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11:05 AM ET, January 30, 2013


 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Economy Unexpectedly Contracts in Fourth Quarter  —  Private-Sector Hiring Rose by 192,000 in January, ADP Reports  —  WASHINGTON—U.S. economic momentum screeched to a halt in the final months of 2012, as businesses pared back inventories and government spending fell sharply …
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
National Income and Product Accounts  —  Gross Domestic Product, 4th quarter and annual 2012 (advance estimate)  —  Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of .1 percent …
GDP Shows Surprise Drop for US in Fourth Quarter  —  The U.S. economy posted a stunning drop of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, defying expectations for slow growth and possibly providing incentive for more Federal Reserve stimulus.  —  The economy shrank from October through December …
Discussion: Firedoglake and The Gateway Pundit
Associated Press:
US economy shrinks 0.1 pct., first time in 3½ years; deep cut in defense spending key factor  —  WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank from October through December for the first time since 2009, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.
Shobhana Chandra / Bloomberg:
Economy in U.S. Contracts as Defense Spending Slumps  —  The economy in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter, restrained by the biggest plunge in defense spending in four decades and dwindling inventory growth as household purchases picked up.  —  Gross domestic product …
Discussion: Weekly Standard and Right Turn
White Blog:
Advance Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2012
Discussion: Wonkblog
Annalyn Kurtz /
U.S. economy contracts for first time since recession
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Reid declines to endorse Feinstein's assault-weapons ban  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday declined to voice support for Democratic legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.  —  Reid said he would bring gun-violence legislation …
Discussion: Right Turn and
Arlette Saenz / ABCNEWS:
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly vs Wayne LaPierre of NRA at Gun Violence Hearing  —  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will testify at a Senate hearing on gun violence alongside her husband Mark Kelly Wednesday morning.  —  Testimony given by the former congresswoman, who was shot by a gunman …
CBS News:
NRA vs. Giffords' husband at Senate gun control hearing
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Washington Post:
Gabrielle Giffords to testify at Senate hearing on gun violence
Jerusalem Post:
Israel strikes at Syria-Lebanon border, sources say  —  Alleged airstrike comes day after Lebanon reported three separate overflights by IAF jets; Israel increasingly concerned over fate of Syrian chemical weapons.  —  A western diplomat and three regional security sources said Wednesday …
Myra MacDonald / Reuters:
Israel hits target in Syria border area: sources  —  (Reuters) - Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, a Western diplomat and regional security sources said on Wednesday, as concern has grown in the Jewish state over the fate of Syrian chemical and advanced conventional weapons.
Discussion: Business Insider
Laura Rozen / The Back Channel:
Israeli jets said to have struck target near Syria border
Discussion: Weekly Standard and Weasel Zippers
Scott Clement / The Fix:
President Obama's popularity surges to three-year high  —  President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  —  Fully 60 percent of Americans …
Hayes Brown / ThinkProgress:
Graham Says ‘Clinton Got Away With Murder’ On Benghazi, Will Hold Hagel Unless Panetta Testifies  —  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is still searching for the silver bullet, that one piece of testimony that will prove once and for all that the Obama administration lied during the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.
Roll Call:
Hagel Vote Complicated for Democrats and Republicans
Mary McGuire / ABCNEWS:
Who Are the Gang Of 8 in Senate Immigration Debate?  —  The Senate's so-called “Gang of 8” has gained national attention in the past week by announcing sweeping plans for bipartisan immigration reform.  But who can count themselves as members of Capitol Hill's newest clique?
