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11:50 AM ET, December 28, 2012


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Allen / Politico:
Why they want to go over the cliff  —  Washington's Democratic and Republican power brokers have sent the message to the nation that going over the fiscal cliff is a worst-case scenario.  But they're not acting that way, not at all.  —  Instead, many of them have calculated that it's better …
Steven T. Dennis / Roll Call:
Pessimism Abounds as White House Calls Cliff Meeting  —  Lawmakers seemed as pessimistic as ever about averting the fiscal cliff Thursday evening despite the White House scheduling a meeting with the top four congressional leaders for Friday afternoon.  —  The White House announced …
Discussion: The Other McCain
Lisa Mascaro / Los Angeles Times:
Mitch McConnell lies low as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears
First Read:
Boehner calls House back to Washington on Sunday
Robert D. McFadden / New York Times:
Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Commander in Gulf War, Dies at 78  —  Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the American-led forces that crushed Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war and became the nation's most acclaimed military hero since the midcentury exploits of Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower …
Matt Schudel / Washington Post:
Retired Gen. Schwarzkopf dies at 78  —  H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the four-star Army general who led allied forces to a stunningly quick and decisive victory over Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and who became the most celebrated U.S. military hero of his generation, died Thursday in Tampa.
Associated Press:
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, coalition forces leader during Persian Gulf War, dies   AP SOURCE: RETIRED GEN. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF DIES
‘Stormin’ Norman' Schwarzkopf, lauded Gulf War commander, dies
Discussion: Blog
Norman Schwarzkopf / Associated Press:
Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dies at 78
Discussion: Mediaite
Jennifer Steinhauer / New York Times:
Summoned Back to Work, Senators Chafe at Inaction  —  WASHINGTON — Senators bid hasty goodbyes to families, donned ties and pantsuits in lieu of sweat pants and Christmas sweaters and one by one returned to the Capitol on Thursday to begin the business of doing nothing in particular.
Des Moines Register:
Mississippi's low levels could halt river traffic  —  A shutdown of commercial use could come by next week, a group says  —  The feared shutdown of commercial traffic on the Mississippi River due to low water levels could happen as early as next week, a waterways group said Thursday.
Discussion: The Reaction
Frank Newport / Gallup:
NRA Has 54% Favorable Image in U.S.  —  Republicans most positive about NRA; Democrats most negative  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, while 38% have an unfavorable opinion.  The public's ratings of the NRA …
Niti Central:
Taliban wants Sharia in Pakistan, war with India  —  The Pakistani Taliban has made a conditional ceasefire offer to the Pakistan Government which calls for an end to Pakistan's participation in the Afghan war, the imposition of Sharia law in the country, and to avenge the embarrassing defeat …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Jihad Watch
Russia's Putin signs anti-U.S. adoption bill  —  (CNN) — President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial measure banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families, the Kremlin said Friday.  —  The action could affect hundreds of American families seeking to adopt.
Matt Canham / Salt Lake Tribune:
Incoming Utah lawmaker open to limited gun control  —  Politics » Rep.-elect Chris Stewart calls arming educators “a bad idea,” skeptical on armed guards.  —  | The Salt Lake Tribune  —  Congressman-elect Chris Stewart is willing to support some limited gun-control measures …
Discussion: The Hill, Post Politics and AMERICAblog
Jenn / Twitchy:
‘Die painfully’: 50 soulless degenerates who can't wait for George H.W. Bush to die  —  Former President George H.W. Bush is surrounded by family in the ICU of Houston's Methodist Hospital as he fights a “stubborn fever.”  Doctors are “cautiously optimistic,” but the 88-year-old “remains in guarded condition.”
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Joe Schneider / Bloomberg:
Tokyo Electric Sued by U.S. Sailors Exposed to Radiation  —  Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), owner of the power plant which had the world's biggest nuclear disaster since 1986, was sued by eight U.S. sailors claiming they were exposed to radiation and the utility lied about the dangers.
Discussion: L.A. NOW
Ben Geman / The Hill:
Acting EPA chief among most likely to succeed Jackson  —  The looming departure of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is yielding quick speculation about who will replace her, and might touch off a brutal Senate confirmation fight to lead a department that has faced constant GOP criticism.
Discussion: The Raw Story
Zack Colman / The Hill:
New Hawaii senator pledges to tackle climate change  —  The replacement for the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) said Wednesday that climate change is at the top of his legislative agenda.  —  “For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge …
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 More Items: 
The Investigative Project on Terrorism:
CAIR Protests Saudi Radical's Exclusion From U.S.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
United States Department of Labor:
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Harry J Enten / Guardian:
The top five polling lessons from the 2012 election
David Thompson:
Monbiot and the Morlocks
Discussion: Moonbattery
Yousri Mohamed / Reuters:
Islamist vigilantes step up threats in Egypt's Sinai
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Weasel Zippers
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
The Year the Dreams Died
 Earlier Items: 
New York Post:
Folks freak at size of tax hikes if fiscal cliff isn't averted in the coming days
Discussion: TBogg
Sam Baker / The Hill:
Abortion-rights champion stepping down
Discussion: and The Other McCain
David Bauder / Associated Press:
Matthews raises profile during campaign
Discussion: Whiskey Fire