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3:25 PM ET, September 19, 2013


 Top Items: 
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:
The GOP's Self-Defeating ‘Defunding’ Strategy  —  It will only strengthen the president while alienating independents.  —  In 2010, Republicans took the House of Representatives by gaining 63 seats.  They also picked up six U.S. senators and 675 state legislators, giving them control …
Brian Beutler / Salon:
New test could expose GOP's pack of charlatans  —  Conservatives in the Senate have spent weeks and weeks hectoring House Republicans to stand true to GOP principles and make funding for the federal government contingent upon Democrats agreeing to defund Obamacare.
Jennifer Bendery / The Huffington Post:
Ted Cruz Digs Himself In Further On Obamacare: ‘Likely That It Will Take Another Election For A Full Repeal’  —  WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn't have much to say Thursday in response to House Republicans fuming at him for conceding that the Democrat-controlled Senate …
House Republicans question Cruz's Obamacare-defunding fervor
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Boehner challenges Senate GOP to ‘get the job done’ on defunding
Discussion: CNN
Gail Collins / New York Times:
World War O  —  The war against Obamacare: All the rationality …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Laurie Goodstein / New York Times:
Pope Bluntly Faults Church's Focus on Gays and Abortion  —  Alessandro Di Meo/European Pressphoto Agency  —  Pope Francis, who has said the church should be a “home for all,” on Sept. 4 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.  —  Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy …
America Magazine:
A Big Heart Open to God  —  The exclusive interview with Pope Francis  —  Editor's Note: This interview with Pope Francis took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome.  The interview was conducted in person by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal.
Associated Press:
Pope Francis Criticizes ‘Obsessed’ Church Focus On Abortion, Gay Marriage, Contraception
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Senator John McCain: Russians deserve better than Putin  —  When editor, Dmitry Sudakov, offered to publish my commentary, he referred to me as “an active anti-Russian politician for many years.”  I'm sure that isn't the first time Russians have heard me characterized as their antagonist.
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Truthfully, John McCain in wrong Pravda  —  Sen. John McCain got his wish when his op-ed against Russian President Vladimir Putin was published in Russia news outlet Pravda.  The only problem — it may have been the wrong Pravda.  —  The Arizona Republican published his anti-Putin piece …
Leslie Bentz / CNN:
McCain publishes opinion piece in Pravda - but not the one he wanted  —  Washington (CNN) - Senator John McCain has a message for the Russian people: “I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.”  —  In an opinion piece titled “Russians Deserve Better Than Putin …
Texas appeals court overturns Tom DeLay money laundering conviction  —  HOUSTON — A Texas Court of Appeals in Austin has overturned the conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, attorney Brian Wice tells KHOU 11 News.  —  DeLay, 66, was convicted in 2010 for his alleged role in a scheme to influence Texas elections.
Sarah Wheaton / New York Times:
Conviction of DeLay in Texas Donation Case Is Overturned  —  WASHINGTON — A Texas appeals court on Thursday overturned the criminal conviction of former Representative Tom DeLay, sparing him the three-year prison sentence he received in 2011 after being found guilty in a politically charged trial.
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
Tom Delay's conviction overturned  —  A Texas appellate court has overturned the 2010 conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay's (R-Texas) for money laundering.  —  The court said it was acquitting Delay due to insufficient evidence.  —  Since his conviction three years ago …
Discussion: Politico and CNN
USA Today:
Texas court overturns Tom DeLay conviction  —  Court's ruling leads to acquittal for Texan who was once one of most powerful Republicans in Congress.  —  CONNECT  —  WASHINGTON — A Texas court has overturned the conviction of former House majority leader Tom DeLay in a money-laundering case stemming from the 2002 elections.
Associated Press:
Conviction of Tom DeLay Is Overturned
Yahoo! News:
Creepy Obamacare ad hits college campuses and your nightmares  —  There will be girls.  There will be beer.  There will be cornhole.  And someone will be dressed in the creepiest Uncle Sam costume you've ever seen.  —  Welcome to the strange new front in the war over Obamacare.
