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8:55 AM ET, January 17, 2014


 Top Items: 
CNN exclusive: Port Authority job created for Christie ally, source says  —  Who's who in Christie bridge scandal  —  (CNN) — Give him a position at the top of the agency; he's a good friend of the governor.  —  That's how David Wildstein was introduced to the Port Authority of New York …
Christopher Baxter / New Jersey Online:
Chris Christie bridge scandal: 20 subpoenas issued, governor hires attorney  —  TRENTON — In another day of political drama and legal maneuvering, two new legislative committees were formed Thursday to investigate the George Washington Bridge scandal and within hours, 20 subpoenas were issued …
Shushannah Walshe / ABC News:
‘Unruffled’ and ‘Confident’ Chris Christie Addresses Bridge Scandal at Fundraiser  —  MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J.-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressed the ongoing lanes closure scandal at a fundraiser Thursday evening for his one-time rival Steve Lonegan, and attendees said the embattled governor seemed unfazed by the controversy.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Marist Poll:
1/15: NBC News/Marist Poll: Are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Political Plans Bottlenecked?
Discussion: Firedoglake
James Ball / Guardian:
NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ‘untargeted’ global sweep  —  The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.
Exclusive: Obama to announce overhaul to controversial NSA program  —  (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce on Friday a major overhaul of a controversial National Security Agency program that collects vast amounts of basic telephone call data on foreigners and Americans, a senior Obama administration official said.
Discussion: The Switch and Hot Air
Benny Johnson / BuzzFeed:
America's Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead
Discussion: Hit & Run and Business Insider
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Obama to Dems: Boehner will pass immigration reform in 2014  —  President Obama has told Senate Democrats he expects Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass immigration reform this year, defying predictions the issue is dead for 2014.  —  Obama believes Republicans will feel politically vulnerable …
Discussion: Jammie Wearing Fools
David Rogers / Politico:
Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill  —  A landmark $1.1 trillion spending bill cleared Congress Thursday evening after conservative resistance collapsed in the Senate and tea party favorite Ted Cruz dropped his insistence on a vote on funding for President Barack Obama's health care plan.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:   Starting year six, does Obama finally own the economy?
Alan Duke / CNN:
'Gilligan's' ‘professor’ dies  —  (CNN) — Actor Russell Johnson, best known as Professor in the 1960s TV sitcom “Gilligan's Island,” died Thursday, his agent said.  Johnson was 89.  —  Johnson played the iconic role of Professor Roy Hinkley, whose scientific schemes to get the castaways rescued …
Rick Hasen / Election Law Blog:
Initial Thoughts on the Proposed Amendments to the Voting Rights Act  —  I have now had a chance to review the text the Voting Rights Amendments Act of 2014 introduced today by Representatives Sensenbrenner and Conyers (with parallel legislation being introduced by Senator Leahy in the Senate).
Discussion: Guardian
Emma Dumain / Roll Call:
Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Voting Rights Act Fix (Updated)
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Colorlines
Dylan Byers / Politico:
‘Journalism has died’ at New York Times: Graham, McCain slam Benghazi report  —  Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain harshly criticized The New York Times on Thursday over a recent report which concluded that Al Qaeda was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Associated Press:
Executed Ohio killer Dennis McGuire took 15 minutes to die with never-before-tried drugs  —  The two-drug combination was used for the first time on the convicted killer and rapist, who stabbed pregnant woman Joy Stewart to death in 1989.  —  Condemned killer Dennis McGuire was executed using a never-tried lethal cocktail.
Josh Rogin / The Daily Beast:
Iran Top Nuke Negotiator: Deal Reversible In One Day  —  In an interview with Iranian television, Iran's top nuclear negotiator says Tehran can resume enriching uranium to 20 percent levels within one day if it so desires.  —  Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi …
Yasiin Mugerwa / Daily Monitor:
Museveni blocks Anti-Homosexuality Bill  —  Parliament- President Museveni has confronted Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for passing the controversial Anti-gays Bill without quorum and described homosexuals as “abnormal” beings who can be “rescued” through economic empowerment.
Bruce Schneier / Schneier on Security:
Today I Briefed Congress on the NSA  —  This morning I spent an hour in a closed room with six Members of Congress: Rep. Lofgren, Rep. Sensenbrenner, Rep. Scott, Rep. Goodlate, Rep Thompson, and Rep. Amash.  No staffers, no public: just them.  Lofgren asked me to brief her and a few Representatives on the NSA.
Discussion: Firedoglake, emptywheel and Techdirt
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Even Worse Than We Thought  —  Fascinating email from TPM Reader DW about the sheer level of attempted sabotage down at the ground level in GOP-run Obamacare rejectionist states.
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Tovah Lazaroff / Jerusalem Post:
UNESCO delays exhibit on Jewish ties to Land of Israel: It could harm peace process  —  Wiesenthal Center: Delay confirms to the world that UNESCO is the official address of the Arab narrative in the Middle East.  —  Less than a week before the planned opening of an exhibit chronicling 3,500 years …
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Israel Matzav
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
How in good conscience?  —  By early 2011, writes former defense secretary Robert Gates, he had concluded that President Obama “doesn't believe in his own [Afghanistan] strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his.”  —  Not his?  America is at war and he's America's commander in chief.
Discussion: Betsy's Page and Right Turn
Kimberley A. Strassel / Wall Street Journal:
IRS Targeting and 2014  —  Democrats are working hard to make sure conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.  —  President Obama and Democrats have been at great pains to insist they knew nothing about IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofits before the 2012 election.
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 More Items: 
Tom Coburn won't serve rest of term
Discussion: Hot Air and Post Politics
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
O-Care official: Back-end still not finished
Discussion: Jammie Wearing Fools
Kirsten Powers / The Daily Beast:
Anti-Free Speech Zones Used to Silence Pro-Lifers Could Come Back to Haunt Liberals
Discussion: NewsBusters
Drew Magary / GQ Magazine Online:
What the Duck?  —  How in the world did a family of squirrel-eating …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Guardian
Gil Ronen / Agence France Presse:
Netanyahu Slams EU ‘Hypocrisy’ on Settlements
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Jihad Watch
Justin Gillis / New York Times:
U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly
Discussion: The Verge
Karoun Demirjian / Las Vegas Sun News:
Legalized medicinal pot has new supporter: Harry Reid
Mike Needham / The Heritage Foundation:
The Christmas Tree: Washington's Weapon Against Conservatives
 Earlier Items: 
Ben White / Politico:
How Washington beat Wall Street
Discussion: Capitol Report and AEIdeas
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Who's Rubin's Early Fave for '16?
Discussion: Right Turn and Booman Tribune
Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times:
Groundbreaking California measure would outlaw ‘affluenza’ defense
Discussion: Unfair Park and Politico