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7:55 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.
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 …
Frank Pallotta /
Sony exec fires back at President Obama  —  Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, denying that the studio had “caved” by scrapping next week's opening of “The Interview,” fired back Friday after President Obama said the studio had “made a mistake.”  —  “The president, the press …
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 …
New York Post:
Sharpton to have say over how Sony makes movies
Discussion: TPNN, Hot Air and The Gateway Pundit
Abby Phillip / Washington Post:
Theaters cancel screenings of ‘Team America’ citing Paramount Pictures
Associated Press:   Obama: Sony decision to cancel movie a ‘mistake’
Darlene Superville / Associated Press:
Obama renews tax breaks, creates ABLE accounts  —  Associated Press 1 hr ago  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed legislation renewing dozens of costly tax breaks for millions of businesses and individuals.  —  The bill signed Friday extends the breaks through Dec. 31.
Laura Wides-Munoz / Associated Press:
Obama's Cuba switch forces exile groups to adapt  —  MIAMI (AP) — Hours before President Barack Obama announced an end to a half-century of U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba's communist government, the Cuban American National Foundation opened the doors to its inviting new headquarters …
Darlene Superville / Associated Press:
Obama signs massive defense spending bill
Discussion: Agence France-Presse
Julie Hirschfeld Davis / New York Times:   Obama Defends Cuban Opening but Faults Sony Over Movie in Year-End News Conference
Associated Press:   Obama: Debate to lift Cuban trade embargo not expected soon
Koran Addo / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Some witnesses lied to Michael Brown grand jury, McCulloch says.  So why have them testify?  —  Certain witnesses who spoke before the grand jury investigating the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown told obvious lies under oath, St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Friday.
Mike Hayes / BuzzFeed:
Prosecutor Says He Knew Some Witnesses Were Lying To The Ferguson Grand Jury  —  St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says he knew some of the witnesses who said they saw Michael Brown get shot were lying, but he let them testify to the grand jury anyway.  —  Bob McCulloch  —  Reuters
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Rand Paul and Marco Rubio wage Twitter battle on Cuba  —  The first battle of the GOP primary began on radio and cable news, spilled over to Twitter and splashed across Facebook and the wider Internet, a preview of the Republican Party's coming cage match over foreign policy.
David Weigel / Bloomberg Politics:   Rand Paul Battles Marco Rubio Over Cuba Policy
Mary Bruce / ABC News:
In Case You Missed It, Obama Made History Today: Calls Only on Female Reporters … Mark this down as a historic day in White House history.  —  President Obama has just become the first president to field questions from only female reporters at a White House press conference.
Hadas Gold / Politico:
Women rule Obama presser
Discussion: USA Today, Hot Air and Vox
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
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
Matthew Continetti / Washington Free Beacon:
A Dictator's Best Friend
Discussion: JustOneMinute, The Dish and Slate
Emily Dreyfuss / Wired:
MIT Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Hard Way That Gender Still Matters  —  An aerial view of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  David L Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images  —  “We're 3 female computer scientists at MIT, here to answer questions about programming and academia.
Discussion: The Dish
ABC News:
How One Man Is Terrorizing Neighbors With a Hostile Holiday Decoration Display  —  Homeowners on Fairley Road in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, say their neighbor Bill Ansell is terrorizing them year round with his hostile anti-Christmas spirit.  —  “Any opportunity he has to make our life a hardship …
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.
Chad Mills / WIS-TV:
Family finds creepy surprise after Craigslist buy  —  A Midlands family says a couch they bought just about a month ago has infested their home with bed bugs.  —  They have a warning about where they bought that couch.  —  They bought it on craigslist, and with roughly 5,000 pieces …
Discussion:, FOX31 Denver and
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.
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 More Items: 
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
A Socialist in 2016? For Bernie Sanders, at Least, It's a Question Worth Asking
Discussion: Washington Post
Lydia Bean / Washington Post:
Why white evangelicals rule the midterms
Kyle Mantyla / Right Wing Watch:
Klingenschmitt: Americans Should Rely On God For Healthcare
Discussion: Raw Story
Justin McCarthy / Gallup:
As a Major U.S. Problem, Race Relations Sharply Rises
Obama signs U.S. sanctions law on Venezuela officials
Discussion: BuzzFeed, TIME and Slantpoint
Brittany Bronson / New York Times:
Your Waitress, Your Professor
Discussion: and Hullabaloo
NLRB Office of the General Counsel Issues Consolidated Complaints Against McDonald's Franchisees …
 Earlier Items: 
Eric Lipton / New York Times:
Lawyers Create Big Paydays by Coaxing Attorneys General to Sue
Discussion: JustOneMinute and The PJ Tatler
Rafi Letzter / Popular Science:
Discussion: American Prospect
Ken Dilanian / Associated Press:
Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude
Discussion: Booman Tribune and Slantpoint
Alex Seitz-Wald /
Keith Ellison: ‘I would love to see Elizabeth Warren’ run
Tim Alberta / National Journal:
Carly Fiorina Hiring for Presidential Campaign
Anna Palmer / Politico:
GOP goes on K Street hiring spree
Discussion: Daily Kos