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3:10 PM ET, June 28, 2013


 Top Items: 
Culture Desk:
Cover Story: Bert and Ernie's “Moment of Joy”  —  “It's amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” said Jack Hunter, the artist behind next week's cover, “Moment of Joy.”  Hunter, who originally submitted his image, unsolicited, to a Tumblr, continued …
House GOP's immigration playbook  —  Circle July 10 with red ink: It's now the most important day for immigration reform.  —  That Wednesday is when a hobbled, divided and raucous House Republican Conference will meet in the Capitol basement to figure out how to address the Senate-passed bill.
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Know who wants Republicans to pass immigration reform? Major Republican donors.
Jennifer Bendery / The Huffington Post:
Hank Johnson: Clarence Thomas ‘Worse’ Than Edward Snowden For Gutting Voting Rights Act  —  WASHINGTON — Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said Wednesday that the fact that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas voted this week to gut the Voting Rights Act — the 1965 law aimed at protecting disenfranchised voters …
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Roberts Pulls Supreme Court to the Right Step by Step  —  WASHINGTON — Viewed in isolation, the Supreme Court term that just ended had elements of modesty.  The court declined to do away with affirmative action, gave Congress another shot at salvaging the Voting Rights Act and refused to find …
Timothy Egan / Opinionator:   The Up-in-the-Air President  —  It was cool, as media moments go …
George Stark / Daily Mail:
Alec Baldwin's pregnant wife Hilaria TWEETS about Rachael Ray and anniversary gifts during James Gandolfini's funeral  — She later insisted: 'I don't believe in bringing phones into a funeral and I never did and I never would'  —  It may not be considered funeral etiquette …
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
‘Cracker’ Means Something Entirely Different In Florida: A Source Of ‘Pride’  —  At the merciful close of key prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel's testimony in the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, defense attorney Don West asked Ms. Jeantel to describe the “culture” …
Andrew Branca / Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion:
Zimmerman Trial Day 4 - End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State's Witnesses
Discussion: JustOneMinute
Adam Peck / ThinkProgress:
Mayor Bloomberg: NYPD ‘Stops Whites Too Much And Minorities Too Little’  —  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the police department's controversial stop and frisk program during a radio interview on Friday morning, and complained that the NYPD was stopping too many white people.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Texas woman indicted for sending ricin letters to Bloomberg, White House
Discussion: Associated Press
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Krugman hits Erickson for ‘fake populism’  —  In response to Erick Erickson's latest us-versus-them screed against the Acela-corridor...  Paul Krugman drops some Bureau of Labor Statistics data to show that the price of milk and bread haven't actually gone up at all.  And asks:
Rachael Bade / Politico:
Issa's panel vote clears path for Lerner's return  —  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 22-17 on Friday that embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights during a hearing last month on the agency's tea party targeting scandal.
Discussion: The Spectacle Blog
House panel says IRS official waived 5th Amendment right
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Phillip Molnar / Monterey County Herald:
Restricted web access to The Guardian is Armywide, officials say  —  The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday's Herald, but Armywide.  —  Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Nationalized gay marriage, now inevitable  —  Under the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages even in states that have legalized it.  This week, the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional.  —  There are two possible grounds, distinct and in some ways contradictory, for doing so.
Michael Isikoff / Investigations:
Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say  —  Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright was the second-highest ranking member of the U.S. military, and a key Obama adviser who served as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Legal sources tell NBC News Cartwright …
New York Times:
The Criminal N.S.A.  —  THE twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans' phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism …
Glenn Harlan Reynolds / Wall Street Journal:
What's Really ‘Immoral’ About Student Loans  —  It's not so much the interest rates charged.  It is, rather, the principal of the thing.  —  Unless Congress acts, interest rates for government subsidized student loans will double to 6.8% from 3.4% on July 1.
Discussion: Via Meadia
Sahil Kapur / Talking Points Memo:
Democrats Make Big Gamble On Student Loans
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
Obama administration finalizes birth-control mandate in healthcare law  —  The Obama administration announced final rules Friday on ObamaCare's birth-control coverage mandate.  —  The final rules do not substantively alter the controversial mandate, which requires most employers to cover …
Discussion: Politico
Katie Glueck / Politico:
Wendy Davis strikes back against Rick Perry  —  Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis on Friday took Gov. Rick Perry to task over highly personal comments he made about her the day before.  —  “I would say to him, that I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life,” …
Discussion: ThinkProgress and CNN
Tom Watkins / CNN:
Father proposes deal for Snowden's voluntary return  —  (CNN) — The father of Edward J. Snowden has offered federal authorities a deal that he says would likely lead the accused leaker to return voluntarily to the United States to face espionage charges.  —  The proposal was laid out in a letter …
Discussion: Politico and The Hill
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Remember the Obama Scandals?  That Used to Be a Thing  —  Sifting through the Republican responses to President Obama's climate speech Tuesday, an odd omission could be found — or, at least, it would have seemed odd as recently as a week or two ago.  The various Republican statements churned …
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
In U.S., 43% of Uninsured Unaware They Must Get Coverage  —  Awareness higher, at 81%, among all Americans  —  PRINCETON, NJ — The vast majority of Americans, 81%, say they are aware of the 2010 Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) requirement that most Americans must carry health insurance or pay a fine.
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 More Items: 
Rory Cellan-Jones / BBC:
Facebook removes ads from controversial pages to avoid boycott
Discussion: Guardian and TechCrunch
Breanna Edwards / Politico:
Jimmy Carter to Paula Deen: ‘Let the dust settle’
Discussion: CNN
Robby Soave / The Daily Caller:
Texas teen makes violent joke during video game, is jailed for months
Scott Powers /
Challengers beginning to emerge to run against Grayson
Discussion: Ballot Box
The Boston Globe:
Coakley weighs run for governor
 Earlier Items: 
Natasha Chart / RH Reality Check:
Just Have the Baby?  A New Mom Reveals Why There Is No ‘Just,’ and Not Necessarily Any Justice Either
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Invest, Divest and Prosper
Discussion: AEIdeas, NPR, ThinkProgress and Wonkblog
Washington Post:
Company allegedly misled government about security clearance checks
Discussion: Poynter, Crooks and Liars and Hot Air
Shane Goldmacher /
Nearly One in Five Members of Congress Gets Paid Twice
Discussion: FishbowlDC and Outside the Beltway