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1:50 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.
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Stephanie Condon / CBS News:
House Republicans pushing for major food stamp cuts  —  After watching the cost of food stamp assistance soar during the recession, the Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday plans to vote on a bill to cut the food stamp program by a whopping $40 billion over 10 years.
David M. Drucker / Washington Examiner:
House GOP: Sen. Ted Cruz surrendered without a fight over Obamacare
Discussion: The Plum Line and Washington Wire
Caitlin Huey-Burns / Real Clear Politics:
House Republicans Hit Cruz for “White Flag” on Health Law
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.
Discussion: CNN,, CBS DC and The Raw Story
Associated Press:
Pope Francis Criticizes ‘Obsessed’ Church Focus On Abortion, Gay Marriage, Contraception  —  VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church's moral edifice might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and 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.
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.
Discussion: Hawkings Here and Taylor Marsh
Associated Press:
Conviction of Tom DeLay Is Overturned  —  AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas appeals court tossed the criminal conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Thursday, saying there was insufficient evidence for a jury in 2010 to have found him guilty of illegally funneling money to Republican candidates.
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
Tom Delay's conviction overturned
Discussion: CNN
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: BuzzFeed and A Spork in the Drawer
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
If we get a debt ceiling crisis, it's because Republican voters want one  —  If we are going to have a debt ceiling and default crisis — with all of the havoc it may well entail — it may well be because Republican voters want such a crisis, even if it causes serious economic harm.  —  No, really.
Tal Kopan / Politico:
John Boehner: President Obama deals with Vladimir Putin but not GOP?
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Hill
ABC News:
Obama Convening Export Panel at White House
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
Daily Mail:
Republicans ‘dead serious’ about bringing Hillary Clinton back to face MORE grilling as they slam State Department over Benghazi  — A Republican aide says House investigators may ‘have to climb the ladder and swear Hillary in’ since underlings aren't providing answers
Discussion: Moe Lane
Julian Pecquet / The Hill:
Auditors of Benghazi attack say their report was not a cover-up
Discussion: Politico
Nick Gillespie / The Daily Beast:
Now Is Not the Time for New Gun Laws  —  In the wake of the D.C. shooting, some lawmakers are pushing for new regulations on firearms.  But legislation should never be passed in the heat of a crisis.  —  Monday's horrific mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard left 12 victims …
Josh Lederman / Associated Press:
Biden Visits Patients Wounded in Navy Yard Rampage
Discussion: Politico and The Hill
New York Times:
Mental Health Again an Issue in Gun Debate
Discussion:, JustOneMinute and WJLA-TV
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Dem tries to shame members on food stamps with props  —  Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Thursday used food props on the House floor to portray members of Congress as steak-eating, vodka-swilling socialites in a bid to get Congress to reject a GOP bill cutting $40 billion in food stamps.
Discussion: Des Moines Register and CNN
Los Angeles Times:
Syria may miss first deadline in U.S.-Russia chemical arms deal  —  The ambitious agreement is challenged as indications arise that the Syrian government will not submit a toxic-stockpile inventory this weekend.  —  Rebel fighters try to avoid Syrian army fire in Aleppo on Sept. 18.
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 More Items: 
Mark Thoma / Economist's View:
State Inequality Visualizations
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Wonkblog
Linda Greenhouse / Opinionator:
Winds of Change  —  Back in 1991, the Supreme Court upheld …
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
Norm Ornstein /
Congress's Fiscal Fiasco Forces Americans to Wear Badge of Shame
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Nicole Wallace: GOP is playing in traffic
 Earlier Items: 
Laura Vozzella / Washington Post:
McAuliffe on defensive as Cuccinelli gets a boost
Investor's Business Daily:
Growing IRS Scandal Requires A Special Prosecutor
Gail Collins / New York Times:
World War O  —  The war against Obamacare: All the rationality …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Secret ban on face veils for staff at 17 hospitals
Discussion: BBC and Guardian