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7:40 AM ET, December 18, 2013


 Top Items: 
Kelly Whiteside / USA Today:
Obama sends message by naming Sochi Olympic delegation  —  The White House delivered a strong message of opposition to Russia's anti-gay laws Tuesday with the announcement of its delegation to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.  —  The White House delegation will include an openly gay athlete: tennis great Billie Jean King.
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Obama, Biden, Top U.S. Officials To Stay Away From Sochi Olympics  —  Neither President or Mrs. Obama nor Vice President or Dr. Biden will be a part of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Olympics.  Instead, Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California and former secretary …
Discussion: AMERICAblog News, Advocate and Hot Air
Jennifer Epstein / Reuters:
For U.S. Sochi delegation: Diversity, not diplomacy  —  The Obama administration's delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi includes two openly gay athletes — including tennis legend Billie Jean King — and, in a snub to Russian President Vladimir Putin, does not include the president …
Discussion: The Daily Caller and CNN
S.A. Miller / New York Post:
Duck penis studies, lifecoaches for Senate staff: $30B in government spending questioned  —  WASHINGTON - While the White House and Congress griped this year about the pain of automatic budget cuts, the federal government still managed to spend billions of dollars on seemingly frivolous projects …
Discussion: Liberaland and Weasel Zippers
Kckatzman / CBS Boston:
Harvard Student Charged In Bomb Hoax  —  BOSTON (CBS) — A Harvard student has been charged in connection with Monday's bomb threats which shut down four Harvard buildings and canceled finals for many students.  —  The U.S. Attorney's office says Eldo Kim, 20, of Cambridge …
Rep. Jim Matheson / Facebook:
When I launched my first campaign in 1999, I knew that the arc of my public service would have many chapters.  It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Utah during my time in the United States House of Representatives, but my time in the House should not be the sum total of my service.
Jill Shatzen / Congressman Frank R. Wolf:
Wolf Won't Seek Re-Election In 2014  —  Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2013) - Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014.  —  He released the following statement announcing his decision:  —  “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014.
Deirdre Walsh / CNN:
GOP congressman's retirement could put key district in play
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
The Hill:
Rep. Wolf retires after 17 terms
Discussion: Booman Tribune, Roll Call and Politico
David Martosko / Daily Mail:
Obama ‘hijacks’ tech executive meeting to make ‘PR pitch’ on Obamacare website fix instead of dealing with NSA surveillance  — The White House telegraphed in advance that the president wanted to talk up his efforts to fix, but no one in the room was interested
Wesley Pruden / Washington Times:
The global warming scam that will not die  —  We were all supposed to be dead by now, fried to a toasty potatolike chip.  Or doomed to die with the polar bears.  It was to be a soggy end for the most beautiful planet in the cosmos and for all the passengers riding on it.
Brewer weighs in on ‘white’ Santa controversy  —  PHOENIX — Governor Jan Brewer got caught up in the controversy surrounding the ethnicity of Santa Claus on Tuesday.  —  Watch the video above to hear her response when asked by 3TV Political Editor Dennis Welch if she believes Santa Clause is white.
Discussion: Politico and Talking Points Memo
Dan Friedman / NY Daily News:
Rangel Will Seek Reelection, Plans to Announce This Week  —  Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel will run for a 23rd term representing his Harlem district and plans an announcement as early as Thursday, people close to the legendary lawmaker said.  —  “He's decided,” said a source in contact with Rangel.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
The Impact of the Coverage Gap in States not Expanding Medicaid by Race and Ethnicity
Discussion: ThinkProgress
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
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
After Ruling Critical of N.S.A., Uncertain Terrain for Appeal  —  WASHINGTON — As Judge Richard J. Leon heard arguments last month in a challenge to a National Security Agency program, he said only one thing was certain.  —  “I'm not sure how I'm going to come out,” he said, “but I know it's going upstairs.”
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.
Steve Benen /
Issa's road trip reaches Texas
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Raw Story
Jon Terbush / The Week:
Is Obama really doing worse than Bush and Nixon?  —  Obama's dismal poll numbers are prompting dire predictions about what's in store for the rest of his presidency  —  O  —  ne year removed from a comfortable reelection, President Obama is now mired in the lowest point, at least in terms of public opinion, of his presidency.
Washington Post:
Post-ABC poll: Obama, Republicans, Health care and 2014 midterm
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Rep. Latham won't run for reelection  —  Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) won't run for reelection, he announced Tuesday evening, opening up a competitive House seat in southwestern Iowa.  —  “It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside.  But for me, this is the time,” he said in an email to supporters.
Discussion: Roll Call and CNN
Committee to Protect Journalists:
Second worst year on record for jailed journalists  —  For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China.  The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs.
Eric Lach / Talking Points Memo:
Exclusive: Inside Steve Stockman's Disgusting, Condemned Campaign Office (PHOTOS)  —  Those looking for dirt on Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) need look no further.  TPM has obtained photographs taken by the local officials who recently shut down Stockman's campaign office in Webster, Texas.
Discussion: Mediaite
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
White House to tap Microsoft exec to fix  —  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, a former executive at Microsoft, will succeed Jeff Zients …
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 More Items: 
Todd Spangler / USA Today:
Should GM repay $10B rescue cost? CEO says no
Shelby Sebens /
Fewer shiny, happy people: Cover Oregon pulls hipster ads
Discussion: Instapundit and The Gateway Pundit
Fox News:
Senators fight cuts to veteran benefits ahead of key budget test vote
Discussion: The Reaction and The Agonist
Obama Wishes Washington Really Was Like ‘House of Cards’
Discussion: Mediaite, Hot Air and Ed Driscoll
Sarah Anne Hughes / DCist:
D.C. Council Approves Minimum Wage Increase
Discussion: Daily Kos and ThinkProgress
Damian Paletta / Washington Wire:
Rep. Ryan Floats Tying Keystone XL to Raising Debt Ceiling
 Earlier Items: 
ABC News:
Navy Vet Scammer ‘Bobby Thompson’ Gets 28 Years
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion
Discussion: The Raw Story, Gawker and ThinkProgress
Walker says administration will evaluate eliminating income tax
Discussion: Mediaite
Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times:
Jerry Brown, urged to run for president, won't rule out 2016 bid
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
Elizabeth Stoker / The Week:
Why conservatives just don't get Pope Francis' anti-poverty crusade
Nathan Allen / Grist:
Reddit's science forum banned climate deniers. Why don't all newspapers do the same?
Edward Snowden /
An Open Letter to the People of Brazil