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3:10 PM ET, December 17, 2013

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Ron Fournier / NationalJournal.com:
‘This Is the End of the Presidency’  —  Tracking the same horrible second-term path as Bush, can Obama learn from the past?  —  Claiming a mandate he never had, the newly reelected president foisted a bold agenda upon Congress and the public, then watched it collapse within months …
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Obama suffers most from year of turmoil, poll finds  —  President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantages over Republicans …
Washington Post:
Gary Langer / ABC News:
A Drop in Opposition to Obamacare Helps Stabilize a Struggling Presidency
Discussion: Daily Kos and NewsBusters
Brett LoGiurato / Business Insider:
Obama's Current Approval Rating Is The Ugliest Since Nixon
Discussion: The Week
New York Times:
A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance  —  For the first time since the revelation of the National Security Agency's vast dragnet of all Americans' telephone records, a federal court has ruled that such surveillance is “significantly likely” to be unconstitutional.
RELATED:
Emily Bazelon / Slate:
Snap Out of It  —  If this judge doesn't buy the legal basis for the NSA's intrusive phone snooping, no one should.  —  If you have been lulled into a state of somnolence about former government contractor Edward Snowden's revelations that the government is collecting records …
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
‘Passionate’ Judge Has Record of Wrestling With Thorny Issues, and the U.S. Government
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
White House to tap Microsoft exec to fix HealthCare.gov  —  The White House is tapping the private sector for its next point man to oversee the troubled Obamacare website.  —  The administration is set to announce that Kurt DelBene, an executive at Microsoft, will succeed Jeff Zients …
RELATED:
Kathleen Sebelius / HHS.gov:
Former Microsoft Executive Kurt DelBene To Replace Jeff Zients  —  Today, I am pleased to announce Kurt DelBene as my Senior Advisor and successor to Jeff Zients.  Jeff did an outstanding job working with our team to provide management advice and counsel on the HealthCare.gov project.
Jessica Meyers / Politico:
Tech giants get Obama's ear on NSA
Discussion: Business Insider
David Brooks / New York Times:
The Thought Leader  —  Little boys and girls in ancient Athens grew up wanting to be philosophers.  In Renaissance Florence they dreamed of becoming Humanists.  But now a new phrase and a new intellectual paragon has emerged to command our admiration: The Thought Leader.
RELATED:
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
WAS IT SOMETHING WE SAID?  —  Moral Hazard, the Irish setter owned for photo-op purposes by New York Times columnist David Brooks, sat at the window of the farmhouse and watched the sparrows dance upon the new-fallen snow.  There was a warm glow about the room from the blazing fireplace …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Edward Snowden / folha.uol.com.br:
An Open Letter to the People of Brazil  —  Atualizado em 17/12/2013 às 08h11.  —  Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government's National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist's camera.  —  Espionage Whistleblower Edward Snowden to Seek Asylum in Brazil
RELATED:
Bradley Brooks / Associated Press:
Snowden Petitions Brazil For Asylum In Exchange For Help With Spying
The Hill:
Rep. Wolf retires after 17 terms  —  Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) announced Tuesday he will retire from Congress after 17 terms, opening up a competitive House seat in Northern Virginia.  —  Wolf, 74, has represented his district in North Virginia since 1981 and is the longest-serving member from the state.
Discussion: CNN and Politico
RELATED:
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis  —  The pontiff understands the power of moral example.  Today's liberal high priests do not.  —  In the same week that Pope Francis was named Time's Person of the Year, word arrived of the charitable contributions made by the Jane Fonda Foundation.
RELATED:
Elizabeth Stoker / The Week:   Why conservatives just don't get Pope Francis' anti-poverty crusade
Lucas Grindley / Advocate:
The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis
David Nather / Reuters:
Next Obamacare crisis: Small-business costs?  —  Think the canceled health policies hurt the Obamacare cause?  There's another political time bomb lurking that could explode not too long before next year's elections: rate hikes for small businesses.  —  Like the canceled individual health plans …
RELATED:
Politico:
Immigration's next hurdle: Obamacare
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
The Hill:
Senate GOP to decide filibuster strategy  —  Stinging from Senate Democrats' gutting of the filibuster, Senate Republicans will use their private caucus lunch Tuesday to decide on their strategy for holding back a string of nominees.  —  Now that Senate rules prevent the minority party …
RELATED:
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Senate poised to approve budget
Discussion: CNN, Washington Monthly, KTOO and Roll Call
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.
Nathan Allen / Grist:
Reddit's science forum banned climate deniers.  Why don't all newspapers do the same?  —  In addition to my career as a PhD chemist, I am one of a select few who enjoy the privilege of moderating content on reddit.com's science forum.  The science forum is a small part of reddit, but it nonetheless enjoys over 4 million subscribers.
Discussion: Twitchy and ThinkProgress
Jorge Saenz / Associated Press:
Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage  —  ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pope Francis announced changes in the influential Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishop around the world.  —  Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed Monday to the Congregation for Bishops.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Jordan Zakarin / BuzzFeed:
Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Plagiarizing Artist Daniel Clowes For His New Short Film  —  UPDATED: The similarities between LaBeouf's HowardCantour.com and Clowes' Justin M. Damiano are astounding.  “In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process …
Discussion: Telegraph, CNN, Guardian, Gawker and The Verge
Sherry Jacobson / Dallas Morning News:
Texas congressmen take aim at Affordable Care Act's navigators  —  Dozens of Obamacare supporters attended Monday's congressional hearing at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.  Luis Veloz, 20, of Dallas told the crowd that he and his family do not have health insurance.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Paul Waldman / American Prospect:
Among the Common Folk, a Breakfasting Boehner
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Isaac Chotiner / The New Republic:
Q&A: The Top North Korean Expert Explains What Happened to Kim Jong Un's Uncle
Discussion: New York Times and The Week
John Fund / National Review:
Scott Brown's Return
Discussion: Power Line, Hot Air, WMUR, ABC News and Bloomberg
Andrew Ryan / The Boston Globe:
With 2 decades of city-provided rides at an end, Menino turns his focus to 21st-century driving
Discussion: First Read
Pat Buchanan / Townhall.com:
Is Putin One of Us?
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
James Hohmann / Politico:
Internal Rick Scott poll: Charlie Crist up in Florida
Stuart Rothenberg / Roll Call:
Is Arkansas Really the Land of Opportunity for Democrats?
Discussion: The Reaction and Associated Press
Walter Shapiro / American Prospect:
The Year in Preview: Obama's Last Stand
 Earlier Items: 
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Auto bailout could be harbinger for Obamacare
Discussion: Paul Krugman
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
McConnell, challenger neck-and-neck in poll
Scott Jaschik / Inside Higher Ed:
Too Risky for Boulder?  —  Patricia Adler stunned her students …
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  December 17, 2013 - Iowa Gov's Approval …
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Talking Points Memo
David Weigel / Slate:
Why 60 Minutes Tanked the NSA Story: The Producers Theory