End to the War  —  BAGHDAD — The last convoy of American troops to leave Iraq drove into Kuwait on Sunday morning, marking the end of the nearly nine-year war.  —  The convoy's departure, which included about 110 vehicles and 500 soldiers …
Star-Ledger Guest / NJ Voices Guest blog:
Discrimination against same-sex marriages cannot be tolerated in our society as a matter of law  —  By Robert Menendez  —  Since my vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act 15 years ago, like tens of millions of Americans, I have reflected deeply and frequently about this issue.
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
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 More Items: 
Blue Yeti / Ricochet Conversations Feed:
When Events Collide: An “Uncommon Knowledge” from July, 2002 with Hitchens and Gingrich
Frank Bruni / New York Times:
Op-Ed Columnist: Newt Gingrich's Self-Adoration
Allysia Finley / Wall Street Journal:
The Chicago Expulsion Act of 2011
 Earlier Items: 
Financial Times:
False assumptions underpinned British strategy
Discussion: Political Mojo
Martin Newman /
Bollywood actress Veena Malik reported missing after nude FHM photo scandal
Jason Clayworth / Iowa Caucuses:
Rick Perry: Herman Cain is the type of person I'd consider for cabinet appointment

From Mediagazer:

Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Spotify lays off ~17% of its workforce, or ~1,500 staff, to “rightsize” its costs, citing slow economic growth and rising capital costs, its third cut in 2023

Alex Weprin / The Hollywood Reporter:
Comcast president Mike Cavanagh says Peacock now has 30M paying subscribers, with an ARPU of $10 per month, and saw $2.8B in losses in 2023

Alex Weprin / The Hollywood Reporter:
Streaming services seem to be increasingly open to bundling with rivals, as Verizon announces a $10 per month deal for Netflix and Max's ad tiers

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