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2:33 AM ET, February 15, 2013


 Top Items: 
Chuck Hagel blocked: Harry Reid says he doesn't have the votes  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday that Republicans have told him that they plan to block Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next secretary of Defense over demands for more information from the White House.
Washington Post:
Senate Democrats to force vote to end debate on Hagel nomination  —  Senate Democrats are forcing a vote Thursday afternoon to end debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to serve as secretary of defense, bringing to a head a showdown over the nomination of the former Republican senator despite strong GOP objections.
David Weigel / Slate:
“Friends of Hamas”: The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist  —  Palestinian high school students show off their skills during a graduation ceremony from a military school course organized by the Hamas security forces and the Hamas Minister of Education on January 24, 2013 in Gaza City.
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Why Republicans are filibustering Chuck Hagel  —  Senate Republicans have decided — against the Fix's counsel! — to require Chuck Hagel to get 60 votes in order to be confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense.  —  (There is a fair amount of legislative gobbledygook, which we explained here …
Discussion: Politico, and Hot Air
Hayes Brown / ThinkProgress:
McCain Says He's Opposing Hagel Because Hagel Was Mean To Bush  —  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told us how he really feels about Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel on Fox News this afternoon, saying “people don't forget” when you cross your own party.  —  Speaking to Fox News host Neil Cavuto …
Discussion: The National Memo
Steve Kornacki / Salon:
When Republicans play with fire  —  Just how unprecedented is their filibuster of Chuck Hagel?  In a word: Very  —  Whether they'll cop to it or not, Republicans are currently engaged in a filibuster of Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Defense secretary.  —  Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma's conservative …
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
Senate Republicans filibuster Hagel nomination  —  Senate Republicans delivered a sharp rebuke to President Obama on Thursday when they began a filibuster of Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense.  —  The confirmation process stalled Thursday when GOP senators deprived Hagel …
Discussion: TalkLeft and Outside the Beltway
Fred Kaplan / Slate:
Why Republicans Can No Longer Be Trusted on National Security  —  Because their leaders have become shallow, ignorant, and totally unserious on the issue that matters most.  —  It's been clear, at least since the 2012 election, that the Republican Party has abrogated its role—really …
Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:
G.O.P. Senators Block Vote on Defense Post for Hagel
Justin Sink / The Hill:   White House endorses Senate sequester plan, urges House Republicans to act
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
McCain Satisfied With WH Benghazi Response, Ready To Press On With Hagel Vote
Discussion:, CNN and The Impolitic
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Senate Republicans block Hagel nomination for Defense secretary
Discussion: Politico and Israel Matzav
Fox News:
Republicans vow to go to war with filibuster over Hagel
New York Times:
Senate Democrats, Accusing G.O.P. of Obstruction, Try to Force Hagel Vote
Joanne von Alroth / Reuters:
In Valentine vote, Illinois Senate approves gay marriage  —  (Reuters) - The Illinois state Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday in a Valentine's Day vote spearheaded by Democrats, as gay couples around the country used the romantic day to dramatize their quest for the right to marry.
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Senate Dems unveil $110B sequester-replacement bill
Sam Stein / The Huffington Post:
Sequester Cuts: Senate Democrats Settle On Replacement Plan
Discussion: Daily Kos
Chicago Tribune:
Illinois Senate approves gay marriage
Discussion: Guardian and Business Insider
John M. Broder / Wheels:
That Tesla Data: What It Says and What It Doesn't  —  The Model S at the Tesla Supercharger in the Interstate 95 service plaza in Milford, Conn.  —  Elon Musk , the chief executive of Tesla Motors, has now responded in detail to the account of my test drive of his Model S electric car …
Elon Musk / Tesla Motors:
A Most Peculiar Test Drive
Matt Friedman / New Jersey Online:
Lautenberg will not seek re-election next year  —  Photos: Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey  —  TRENTON — U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a pugnacious and plain-spoken Democrat who has represented New Jersey for three decades, will not seek re-election to a sixth term next year.
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Lautenberg to retire from Senate, opening a path for Cory Booker
Discussion: CNN and Politico
David Corn / Mother Jones:
FreedomWorks Made Video of Fake Giant Panda Having Sex With Fake Hillary Clinton  —  The investigation at the influential tea party group could get weird.  —  An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe's management …
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Obama favors sacking the expensive penny  —  President Obama on Thursday said he supports eliminating pennies, but that it's unlikely to happen because it's so low on the list of congressional priorities.  —  In a Google Plus “Hangout,” Obama was asked why the U.S. Treasury continues …
Discussion: CNN
Caroline May / The Daily Caller:
Confidential, expensive USDA sensitivity training: ‘The Pilgrims were illegal aliens’ [VIDEOS]  —  Footage of the United States Department of Agriculture's compulsory “Cultural Sensitivity Training” program reveals USDA employees being instructed to refer to the Pilgrims as “illegal aliens” …
Reid J. Epstein / Politico:
Obama meets 47% video guy  —  DECATUR, Ga. — President Obama on Thursday met the man who made “47 percent” part of Mitt Romney's legacy.  —  Obama and opposition researcher James Carter, who released the infamous Romney fundraiser video, met backstage before Obama's education event here …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Mike Lillis / The Hill:
Pelosi: Congressional pay cut undermines dignity of the job  —  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers' jobs.  —  “I don't think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do …
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
The Cool Kids of the GOP Show the Christian Right the Door  —  Today's Big Read for those who are bored with the regular news (or lack thereof) is Robert Draper's very long piece in the New York Times Magazine about the difficulty the Republican Party is experiencing in keeping up with the Obamas.
Discussion: Mother Jones and The Mahablog
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
Cruise Line's Woes Are Far From Over as Ship Makes Port
Shelby Grad / L.A. NOW:
Christopher Dorner's charred body is positively identified
Discussion: Los Angeles Times and Mediaite
Barnini Chakraborty / Fox News:
Georgia pol wants to make lewd photoshopping a crime after being mocked in porn star pic
Valentine's Day and the Economics of Love
Discussion: Wonkblog and WorldViews
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Minimum Wage Up, EITC Down
Discussion: Slate and Hullabaloo
John Stanton / BuzzFeed:
Karl Rove Huddles With House Republican Leaders
Shobhana Chandra / Bloomberg:
Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell More Than Forecast Last Week
Discussion: Quartz and Crooks and Liars
 Earlier Items: 
David Dayen / Salon:
Wall Street wins again
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Ronald Dworkin, Legal Philosopher, Dies at 81
National Review:
Amash Mulls Senate Run