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9:45 AM ET, February 25, 2013


 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
Fresh Front in Budget Battle  —  Congressional Leaders Discuss Deal to Avert Shutdown at Cost of Extending Cuts  —  Already looking past the current budget impasse gripping the capital, congressional leaders are quietly considering a deal to avert a government shutdown next month …
Discussion: Politico and Hot Air
Washington Post:
White House releases state-by-state breakdown of sequester's effects  —  The White House on Sunday detailed how deep spending cuts set to begin this week would affect programs in every state and the District, as President Obama launched a last-ditch effort to pressure congressional Republicans …
Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
Obama tells nation's governors: 'We've got more work to do'
Discussion: Politico
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
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 …
Dominic Patten /
OSCARS: How Michelle Obama's Surprise Appearance Came Together - Video
Scmo /
Pope accepts Cardinal O'Brien's resignation  —  The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh.
Discussion: Guardian and New York Times
Julian Zelizer / CNN:
If spending is cut, GOP will get the blame  —  Editor's note: Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.  He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and “Governing America.”  —  (CNN) — Until now “sequestration” has been a word that only means something …
Discussion: The Agonist and The Reaction
New York Times:
Democrats and Republicans Miscalculate on Automatic Cuts  —  WASHINGTON — With Congress unlikely to stop deep automatic spending cuts that will strike hard at the military, the fiscal stalemate is highlighting a significant shift in the Republican Party: lawmakers most keenly dedicated …
Jonathan Martin / Politico:
Dems 2016: Will Hillary Clinton clear the field?  —  The ranks of Democratic governors are filled with ambitious politicians boasting records that would probably play well with primary voters in 2016.  —  But even as they eye a move from the statehouse to the White House …
Discussion: New York Times
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Austerity, Italian Style  —  Two months ago, when Mario Monti stepped down as Italy's prime minister, The Economist opined that “The coming election campaign will be, above all, a test of the maturity and realism of Italian voters.”  The mature, realistic action, presumably …
Discussion: Business Insider and Paul Krugman
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
Stuart Stevens / Washington Post:
The GOP revival must go beyond joining Twitter  —  There seems to be a desire to blame Republicans' electoral difficulties and the Romney campaign's loss on technological failings.  I wish this were the problem, because it would be relatively easy to fix.  But it's not.
James Wagner / Emory University:
From the President  —  As American as . . . Compromise  —  President James Wagner responds to readers regarding his recent Emory Magazine column: … For ongoing coverage of developments related to President Wagner's column on compromise, please visit the Emory News Center.  —  Original Column:
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Dylan Stableford / Yahoo! News:
Gibbs: I was told not to acknowledge existence of drone program  —  Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama's former press secretary, says that he was once instructed by the White House not to acknowledge the administration's use of drones.  —  “When I went through the process of becoming press secretary …
Discussion: 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
Matthew Rosenberg / New York Times:
Afghanistan Orders U.S. Troops to Leave Crucial Province
Discussion: CNN and Gawker
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 More Items: 
David Barrett / Telegraph:
Christian group challenges ban on gay poster campaign
The Daily Caller:
Long-time escort confirms Senator Bob Menendez paid her for sex
Alexei Oreskovic / Reuters:
Firefox OS Will Take On Apple And Google In The Smartphone Wars, Starting This Summer
Garance Franke-Ruta / The Atlantic Online:
The Plague Years, in Film and Memory
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
How Mexico Got Back in the Game
Discussion: Firedoglake and Via Meadia
 Earlier Items: 
Shelby Grad / L.A. NOW:
Father goes to strip club, leaves 2-year-old in cold car, LAPD says
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Bobby Jindal: Republicans Can Continue Discriminating Against Gays And Still Win Elections
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: Spectator, Guardian and BBC
Jim Rutenberg / New York Times:
Michael Goldfarb Gleeful Provocateur at Intersection of Many Worlds