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1:30 PM ET, January 14, 2022

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 Top Items: 
CNN:
First on CNN: US intelligence indicates Russia preparing operation to justify invasion of Ukraine  —  Washington (CNN)The US has information that indicates Russia has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine, a US official told CNN on Friday …
RELATED:
Helene Cooper / New York Times:
U.S. Considers Backing an Insurgency, After Battling One  —  Conversations about supporting Ukrainian insurgents in the event of a Russian invasion has revived the specter of a new Cold War.  —  WASHINGTON — For years, U.S. officials have tiptoed around the question of how much military support …
Washington Post:
Russia planning potential sabotage operations in Ukraine, U.S. says  —  The Russian government has sent operatives into eastern Ukraine in preparation for potential sabotage operations that would serve as a pretext for invasion, the Biden administration said Friday.
Wall Street Journal:
Russia Moves More Weaponry Toward Ukraine, Keeps the West Guessing  —  Tanks, missile launchers and other materiel are seen being shifted westward from Russian bases in Far East  —  WASHINGTON—As diplomats were holding negotiations over the Ukraine crisis this week, Russia began moving tanks …
David E. Sanger / New York Times:
U.S. Charges Russia Sent Saboteurs Into Ukraine to Create Pretext for Invasion  —  The intelligence said the operatives were “trained in urban warfare and in using explosives,” and could try to stage an incident.  —  WASHINGTON — The Biden administration accused Moscow on Friday …
The Columbus Dispatch:
Redistricting: Ohio Supreme Court strikes down congressional map, forcing another round of drawing  —  Jessie Balmert Laura A. BischoffThe Columbus Dispatch  —  The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state's congressional district map, saying Republicans violated the Ohio Constitution by drawing districts that favored GOP candidates.
Discussion: Salon
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David Leonhardt / New York Times:
Maskless and Inaccurate  —  The Supreme Court offers a window into partisan Covid fallacies.  —  When the Supreme Court justices emerged from the red drapes at the front of the courtroom last Friday and took their seats — to hear arguments about President Biden's vaccine mandate …
Peggy Noonan / Wall Street Journal:
Biden's Georgia Speech Is a Break Point  —  He thought he was merely appealing to his base.  He might have united the rest of the country against him.  —  It is startling when two speeches within 24 hours, neither much heralded in advance—the second wouldn't even have been given without the first …
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The Economist:
Joe Biden was set up to fail  —  The Democratic president is a flawed politician in an impossible job  —  Have any voters demanded more of their leaders than modern Americans?  The thought occurred to your columnist while listening to a group of eight Georgians, Ohioans and Pennsylvanians …
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Matt Lewis / The Daily Beast:
Joe Biden Was Elected to Be Less Divisive Than Trump and He's Failing Miserably at It
Amanda Carpenter / The Bulwark:
Sedition Charges Demolish a Right-Wing Talking Point  —  Steve Bannon and other Trump defenders had bizarrely contended that Jan. 6th was no big deal because there were no indictments for sedition.  —  Steve Bannon thought he had a really great point on his podcast last Wednesday …
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James Pindell / The Boston Globe:
A Democrat won a US House seat this week with 79 percent of the vote.  Her GOP opponent has not conceded.  —  An election in South Florida this week may serve as a marker for where the Republican Party stands in 2022, and how much American democracy has already changed since Donald Trump lost reelection.
Discussion: NewsOne, Breitbart and Raw Story
Gillian Brockell / Washington Post:
Hey, Virginia lawmakers, the Lincoln-Douglas debates did not involve Frederick Douglass  —  Of all the paragraphs in a bill to ban “divisive concepts” from being taught in Virginia public schools, Section B3 may have seemed the most innocuous.  After all, it was in the part of the proposal …
Discussion: Insider and The Wrap
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Reid Wilson / The Hill:
Virginia bill targeting critical race theory cites wrong Lincoln debate
Discussion: Townhall
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Biden is failing politically, and not just because of Republican obstruction  —  President Biden hit a political wall this week in his push for voting-rights legislation, just as he did last year in trying to pass his Build Back Better spending package.  It's time for Biden to ask himself why he's in this morass.
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Jason Paladino / Grid News:
Why didn't the FBI see the Capitol siege coming?  —  A year later, the bureau still won't come clean on why it ignored piles of evidence and outside warnings about political violence before the attack on January 6, 2021.  —  In the lead-up to the Capitol siege, the FBI received at least …
Patrick Marley / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Absentee ballot drop boxes can't be used in Wisconsin any longer, a Waukesha County judge rules  —  MADISON - A Waukesha County judge ruled Thursday that absentee ballot drop boxes can't be used in Wisconsin, potentially upending aspects of the spring elections and the fall's high-profile contests for governor and U.S. Senate.
