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12:15 PM ET, January 10, 2014


 Top Items:
An alternate theory of the Christie scandal  —  Rachel Maddow presents a new possibility of what the induced Ft. Lee traffic jam was retribution for if it wasn't over the mayor's gubernatorial endorsement.
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
Steve Benen /
At the heart of the scandal  —  It's no longer in dispute that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration crippled the community of Fort Lee last September on purpose.  It's also no longer in dispute that the governor's team did so as an act of political retaliation.
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Chris Christie's damage control  —  Chris Christie did about as well as he could, given the circumstances.  All he can do now is wait, and hope it passes without many more revelations.  —  That was the sentiment coming from people who wanted to offer support to the Republican governor of New Jersey …
Discussion: Guardian
Rush Limbaugh:
RINOs Stampede Away from Christie
Discussion: PoliticusUSA, Taylor Marsh and Politico
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Kean: Christie questions remain
Discussion: The Fix and CNN
Nate Schweber / New York Times:
Woman Says Lane Closings Were Not to Blame for Her Mother's Death
The Hill:
Christie tries to stop the bleeding
Discussion: Politico
First Read / NBCNews:   Graham: Bridge controversy reinforces ‘troublesome’ rap on Christie
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Liberal Self-Identification Edges Up to New High in 2013  —  Fifteen-percentage-point conservative advantage ties as smallest to date  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%).  But the conservative advantage …
Ronald Brownstein /
How Millennials Have Already Reshaped Politics  —  Political parties are taking young people's policy preferences into account, but that doesn't mean they're getting everything they want.  —  Almost every week provides more evidence of the political system bending toward the cultural preferences of the massive millennial generation.
Charlie Cook /
The Parties Have Already Devised Their Midterm Messages  —  Democrats and Republicans are ready for November, but it's not clear that either of their story lines will resonate across the spectrum.  —  The gavel has been struck on what has been widely judged to be the least productive session …
Discussion: Taylor Marsh
Diane Sweet /
300,000 Without Water After Coal Industry Chemical Spill In W. Virginia  —  West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declares a state of emergency after spill contaminates Elk River, “Only safe use is to flush or put out fire.”  —  A chemical spill into West Virginia's Elk River has led …
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Begich misses jobless vote for speech in Hawaii  —  Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) missed a procedural vote on extending unemployment benefits to deliver a speech to a lobby group in Hawaii, The Hill has learned.  —  Begich delivered a keynote speech Wednesday morning to the American Aviation Issues conference …
Discussion: Roll Call and National Review
Josh Hicks / Washington Post:
Obama donor leading Justice Department's IRS investigation  —  Two Republican lawmakers and a conservative legal group are questioning the Justice Department's selection of a Democratic donor to lead the agency's probe into the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of certain advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
John Sasaki / KTVU-TV:
Transgender teen bullied at Hercules High faces charges  —  Hercules HS bullying victim Jewelyes Gutierrez charged  —  A 16-year-old transgender student who was allegedly victimized by bullies at an East Bay high school is now facing a criminal charge.  —  One big question being asked …
Discussion: Shakesville, The Raw Story and Advocate
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Reid's Uncompromising Power Play in Senate Rankles Republicans  —  WASHINGTON — With his strong-armed change to the filibuster rule and an iron-fisted control of the Senate floor, Senator Harry Reid has engaged in the greatest consolidation of congressional power since Newt Gingrich ruled the House …
Jonathan Cohn / The New Republic:
The Kids Are Alright: Another Obamacare Lesson from Massachusetts  —  Last month, everybody wanted to know how many people were signing up for Obamacare.  This month, everybody wants to know how many healthy people are signing up for Obamacare.  —  It's a reasonable question.
Discussion: Wonkblog
Lucia Mutikani / Reuters:
U.S. job growth weakest in three years  —  (Reuters) - U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in almost three years in December, but the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that cold weather conditions might have had an impact.  —  Nonfarm payrolls rose only 74,000 last month …
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
How to fight academic bigotry  —  For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity.  No longer.  It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Communications /
Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus  —  For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Eric Lipton / New York Times:
Half of Congress Members Are Millionaires, Report Says
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
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 More Items: 
Congressional Free Lunch?
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Mediaite
Nelson D. Schwartz / New York Times:
U.S. Economy Added Only 74,000 Jobs in December
New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Islamic extremist groups in Syria with ties …
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Weasel Zippers
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Obama Announces ‘Promise Zones’ in 5 Poor Areas
Discussion: Michelle Malkin
Steven Russolillo / MoneyBeat:
Live From New York! It's Jobs Friday!
Associated Press:
Some find health insurers have no record of them
Discussion: Hot Air
 Earlier Items: 
Dana Davidsen / CNN:
Rep. Paul Ryan gives U.S. a ‘failing grade’ in war on poverty
Discussion: Politico
New York Times:
Obama Seeks Balance in Plan for Spy Programs
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Adam Gopnik / News Desk:
Cold Days, Hot Planet
Discussion: The Dish
Jonathan Martin / New York Times:
Gillespie, Former Republican Chairman, Readies to Run for Senate in Virginia
Discussion: The Hill and Talking Points Memo