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11:55 AM ET, December 31, 2012


 Top Items: 
Fiscal cliff: Major progress toward deal  —  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden engaged in furious overnight negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff and made major progress toward a year-end tax deal, giving sudden hope to high-stakes talks …
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 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.
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
Lisa Desjardins / CNN:
Sticking points in fiscal cliff talks  —  Washington (CNN) - The key figures involved in fiscal cliff talks have released few details about negotiations since they restarted Sunday afternoon.  But we do have a clearer snapshot of the major points of debate before Vice President Joe Biden …
First Read:   First Thoughts: Farewell to the 112th Congress
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
With no deal in hand, lawmakers spend New Year's Eve on the cliff
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Fiscal Cliff Talks Resume After GOP Caves On Social Security Cut
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Michael McAuliff / The Huffington Post:
Fiscal Cliff: GOP Gives In On Social Security Cuts In Stalled Talks (UPDATE)
Discussion: Hullabaloo, Roll Call and The Raw Story
Wall Street Journal:
Congress Meets Cliff's Edge
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.
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
What's Happening to Hillary?  Only a clod would say the clot is a plot!  —  Here are Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein, interviewed by Chris Wallace (yesterday, on “Fox News Sunday"): … With all that assurance that Hillary Clinton would testify, later that day …
Matthew Lee /
HILLARY CLINTON HOSPITALIZED WITH BLOOD CLOT  —  You are here  —  Home » United States government » Hillary Clinton hospitalized with blood clot  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been admitted to a New York hospital after the discovery …
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
NBC Politics:
Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot
Elise Labott / CNN:
Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot
Discussion: The Jawa Report
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.
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Brewing Up Confusion  —  Howard Schultz, the C.E.O. of Starbucks, has a reputation as a good guy, a man who supports worthy causes.  And he presumably thought he would add to that reputation when he posted an open letter urging his employees to promote fiscal bipartisanship by writing “Come together” on coffee cups.
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 More Items: 
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Citing Citizens United, Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access To Birth Control
Discussion: The Raw Story
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.
Iain Duncan Smith / Telegraph:
We've brought back fairness to welfare
Discussion: Guardian and BBC
 Earlier Items: 
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