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
WATCH: Anti-Obamacare Videos With ‘Creepy Uncle Sam’
Discussion: A Spork in the Drawer
Craig Bannister / CNSNews:
Obama: ‘Raising the Debt Ceiling...Does Not Increase Our Debt,’ Though It Has ‘Over 100 Times’  —  Raising the debt ceiling doesn't increase the nation's debt, Pres. Obama declared in a speech today.  —  In a speech at the Business Roundtable headquarters in Washington, D.C. …
David Harsanyi / The Federalist:
Yes, Americans Like the Debt Ceiling - And it Matters
Discussion: National Review and ThinkProgress
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Through Diplomacy, Obama Finds a Pen Pal in Iran  —  WASHINGTON — Few American presidents have held a deeper belief in the power of the written word than President Obama.  And in few ways has that belief been more tested than in his frustrating private correspondence with the leaders of Iran …
Thomas Erdbrink / New York Times:
Iran's Leaders Signal Effort at New Thaw
Amanda Ripley / The Atlantic Online:
The Case Against High-School Sports  —  The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide.  And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?  —  Every year, thousands of teenagers move …
Discussion: FishbowlDC
Ginger Gibson / Politico:
Darrell Issa resumes Benghazi crusade  —  Darrell Issa will resume hammering the White House on Benghazi on Thursday after four months of relative silence on the subject, as his committee interrogates two of the chief independent investigators of the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya.
Daily Mail:
Republicans ‘dead serious’ about bringing Hillary Clinton back to face MORE grilling …
Discussion: Moe Lane
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Report: Phil Gingrey gripes $172K salary  —  In an argument against a special exemption allowing Hill staffers to buy health insurance, one lawmaker said he's “stuck” making $172,000 a year, while aides will go on to make in big bucks lobbying on K Street, according to a report.
Norm Ornstein /
Congress's Fiscal Fiasco Forces Americans to Wear Badge of Shame  —  As readers of my past columns know, I was not exactly optimistic as we approached crunch time over the debt limit in 2011.  But I am far more pessimistic now.  At a dinner I attended Monday night with a host …
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
The Huffington Post:
Dallas - 4 dead  — Erbie Lee Bowser, 44, a former teacher and Dallas Mavericks hip-hop dancer, was charged with two counts of capital murder after police said he attacked the homes of his estranged wife and his girlfriend, killing both women and two of their children.  Four additional people were wounded in the attacks.
Felix Salmon:
The surprising value of not tapering  —  I'm very late to this — I was a bit distracted by other things today — but the big storyline of the day seems clear: the Fed didn't taper, and markets surged in response.  —  So here's my question.  If you take the amount of tapering …
Discussion: Bloomberg and Business Insider
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
Capitol Police investigating Navy Yard ‘stand down’ claim  —  U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine is requesting an investigation of his department's response to the Navy Yard shootings amid reports that a “stand down” order was given to a heavily harmed Capitol Police team close to the scene.
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 More Items: 
Sarah Ditum / Guardian:
Why women have a right to sex-selective abortion
Rick Reilly / ESPN:
Have the people spoken?  —  Do the team names — Redskins …
Andrew Krietz /
Road rage shootout: 2 men killed identified after evening incident in Ionia
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Bidens to tour Colorado flood damage
Discussion: CNN
Washington Post:
Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seize Syrian town of Azaz from more moderate rebels
Nintendo visionary Hiroshi Yamauchi dies aged 85
Discussion: The Verge
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Dem tries to shame members on food stamps with props
Discussion: Des Moines Register and CNN
Mark Thoma / Economist's View:
State Inequality Visualizations
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Wonkblog
 Earlier Items: 
Marc Morano / Climate Depot:
Nature editorial: 'The IPCC's mega-assessments are out of date by the time they hit the streets'; …
Alex Seitz-Wald /
Liberals Want to Save Obama—From Himself
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Nicole Wallace: GOP is playing in traffic
Laura Vozzella / Washington Post:
McAuliffe on defensive as Cuccinelli gets a boost
Investor's Business Daily:
Growing IRS Scandal Requires A Special Prosecutor