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1:55 PM ET, September 18, 2013


 Top Items: 
And what's right with Obama?  —  The British have a saying about the twin rules of journalism: first simplify, then exaggerate.  —  Perhaps Barack Obama can comfort himself with the reality that his current travails are both more complicated in their causes and less dire in their consequences …
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Losing the Room  —  WASHINGTON — On the most deadly day here since Sept. 11, 2001, with the capital reeling over the sadly familiar scene of a mass shooting by a madman, the chief executive stepped to the microphones and captured the heartbreak.  —  It wasn't the chief executive of the nation.
Wall Street Journal:
The President finds an enemy he's willing to bomb—Republicans.
Discussion: Betsy's Page, Power Line and Fox News
Sheldon Alberts / The Hill:
House Republicans up ante in showdown over federal shutdown  —  House Republican leaders bowed to conservative demands and announced plans Wednesday to strip out money for President Obama's healthcare law in a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Sept. 30.
Mario Trujillo / The Hill:
White House gets ready for shutdown  —  The White House told federal agencies on Tuesday to prepare for a government shutdown.  —  President Obama's budget director Sylvia Matthews Burwell in a memo to agencies said they should set their plans in case Congress fails to pass a funding measure by the end of the month.
Discussion: CNN and The Moderate Voice
New York Times:
The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis  —  Representative Aaron Schock is a conservative Republican from Illinois, but not conservative enough for the hard-right activist group Club for Growth, which is seeking someone to run against him in next year's primary.  —  His crime?
Damian Paletta / Washington Wire:
White House Shifts Debt-Ceiling Tone, Warning of Fiasco
Discussion: Wonkblog
Lori Ziganto / Twitchy:
WH: ‘Extreme members’ of GOP are ‘reckless’; Mark Knoller smacks Obama with flashback quotes
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Starbucks Coffee Company:
An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company  —  Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer  —  Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns.  In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners …
Robert Costa / National Review:
House to Vote on Defunding Obamacare  —  Leadership sources tell me the House GOP will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultaneously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare.  Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are expected to announce the decision at Wednesday's closed-door conference meeting.
The Fix:
Boehner Agonistes (again)
Robert Costa / National Review:
Boehner: 'We're Going to Put Obamacare Defunding Directly Into the CR'
Discussion: Daily Kos and Hot Air
Ramsey Cox / The Hill:
Reid: GOP doing ‘everything they can’ to get rid of government
Discussion: Politico
Emma Dumain / Roll Call:
Conservatives to Unveil Obamacare Replacement Bill
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Chuck Todd: It's Not Media's Job To Correct GOP's Obamacare Falsehoods (VIDEO)  —  MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don't expect members of the media to correct the record.  —  During a segment on “Morning Joe …
Discussion: Daily Kos, Balloon Juice and Fox News
Wall Street Journal:
Walgreen to Give Workers Payments to Buy Health Plans
Discussion: National Review and Pirate's Cove
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
Walgreens, Blue Cross launch effort to promote ObamaCare
Discussion: Weekly Standard and Shakesville
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
Reaping Profit After Assisting on Health Law
Discussion: Via Meadia and
Michael S. Schmidt / New York Times:
State Law Prevented Sale of Assault Rifle to Suspect Last Week, Officials Say  —  WASHINGTON — The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday test-fired an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week but was stopped from buying one because state law there prohibits …
CBS News:
Aaron Alexis tried to buy assault rifle but was unable to
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Obama distress signal: President seeks help from first-term A-Team  —  A struggling President Obama is calling for help from members of his first-term A-Team, who have left the White House for other jobs.  —  With his poll numbers falling and his second-term floundering so far …
Jason Horowitz /
Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win the White House?  —  Tough talk and fearless politics have made Senator Rand Paul a leader in the Republican Party.  Could he—and his charming, secret-weapon wife, Kelley—win the White House?  —  On a sunny Saturday in July, Rand Paul and his wife …
Discussion: Ballot Box and Post Politics
Mario Trujillo / The Hill:
Rand Paul: ‘Gut feeling’ Hillary won't run in 2016
Discussion: CNN
Art Swift / Gallup:
For First Time, Americans' Views of Russia Turn Negative  —  Despite approval of Russian plan for Syria, Americans sour on Putin  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — More Americans view Russia as unfriendly or an enemy of the United States than as an ally or friendly nation for the first time in 15 years …
Martin O'Malley / Washington Post:
What Maryland does better than Texas  —  Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is governor of Maryland.  —  With gridlock and partisanship having all but paralyzed Washington, governors are at the forefront of our country's policy divide.  On the No. 1 issue facing our nation …
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
The Man With Pink Hair  —  I was at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, last week and struggling with my column.  News of Russia's proposal for Syria to surrender its poison gas was just breaking and changing every hour, forcing me to rewrite my column every hour.
Evan McMorris-Santoro / BuzzFeed:
New Hampshire Senate Candidate: More Women In The Workplace Led To More Mass Shootings  —  Former Republican state Sen. Jim Rubens is expected to announce his U.S. Senate campaign today.  The rise of an economy with added opportunities for women has created “stress” for men, he says.
The Raw Story:
Muslim beauty pageant challenges Miss World  —  Muslim women in headscarves and elaborately embroidered dresses took to the stage Wednesday for the finale of an Islamic beauty pageant in Indonesia, a riposte to the Miss World contest that has sparked hardline anger.
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 More Items: 
David Kravets / Wired:
U.S. Telcos Never Challenged NSA Demands for Your Metadata
Discussion: Hit & Run, Guardian and TechCrunch
Kurtis Lee / Denver Post:
Hoover Institution:
What Economic Recovery?  —  by Lee Ohanian (Senior fellow) …
Discussion: Power Line
Agoldberg / The Smoking Gun:
Cops: Man Hit Girl To Beat Of “Blurred Lines”
Discussion: The Raw Story and BuzzFeed
Melanie Eversley / USA Today:
Federal government to seize NYC skyscraper tied to Iran
Discussion: Yahoo! News
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Darrell Issa: I can call Hillary Clinton back
 Earlier Items: 
The Atlantic Online:
Photos: Raising the Costa Concordia
Discussion: The Reaction
Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed:
9 Potential Mass Shootings That Were Stopped By Someone With A Personally Owned Firearm
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Weasel Zippers
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
Appeals court rules in favor of ObamaCare birth control mandate