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11:30 AM ET, January 11, 2014


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Bridge Scandal Papers Point to Cover-Up by Chris Christie Allies  —  Officials loyal to Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey went to elaborate lengths to make it appear that the September closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge was part of a traffic study, even though …
Vulgarity-laced emails show attempts to silence GWB story  —  Some of Governor Christie's closest loyalists made an effort to keep information about the George Washington Bridge lane closures out of public view for months, as questions swirled about what now appears to have been a politically …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Joan Walsh / Salon:
No, really: It's over for Christie in 2016  —  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow floated an intriguing counter-theory Thursday night for why Gov. Chris Christie's top aides closed four lanes to the George Washington Bridge to strangle Fort Lee in traffic in September 2013.
Herb Jackson /
U.S. Senator says he'll hold off on GWB hearings if federal probe ensues
Ethan Bronner / New York Times:
Ariel Sharon, Fierce Defender of a Strong Israel, Dies at 85  —  Ariel Sharon, one of the most influential figures in Israel's history, a military commander and political leader who at the height of his power redrew the country's electoral map only to suffer a severe stroke from which he never recovered …
Jerusalem Post:
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85  —  Israel's 11th premier passes away eight years after a stroke left him comatose; Sharon was one of Israel's legendary politicians and military leaders; Sharon's son Gilad: “He went when he decided to go.”  —  Former prime minister Ariel Sharon died …
Discussion: The Jawa Report
Wall Street Journal:
A judge blocks subpoenas against conservative allies of Scott Walker.  —  Chalk up a big victory for the First Amendment.  On Friday a Wisconsin judge struck a major blow for free political speech when he quashed subpoenas to conservative groups and ordered the return of property to the targets …
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
The Udall ukase  —  Paul's post on the efforts of Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall behind the scenes to rewrite the history of the damage wrought by Obamacare in Colorado deserves further comment.  It is a small story of great interest.  Let's pause over it and take another look.
Discussion: Fox News, Politico and The Daily Caller
David Weigel / Slate:
The Funniest Part of Robert Gates' Very Serious New Memoir  —  My colleague John Dickerson has already analyzed former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' memoir Duty; I'm punching my way through it.  Present at the Creation this ain't.  Gates is a matter-of-fact, frills-free writer …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Larry Speakes, Public Face of Reagan Era, Dies at 74  —  WASHINGTON — Larry Speakes, who became the public face of Ronald Reagan's presidency when a would-be assassin's bullet gravely wounded his boss, press secretary James Brady, died Friday in his native Mississippi.  He was 74.
Associated Press:
Former Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes dies at 74
Discussion: CNN
Byron Tau / Politico:
Supreme Court to mull right to lie in political ads  —  The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case delving into the government's right to police alleged lies in political advertising.  —  The high court announced Friday afternoon that it will take up a lawsuit filed by Susan B. Anthony List …
Discussion: Mediaite
Campaign Lies Are Common, But Are They Actionable?
Discussion: Election Law Blog
Sara Ganim / CNN:
Death threats and denial for woman who showed college athletes struggle to read  —  (CNN) — The death threats, Mary Willingham expected.  —  More shocking is that the University of North Carolina is now disavowing her research as a whistle-blower — research that showed between 8% and 10% …
Alexander Burns / Politico:
The GOP's tarnished golden boys  —  For a while, Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were untouchable.  —  The first major Republicans elected after the 2008 Obama landslide, the tough-as-nails Garden Stater and the straight-edged Virginian heralded the conservative resurgence in 2010 and pointed …
Paul Krugman:
The Medicaid Cure  —  Something really interesting is happening on the health-care front: costs are rising much less rapidly than anyone expected.  This is good news for the budget; it's also good news for Obamacare.  There was much skepticism about promises that health reform would …
Crisis In West Virginia: Wal-Mart Calls In Police To Guard Bottled Water Delivery  —  Residents of South Charleston, W.Va., wait in line at Kroger to buy water following a chemical spill on the Elk River that compromised the public water supply of eight counties on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.
Trip Gabriel / New York Times:
Thousands Without Water After Spill in West Virginia
Discussion: Daily Kos, Mapbox, and CNN
James Pethokoukis / AEIdeas:
Don't blame the weather for the dreadful December job report  —  Wall Street was quick to pin the mega-disappointing December employment report on Mother Nature.  “Weather depresses job gains in December” is how economic consultancy IHS Global Insight put it.
Discussion: Hot Air and MoneyBeat
Tyler Durden / Zero Hedge:
People Not In Labor Force Soar To Record 91.8 Million; Participation Rate Plunges To 1978 Levels
Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post:
White House Dares Democratic Senators Pushing Iran Sanctions To Admit They Want War  —  WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday challenged a group of senators to admit they are working to push the country toward war with Iran, upping the tension between the administration and Senate advocates …
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama to unveil NSA reforms on Jan. 17
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 More Items: 
Fred Bauer / National Review:
Website of Top House Republican Drops Opposition to Amnesty
Alanna Durkin / Associated Press:
Discussion: The Hill and Daily Kos
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House Dems break ranks with the White House on ObamaCare vote
Tom Precious / Buffalo News:
Trump ‘serious’ about possible run for governor
Discussion: Capital New York and Politico
Kate Nocera / BuzzFeed:
Lobbying Talking Points Show Insurer Freak-Out Over Potential Obamacare Provision Repeal
Discussion: Balloon Juice and Hot Air
 Earlier Items: 
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Beyond Polarization to Warfare
Discussion: his vorpal sword