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9:45 AM ET, June 24, 2021


 Top Items: 
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Read Britney Spears' Full Statement Against Conservatorship: ‘I Am Traumatized’ … I just got a new phone, and I have a lot to say, so bear with me.  Basically, a lot has happened since two years ago, the last time — I wrote all this down — the last time I was in court.  —  I will be honest with you.
Joe Coscarelli / New York Times:
Britney Spears: ‘I Just Want My Life Back’  —  In a rare public appearance in court, the singer gave an impassioned speech about her treatment under the conservatorship that controls her life, telling the judge she would like it to end.  —  Britney Spears told a Los Angeles judge on Wednesday …
POLITICO Playbook: Biden catches his white whale  —  DRIVING THE DAY  —  ENGAGED!  — EUGENE DANIELS, a POLITICO White House reporter and co-author of Playbook from South Carolina, and NATE STEPHENS, a social change facilitator from South Dakota.  Pic ... Another pic ... One more pic ... OK, a final pic
Eric Kleefeld / Media Matters for America:
“From POTUS”: Trump wanted Justice Department to investigate a QAnon-linked election conspiracy theory
Discussion: Politico and National Review
James Clark / Task & Purpose:
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is tired of ignorant bullsh*t from people who don't like to read  —  “I've read Mao Zedong, I've read Karl Marx, I've read Lenin.  That doesn't make me a communist.”  —  As has happened so often recently, a Congressional hearing on the military veered off-topic …
Jennifer Steinhauer / New York Times:
General Milley pushes back on G.O.P. accusations of a ‘woke’ military.
Mike LaChance / Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion:   Sen. Josh Hawley Calls Critical Race Theory ‘State Sanctioned Racism’
Washington Post:
In sentencing regretful Capitol protester, federal judge rebukes Republicans  —  U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth castigated Republican lawmakers on Wednesday for downplaying the violence of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying in handing down the first sentence …
Selene San Felice / Axios:
DeSantis takes aim at student “indoctrination” in Florida  —  Following his successful effort to ban critical race theory in public schools, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded his war against student “indoctrination” on Wednesday.  —  What's happening: DeSantis signed three pieces …
Joseph Guzman / The Hill:
Florida Gov signs law requiring students, faculty be asked to declare their political beliefs
Lord of the Roths: How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank  —  The Secret IRS Files  —  Billionaire Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal, has publicly condemned “confiscatory taxes.”  He's been a major funder …
Alexander Burns / New York Times:
Staving Off G.O.P. Attacks, Democrats Show New Urgency on Crime  —  A strong showing by Eric Adams in the New York mayoral race and President Biden's announcement of a new crime-fighting agenda signal a shift by Democrats toward themes of public safety.  —  Facing a surge in shootings …
Andy Newman / New York Times:
N.Y.C. Mayoral Race Live Updates: Ranked-Choice Could Give Wiley and Garcia a Win, But It Is an Uphill Battle
Washington Post:
Inside the extraordinary effort to save Trump from covid-19  —  His illness was more severe than the White House acknowledged at the time.  Advisers thought it would alter his response to the pandemic.  They were wrong.  —  This article is adapted from “Nightmare Scenario …
Amber Jamieson / BuzzFeed News:
A Former NRA President Was Tricked Into Speaking At A Fake High School Graduation  —  In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.
Nick Miroff / Washington Post:
Biden administration removes Rodney Scott as head of U.S. Border Patrol  —  The Biden administration has forced out the head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Rodney Scott, clearing a path for a leadership overhaul at an agency strained by a 20-year-high in illegal border crossings …
Eileen Sullivan / New York Times:
Biden administration forces out border patrol chief, a supporter of Trump's policies.
Discussion: NBC News and Los Angeles Times
Bethany Brunelle / Newport Daily News:
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse releases statement regarding membership to Bailey's Beach club  —  NEWPORT — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse released a statement late Wednesday afternoon regarding the controversy he is a member of an elite private beach club that has been questioned about the lack of diversity in its membership.
Sam Meredith / CNBC:
Covid is already deadlier this year than all of 2020.  So why do many in U.S. think the problem's over?  — U.S. Covid cases have fallen far below the winter peak in recent weeks, with new diagnoses now down at a seven-day average of around 11,310 a day, compared to more than 250,000 at the start of the year.
