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1:45 PM ET, February 19, 2014


 Top Items: 
Rosalind S. Helderman / Washington Post:
Scott Walker, eyeing 2016, faces fallout from probes as ex-aide's e-mails are released  —  MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has been eyeing a 2016 presidential run since his battles with labor unions made him a Republican star, is in the midst of dealing with the fallout …
Patrick Marley / JSOnline:
Judge expanded secret probe a day before Walker's 2010 election  —  By Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice and Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel  —  Madison — The day before Scott Walker was elected governor in 2010, a judge expanded the secret investigation to four more of his top aides …
Discussion: Politico
Seni Tienabeso / ABC News:
Juror in ‘Loud Music’ Trial Wanted Murder Conviction … A juror in the controversial Florida “loud music” trial says there was no chance from the start of a murder conviction in the shooting of an unarmed teen at a gas station because several jurors were convinced Michael Dunn acted in self-defense.
Roger Simon / Politico:
Who are the real thugs?  —  Let's play a game.  It's called: “Who's the Thug?”  —  It's the day after Thanksgiving 2012, and four teenagers are sitting in a Dodge Durango outside a convenience store in Jacksonville, Fla.  —  The Durango is red, which is unimportant.  The teenagers are black, which is important.
Margaret Talbot / New Yorker:
READING THE NUMBERS  —  Last week's report about the declining abortion rate in the United States was potentially good news for everyone, especially, one would think, for right-to-life groups.  Most of them, though, weren't cheering.  A statement from Americans United for Life called the report …
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Early-Term Abortions and the Anti-Choicers  —  In a New Yorker column on the lack of enthusiasm of the anti-choice movement about statistics showing signficantly reduced abortion rates in 2008-2011, Margaret Talbot focuses on RTL unhappiness with the inability to take credit for the reduced rates:
Discussion: Booman Tribune
New York Times:
Ukraine Authorities Report Weapons Thefts and Uprisings Around Country  —  KIEV, Ukraine — The security authorities in Ukraine offered the first indication on Wednesday that the deadly political violence afflicting Kiev had spread far beyond the city limits, announcing a crackdown …
Joshua Miller / The Boston Globe:
Scott Brown no longer under contract with Fox News  —  Ex-senator mum on whether he will run in N.H.  —  Former US senator Scott Brown, a frequent presence on Fox News, is no longer under contract with the widely watched cable station, a development sure to fan flames of speculation about his potential US Senate bid in New Hampshire.
Natalie Villacorta / Politico:
Scott Brown, Fox News split up
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Washington Post:
Homeland Security is seeking a national license plate tracking system  —  The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers …
Lisa O'Carroll / Guardian:
Blair advised Brooks on phone-hacking scandal, court hears  —  Former prime minister suggested setting up ‘Hutton style’ inquiry, according to email from former News International chief  —  Read Rebekah Brooks's email to James Murdoch in full (PDF)  —  Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks to launch a …
Chicago Tribune:
The IRS targets political speech again  —  Discouraging debate and curbing information … The Internal Revenue Service is used to being universally disliked every April 15.  But this year, the widespread denunciations have started early, and for good reason.
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Mississippi 2014 Senate election: Anatomy of a takedown  —  Part of an occasional series on the hottest races of the 2014 midterm election.  —  OXFORD, Miss. — As Sen. Thad Cochran faces a potentially career-ending primary challenge, his strategy for victory is straightforward …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Cameron Joseph / The Hill:
Baca apologizes for calling Negrete McLeod a ‘bimbo’  —  Former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) is apologizing for calling Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) “some bimbo” after the woman who defeated him last year announced her retirement.  —  In an interview earlier Tuesday with The Hill …
David Weigel / Slate:
John Cornyn Says His Opponent's Win-by-Not-Campaigning Strategy Is “Unique”  —  HOUSTON—Early voting in Texas' party primaries commenced today and ends on March 4.  Sen. John Cornyn, who is facing seven challengers (none of whom he's debated at voter forums), started the day with an endorsement …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Nestlé USA Announces Voluntary Recall of HOT POCKETS® brand Philly Steak and Cheese  —  Nestlé USA's Prepared Foods Division today announced the voluntary recall of HOT POCKETS® brand Philly Steak and Cheese in three different pack sizes and HOT POCKETS® brand Croissant …
Susan Davis / USA Today:
CBO report: Minimum wage hike could cost 500,000 jobs  —  Th new non-partisan report provides ammunition for both sides in an increasingly heated political fight over the minimum wage.  —  SHARE11  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama's call to raise the federal minimum wage could help lift 900,000 workers …
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Marco Rubio: Obama art apology ‘pathetic’  —  Sen. Marco Rubio is not a fan of President Barack Obama's apology to an art history professor for disparaging the discipline, saying Wednesday that the gesture was “pathetic.”  —  The Florida Republican tweeted a link to a story …
Discussion: CNN, Talking Points Memo and Mediaite
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
GOP Lawmakers Want To Define Anti-Gay Discrimination As ‘Religious Freedom’  —  The growing specter of legalized gay marriage, which has been advanced by numerous court decisions starting with the Supreme Court's overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, seems to have put a scare in GOP lawmakers.
