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3:00 PM ET, December 19, 2014


 Top Items: 
Brian Stelter /
Source: Hackers send new message to Sony  —  The hackers behind a devastating cyberattack at Sony Pictures have sent a new message to executives at the company, crediting them for a “very wise” decision to cancel the Christmas day release of “The Interview,” a source close to the company told CNN.
Mike Fleming / Deadline:
Hollywood Cowardice: George Clooney Explains Why Sony Stood Alone In North Korean Cyberterror Attack  —  EXCLUSIVE: As it begins to dawn on everyone in Hollywood the reality that Sony Pictures was the victim of a cyberterrorist act perpetrated by a hostile foreign nation on American soil …
Update on Sony Investigation … Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).  In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems …
New York Times:
Sony and Mr. Kim's Thugs  —  Sony Pictures pulled the movie “The Interview” after large theater chains said they would not show it, fearing threats of violence to their customers and employees by hackers believed to be working for the North Korean government.
Associated Press:   Obama: Sony decision to cancel movie a ‘mistake’
FBI: North Korea responsible for Sony hack
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Cory Bennett / The Hill:
FBI accuses North Korea of hack
Discussion: Politico
New York Post:
Sharpton to have say over how Sony makes movies
Discussion: Hot Air and The Gateway Pundit
Jeremy Diamond / CNN:   McCain to hold cybersecurity hearing after Sony attack
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Marco Rubio says Rand Paul's clueless on Cuba  —  Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn't mincing words when it comes to his Republican colleague Sen. Rand Paul's support for the U.S.'s new Cuba policy.  —  “Like many people who have been opining, he has no idea what he's talking about,” Rubio said Thursday on Fox News' “The Kelly Report.”
Rand Paul / Facebook:
Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba …
Discussion: Bloomberg Politics and BuzzFeed
Obama's heavy lift on Cuba
Discussion: The Hill, Hot Air and ABC News
Associated Press:
Obama's options on Cuba end at embargo
Discussion: BuzzFeed and USA Today
Washington Post:
For U.S. businesses and tourists, opportunities abound in Cuba
Discussion: New York Times and NPR
Rocco Parascandola Police / NY Daily News:
SEE IT: NYPD plainclothes officer delivers body blows to youth as he's being cuffed, Internal Affairs investigating  —  'I can't believe he just did that after everything that's happened' a witness says as the boy is punched repeatedly while three NYPD officers try to subdue and cuff him in an incident caught on video.
Carimah Townes / ThinkProgress:
Video: NYPD Officers Caught Arresting, Repeatedly Punching Boy  —  NYPD officers lined up, holding batons, during street protests.  —  CREDIT: AP  —  A graphic new video shows NYPD officers beating a young boy against a vehicle.  After three cops hold the boy against the car …
Jane Mayer / New Yorker:
The Unidentified Queen of Torture  —  For the past eight months, there has been a furious battle raging behind closed doors at the White House, the C.I.A., and in Congress.  The question has been whether the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would be allowed to use pseudonyms as a means …
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Agoldberg / The Smoking Gun:
Woman Seeks Trademark For “I Can't Breathe,” Dying New York Man's Final Words  —  Buster  —  An Illinois woman is seeking to trademark the dying last words of the New York City man who gasped “I can't breathe” while being arrested by NYPD cops for selling loose cigarettes.
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Putin's Bubble Bursts  —  If you're the type who finds macho posturing impressive, Vladimir Putin is your kind of guy.  Sure enough, many American conservatives seem to have an embarrassing crush on the swaggering strongman.  “That is what you call a leader,” enthused Rudy Giuliani …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Anna Palmer / Politico:
GOP goes on K Street hiring spree  —  Lobbyists can come home again.  —  As Republicans take control of Congress, they are bringing in veteran influence peddlers to help them run the show.  Nearly a dozen veteran K Streeters have been named as top staffers to GOP leaders or on key committees …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Politico:   The year Congress hit rock bottom
Ken Dilanian / Associated Press:
Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — In July 2004, despite growing internal concerns about the CIA's brutal interrogation methods, senior members of George W. Bush's national security team gave the agency permission to employ the harsh tactics against an al Qaida facilitator …
Discussion: Booman Tribune and Slantpoint
Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko / Sheridan Press:
Dog shoots man: Accidental shooting injures man  —  SHERIDAN — The Johnson County Sheriff's Office has released its findings on the shooting of a man Monday on Murphy Gulch Road.  —  Sheriff Steve Kozisek said Richard L. Fipps, 46, of Sheridan had driven to Murphy Gulch Road with two employees to move a vehicle that had become stuck.
Andrew Ferguson / Weekly Standard:
A Model Senator  —  “In any election,” Tom Coburn often says, “you should vote for the candidate who will give up the most if they win.”  All things being equal, we should prefer politicians who have accomplished something in their lives beyond government work—and who are willing to sacrifice it …
Bernie Becker / The Hill:
IRS: Budget cuts could delay refunds  —  Budget cuts backed by congressional Republicans could delay tax refunds in 2015, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters on Thursday.  —  “Everybody's return will get processed,” Koskinen said at a news conference.
Discussion: Hot Air
Rachael Bade / Politico:
IRS warns of possible shutdown
Discussion: Daily Signal and RedState
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 More Items: 
Rafi Letzter / Popular Science:
Discussion: American Prospect
Eric Glasser /
Orlando attraction features high-powered guns
Discussion: bizjournals, theGrio and Raw Story
Paul Berman / Tablet Magazine:
‘The New Republic’ Was F. Scott Fitzgerald's Magazine, Too, Chris Hughes
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Tom McGhee / Denver Post:
Discussion: Raw Story and TalkLeft
Alex Seitz-Wald /
Keith Ellison: ‘I would love to see Elizabeth Warren’ run
Mustafa Khalili / Guardian:
US backed talks between jihadi clerics and Isis in effort to save hostage's life
Discussion: RT and RedState
 Earlier Items: 
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Future uncertain, Romney sits atop GOP polls
Discussion: ABC News and ABC News
The Huffington Post:
Rep. Blake Farenthold Joked Online About Drinking And Hitting On Women
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Texas Tribune
Tim Alberta / National Journal:
Carly Fiorina Hiring for Presidential Campaign
Edward-Isaac Dovere / Politico:
The first Latino president?
Discussion: ABC News, Washington Post and Hot Air
Charles M. Blow / New York Times:
The Obamas, Race and Slights
Discussion: JustOneMinute