Annie Karni / New York Times:
Cindy McCain is Biden's choice for ambassador to the U.N.'s food program.  —  President Biden announced Wednesday that he was nominating Cindy McCain, the widow of former Senator John McCain, as ambassador to the United Nations World Food Programme, giving the post to a longtime Republican friend …
Homer Wilkes / The White House:
President Biden Announces 17 Key Nominations
Discussion: UPI, Breitbart and Politico
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Mike Pompeo, other 2024 GOP hopefuls head to New York to meet with donors as possible White House bids loom  — Mike Pompeo has been making the biggest push into New York donor circles since the 2020 presidential election ended, according to insiders.  — “He's basically already running …
The Markup:
After Repeatedly Promising Not to, Facebook Keeps Recommending Political Groups to Its Users  —  The company announced the policy as a way to stop spreading divisive content  —  Four days after the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, a member of the “Not My President” Facebook group wrote in a post …
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
BuzzFeed Nears Deal to Go Public Via SPAC, Eyeing Digital-Media Rollup  —  Company hopes scale will make it easier to compete for ad dollars with Google, Facebook and Amazon  —  BuzzFeed Inc. is close to a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company …
Discussion: The Hill
Noah Kulwin / New Republic:
An Origin Story for the Netanyahus  —  Melekh Bibi—King Bibi—has been dethroned.  Usurped by his former deputy, Naftali Bennett, in early June, Netanyahu was finally dealt an election result with which he could not form a majority government.  For the time being, as of June 13 …
Discussion: Bookshop
David Siders / Politico:
‘A lot of people are jaded’: Dems despair amid D.C. gridlock  —  Efforts to forge a bipartisan gun control deal in the Senate have fallen apart.  A sweeping Democratic elections reform bill has failed.  A self-imposed White House deadline for a police reform bill has come and gone.
Dan Mangan / CNBC:
John McAfee found dead of apparent suicide in Spanish jail after court approves his extradition for tax crimes  — Eccentric antivirus software company founder John McAfee was found dead of suspected suicide in a jail in Barcelona, Spain.  — McAfee died shortly after Spain's National Court approved …
The Hill:
Despite diverging economic views, we all support the Biden plan  —  We are not generally regarded as occupying the same position within economic policy debates.  We have had divergent views on issues relating to spending, taxes and deficits.  But we've come to the same conclusion …
Discussion: USA Today and Raw Story
Out-group animosity drives engagement on social media  —  aDepartment of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3RQ, United Kingdom;  —  bDepartment of Psychology, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003  — Edited by James N. Druckman …
Hugo Lowell / The Guardian:
House investigates possible shadow operation in Trump justice department  —  Judiciary committee want to know if officials violated policies in issuing secret subpoenas against congressional Democrats  —  Top Democrats in the House are investigating whether Trump justice department officials ran …
Discussion: Wall Street Journal
U.S. Confirms Removal of Wuhan Virus Sequences From Database  —  Details of the genetic makeup of some of the earliest samples of coronavirus in China were removed from an American database where they were initially stored at the request of Chinese researchers, U.S. officials confirmed …
Discussion: TheBlaze
New York Post:
Curtis Sliwa gives an inside look of what life is like with 15 cats  —  It's the purrrfect apartment.  —  The Post got an exclusive look inside Curtis Sliwa's tiny Upper West Side studio apartment Wednesday — after the newly minted GOP mayoral nominee revealed that he and his wife share the space with 15 rescue cats.
Discussion: Fox News
The White House:
FACT SHEET: New U.S. Government Actions on Forced Labor in Xinjiang  —  At the recent G7 Summit in Cornwall, United Kingdom, the world's leading democracies stood united against forced labor, including in Xinjiang, and committed to ensure global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor.
Discussion: Associated Press and The Hill
Charlie Sykes / Morning Shots:
The Shark Attack Party  —  How panic porn shapes our politics  —  In the Before Times, you could always tell that it was a slow news day when we got lots of stories about the crisis of shark attacks.  Even now, we have a taste for the panic porn.  —  Fox News News reports: “Shark attack prompts dramatic rescue at Florida beach.”
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 More Items: 
John D. McKinnon / Wall Street Journal:
Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Democrats hear calls to nix recess
Discussion: Political Wire
Laura J. Nelson / Los Angeles Times:
California's yoga, wellness and spirituality community has a QAnon problem
Discussion: Los Angeles Magazine
Paul Waldman / Washington Post:
When will Biden realize that liberals won the marijuana debate?
Discussion: Breitbart
 Earlier Items: 
Ditas B Lopez / Bloomberg:
Benigno Aquino III, Who Led Philippine Growth Spurt, Dies at 61
Jonathan D. Salant / New Jersey Online:
Secret Service paid Trump to stay at his N.J. golf club while protecting him as president. Here's the total bill.
Dana Blanton / Fox News:
Fox News Poll: Majority believes COVID-19 leaked from lab in China
Discussion: Power Line and The Hill
Dhruv Khullar / New Yorker:
The Delta Variant Is a Grave Danger to the Unvaccinated
Discussion: BBC, ScienceAlert, Quartz and Cyprus Mail