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7:30 AM ET, February 21, 2018


 Top Items: 
Jeff Tavss / Associated Press:
Florida House votes down motion to take up weapons ban with Douglas students present  —  Final vote was 36-71 on first day of lobbying for students  —  TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On their first full day lobbying Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee to change the state's gun laws …
Alex Leary / Tampa Bay Times:
Parkland students come under attack for their outspokenness  —  Critics begin to question their motives.  —  The grieving students in Parkland have been praised for their articulate, emotional and forceful response to the tragedy.  —  Now they are coming under attack from the far-right …
Jerry Iannelli / Miami New Times:
Here Are the Eight Miami GOP Dirtbags Who Just Voted Down Assault Weapon Ban … Perhaps no piece of news illustrates how depraved and broken the Florida political system is than what just went down in Tallahassee.  Just six days after Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 assault rifle to murder 14 teenagers …
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Jennifer Smith / Daily Mail:
Donald Trump Jr. ‘likes’ tweet attacking Florida school shooting survivor, 17, which suggests he wasn't really there and can't be trusted because his father is a retired FBI agent  — Trump Jr. has not commented himself on the shooting but has been busy liking other Twitter users' remarks
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Charles Rabin / miamiherald:
Parkland students face new attack, this time from the political right on social media  —  Even as they rode buses to Tallahassee on Tuesday as the newest and most powerful political voices for gun control in America, an outspoken group of students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas …
Discussion: ABC News
Matt Pearce / Los Angeles Times:   A spreading movement?  How Florida school shooting survivors are inspiring other students to demand gun control
Bob Brigham / Raw Story:
Watch Van Jones annihilate Jack Kingston for doubling down on his attacks on the Parkland survivors
Mike Fleming / Deadline:
Oprah Winfrey Answers Call & Joins Clooneys, Katzenbergs, Spielberg And Capshaw In Donating $500,000 …
The Daily Beast:   NRA Usually Shuts Up After Mass Shootings. Not This Time.
Maane Khatchatourian / Variety:
Clooneys, Spielbergs, Katzenbergs, Oprah Donate to Parkland Students' March for Our Lives
Discussion: Business Insider and IJR
Gideon Resnick / The Daily Beast:
Democrat Linda Belcher Takes Deep-Red Kentucky Seat, the 37th Flip Since Trump's Inauguration … Democrat Linda Belcher triumphed in a special election on Tuesday night in a deep-red Kentucky district where President Trump previously won by a whopping 50-point margin.
Matthew Yglesias / Vox:
Democrats just flipped a Kentucky state legislature seat in a district Trump won by 49 points  —  Democrat Linda Belcher regains her old seat.  —  Democrat Linda Belcher was just pronounced the winner of the special election in Kentucky's House District 49, a seat that Donald Trump carried …
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money and Jezebel
David Weigel / Washington Post:
Democrat wins state House race in Kentucky after a Republican's scandal and suicide
Courier-Journal:   Dan Johnson's widow claims voter fraud after losing seat to Linda Belcher in District 49 race
Linda Belcher defeats Rebecca Johnson to reclaim District 49 seat
Arizona candidate got topless selfie from legislative staffer, messages reveal  —  A legislative staffer sent Steve Montenegro a topless photo via text message, according to a series of messages between Montenegro and the staffer that were reviewed by 12 News.  —  Author: Brahm Resnik
Discussion: Roll Call and Political Wire
Josh Kovensky / KyivPost:
UPDATED: Attorney who whitewashed Tymoshenko prosecution charged with perjury  —  Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko looks out from behind bars in November 2011.  In 2012, a team from US law firm Skadden came to Ukraine for a report that legitimized Tymoshenko's prosecution.  (UNIAN)
Washington Post:
Mueller probe: London-based son-in-law of Russian businessman to plead guilty to false statements
Discussion: TheBlaze
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
CPAC Says Dinesh D'Souza Not Going to Speak This Year, Condemns ‘Indefensible’ Remarks  —  After Dinesh D'Souza's disgusting tweets going after teenage survivors of a school shooting, people genuinely wondered if D'Souza was lined up to speak at CPAC this week.  The organization says he is and was not.
Discussion: RedState
Jim Jamitis / RedState:
WHOA: CPAC Totally Disowns Former Featured Speaker Dinesh D'Souza  —  Wow.  CPAC dropped the hammer on one of their formerly favorite speakers.  They threw Dinesh D'Souza so far under the bus that he's now probably tasting transmission fluid.  —  Whatever credibility Dinesh D'Souza once …
Sports Illustrated:
Exclusive: Inside the Corrosive Workplace Culture of the Dallas Mavericks  — More than a dozen current and ex-employees characterize the Mavs' hostile work environment—ranging from sexual harassment to domestic violence—as an “open secret.”  Sports Illustrated details the allegations in a special investigation.
