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12:40 AM ET, January 4, 2014


 Top Items: 
David Weigel / Slate:
Ruth Marcus, David Brooks, and Reefer Madness  —  Whoever's been drugging the tap water in the Acela, please just stop.  Your efforts have resulted in complementary columns in the Washington Post from Ruth Marcus and in the New York Times from David Brooks.  Unless ... did they come up with these columns all by themselves?
Michelle Goldberg /
This Is David Brooks on Drugs  —  The fact that David Brooks's wistful, self-satisfied moralism cloaks a serious moral obtuseness is usually hardly worth noting.  It's simply to be expected, as predictable as Tom Friedman bumping into a taxi driver with pithy insights about globalization …
Gary Greenberg:
I smoked pot with David Brooks
Liz Sly / Washington Post:
Al-Qaeda force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq  —  BEIRUT — A rejuvenated al-Qaeda force asserted control over the western Iraqi town of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas …
Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press:
Iraqi Troops Besiege Fallujah, Try To Wrest City From Al-Qaida
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Max Fisher / WorldViews:
No, Kim Jong Un probably didn't feed his uncle to 120 hungry dogs  —  If you've been on the Internet at all today, you've almost certainly seen the story claiming that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed last month by stripping him naked and feeding him to 120 hungry dogs.
Tim Stanley /
Did North Korea's Kim Jong-un really kill his uncle with 120 starving dogs?
Fox News:
Rude and Crude: Why MSNBC keeps getting into trouble  —  Is there something in the water over at 30 Rock?  —  Whether you love or detest MSNBC, the network has had a rough few months, and I'm wondering whether a series of embarrassing episodes is more than a coincidence.
Discussion: NewsBusters, Mediaite and TVNewser
Michael O'Connell / Hollywood Reporter:
‘Fox News Sunday’ Books Mitt Romney During Melissa Harris-Perry Controversy
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard / Telegraph:
IMF paper warns of ‘savings tax’ and mass write-offs as West's debt hits 200-year high  —  Debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, warns IMF paper  —  Much of the Western world will require defaults …
Discussion: Clayton Cramer
John Hinderaker / Power Line:   IMF Says: By the Way, There's a Debt Crisis
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Administration faces tough fight on contraception cases  —  As a new round of religion-based challenges to President Barack Obama's health care law head to the Supreme Court, advocates on both sides of the issue say the administration's arguments are likely facing a chilly reception.
Eugene Robinson / Washington Post:
The Affordable Care Act is here to stay
The White House:
FACT SHEET: Strengthening the Federal Background Check System to Keep Guns out of Potentially Dangerous Hands  —  Today, the Administration is announcing two new executive actions that will help strengthen the federal background check system and keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Discussion: and TalkLeft
Katie Pavlich /
BREAKING: Obama Issues New Executive Actions on Background Checks for Gun Purchases
Discussion: protein wisdom
Gordon G. Chang / The Daily Beast:
Snowden Lied About China Contacts  —  Snowden lied about his contacts with China.  Should he get clemency?  —  Yesterday, the New York Times urged the Obama administration to offer Edward Snowden “a plea bargain or some form of clemency.”  The paper called the former NSA contractor …
Brian Carlson /
Utah man fasting to stop same sex marriages  —  SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A Utah man is vowing to go without any food until the state stops allowing same sex marriages.  He claims if Utah wants to protect traditional marriage, it has an option it's not using, and he's fasting until it does it.
James Nichols / The Huffington Post:   Trestin Meacham, Utah Man, On Hunger Strike To Halt Gay Marriage
Matthew Boyle / BREITBART.COM:
RAND PAUL TO LEAD CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST OBAMA OVER NSA SPYING  —  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is leading a class-action lawsuit with hundreds of thousands of Americans against President Barack Obama's National Security Agency (NSA) over its spying on the American people, Breitbart News has learned.
Mario Trujillo / The Hill:
Paul to file class action suit against NSA ‘soon’
Discussion: Pat Dollard
900 Rich People Won't Pay Into Social Security For The Rest Of The Year  —  While almost all working Americans will pay into Social Security through their paychecks throughout the year, the 900 wealthiest people in the country won't.  That's because the highest-earning 0.0001 percent of the U.S. …
Discussion: Los Angeles Times and Hullabaloo
Randy Lewis / Los Angeles Times:
Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 74  —  This post has been updated.  See note below for details.  —  Phil Everly, who with his brother, Don, made up the most revered vocal duo of the rock-music era, their exquisite harmonies profoundly influencing the Beatles, the Beach Boys …
Discussion:, The Raw Story and BBC
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Bernie Sanders to NSA: Spying on Hill?  —  Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter Friday to the director of the National Security Agency asking if the agency is spying or has ever spied on members of Congress.  —  The Vermont independent said he was “deeply concerned” about the NSA's collection …
Ronald Brownstein /
Why the Senate Will Only Get More Polarized  —  As party-line voting between presidential and congressional races steadily increases, so will gridlock.  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., (left) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Erik Eckholm / New York Times:
Access to Abortion Falling as States Pass Restrictions  —  A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics …
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 More Items: 
Bryce Covert / ThinkProgress:
Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Could Lift Nearly 5 Million Out Of Poverty
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Liberaland
Michael Auslin / Politico:
America Needs a King
Discussion: Washington Monthly, Esquire and Hot Air
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
Obama's Job Approval Declined Steadily Throughout 2013
Steve Lonegan / New Jersey Online:
Lonegan says he'll run for Congress in South Jersey
Washington Free Beacon:
Mother of Five Told by Healthcare.Gov She Faces ‘Worst Case’ of Obamacare Glitches
Robert Gehrke / Salt Lake Tribune:
Swallow campaign filed fake tax papers, new warrants show
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Advocate
Henry K. Lee / San Francisco Chronicle:
Hospital agrees to let Jahi McMath family take girl
 Earlier Items: 
Jason Beaubien / NPR:
Overweight People In Developing World Outnumber Those In Rich Countries
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Althouse
Hunter Walker / Talking Points Memo:
This Might Be The Most Bizarre Campaign Video Of 2014 So Far
Discussion: Mediaite
New York Post:
Public advocate caught in lie over Times homeless story
Ariel Kaminer / City Room:
A Snow Day Coming? Dante's Friends Want to Know
Discussion: Capital New York and Politicker
Jill Colvin / Politicker:
Video: Bill de Blasio Threatens to Strip During Storm Briefing
Discussion: USA Today and Talking Points Memo