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3:00 AM ET, February 25, 2013


 Top Items: 
Alex Pareene / Salon:
Watching the Sunday shows so you don't have to  —  Today, some centrist pundits and legislators solved the sequester by demanding “balance” and “leadership”  —  Here's what I learned this morning on “the Sunday shows,” the three network news panel programs that define the parameters …
‘This Week’ Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables
Discussion: ABCNEWS and Hullabaloo
US forces ‘must leave’ Afghan region  —  The Afghan president has ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province within two weeks over allegations of disappearances and torture.  —  The measures were being taken due to the actions of Afghans considered to be part of US special forces, said a spokesman for Hamid Karzai.
Hamid Shalizi / Reuters:
Afghan president to expel U.S. special forces from key province  —  KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S. special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after some U.S. soldiers there were found to have tortured or even killed innocent people, the president's spokesman said on Sunday.
Matthew Rosenberg / New York Times:
Afghanistan Orders U.S. Troops to Leave Crucial Province
Discussion: CNN and Gawker
Jordan Zakarin / Hollywood Reporter:
Michelle Obama Makes Surprise Oscars Appearance, Reads Best Picture  —  The first lady made an appearance via video to paid tribute to Hollywood.  —  Argo was the expected best picture winner; the presenter, Michelle Obama, was the big surprise.  —  The first lady appeared via video screen …
Nikki Finke /
Nikki Finke's Oscar Live-Snark: Four Hours Of Unfunny Seth MacFarlane; Unnecessary Michelle Obama; ‘Argo’ Wins Best Picture  —  I'm live-snarking the 85th Oscars for the outstanding film achievements of 2012 starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight.  Comments will open when the show starts inside the Dolby Theatre.
Discussion: Ed Driscoll and Althouse
Emily Goodin / The Hill:
Political movies look to win big at Oscars
New York Post:
Bloomberg's ban prohibits 2-liter soda with your pizza and some nightclub mixers  —  Take a big gulp, New York: Hizzoner is about to give you a pop.  —  Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 — and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families.
Shelby Grad / L.A. NOW:
Father goes to strip club, leaves 2-year-old in cold car, LAPD says  —  A father allegedly left his 2-year-old daughter in a truck while he went inside a strip club to drink, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.  —  Santos Barillas, 24, of Canoga Park, faces several charges …
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
How Mexico Got Back in the Game  —  IN India, people ask you about China, and, in China, people ask you about India: Which country will become the more dominant economic power in the 21st century?  I now have the answer: Mexico.  —  Impossible, you say?  Well, yes, Mexico …
Discussion: Firedoglake and Via Meadia
Garance Franke-Ruta / The Atlantic Online:
The Plague Years, in Film and Memory  —  What it's like when the worst years of your life get rolled up into an Oscar-nominated documentary  —  That look on my face pretty much encapsulates the year, 1991, in a nutshell.  (Bob Huff/YouTube)  —  “Remember when they burnt those people's house down?”
Alexei Oreskovic / Reuters:
Firefox OS Will Take On Apple And Google In The Smartphone Wars, Starting This Summer  —  A new Firefox operating system for mobile devices is set for a July release after winning the backing of 13 wireless service providers around the globe, including Spain's Telefonica, China Unicom and America Movil.
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Bobby Jindal: Republicans Can Continue Discriminating Against Gays And Still Win Elections  —  Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) — a possible Republican candidate for president in 2016 — rejected former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's argument that conservatives must embrace marriage equality for gays …
The Raw Story:
Emotional Pope says God asked him to retire  —  Pope Benedict XVI delivered an emotional last Sunday prayer in St Peter's Square, saying God had told him to devote himself to prayer but assuring supporters he would not “abandon” the Church.  —  Tens of thousands of supporters turned …
Discussion: Addicting Info
Washington Post:
The big sequester gamble: How badly will the cuts hurt?  —  Evan Vucci/AP - President Barack Obama speaks in Chicago Feb. 15, 2013.  The president and congressional Republicans each seem content with the political ground they hold and are prepared to let across-the-board spending cuts take effect on March 1.
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Controllers must be cut in a week, LaHood says
Discussion: Politico
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 More Items: 
Jerusalem Post:
PA gives no indication of calling for West Bank calm
Discussion: and Israel Matzav
Jessica Silver-Greenberg / New York Times:
Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States
Glen Owen / Daily Mail:
Bombshell email: Nick Clegg was told about Lib Dem sex scandal four years ago
Discussion: Guardian and BBC
Jim Rutenberg / New York Times:
Michael Goldfarb Gleeful Provocateur at Intersection of Many Worlds
Bernie Becker / The Hill:
McCain: Backing immigration reform won't hurt GOP lawmakers in primaries
 Earlier Items: 
Bernie Becker / The Hill:
Leahy: Immigration, gun bills can pass Congress this year
Discussion: CNN
Grae Stafford / The Daily Caller:
Juan Williams: Liberal media will ‘shut you down, stab you, kill you, fire you’ if you disagree [VIDEO]
New York Times:
Violent, Drunk and Holding a Gun