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2:00 PM ET, February 19, 2013


 Top Items: 
Obama, the puppet master  —  President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.  —  Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated.
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Ed Henry: 'This isn't about a golf game'  —  White House Correspondents Association president Ed Henry is standing by his complaints about the lack of press access to President Obama, pushing back against critics who say he and his fellow White House correspondents are just “whining” and don't respect the president's privacy.
Kevin Robillard / Politico:
Report: New Simpson-Bowles plan
Discussion: Washington Monthly, Slate and
A BIPARTISAN PATH FORWARD TO SECURING AMERICA'S FUTURE  —  Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson are co-chairs of the Moment of Truth project and formerly co-chaired the President's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  —  The United States faces two big risks …
Damian Paletta / Wall Street Journal:
Simpson and Bowles Offer Up Deficit Fix
Discussion: and Business Insider
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama says sequester would take ‘meat cleaver’ to government
Discussion: Politico
Molly K. Hooper / The Hill:
Republican lawmakers don't fear political impact of sequester taking effect
Zachary A. Goldfarb / Washington Post:
Obama presses Congress for stopgap sequester fix
Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
Simpson, Bowles to offer new $2.4 trillion deficit-reduction plan
Discussion: Politico
Jackie Calmes / New York Times:
Obama to Turn Up Pressure for Deal on Budget Cuts
Discussion: Daily Kos
Politico:   Erskine Bowles pessimistic about a ‘grand bargain’
Jennifer Kabbany / The College Fix:
Prof Strips, Shows 9/11 Footage, Impales Stuffed Animal (VIDEO)  —  A science professor at Columbia University on Monday began a quantum mechanics lecture by stripping into his boxers and eating a banana while rap music played in the background.  —  Then it got weird.
Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic Online:
Like a Swarm of Lethal Bugs: The Most Terrifying Drone Video Yet  —  An Air Force simulation says researchers are at work on killer robots so tiny that a group of them could blend into a cityscape.  —  Science writer John Horgan's feature on the many ways drones will be used in coming years …
Discussion: Mediaite
John Horgan / National Geographic Magazine:
Drones May Be Watching You  —  Unmanned aircraft have proved …
Discussion: ANIMAL, Mashable! and emptywheel
New York Times:
Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.  —  On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People's Liberation Army base for China's growing corps of cyberwarriors.  —  The building off Datong Road …
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Marco Rubio: The Electable Conservative?  —  Some commentators have expressed surprise upon learning about the very conservative voting record of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union address last week.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Topeka Capital-Journal:
Bill asks teachers to question climate change in class  —  HB2306 calls climate change ‘scientific controversy’  —  With the Kansas State Board of Education preparing to vote on new science standards this year, the House Education Committee has introduced a bill asking schools to include evidence …
Rebecca Leber / ThinkProgress:   Kansas Bill Would Require Teachers To Misinform Students About Climate Change
Alana Goodman / Washington Free Beacon:
Report: Hagel Said Israel Headed Toward Apartheid, Netanyahu a ‘Radical’  —  Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel said Israel is on its way to becoming an apartheid state during an April 9, 2010, appearance at Rutgers University, according to a contemporaneous account by an attendee.
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Filibuster Hagel  —  If Republicans refuse, they won't be standing …
Discussion: Right Turn
Lynn Bartels / Denver Post:
Colorado lawmaker Joe Salazar issues apology over rape remark  —  The video of a Democratic lawmaker talking about rape while debating a gun bill involving college campuses has gone viral, with Republicans and Second Amendment activists likening Rep. Joe Salazar to failed Senate candidate Todd Akin.
Dana Loesch / RedState:
Colorado Democrat: Women Don't Need Guns If They 'Feel Like They're Going To Be Raped'
Sam Baker / The Hill:
Supreme Court to hear RNC suit challenging campaign finance limits  —  The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider whether certain limits on campaign contributions are too low — or altogether unconstitutional.  —  The court said it would hear a case, filed by the Republican National Committee …
Discussion: Politico and CNN
Fredreka Schouten / USA Today:
Supreme Court to hear case on campaign donation limits
Discussion: and Hot Air
Jonathan Lloyd / NBC Southern California:
Four Dead After OC Shootings, Carjackings  —  Four people are dead after a series of shootings and carjackings near freeways in Orange County that began after the shooting death of a woman at a home in Ladera Ranch.  —  Map: Shooting Investigation Locations
New York Times:
Pistorius Denies Murdering Girlfriend  —  PRETORIA, South Africa — Facing a charge of premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee track star and one of the world's best-known athletes, denied on Tuesday that he intended to take her life when he opened fire …
Rebecca Leber / ThinkProgress:
Virginia Pizza Shop Offers A Discount To Anyone Who Carries A Gun  —  At one Virginia pizza shop, customers who bring in a gun or show a gun permit get 15 percent off their order.  The pro-gun owner of All Around Pizzas and Deli claimed that 80 percent of his customers have walked in carrying …
Discussion: Shakesville
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Scott Brown blames phone for unusual ‘Bqhatevwr’ tweet  —  Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) for the first time addressed questions over a series of hastily deleted early morning Twitter messages posted last month, denying he was intoxicated at the time.  —  “Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial?
Discussion: CNN and Politico
Alexandra Jaffe / Ballot Box:
Tea Party challenger to McConnell emerging  —  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could see a primary challenge from local businessman Matt Bevin, who sources say is reaching out to Tea Party groups in the state to gauge support for a 2014 Senate run.
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 More Items: 
David Ariosto / CNN:
NASA has spotty communication with International Space Station
Discussion: The Raw Story
David Brooks / New York Times:
What Data Can't Do  —  Not long ago, I was at a dinner …
Discussion: Paul Krugman and Economist's View
Lahav Harkov / Jerusalem Post:
Livni becomes 1st member of Netanyahu-led gov't
Discussion: and Israel Matzav
Suzi Parker / Reuters:
Arkansas Senate passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks
Leonard Greene / New York Post:
Police probing Baldwin's ‘race’ rant at Post fotog as hate crime
John Tierney / New York Times:
Time and Punishment: Long Prison Terms Eyed as Contributing to Poverty
Discussion: Hit & Run
 Earlier Items: 
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Dems propose US engage diplomatically with Iran over nukes
First Read:
First Thoughts: Here comes the bully pulpit
David Rogers / Politico:
Why John McCain turned on Chuck Hagel
Discussion: The Dish
Kristen A. Lee / NY Daily News:
Michelle Obama blames her chic new bangs on a midlife crisis on ‘Rachael Ray Show’
Discussion: First Read
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
What's News, and What Isn't  —  The liberal media manifest …
Discussion: Yahoo! News and Arutz Sheva