Rush Limbaugh:
Senator Rubio Makes His Case
Monica Davey / New York Times:
Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can't Stem Fatal Shots  —  CHICAGO — Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed.  Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders …
Jade Walker / The Huffington Post:
Neil Heslin, Father Of Newtown Victim, Heckled By Pro-Gun Activists (VIDEO, PHOTOS)  —  Gun Control, Video, Coyote Maverick, Jesse Lewis, Jesse McCord Lewis, Neil Heslin, Second Amendment, Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, Guns …
Sdesprat / Twitchy:
Outrageous: How the left-wing media lied about Newtown ‘hecklers’
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Deep spending cuts are likely, lawmakers say, with no deal on sequester in sight  —  Alex Wong/Getty Images - “I think [the cuts are] more likely to happen.  And I'm ashamed of the Congress, I'm ashamed of the president, and I'm ashamed of being in this body, quite frankly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham …
Alex Weprin / TVNewser:
January 2013 Ratings: Fox News Down Compared To Last Year  —  With January complete, Fox News has completed 11 straight years of being number one in cable news in both primetime and total day.  That said, the network saw significant ratings declines in January-particularly …
Dorsey Shaw / BuzzFeed:
Fox News Sees Its Worst Ratings Since 2001
Sy Mukherjee / ThinkProgress:
Louisiana Will Eliminate Health Benefits For HIV Patients, Poor Children, And First Time Moms This Week  —  Last week, Louisiana's poor and terminally ill residents won a surprising victory when Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced that his state would not stop providing hospice care to its Medicaid beneficiaries.
Natalie Angier / New York Times:
That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think  —  For all the adorable images of cats that play the piano, flush the toilet, mew melodiously and find their way back home over hundreds of miles, scientists have identified a shocking new truth: cats are far deadlier than anyone realized.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds / Wall Street Journal:
Al Gore Dreams of Electric Jeeps  —  Readers of the former vice president's book might be excused for thinking that all of the evils in the world come from corporations.  —  There have always been two Al Gores.  There is techno-enthusiast Al, who, during his 2000 run for president …
Discussion: Althouse
Steve Peoples / Associated Press:
Scott Brown ‘leaning strongly’ toward Senate bid  —  BOSTON (AP) — GOP officials close to Scott Brown report that the former Republican senator is “leaning strongly toward running” in the special election to replace Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.  —  They report that Brown is likely to enter the race early next week.
Discussion: First Read and
George Ryan Enters Halfway House After Years In Prison  —  Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan entered the Salvation Army halfway house in Chicago Wednesday morning after being released from prison.  He served a sentence for corruption charges.  —  Former Gov. George Ryan was released …
Discussion: First Read
Tara Culp-Ressler / ThinkProgress:
FDA Allows College Campus To Make Contraception More Accessible With Plan B Vending Machine  —  The FDA will allow a Pennsylvania-area college to continue dispensing emergency contraception to its students through a vending machine, just as it has done for the past three years …
Discussion: The Raw Story
Benjy Sarlin / Talking Points Memo:
GOP's Electoral Vote Scheme Already On Life Support  —  Four states down, and just two remain.  —  Key Republican officials in Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan are coming out against a RNC-backed scheme to rig the electoral vote in Democratic-leaning states in order to boost Republican presidential candidates.
Josh Israel / ThinkProgress:
BREAKING: Virginia Senate Committee Overwhelmingly Kills Electoral Vote Rigging Scheme … ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate's Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.'s electoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer …
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 More Items: 
Alexis Stevens / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Man, 69, accused of killing man who went to wrong house
Greg Holyk / ABCNEWS:
Obama's Favorability Best Since '09; 2-1 Approval for Inaugural Address
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Adam Sherwin / The Independent:
Behzti playwright accuses BBC of ‘extraordinary’ censorship of ‘honour killings’ episode
Ben Protess / DealBook:
MF Global's Bankruptcy Nears a Happy Conclusion
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World
Katie Yoder / Author Feed:
Virtual Reality! Networks Cover Manti Te'o 521 Times More than March for Life
Mark Hosenball / Reuters:
Exclusive: CIA nominee had detailed knowledge of “enhanced interrogation techniques”
Discussion: First Read
Hillary Chabot / Boston Herald:
Gov. Deval Patrick to name interim senator tomorrow
 Earlier Items: 
The Week:
Why I hate Twitter  —  The social sharing tool was once a vision.
The Conference Board:
Consumer Confidence Survey® … The Conference Board …
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Economix
The Christian / Christian Science Monitor:
Egypt's protests reveal deficit of trust in Muslim Brotherhood
Discussion: Pat Dollard
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
Unions, Hollywood open to bankrolling Obama's advocacy arm
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Nick Baumann / Mother Jones:
Top Conservatives Run PAC That Funded White Nationalists
Phyllis Schlafly / Human Events:
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Michael Bloomberg: Joe Biden has ‘set of balls’