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5:10 PM ET, September 19, 2013

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 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 …
RELATED:
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 …
Kirsten Powers / The Daily Beast:
The GOP Is Threatening Murder-Suicide With New Shutdown Warnings  —  If the president refuses to defund Obamacare, House Republicans are happy to retaliate with a government shutdown.  What they're really headed for is complete ruination, says Kirsten Powers.  —  The Republican Party is destroying America.
Igor Bobic / Talking Points Memo:
McCain: To Think We Can Repeal Obamacare ‘Is Not Rational’ (VIDEO)  —  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Thursday it was irrational to believe Republicans have any chance of repealing the Affordable Care Act, a direct shot at conservatives in the House who have been calling on their Senate colleagues …
David Weigel / Slate:   Welcome to the Republican Party's make-believe fight to defund Obamacare.
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Boehner: Obama should negotiate on debt, but not with me
Discussion: E2-Wire, The Hill and Daily Kos
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:   Boehner To Cruz: Time To Put Up Or Shut Up On Defunding Obamacare
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Some House GOP conservatives want Cruz-Paul-Rubio-Lee filibuster on Obamacare defunding
Discussion: Daily Kos, Hot Air and National Review
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Boehner challenges Senate GOP to ‘get the job done’ on defunding
Discussion: CNN
CNN:
House Republicans question Cruz's Obamacare-defunding fervor
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 …
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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
English pravda.ru:
Senator John McCain: Russians deserve better than Putin  —  When Pravda.ru 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.
RELATED:
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 …
KHOU-TV:
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.
RELATED:
Sarah Wheaton / New York Times:
Conviction of DeLay in Texas Donation Case Is Overturned
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
Tom Delay's conviction overturned
Discussion: Politico and CNN
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.
RELATED:
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
WATCH: Anti-Obamacare Videos With ‘Creepy Uncle Sam’
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. …
RELATED:
David Harsanyi / The Federalist:
Yes, Americans Like the Debt Ceiling - And it Matters
Discussion: National Review and ThinkProgress
Laura Collins / Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE: Two decades after her affair with Bill Clinton, Gennifer Flowers reveals they'd be together now if it wasn't for Chelsea and how former president confided in her that Hillary was bisexual  — She bitterly regrets rejecting him when he last begged to see her and says he's the ‘love of her life’
Catherine Thompson / Talking Points Memo:
Two Men Dead In Michigan Road Rage Shootout, Police Say  —  Police said two men died Wednesday after a shootout allegedly motivated by road rage, the Grand Rapids Press reported.  —  The initial police investigation showed Ionia, Mich. residents James Pullum, 43, and Robert Taylor, 56 …
RELATED:
Andrew Krietz / MLive.com:
Road rage shootout: 2 men killed identified after evening incident in Ionia
Discussion: The Raw Story
Associated Press:
Warming lull haunts authors of key climate report  —  STOCKHOLM (AP) — Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.
RELATED:
Marc Morano / Climate Depot:
Nature editorial: 'The IPCC's mega-assessments are out of date by the time they hit the streets'; …
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
RELATED:
Stephanie Condon / CBS News:
House Republicans pushing for major food stamp cuts
Guardian:
Syrian government says civil war has reached stalemate  —  Exclusive: Deputy PM says neither side is strong enough to win and government will call for ceasefire at Geneva talks  —  The Syrian civil war has reached a stalemate and President Bashar al-Assad's government will call for a ceasefire …
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
 
 
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
Frisking Tactic Yields to a Focus on Youth Gangs
Discussion: Colorlines, Gawker and Althouse
Sarah Ditum / Guardian:
Why women have a right to sex-selective abortion
Rick Reilly / ESPN:
Have the people spoken?  —  Do the team names — Redskins …
Felix Salmon:
The surprising value of not tapering
Discussion: Bloomberg and Business Insider
The Huffington Post:
Dallas - 4 dead  — Erbie Lee Bowser, 44, a former teacher …
 Earlier Items: 
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
Capitol Police investigating Navy Yard ‘stand down’ claim
BBC:
Nintendo visionary Hiroshi Yamauchi dies aged 85
Discussion: The Verge
Mark Thoma / Economist's View:
State Inequality Visualizations
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Wonkblog
Norm Ornstein / NationalJournal.com:
Congress's Fiscal Fiasco Forces Americans to Wear Badge of Shame
Discussion: Politico and Taegan Goddard's …
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Nicole Wallace: GOP is playing in traffic