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10:25 AM ET, December 15, 2014


 Top Items: 
Sydney gunman reportedly demands ISIS flag as some hostages escape  —  Sydney (CNN) — Australia, and the world, looked on with dread Monday as a gunman holding hostages inside a darkened Sydney cafe demanded an ISIS flag and a phone call with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Michelle Innis / New York Times:
Some Hostages Flee Standoff at Sydney Cafe  —  SYDNEY, Australia — An assailant carrying a black flag with white Arabic script held hostages in one of this sunny city's favored holiday haunts — a cafe specializing in chocolate drinks and desserts — through the day on Monday …
Matt Siegel / Reuters:
Hostages held in Sydney cafe, Islamic flag seen in window: local TV  —  (Reuters) - Hostages were being held inside a central Sydney cafe where a black flag with white Arabic writing could be seen in the window, local television showed on Monday, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants.
Nicholas McCallum /
LIVE STREAM: Hostages held up by armed gunman in Sydney cafe  —  Talkback radio host Ray Hadley says he has had a conversation off-air with a hostage inside the Lindt cafe in Sydney.  —  There are a number of hostages, believed to be anywhere between 13 and 50 people, being held inside …
Daniel Fallon / Sydney Morning Herald:
Lindt Chocolat Cafe hostage drama in Martin Place, Sydney
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Daily Mail:
Terror in Sydney as gunman takes at least 13 hostages at Lindt cafe, forces crying women …
Sydney on alert as hostages held at cafe in heart of city
Discussion: American Spectator
Dana Ford / CNN:
Possible hostage situation unfolds in Sydney
Discussion: National Post and National Review
Steve Inskeep / WBUR:
Sen. Warren Warns That Spending Bill Sets Dangerous Precedent  —  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (right), a member of the Senate banking committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House financial services committee, express their outrage to reporters …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill  —  On Wall Street, 2010 was the year of “Obama rage,” in which financial tycoons went ballistic over the president's suggestion that some bankers helped cause the financial crisis.  They were also, of course, angry about the Dodd-Frank financial reform …
The Huffington Post:
The Speech That Could Make Elizabeth Warren the Next President of the United States  —  Early Friday evening Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor and gave a plain-spoken, barn-burning speech that could make history and put her into serious contention to be the next President of the United States.
Discussion: AMERICAblog News and
Peter Schroeder / The Hill:   What does Warren want?  —  She has a spot in Democratic leadership …
Aaron Sorkin / New York Times:
Journalists Shouldn't Help the Sony Hackers  —  “Jolie a ‘Spoiled Brat’ From ‘Crazyland,’ ” says The New York Post.  —  “Shocking New Reveals From Sony Hack,” says The Daily Beast.  —  “Sony's Hacked Emails Highlight Hollywood's Problems With Diversity,” says The Huffington Post.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds / USA Today:
The great campus rape hoax: Column  —  The truth - that rape on campus is becoming less common - doesn't fit the left's narrative.  —  Americans have been living through an enormously sensationalized college rape hoax, but as the evidence accumulates it's becoming clear that the entire thing …
Rebecca Riffkin / Gallup:
2014 U.S. Approval of Congress Remains Near All-Time Low  —  Story Highlights  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans' job approval rating for Congress averaged 15% in 2014, close to the record-low yearly average of 14% found last year.  The highest yearly average was measured in 2001, at 56%.
Discussion: PoliticusUSA
Jane Mayer / New Yorker:
Torture and the Truth  —  It's hard to describe it as a positive development when a branch of the federal government releases a four-hundred-and-ninety-nine- page report that explains, in meticulous detail, how unthinkable cruelty became official U.S. policy.
David / Latest from Crooks and Liars:
Rove: CIA's Waterboarding Not Torture Like Japanese War Crimes Because We Raised Detainee's Legs  —  Republican strategist and former senior advisor to President George W. Bush argued on Sunday that the CIA's use of waterboarding on detainees could not be considered torture because it was “designed” to let the victim live.
Discussion: FOX News Radio
David / Latest from Crooks and Liars:
Texas Cop Tasers 76-year-old Driver Over Expired Inspection: ‘Goddamned Nazi Stormtrooper’  —  A Texas police officer was placed on administrative leave on Friday after he reportedly used a Taser on a 76-year-old man after the suspect had already been forced to the ground.
Discussion: FOX News Radio
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 More Items: 
Brian Ries / Mashable:
Uber intros surge pricing during Sydney hostage siege, then backtracks after user outcry
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Guardian
Michael McAuliff / The Huffington Post:
Senate Passes Government Funding Bill
Benjamin Bell / ABC News:
Billionaire David Koch Says He's a Social Liberal
Rong-Gong Lin II / Los Angeles Times:
California receives U.S. funding for earthquake early-warning system
Juan Williams / The Hill:
Democrats must fight or lose young voters
Elana Schor / Politico:
Will cheap oil kill Keystone?
 Earlier Items: 
Noah Shachtman / The Daily Beast:
The Detainee Abuse Photos Obama Didn't Want You To See
P. J. O'Rourke / The Daily Beast:
Up to a Point: They Made Me Write About Lena Dunham
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
2014 Answer of the Year  —  I hereby nominate Dick Cheney's answer …
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Former CIA chief not sure he would have approved waterboarding
Discussion: Liberaland
Brian Lowry / Variety:
The ‘24’ Effect: How ‘Liberal Hollywood’ Carried Water For Torture
Discussion: FOX News Radio
Arthur C. Brooks / New York Times:
Abundance Without Attachment
Discussion: Big Think and The Society Pages