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2:15 PM ET, January 16, 2015


 Top Items: 
Kerry Brings Paris a ‘Big Hug’ And James Taylor After Attacks  —  Secretary of State John Kerry, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit France since Islamic militant attacks in Paris left 17 dead, met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French President Francois Hollande to offer condolences this morning.
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
That time John Kerry got James Taylor to sing 'You've got a friend' to France  —  Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris after the White House apologized for not sending a high-ranking official to a massive unity rally after the terrorist attacks there.  —  And he brought a friend by the name of James Taylor.
Derek Hunter / The Daily Caller:
Apology Tour: John Kerry Brings James Taylor To Paris To Play 'You've Got A Friend' [VIDEO]  —  Under fire for being a no-show at the Paris March Against Terrorism, the Obama administration sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Paris today to give a “big hug” to the French.
12 Taylor Swift GIFs for you  —  1. Last week, President Obama announced his latest idea to provide “free” community college to millions of Americans.  It sounded exciting at first...  2. But then, we got to thinking...  3. Free?!  Is he using magic money?  Nothing is free.  So we did a little math.
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Obama and Senator Robert Menendez Spar on How to Handle Iran  —  President Obama and Senator Robert Menendez traded sharp words on Thursday over whether Congress should impose new sanctions on Iran while the administration is negotiating with Tehran about its nuclear program, according to two people who witnessed the exchange.
Sarah Ferris / The Hill:
GOP tactics on ObamaCare move away from full repeal
Discussion: Daily Kos and Politico
NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record  —  The year 2014 ranks as Earth's warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.  —  The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000.
Justin Gillis / New York Times:
2014 Was Hottest Year on Record, Surpassing 2010  —  Last year was the hottest in earth's recorded history, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring scientific warnings about the risks of runaway emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.
Discussion: Prairie Weather and Gothamist
Chris Mooney / Washington Post:
It's official: 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history
Discussion: Joe. My. God.
Jonathan Cohn / The Huffington Post:
Key Obamacare Official Stepping Down  —  A senior government official with almost unparalleled authority over the U.S. health care system is stepping down, ending a tenure that included one highly publicized, highly consequential failure on Obamacare as well as significant, if less heralded, successes.
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Head of Medicare and Medicaid Is Stepping Down
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Luke Brinker / Salon:
Defiant Sam Brownback vows to move toward zero income tax — and make Kansas even more unequal  —  His supply side economic experiment has been an utter disaster, but Brownback can't be bothered  —  Here's what Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's supply side economic experiment has wrought …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Jonathan Shorman / Topeka Capital-Journal:   Brownback promises income taxes will continue to fall
Tim Alberta / National Journal:
Ben Carson to the GOP Establishment: I'm Not ‘Crazy’  —  The political novice with eyes on 2016 auditions before the RNC and blames his zealot image on the mainstream media.  —  CORONADO, Calif. — Ben Carson—a Washington outsider, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, a favorite among tea-party insurgents …
Rocco Parascandola / NY Daily News:
EXCLUSIVE: Married NYPD cop accused of kissing, groping rape victim after booze-filled night in Seattle  —  Detective Lukasz Skorzewski was investigating the rape of a 24-year-old woman when he flew to Seattle, drank with her all night and got physical with her in a hotel room, the college student alleges.
Washington Post:
Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police  —  Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without evidence that a crime occurred.
Discussion: Hit & Run and Instapundit
Ahiza Garcia / Talking Points Memo:
VIDEO: Ex-Navy SEAL Pretends To ‘Choke Out’ Obama  —  Chris Heben had an unusual year in 2014.  —  The former Navy SEAL made national headlines in March when he was shot by what he described as three black assailants.  Then he was in the news again in September when prosecutors alleged he'd lied to police about the ordeal.
Discussion: Mediaite and Raw Story
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
If You Want To Understand What's Happened To The Supreme Court, You Need To Listen To Rand Paul  —  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is an odd place to seek counsel on the Constitution.  As a Senate candidate in 2010, Paul told a Louisville editorial board that he opposed the federal ban on whites …
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Adam Lusher / The Independent:
The mystery of shellshock solved: Scientists identify the unique brain injury caused by war  —  When the war poet Wilfred Owen wrote of “men whose minds the Dead have ravished” he was attempting to describe the mysterious effects of shellshock which started appearing during the First World War and of which he himself was a sufferer.
Discussion: FOX News Radio
Belgium Verviers plot ‘aimed to kill police’  —  A suspected jihadist group targeted in a major anti-terror raid on Thursday had been planning to kill policemen in the street and at police stations, Belgian prosecutors say.  —  The planned attacks were imminent, they said …
The Hill:
The Hill names Neetzan Zimmerman senior director, audience and strategy  —  The Hill, the publication of record for policy influencers inside and outside Washington, has named Neetzan Zimmerman as senior director, audience and strategy.  —  Zimmerman, who will expand the publication's reach …
David A. Graham / The Atlantic Online:
For Whom the Muezzin Calls  —  When I was working on the student paper at Duke, we'd get a letter to the editor once a year or so that would lament that the university had lost touch with its religious roots as Trinity College, a Methodist school.  The correspondents would invariably cite …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Regime Change in Switzerland  —  Blogging will be limited for the next few days, unless I can resolve the tech problems here in Delhi.  But I did want to say something about the Swiss de-pegging, beyond what I put in the column.  —  These days it's fairly widely accepted that it's very hard …
Peggy Noonan / Wall Street Journal:
Don't Do It, Mr. Romney  —  He'd have been a better president than Obama.  That's not nearly enough.  —  Hershey, Pa.  —  A conversation with a Republican governor who is a possible presidential aspirant:  —  I told him I'd been thinking about something and wanted his response.
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 More Items: 
Jason Molinet / NY Daily News:
Handcuffed woman steals police car, leads 120 mph chase in Pennsylvania: report
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Daily Show Examines ‘Attorneys for Fetuses’ in Alabama
Discussion: Washington Post and FOX News Radio
Mark Garfinkel / Boston Herald:
Officials: 2 ambulances diverted thanks to I-93 protesters
Dani Rodrik / Project Syndicate RSS-Feed:
From Welfare State to Innovation State
Discussion: Washington Center …
Jonathan Strong / Press Association:
GOP Retreat: Rep. Jeff Denham Says Party's Quietly Crafting Broad Immigration Bill
Colin Campbell / Business Insider:
Al Sharpton Calls For Emergency Meeting To Address ‘Appalling’ All-White Oscar Nominees
 Earlier Items: 
Joan Walsh / Salon:
The real “family values” party: On paid sick leave, Dems lead U.S to 21st century
Discussion: The Dish and Washington Post
Ben Kamisar / The Hill:
Carly Fiorina ‘seriously’ weighing '16 run
Martin Matishak / The Hill:
Democrat condemns ‘shocking’ comments about Muslim lawmaker
Discussion: BizPac Review
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Charles Krauthammer: Obama: Charlie who?
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Dominic Tierney / The Atlantic Online:
America Will Miss Obama When He's Gone
Ron Charles / Washington Post:
‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ going back to publisher