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12:40 PM ET, September 12, 2013


 Top Items: 
Vladimir V. Putin / New York Times:
What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria  —  MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders.  It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Washington Post:
U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels  —  The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures.  The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks …
Rosie Gray / BuzzFeed:
Ketchum Placed Controversial Putin Op-Ed  —  The PR firm's biggest Russia coup ever?  —  Ria Novosti / Reuters  —  WASHINGTON — The public relations firm Ketchum is responsible for placing a controversial editorial that appeared under Russian President Vladimir Putin's byline in the New York Times on Wednesday night.
Jake Tapper / The Lead with Jake Tapper:
Sen. Menendez reacts to Putin's op-ed: I wanted to vomit  —  The night before a high stakes diplomatic meeting in Geneva, where Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart will talk over a plan for stripping Syria of chemical weapons, The New York Times published an op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Colum Lynch / Reuters:
Exclusive: U.N. Report Will Point to Assad Regime in Massive Chemical Attack  —  U.N. inspectors have collected a “wealth” of evidence on the use of nerve agents that points to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against his own people, according to a senior Western official.
Steven Lee Myers / New York Times:
As Obama Pauses Action, Putin Takes Center Stage
Mario Trujillo / The Hill:
Panetta says Putin should be last person to lecture US
Discussion: Politico
New York Times:   U.N. Leader Admits Failure to Halt Syrian Atrocities
Exclusive: The Koch brothers' secret bank  —  An Arlington, Va.-based conservative group, whose existence until now was unknown to almost everyone in politics, raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide.  —  The group, Freedom Partners …
Brian Beutler / Salon:
The right's Obamacare obsession is destroying the Republican Party
Andrew Taylor / Associated Press:
A revolt by tea party conservatives forced House GOP leaders …
Tim Murphy / Mother Jones:
Ted Cruz: “We Need 100 More Like Jesse Helms”  —  Texas Sen. Ted Cruz started off his Wednesday speech on foreign policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation with a confession: His first political contribution was a $10 contribution to the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), when he was 10.
Jennifer Bendery / The Huffington Post:
Ted Cruz: ‘We Need 100 More Like Jesse Helms’ In The Senate  —  WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday that the country would be better off if the Senate was full of people like Jesse Helms, the late senator who was ardently opposed to all kinds of civil rights measures …
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Right Turn
Desiree Stennett / Orlando Sentinel:
Pastor Terry Jones arrested with thousands of kerosene-soaked Qurans, deputies say  —  Controversial Gainesville Pastor Terry Jones, known for his plans to publicly burn copies of the Muslim holy book, was arrested Wednesday with thousands of kerosene-soaked Qurans, authorities said.
The Raw Story:
Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones arrested with kerosene-soaked Korans
Discussion: Dependable Renegade
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones:
Dems Getting Ready to Roll Over on Budget Yet Again  —  Since House Republicans have steadfastly refused to pass a FY2014 budget—mostly on the peculiar grounds that if they did, it would force them to open negotiations with the Senate and run the risk of, um, negotiating …
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
House GOP: United against Obama on Syria, divided on everything else
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama signals shift back to economic focus
Discussion: Hot Air
Amurdie / Duck of Minerva:
So, you want a job in policy?  —  I haven't worked a “real job” since being an undergrad.  However, I often get asked by undergrads for advice about preparations for real world policy jobs.  I recently asked my former PhD student, Kate Kidder, a research associate at the Center for a New American Security …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
New York Times:
Democrats Press Thompson to Forsake a Runoff  —  Mayoral Election: What Happens Next?:  Bill de Blasio has a commanding lead over William C. Thompson Jr. after the Democratic primary in New York City.  The winner will face Joseph J. Lhota, the Republican candidate.
Chris Smith / New York Magazine:
Bill de Blasio's Full-Spectrum Victory
Washington Post:
D.C. executive linked to secret 2008 aid to Hillary Clinton  —  The D.C. businessman at the center of an ongoing city corruption investigation secretly spent more than a half-million dollars on get-out-the-vote efforts for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, according to interviews and court documents filed Wednesday.
Ramsey Cox / E2-Wire:
Reid: ‘Anarchists have taken over’ in Congress (Video)  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday said “anarchists” have taken over Congress.  —  Reid (D-Nev.) said Tea Party Republicans are preventing progress on an energy efficiency bill by offering amendments on ObamaCare and other unrelated issues.
Discussion: Politico and Weasel Zippers
Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession  —  States' new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less.  The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession …
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Washington Post
Obama and Syria: Stumbling Toward Damascus  —  The President's uneven Syria response has damaged his office and weakened the nation.  It's time for one more pivot  —  By Joe Klein @JoeKleinTIMESept.  11, 2013  —  On the eve of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks …
Hayes Brown / ThinkProgress:
Benghazi Conspiracy Rally On Capitol Hill Attracts Dozens Of People  —  Tens of people rally on Capitol Hill for the truth about Benghazi  —  WASHINGTON, DC — The first anniversary of the Benghazi tragedy was supposed to be the time for conservatives around the country to descend on the Capitol …
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Feds Fight To Prevent NSA Disclosures In Criminal Cases  —  Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and Sen. Diane Feinstein have put federal prosecutors in quite a bind after they made public comments about the use of secret NSA surveillance in terrorism investigations.
Wall Street Journal:
Lois Lerner's Own Words  —  Emails undercut the official IRS story on political targeting.  —  Congress's investigation into the IRS targeting of conservatives has been continuing out of the Syria headlines, and it's turning up news.  Emails unearthed by the House Ways …
Matt Fuller / Roll Call:
Norquist Has Leadership's Back Against Heritage, Club for Growth  —  A House GOP leadership team whose best-laid plans have been continually torpedoed by Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth has a familiar ally as it tries to avert a government shutdown: Grover Norquist.
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 More Items: 
Timothy Garton Ash / Guardian:
This crisis resolves little in Syria but says a lot about the United States
Discussion: normblog
Sean Lengell / Washington Examiner:
Bob Corker: Obama ‘uncomfortable’ as commander in chief
Discussion: Sense of Events
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Matthews, Panel Hammer Obama for Lack of ‘Forceful Leadership’
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Hot Air
PR Newswire:
IBT Media Names Jim Impoco the Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek
Steve Hendrix / Washington Post:
F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11
Discussion: Chicago Boyz
Kenya discovers huge water source
Discussion: Shakesville
 Earlier Items: 
Sandhya Somashekhar / Washington Post:
Health-care ‘data hub’ is ready, White House officials say
Daniel Henninger / Wall Street Journal:
The Laurel and Hardy Presidency
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Conservatives use Sept. 11 to attack Obama
Paul Steinhauser / CNN:
CNN Poll: Who would get blamed for government shutdown?