Discussion: VICE, Human Events, UPI and The Hill
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Shawn Johnson / NPR:
A Wisconsin judge rules absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under state law
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Politico:
What Joe Manchin told Steve Clemons at dinner  —  Steve Clemons is a D.C. institution — an operator who connects some of the biggest power players in the capital.  He also happens to be the confidant of the most powerful senator in Washington, Democrat Joe Manchin.
Discussion: HotAir
Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
How NPR's Steve Inskeep cracked the code for interviewing Trump  —  The veteran host used a ‘truth sandwich’ approach to counter the former president's election lies  —  How can journalists interview Donald Trump — or other politicians who consistently spread misinformation — without magnifying their lies?
Houston Chronicle:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton violated open records law, says Travis County DA  —  AUSTIN — The Travis County district attorney has determined that Attorney General Ken Paxton violated the state's open records law by not turning over his communications from last January …
Lexi Lonas / The Hill:
GOP senator plans to introduce FAUCI Act after clash at hearing  —  Republican Sen. Roger Marshall (Kan.) plans to introduce a bill named after Anthony Fauci after he clashed with the nation's top infectious diseases expert at a Senate hearing this week.  —  Marshall will be introducing …
James R. Hagerty / Wall Street Journal:
Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal Drama Critic, Dies at Age 65  —  Missouri-born author and musician wrote biographies of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and H.L. Mencken  —  Terry Teachout, a prolific New York-based biographer and essayist who wrote exuberantly about drama for The Wall Street Journal …
Washington Post:
Australia cancels Novak Djokovic's visa again, upending tennis star's quest for record 21st Grand Slam title  —  SYDNEY — Australian authorities canceled the visa of Novak Djokovic on Friday and threatened to detain him again, reigniting the legal battle over the unvaccinated tennis star's controversial entry …
Tara Palmeri / Politico:
POLITICO Playbook: Bill and Hillary peek their heads out  —  DRIVING THE DAY  —  SENATE SKIPS TOWN — Just before 10 p.m. Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER ditched plans to keep the Senate in town through the weekend in order to meet an MLK Day deadline to pass voting rights legislation.
Timothy Bella / Washington Post:
Doctors call out Spotify over Joe Rogan spreading ‘false and societally harmful’ covid-19 claims  —  A coalition of hundreds of doctors and public health experts have called out Spotify for allowing Joe Rogan to spread “false and societally harmful assertions” about the coronavirus and vaccination …
Azeen Ghorayshi / New York Times:
Doctors Debate Whether Trans Teens Need Therapy Before Hormones  —  Clinicians are divided over new guidelines that say teens should undergo mental health screenings before receiving hormones or gender surgeries.  —  An upsurge in teenagers requesting hormones or surgeries to better align …
 
 
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 More Items: 
ABC News:
RNC threatens to ‘prohibit’ future nominees from participating in commission-run debates
Discussion: National Review, Townhall and HuffPost
Monica Hesse / Washington Post:
Prince Andrew's titles were ridiculous. But it matters that he no longer has them.
Discussion: Telegraph
Alexa Ura / The Texas Tribune:
Hundreds of mail-in ballot applications are being rejected under Texas' new voting rules
Ema O'Connor / BuzzFeed News:
Police Departments Are Making Their Own “Cops” Videos Counteracting Police Brutality Depicted On Social Media
Mark Hemingway / WORLD:
Friends don't cancel friends
Discussion: Instapundit
 Earlier Items: 
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
Ruth Shalit Barrett sues the Atlantic and bashes this media critic
Discussion: Navigating News
Ed Morrissey / HotAir:
Oh my: Retail sales drop 1.9% — in Christmas shopping season
Sarah Kliff / New York Times:
Why Rapid Covid Tests May Not Be Free Upfront at First
Michael Gerson / Washington Post:
The GOP celebration of covid ignorance is an invitation to death
Matthew Kassel / Jewish Insider:
Former Michigan state legislator mounts challenge to Rashida Tlaib
Discussion: Political Wire
Roger Sollenberger / The Daily Beast:
Marjorie Taylor Greene Finds a Way to Profit Off Government Debt
Discussion: Raw Story and Alternet.org
Nathalie Baptiste / HuffPost:
It's Time For Democrats To Accept That Norms Are Dead
Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby indicted on federal charges she lied on loan, mortgage documents