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2:50 PM ET, January 31, 2014


 Top Items: 
Timothy Egan / New York Times:
When Biography Trumps Substance  —  SPOKANE, Wa.  — Only the snarkiest would not be open to the likable life story of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Eastern Washington politician who gave the “official” Republican response to the president's State of the Union speech.
Discussion: The Mahablog and Taking Note
Tammy Bruce / Washington Times:
Is the GOP deliberately trying to sabotage the 2014 midterms?  —  Republican State of Union response was weak, unfocused  —  After this week's GOP State of the Union response, it has become undeniable that someone (everyone?) in the Republican machine has no idea what they're doing, and that is the generous assessment.
Discussion: alicublog and Power Line
‘Bette in Spokane,’ cited in McMorris Rodgers' speech, declined health insurance options  —  The woman described only as “Bette in Spokane” during a nationally televised address by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Wednesday she had no idea her frustrations over increasing insurance premiums …
New York Times:
Fixing Immigration, in Principle  —  What you need to know now that House Republican leaders have unveiled a list of “principles” that have raised hopes for a breakthrough on immigration reform this year:  —  Principles are no substitute for actual legislation, and we're still a great distance from a deal.
Patricia Murphy / The Daily Beast:
The Coming GOP Immigration War  —  Opponents seized on a Republican framework of ‘principles’ that would legalize undocumented immigrants—not just over the idea, but the timing of a vote ahead of their midterm elections.  —  On the first day of a House Republican retreat designed to unify …
Russell Berman / The Hill:
House GOP split over forging ahead on immigration this year
Discussion: Politico and Taylor Marsh
Julie Pace / ABC News:
On Immigration, Obama Doesn't Rule out Legal Path
Discussion: CNN
Jason Edward Harrington / Politico:
Dear America, I Saw You Naked  —  And yes, we were laughing.  Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.  —  On Jan. 4, 2010, when my boss saw my letter to the editor in the New York Times, we had a little chat.  —  It was rare for the federal security director at Chicago O'Hare to sit …
Noah Rothman / Mediaite:
Stewart Laughs in Pelosi's Face After She Admits She Doesn't Know Why Obamacare Site Failed  —  House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sat down with The Daily Show host Jon Stewart on Thursday for a contentious interview.  The interview became tense when Stewart attempted to get Pelosi …
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Ann Romney: ‘The Country Lost’ By Re-Electing Obama (VIDEO)  —  Ann Romney has a message for the country that rejected her husband: Your loss, America!  —  The Romney family postmortem/movie promotion continued Friday with Ann reflecting on Mitt's defeat in the 2012 presidential election.
Joan Walsh / Salon:
Chris Christie is falling apart: His hilarious 2016 hubris finally takes its toll  —  As a new report finds him looking at '16 general election, he loses a top promoter and polls show him fading fast  —  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is sinking fast.  Yet another national poll finds …
Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:
Even Republicans Now View The Iraq War As A Failure  —  Republicans are finally done defending the Iraq war.  —  GOP voters spent years applying a positive spin to the central part of George W. Bush's legacy, but a poll released Friday revealed a significant shift in public opinion.
Susan Page / USA Today:
Poll: Grim assessment of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan
Discussion: Liberaland
Bill Carter / New York Times:
Maher Wants His Show to Decide a House Race  —  Bill Maher makes little effort to hide his own contempt for many politicians, most of them Republicans.  Now, he wants to take it to the next level: finding one he might be able to help oust from office.  —  On his weekly HBO talk show …
Luke Harding / Guardian:
Footage released of Guardian editors destroying Snowden hard drives  —  GCHQ technicians watched as journalists took angle grinders and drills to computers after weeks of tense negotiations  —  • Watch the footage of the hard drives being destroyed  —  New video footage has been released …
Amazon's Bad Omen for the U.S. Economy  — Inc.'s shares fell almost 10 percent a few minutes past 4 p.m., after the company dropped some disappointing earnings news.  The title of the company's news release is cheerily optimistic: “ Announces Fourth Quarter Sales up 20% to $25.59 Billion.”
Discussion: Vox Popoli
CNN Exclusive: President Obama says he's not recalibrating ambitions  —  Waukesha, Wisconsin (CNN) — Once, Barack Obama spoke of what he wanted for his presidency in terms of healing a nation divided.  “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal,” he said.
Jake Sherman / Politico:
House GOP considers tying debt hike to Obamacare  —  CAMBRIDGE, Md. — House Republicans are again considering tying a debt limit increase to the cancellation of a piece of Obamacare.  —  During a closed meeting at their retreat here Friday morning, rank and file Republicans seemed …
Discussion: CNN
Keystone pipeline impact study expected Friday  —  (CNN) — The results of an environmental impact study into the Keystone XL pipeline project will be announced Friday afternoon, two senior administration officials and another source familiar with the timing told CNN.
Discussion: Power Line and Daily Kos
Keystone Report Said Likely to Disappoint Foes on Climate
Discussion: Politico, Hot Air and The Agonist
The Inside Story Of The Charlatan Who Duped The Nation's Top Conservatives  —  On New Year's Eve, I learned FEMA's “Dirty Little Secret.”  —  It was the title of a fascinating email, one that had somehow dodged my spam filter.  The message was suffused with breathless concern …
Discussion: Liberaland
Amanda Knox found guilty of murder again by Italian court  —  Florence, Italy (CNN) — An Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges Thursday night.  —  Prosecutors said the couple had killed Meredith Kercher in November 2007.
Simon Hattenstone / Guardian:
Amanda Knox: 'They'll have to pull me back kicking and screaming to prison'
Discussion: BBC and Gawker
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 More Items: 
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
How to debunk the ‘war on women’
Peggy Noonan / Wall Street Journal:
Noonan: Meanwhile, Back in America . . .
Laura Bush: Future ‘first gentleman’ should get same critiques as first ladies
Discussion: Politico and Shakesville
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  January 31, 2014 - Bridgegate Drives Christie …
Discussion: Politico and CNN
Rebecca Riffkin / Gallup:
Americans' Dissatisfaction With Gun Laws Highest Since 2001
Jason Horowitz / New York Times:
In Landrieu Races, Obama Helps and Hinders
Discussion: The Caucus
 Earlier Items: 
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Microsoft backpedals: Windows 8.1 update hides tile interface by default
Discussion: Business Insider, Mashable and Gigaom
Ronald Brownstein /
Here's How Obama Can Go It Alone
Discussion: The Plum Line and Washington Wire
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
America doesn't need a lame-duck president
Kyle Whitmire /
Bestiality one step closer to being a crime in Alabama
Discussion: Mediaite and The Raw Story
Peter Schiff /
‘The Daily Show’: Intellectually Dishonest about the Intellectually Disabled