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3:00 AM ET, December 17, 2013


 Top Items: 
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Judge: NSA phone program likely unconstitutional  —  A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely to be unconstitutional.  —  U.S. District Court Judge …
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records  —  WASHINGTON — A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans' phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as …
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
This Is The Most Important Paragraph In The Court Decision Against The NSA  —  The National Security Agency went into Judge Richard Leon's courtroom with a powerful precedent on its side.  In its 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held that individuals do not have a …
Discussion: Taylor Marsh and Liberal Values
Orin Kerr / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Preliminary Thoughts on Judge Leon's Opinion
Eric Lach / Talking Points Memo:
Federal Judge: NSA Program Revealed By Snowden Likely Unconstitutional
Discussion: The Impolitic
Jessica Hopper / Sound of the City:
Read the “Stomach-Churning” Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full  —  It has been nearly 15 years since music journalist Jim DeRogatis caught the story that has since defined his career, one that he wishes didn't exist: R. Kelly's sexual predation on teenage girls.
Alyssa Rosenberg / ThinkProgress:
What R. Kelly Teaches Us About How Sexual Predators Choose And Silence Their Victims  —  On Monday, the Village Voice published a long conversation between Jessica Hopper, the music editor for Rookie, and Jim DeRogatis, now a professor at Columbia College, who, as a critic at the Chicago Sun-Times …
Annie Linskey / Bloomberg:
Brown's Move to New Hampshire Fuels Talk of Senate Race  —  Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown plans to move to New Hampshire, the latest sign that he's considering a U.S. Senate bid there, which would complicate Democrats' effort to hold their majority in the chamber.
Make Obamacare Cool, or Make It Hurt  —  Instead of outreach programs and sappy TV ads with parents imploring their kids to sign up for Obamacare, President Barack Obama needs to start thinking creatively if he wants his signature legislative achievement to be a success.  What motivates kids?
FDA Consumer Health Information Updates:
FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap  —  On this page:  —  When you're buying soaps and body washes, do you reach for the bar or bottle labeled “antibacterial”?  Are you thinking that these products, in addition to keeping you clean, will reduce your risk of getting sick or passing on germs to others?
Alexis Levinson / The Daily Caller:
Democratic group apologizes after sending tracker to memorial service  —  Democratic opposition research organization American Bridge apologized on Monday for sending someone to follow New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte at a funeral this weekend, after a reporter and the New Hampshire Republican party attacked them for the move.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
Democratic Group American Bridge Apologizes After Oppo Tracker Films Memorial Service
Jack Mirkinson / The Huffington Post:
‘60 Minutes’ Trashed For NSA Piece  —  “60 Minutes” was trashed all over Twitter on Sunday night for a two-part story on the NSA which critics dubbed obsequious at best.  —  The piece was fronted by reporter John Miller, who had to tell viewers this at the top of the segment: “Full disclosure …
Andrew Beaujon / Poynter:
‘60 Minutes’ reporter didn't want NSA story to be ‘a puff piece’
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Lara Logan to return to ‘60 Minutes’  —  Lara Logan and Max McClellan, the ‘60 Minutes’ journalists who were put on a leave of absence following their now-retracted report on Benghazi, are set to return to the program early next year, POLITICO has learned.  —  Logan and her producer …
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Jeh Johnson OK'd for Homeland Security  —  The Senate confirmed former Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson on Monday to lead the Department of Homeland Security, rounding out President Barack Obama's second-term Cabinet.  —  After the 78-16 vote, Johnson will take the helm at DHS …
Discussion: Reuters, TIME and ImmigrationProf Blog
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Is A Big Chill On the Way?  —  As Steve noted a little while ago, the Northern states have been in a deep freeze for a while now.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that northern Minnesota hasn't had a six-day stretch colder than the one the state has just suffered through since the Nixon administration, 1972.
Juan Williams / The Hill:
Republicans must see the light on combatting poverty  —  Fifty years ago this month, President Johnson was closing in on his first State of the Union address.  The famous speech, delivered in January 1964, kickstarted the War on Poverty.  —  The war was never won.
Rick Kissell / Variety:
Fox News Remains Ratings Champ As 2013 Comes to Close  —  It and rivals CNN, MSNBC down from last year  —  Fox News Channel maintained its grip on the cable-news network ratings prize in 2013, drawing more viewers than the combined averages of CNN, MSNBC and HLN.
Josh Barro / Business Insider:
Conservatives Have No Idea What To Do About Recessions  —  For the last five years, liberals have promoted three main economic policies to shorten or ameliorate the Great Recession and speed the recovery from it.  — Deficit-financed spending to compensate for demand gaps in the private sector.
Michael Isikoff / NBCNews:
Climate change expert's fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds  —  The EPA's highest-paid employee and top expert on climate change engaged in “crime of massive proportions” by pretending to be working as an undercover agent for the CIA so he could avoid doing his real job for years …
Marc A. Thiessen / Washington Post:
Budget deal shows the GOP has PTSD  —  Since taking office, Barack Obama has run the table on congressional Republicans, racking up one government-expanding victory after another — from the stimulus to Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and the $620 billion in fiscal-cliff tax increases.
Discussion: Power Line
Daniel Strauss / Talking Points Memo:
Senate Conservatives Fund: Boehner Targeting Conservatives Just Like IRS  —  In a new fundraising email, the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is targeting conservatives in the same way that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Emma Dumain / Roll Call:
Ethics Committee Will Investigate Trey Radel  —  Radel, center, will be investigated.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)  —  The House Ethics Committee will launch a formal investigation into alleged misconduct by Rep. Trey Radel, the panel's top Republican and Democrat announced Monday.
Discussion: The Reaction
Andy Greenberg / Forbes:
An NSA Coworker Remembers The Real Edward Snowden: ‘A Genius Among Geniuses’  —  Perhaps Edward Snowden's hoodie should have raised suspicions.  —  The black sweatshirt sold by the civil libertarian Electronic Frontier Foundation featured a parody of the National Security Agency's logo …
Darren Samuelsohn / Politico:
Gary Patton out in DOD sexual assault post  —  The Pentagon's top sexual assault prevention official is stepping down next month amid an internal investigation that he intimidated whistleblowers during a previous stint in Afghanistan.  —  Maj. Gen. Gary Patton is set to retire in the spring …
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
Pentagon sexual assault prevention chief stepping down
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
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 More Items: 
Noam Scheiber / The New Republic:
Should the burden of proof be on reformers—or on vested interests?
Discussion: Washington Monthly
L. Gordon Crovitz / Wall Street Journal:
Jimmy Carter's Costly Patent Mistake
Discussion: National Review
USA Today:
No Obamacare firings? Here's one reason: Column
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Noah Rothman / Mediaite:
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: So Many Consider Obama the ‘First Gay President’
Alex Pareene / Salon:
Hack List No. 9: Thomas Friedman
Matthew Keys / The Desk:
Exclusive: Twitter working on “edit” feature for tweets
 Earlier Items: 
Camille Paglia / TIME:
It's a Man's World, And It Always Will Be
Discussion: Rush Limbaugh and AEIdeas
Betsy Rothstein / The Daily Caller:
Vice President Joe Biden gropes White House reporter
Discussion: and The PJ Tatler
Secret Inside BofA Office of CEO Stymied Needy Homeowners
Discussion: The Plum Line and Daily Kos