Candidate For Orange County GOP Chairman Arrested On Assault Charge After Dispute At Polling Place  —  ORANGE COUNTY - A candidate for Orange County GOP Chairman was arrested Tuesday and released from jail on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond after he was charged with assaulting a man at an early voting location.
Discussion: The Raw Story and Mediaite
Sarah Hurtubise / The Daily Caller:
Fourth Georgia hospital closes due to Obamacare payment cuts  —  The fourth Georgia hospital in two years is closing its doors due to severe financial difficulties caused by Obamacare's payment cuts for emergency services.  —  The Lower Oconee Community Hospital is, for now …
Andrew Doughman / Las Vegas Sun News:
With a focus on creating jobs, Hardy targets Horsford's seat  —  Republican Assemblyman Cresent Hardy wants voters in the northern Las Vegas Valley and much of rural Nevada to pick him as their congressman this November.  —  The 56-year-old businessman from Mesquite formally launched …
Kirsten Powers / USA Today:
Jim Crow laws for gays and lesbians?  Column  —  Kansas legislation could make discrimination easy.  —  What's the matter with Kansas?  A bill protecting the religious freedom of businesses and individuals to refuse services to same-sex couples passed the state House of Representatives last week.
David Zucchino / Los Angeles Times:
Soldier convicted in rape, murder of Iraqi girl is found hanged  —  Steven Dale Green in a booking mug shot taken at the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, N.C., in July 2006.  (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office / July 3, 2006)  —  This post has been updated.  See below for details.
Wayne Slater / Trail Blazers Blog:
Greg Abbott says he's campaigning with Ted Nugent “to expose” Wendy Davis on gun rights  —  Republican Greg Abbott touted Ted Nugent today as a political comrade in arms.  He largely avoided questions about Democrats who have singed out Nugent's outspoken comments calling President Obama …
Ted Nugent hits campaign trail after calling Obama ‘subhuman mongrel’
Discussion: The Daily Beast and Daily Kos
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 More Items: 
Peggy Noonan's Blog:
Our Decadent Elites  —  Watching Season 2 of “House of Cards.”
Christopher Aluka Berry / Reuters:
VW workers may block southern U.S. deals if no unions: labor chief
Jerusalem Post:
Report: Kerry framework proposal calls for Israeli freeze of settlement construction
Discussion: Hot Air and Israel Matzav
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Jobless benefits: The GOP's search for an exit
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Plum Line
Frank Newport / Gallup:
More Americans Now View Afghanistan War as a Mistake
Discussion: Firedoglake, Hot Air and Politico
David R. Henderson / Hoover Institution:
Obamacare's ‘Disincentive’ Scheme
Michael Warren / Weekly Standard:
Ad: Obamacare ‘Jeopardized My Health’
Discussion: Hot Air and JHPolitics
 Earlier Items: 
The Hill:
Green groups tell Obama Keystone won't be forgiven
Loan Complaints by Homeowners Rise Once More
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  February 19, 2014 - Ohio Gov Can't Break Free …
Terence P. Jeffrey / CNSNews:
106%: Obama Has More Than Doubled Marketable U.S. Debt
Discussion: Fortune and ParaPundit
Paul Caron / TaxProf Blog:
TIGTA: 39% of IRS Employee Long-Term Travel May Not Comply With Tax Rules
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
McCain eyes Armed Services Committee
Timothy P. Carney / Washington Examiner:
Obama's stimulus became a special-interest feeding frenzy
Discussion: Betsy's Page
David Cameron / Telegraph:
Why the Archbishop of Westminster is wrong about welfare
Discussion: Spectator, Guardian and BBC