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12:40 PM ET, December 31, 2012


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Why Is Obama Caving on Taxes?  —  The discouraging thing about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations is not that they have gone into the eleventh hour, or that they may go into the new year, or even that they won't resolve the long-term budget deficit.  It's that President Obama has retreated on his hard line on taxes.
Ezra Klein / Wonkblog:
The Republican Party in one tweet  —  This is pretty much the Republican Party in one tweet:  —  Today's Republican Party thinks the key problem America faces is out-of-control entitlement spending.  But cutting entitlement spending is unpopular and the GOP's coalition relies heavily on seniors.
Katie Glueck / Politico:
Grover Norquist: Tax rates won't increase  —  Grover Norquist on Monday expressed confidence that any last-minute fiscal cliff deal would not hike tax rates.  —  “I'm working with all the folks who are trying to defend taxpayers here in Congress,” he said on CNN's “Starting Point.”
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
2 Sides in Talks Inch Closer but No Fiscal Deal on Final Day  —  WASHINGTON — A frantic round of late-night negotiations on Sunday between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, moved the Senate close to a deal to stave off hundreds …
Joshua Green / Business Week:
On the Fiscal Cliff, Republicans Are Blowing a Great Deal  —  On Sunday evening, after a long, fruitless day of haggling, talks between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to avert the fiscal cliff broke down and the Senate adjourned until Monday.  Republicans had spent much of Sunday pushing …
Discussion: The Maddow Blog and The Mahablog
First Read:
First Thoughts: Farewell to the 112th Congress  —  Farewell to the 112th Congress, regardless of what happens today... But are Biden and McConnell close to a deal?... Why we are still possibly headed off the cliff... Why that would be a missed opportunity for both sides... The blame game …
David Jackson / Associated Press:
Biden, McConnell discuss fiscal cliff deal
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
With no deal in hand, lawmakers spend New Year's Eve on the cliff
Discussion: Hot Air and Fox News Insider
Washington Post:
Senate negotiators yet to reach ‘fiscal cliff’ deal as clock winds down
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Fiscal Cliff Talks Resume After GOP Caves On Social Security Cut
Discussion: Hullabaloo
8 People Who Thought Hillary Clinton Was Faking Her Concussion  —  The Secretary of State was hospitalized Sunday night with a blood clot.  —  Former U.S. U.N. spokesman Richard Grenell  —  Via: @RichardGrenell  —  The New York Post  —  Via:
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama Most Admired in 2012  —  Clinton has been Most Admired more than any other woman in Gallup's history  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans again this year name Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living in any part of the world.
Kevin Robillard / Politico:
NBC reporter raises Hillary Clinton questions
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Karen DeYoung / Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton hospitalized with blood clot
Discussion: Truthdig
Helene Cooper / New York Times:
Clinton Admitted to Hospital With Blood Clot
Discussion: The Week and USA Today
Elise Labott / CNN:
Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot
Discussion: The Jawa Report
NBC Politics:
Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot
Discussion: The Maddow Blog
Louis Michael Seidman / New York Times:
Let's Give Up on the Constitution  —  AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken.  But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
New York Post:
Greenwich Village couple busted with cache of weapons, bombmaking explosives: sources  —  The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bombmaking explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.
Dana Bash / CNN:
Harkin: Democrats unhappy; “We may object” to suggested deal  —  Washington (CNN) - Sen. Tom Harkin, a veteran Democrat and a leading liberal voice, told CNN Monday that he and other Democrats may try to block the fiscal cliff deal that's being furiously negotiated ahead of the year-end deadline.
Lisa Desjardins / CNN:
Sticking points in fiscal cliff talks
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Citing Citizens United, Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access To Birth Control  —  On Friday, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in an order joined by two conservative Republican appointees, temporarily immunized a company from the Obama Administration's …
Discussion: The Raw Story
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 More Items: 
James Bovard / Wall Street Journal:
How the ‘Dairy Cliff’ Will Cream Consumers
Discussion: Hit & Run and For What It's Worth
Jim Kuhnhenn / Associated Press:
Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013
Fox News:
Death of Tea Party appears exaggerated, members in House appear to hold key fiscal vote
Frank Bass / Bloomberg:
U.S. on Pace for Slowest Decade of Population Growth Since 1930s
Discussion: 24/7 Wall St.
Wall Street Journal:
The Elephant in the Courtroom  —  The Big Top beats an abusive lawsuit by the ASPCA.
Discussion: Betsy's Page
 Earlier Items: 
Iain Duncan Smith / Telegraph:
We've brought back fairness to welfare
Discussion: Guardian and BBC
Nick Fagge / Daily Mail:
Syria rebels ‘beheaded a Christian and fed him to the dogs’ as fears grow over Islamist atrocities
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
John Avlon / The Daily Beast:
Our Pathetic Congress  —  Surprised that our lame-duck representatives …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Wall Street Journal:
Unthinkable Cuts Almost a Reality
Discussion: Hot Air