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1:00 AM ET, January 31, 2012


 Top Items: 
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
CBO: Federal workers better compensated than in private sector
Discussion: The Jawa Report
Andrew Parker / The Sun:
US bars friends over Twitter joke  —  Ordeal ... Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting were locked up  —  TWO pals were barred from entering the US after innocent tweets joking about “destroying America” were picked up by the country's anti-terror cops.  —  US special agents monitoring Twitter …
Richard Hartley-Parkinson / Daily Mail:
'I'm going to destroy America and dig up Marilyn Monroe': British pair arrested in U.S. on terror charges over Twitter jokes  —  Two British tourists were barred from entering America after joking on Twitter that they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe’.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:
GOP Voters Continue to Give Field Subpar Ratings  —  Obama Seen as More Understanding than Romney, Gingrich  —  Amid a bruising primary campaign, Republicans remain unimpressed with their party's presidential field.  In fact, more Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters …
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Poll finds increasing dissatisfaction in GOP field
Discussion: Wall Street Journal and Hot Air
Wallacegw / CNN:
Over 600,000 have already voted in Florida primary
Wallacegw / CNN:
Santorum promises high road, 'We'll beat them straight up'
Discussion: The Politico
Mackenzie Weinger / The Politico:
Obama best understands people, poll finds
Discussion: Ballot Box and CNN
E .J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Obama's Breach of Faith Over Contraceptive Ruling  —  Obama's breach of faith over contraceptive ruling  —  One of Barack Obama's great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers.
Nita Chaudhary / The Huffington Post:
Birth Control Matters  —  Birth control matters to women.  This is not an opinion.  It is a fact.  But you wouldn't know it reading political coverage of the administration's decision to do the right thing and approve the rule mandating coverage of it.  —  And frankly, that's shameful.
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Contraception and “Religious Liberty”
Juan Williams / The Hill:
Racial code words obscure real issues  —  Two weeks ago at the Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., I asked each GOP presidential candidate some pointed questions about the racial politics that will play a big role in the presidential campaign.
Howard Kurtz / The Daily Beast:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Obama's Bodyguard  —  Meet the Democratic leader who's blasting Republicans and reaching out to a peeved Congress.  —  The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee is running late, prepping for an MSNBC interview while she brushes her tangled mass …
Justin Sink / The Hill:
RNC chief doubles down on comparing Obama to disgraced Capt. Schettino
Discussion: Hot Air
Rosie Gray / Politics:
State Senator Behind “Don't Say Gay” Bill Refused Service At Restaurant  —  Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield, who recently said that it is “virtually impossible” to contract HIV through heterosexual sex, was kicked out of a restaurant in Knoxville.  He went quietly.
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Leon Panetta's explicitly authoritarian decree  —  The DoD chief says clearly: once the president accuses a citizen of terrorism, execution without trial is permitted  —  CBS News' Scott Pelley appears to be one of the very few American journalists bothered by, or even interested in …
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Gingrich Wants A Government That Respects ‘Our Religion’ Not ‘Every Other Religion’  —  As TP's Igor Volsky pointed out today, Newt Gingrich has been accusing President Obama of perpetrating a “war on religion,” saying the president has made it more difficult for people of faith to practice their beliefs.
Bobby Bank / ABCNEWS:
Donald Trump Staff in Talks With Financiers, Campaign Managers to Explore Third Party Bid  —  ABC News' Huma Khan and Jennifer Wlach report:  —  Donald Trump's top political adviser told ABC News he's speaking to “high-level political operatives” to explore a third-party presidential bid …
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
Mitt Romney On Fox & Friends: ‘I Wish I Could Claim I Was Hispanic’  —  On Monday morning's Fox and Friends, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney let out another one of those “I'm running for office, for Pete's sake!” bursts of honesty which, like a burlesque revue at a leper colony, are revealing, but not in a good way.