Senior HHS official placed on leave for promoting unfounded claims and conspiracy theories on social media  —  (CNN)A top official at the Department of Health and Human Services has been placed on administrative leave after a CNN KFile inquiry while the agency investigates social media postings …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Axios
The unwitting: The Trump supporters used by Russia  —  Rosenstein: Russians paid, recruited Americans  —  A Donald Trump supporter who unwittingly helped a Kremlin-linked operation to meddle in American politics says he only learned of his part in the Russian plot when the FBI showed up at his doorstep months later.
Discussion: Business Insider
Ashley Parker / Washington Post:
Pence was set to meet with North Korean officials during the Olympics before last minute cancellation … PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Vice President Pence departed for a five-day, two country swing through Asia earlier this month having agreed to a secret meeting with North Korean officials …
Chris McDaniel / BuzzFeed:
Missouri Fought For Years To Hide Where It Got Its Execution Drugs.  Now We Know What They Were Hiding.  —  The state of Missouri did everything it could to keep secret where it got the drugs it used to put 17 inmates to death.  Now, BuzzFeed News has discovered the supplier …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Jonah Goldberg / National Review:
Trump Has Been Tough on Russia (Except Rhetorically)  —  This tweet from Donald Trump is inviting a lot of mockery this morning. … There's just one problem: Trump has a point.  —  Barack Obama sold out our Eastern European allies on missile defense.  He slow-walked aid to Ukraine …
Washington Post:
Trump's ‘tougher on Russia’ claim fits a pattern of striving to one-up Obama
Discussion: New York Magazine and Axios
New York Times:
New Netanyahu Corruption Allegations: The Details  —  JERUSALEM — Two more serious allegations have surfaced in the metastasizing corruption investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner circle: that one of his aides tried to bribe a judge to quash a criminal case involving …
Discussion: VICE News
Kate Aurthur / BuzzFeed:
Natalie Portman Doesn't Want To Live In Oblivion  —  In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Portman discusses Annihilation, Hollywood's Time's Up revolution, learning from Reese Witherspoon, and her regret over signing the Roman Polanski petition.  —  Over the course of Natalie Portman's career …
Discussion: IndieWire and Mashable
‘I was almost a school shooter’  —  That's not a sentence many people ever hear, or read.  It's also not a sentence many people would ever say publicly.  —  Author: Next with Kyle Clark  —  “I was almost a school shooter.”  —  That's not a sentence many people ever hear, or read.
Discussion: NBC News, thecut, Axios and KXAN-TV
Jamie Ross / The Daily Beast:
Sex Abuse Allegations Shatter Illusions of Charity Sector … The #MeToo movement has shone light on sexual misconduct in dozens on industries—movie producers, high-ranking politicians, billionaires, Oscar-winners, and rock stars have all paid the price for their past actions.
Libby Watson / Splinter:
You Dumb Motherfuckers, John Kelly Was Always Bad  —  FiveThirtyEight, a website that apparently still exists, has a deeply depressing story out Tuesday on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly by politics writer Perry Bacon Jr. The piece is essentially a mea culpa, where Bacon admits …
Discussion: The Week and FiveThirtyEight
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 More Items: 
Tom McTague / Politico:
UK responds to Barnier's transition demands
Donald J. Trump / The White House:
Presidential Memorandum on the Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” …
Victor Mather / New York Times:
Winter Olympics 2018 Results: Sofia Goggia Wins Downhill
Florida Teachers' Pension Fund Invested in Maker of School Massacre Gun
Discussion: Eduwonk
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
Newsweek Staffers Threaten to Resign, Claiming Company Tried to Silence Investigation of Owners
Arthur Allen / Politico:
Shulkin says he has White House backing to purge VA
Andrew Sullivan / New York Magazine:
The Poison We Pick  —  This nation pioneered modern life.
Discussion: Instapundit
 Earlier Items: 
John Ruch / Reporter Newspapers:
Bill would kill Sandy Springs' wood-frame apartments restriction, mayor complains
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
Tavis Smiley sues PBS for firing him over sexual misconduct allegations
New York Times:
On Social Media, Lax Enforcement Lets Impostor Accounts Thrive
Josh Eidelson / Bloomberg:
Trump Appointee ‘Conflict’ Throws Key Labor Ruling Into Doubt
Ernesto Semán / Washington Post:
Comparing Trump to South American authoritarians reveals a dangerous misunderstanding of democracy
Libby Watson / Splinter:
New York Times Editorial Board: Person Published by Times a Week Ago Is ‘Disreputable’ and Untrustworthy