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6:55 PM ET, January 8, 2014


 Top Items: 
Shawn Boburg /
Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy  —  Private messages between Governor's Christie's deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge …
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
Top Christie Staff Sought to Disrupt Traffic as Revenge  —  Newly released emails and text messages show that Gov. Chris Christie's office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes as retribution …
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Big Trouble  —  As I've written several times, this Christie Bridge Scandal is far more potentially damaging for Christie that it might seem on its face because its fits so perfectly with the negative view (as opposed to the positive view) of Chris Christie.  That is, that he and his crew are thugs and bullies.
Hunter Walker / Talking Points Memo:
N.J. Senate Majority Leader Says Criminal Charges May Come In Bridge Scandal  —  New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) said Wednesday she thinks criminal charges may come in the growing scandal over last September's lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
Linh Tat /
GWB lane closures delayed EMS response to 4 calls in Fort Lee  —  FORT LEE - Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations - including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious - due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes …
Rush Limbaugh:
Media Gloms On to Christie Traffic Story  —  RUSH: The left right now is very excited over what we just learned about Governor Christie, because what we've just learned about Governor Christie is helping to take the Gates thing off the front page.  —  What, you haven't heard about the Christie thing?
Eric Lach / Talking Points Memo:
Christie: I Was ‘Misled By A Member Of My Staff’  —  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has acknowledged that the New Jersey bridge closing scandal has reached his office.  —  In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Christie responded to the revelation that one of his close aides discussed plans …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Balloon Juice
Wall Street Journal:
CONNECT  —  A top aide to Gov. Chris Christie told an executive …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and CNN
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents  —  Republican identification lowest in at least 25 years  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.
McKay Coppins / BuzzFeed:
Heritage Scholar Slams Marco Rubio's Anti-Poverty Speech  —  Will Rubio's push into welfare reform make him a pariah on the right all over again?  —  Toby Melville / Reuters  —  WASHINGTON — A senior scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation was quick to criticize Sen. Marco Rubio's …
Dave Boyer / Washington Times:
That's rich: Poverty level under Obama breaks 50-year record
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
New York Times:
Republicans Move to Claim Poverty-Fighting Mantle
Ron Fournier /
In Defense of Obama on the Gates Memoir  —  The president questioned the generals?  Good.  That's his job.  —  Robert Gates (left) and President Barack Obama cover their hearts during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner during Gates' Armed Forces Farewell Tribute on the River Parade Field …
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
BREAKING: Utah Governor Says State Will Not Recognize 1300+ Same-Sex Marriages  —  Utah's governor says the Constitution does not apply to these two men  —  Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's (R) office announced Wednesday that his state will not recognize the over 1,300 same sex marriages performed between …
Derek B. Miller /
Governor's Office gives direction to state agencies on same-sex marriages
Carolyn McCarthy, Mike McIntyre to retire  —  North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre and New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy will not seek reelection this year, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with their plans - marking a blow to Democratic efforts to win control of the House.
Discussion: CNN, Business Insider and Daily Kos
Emily Cahn / Roll Call:
Longtime Dems McIntyre, McCarthy to Retire (Updated) (Video)
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Noah Berlatsky / The Atlantic Online:
What It Means to Be a Public Intellectual  —  Last night my wife and I went out for dinner.  Our server was French, a fact that allowed us to spend a few moments practicing the language.  When the server left, my wife said, “It's everywhere.”  Indeed.  Some years ago I decided to learn French.
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Dems downbeat on unemployment  —  There is waning appetite among Democrats to find a way to cover the cost of an emergency three-month extension of unemployment benefits, raising the prospects of an impasse in the Senate.  —  Senate Republicans have spent the last 24 hours floating a raft …
Discussion: CNN and The Hill
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
It's Obamacare all the time for Republicans
Joshua Green / The Atlantic Online:
Gabrielle Giffords / New York Times:
The Lessons of Physical Therapy  —  TODAY, the anniversary of the shooting in Tucson that put a bullet through my head and killed six of my constituents, is when I make my annual resolutions.  —  Many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost.  I struggle to speak, my eyesight's not great …
Jamie Stiehm / US News:
The Catholic Supreme Court's War on Women  —  Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor?  Really, we can't trust you on women's health and human rights?  The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square.
Michelle Millhollon / Baton Rouge news …:
Vitter Super PAC raises $1.5 million  —  A third party Super PAC supporting U.S. Sen. David Vitter raised $1.5 million last year, lawyer and fundraiser Charlie Spies said Wednesday.  —  The dollars raised by The Fund for Louisiana's Future could help fuel a re-election bid or a run for governor …
Jenn Taylor / Twitchy:
‘Oh COME ON’: The Guardian's description of pro-abort Wendy Davis is beyond absurd; Update: Guardian issues correction  —  Here's how the sane see abortion booster Wendy Davis: … And here's The Guardian's description of the Texas Dem, courtesy of National Review fellow Betsy Woodruff:
Steven Hayward / Power Line:
Climateers Caught in the Vortex  —  Coming on the heels of the Ship of Fools stunt in Antarctica last week, these are the worst of times for the climate campaign.  And just where is Al Gore these past 10 days?  As is well known, wherever Gore goes, a cold snap seems to follow; there's even a Wikipedia entry for the “Gore Effect.”
Paul Krugman:
On Fighting the Last War (On Poverty)  —  Sorry about radio silence — I've been on the road, and busy.  And I still am.  —  I wanted, however, to say something about the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.  —  By 1980 or so, as the linked CBPP piece says, there was widespread consensus that the WoP had failed.
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 More Items: 
Brian Wingfield / Bloomberg:
Chamber to Aid ‘Pro-Business’ Candidates Over Tea Party
Ben Pershing / Washington Post:
Va. Senate control hangs in balance as Democrat leads special election by 22 votes
New York Times:
Pregnant, and Forced to Stay on Life Support
Discussion: and Althouse
Eric Cantor vows fierce protection of school choice
Dave Itzkoffjan / New York Times:
Insane Clown Posse Defends Fans, With F.B.I. Lawsuit
 Earlier Items: 
Ashley Killough / CNN:
Anthony Weiner gets ‘Alpha House’ cameo
Discussion: Politico
Donna Cassata / Associated Press:
Air Force Commander at Center of Case to Retire
Discussion: Politico
Dave Zirin / The Nation:
The Florida State Seminoles: The Champions of Racist Mascots
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Matt Higgins / CBS DC:
Obama To Announce 5 ‘Promise Zones’ In Effort To Focus On Income Inequality
West Virginia Lawmaker Wants To Make It A Felony To Enforce Obamacare
Discussion: Martinsburg Journa and Liberaland
Robert Rector / Wall Street Journal:
Robert Rector: How the War on Poverty Was Lost
Discussion: Wonkblog and Hot Air
Keith Edwards / Portland Press-Herald:
LePage says children should have work option
New York Times:
Biography Casts Critical Light on Fox News Chief