New Jersey Online:
While clarifying remarks linking civil rights to gay marriage, Gov. Christie calls N.J. assemblyman ‘numbnuts’  —  TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie this morning attempted to clarify statements he made about same sex marriage and civil rights, but in the process called an openly gay assemblyman …
Anita Singh / Telegraph:
Jonathan Franzen: e-books are damaging society  —  Jonathan Franzen has launched a passionate defence of the printed book, warning that our desire for the instant gratification of e-books is damaging for society.  —  Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom, is being hailed as one of America's greatest novelists
Alison Flood / Guardian:
Franzen warns ebooks are corroding values
Discussion: Runnin' Scared and Althouse
Josh Putnam / Frontloading HQ:
I'll see your white knight and raise you a filing deadline.  Why It's Too Late for Entry in the Republican Nomination Race  —  Way back in the summer (of 2011), FHQ began fielding calls and emails from a number of media outlets asking about the filing deadlines for primaries and caucuses in the various states.
Katrina Trinko / National Review:
Palin: ‘Vote for Newt.  Annoy a Liberal.’  —  Todd Palin has endorsed Newt Gingrich.  And Sarah Palin, before the S.C. primary, urged voters to vote for Gingrich to keep the primary going.  And in a Fox News interview this weekend, she reiterated that message.
Caroline May / The Daily Caller:
Concerned that too many “deniers” are in the meteorology business, global warming activists this month launched a campaign to recruit local weathermen to hop aboard the alarmism bandwagon and expose those who are not fully convinced that the world is facing man-made doom.
New York Times:
New York Archdiocese Worker Accused of $1 Million Embezzlement  —  For eight years, the woman worked in accounts payable for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, gaining the trust of her superiors.  —  Colleagues praised her quiet dedication and hard work, and noted that she prayed often …
Dylan Byers / The Politico:
Newt's promise: No reporters as moderators  —  Newt Gingrich lashed out at the media today during a rally in Pensacola, Florida, suggesting that all reporters are in the tank for President Obama:  —  “As your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators …
Thomas E. Ricks / Foreign Policy:
No, foreign policy matters in elections — even in years when people think it doesn't  —  Best Defense department of politico-policy affairs  —  As your post and nearly every article on the subject notes, “everyone knows” that 2012 will not be a foreign policy election.
Matt K. Lewis / The Daily Caller:
An internal Gingrich campaign memo obtained by The Daily Caller shows the campaign is planning to continue long after Tuesday's Florida primary, stating simply: “this race is just getting started.”  —  The memo, from National Political Director Martin Baker, notes Romney's lack …
Tim Mak / The Politico:
Blogs fume over Allen West's new district  —  Conservative bloggers are lashing out against the Republican “establishment” for a redistricting map that could harm tea party favorite Rep. Allen West's (R-Fla.) reelection chances, even sparking a conspiracy that pins the alleged campaign against West on Mitt Romney.
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 More Items: 
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
White House: No rush on Iran
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
David D. Kirkpatrick / New York Times:
U.S. Embassy in Cairo Shields 3 Americans
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Unions set to blast Dems for selling out on FAA reauthorization
Discussion: Daily Kos
Dan Snierson / Inside TV:
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to guest on ‘The Simpsons’ — EXCLUSIVE
Discussion:, Mashable! and The Raw Story
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Sen. Kirk upgraded to ‘fair’ condition
Discussion: Grayslake and The Politico
Lauren Fox / US News:
Ron Paul's Appealing to Mormons
Discussion: American Spectator
Washington Post:
FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail
Sarkozy announces French financial transaction tax
Discussion: Business Insider and ThinkProgress
 Earlier Items: 
Jay Donovan / TechCrunch:
Flying People Spotted Over New York City...Film At Nine
Robert Kuttner / The Huffington Post:
Eric Schneiderman: Hero or Goat?
Discussion: Firedoglake, Politics and US Politics
Walter Shapiro / The New Republic:
Doing It For the Gipper: Why Old People Could Be Newt Gingrich's Saving Grace
Karen Famighetti / Media Matters for America:
Wash. Post's Parker Wildly Distorts Charitable Giving Of Obama, Romney
Helia Ebrahimi / Telegraph:
Agent Provocateur sales boosted by US First Lady Michelle Obama
Morgen / Verum Serum:
Gingrich Called for ObamaCare Mandate in May 2009, Said ObamaCare “Healthier...More Open” Process than HillaryCare