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A House GOP plan to carve State Department spending out of the sacrosanct pool of "security" appropriations, and lump it in with "non-security" appropriations could upend the Obama administration's strategy in Iraq, says the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"I'm not sure the House folks [considered] it runs flat into our strategy in Iraq," Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) told me Thursday after an evening vote.

The House took its first step in executing the plan Thursday, when Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan introduced spending limits that would leave the State Department with $9.7 billion -- or 17 percent -- less than Obama requested.

The timing couldn't be worse.

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Daily Show viewers may have been expecting a typically madcap program last night when the show led off with a sketch about Jon Stewart and Justin Bieber switching bodies. Yet when Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat down to discuss the unfolding situation in Egypt, Stewart adopted a far more sober tone, asking Mullen just what the Egyptian uprising meant for the U.S.

"I think starting the show with Justin Bieber and ending the show with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes this perhaps the weirdest Daily Show anyone has ever seen," Stewart said.

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In a letter to the Radio-Television Correspondents Association, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he is willing to expand media access in the House of Representatives.

"I agree that enhancing opportunities for media coverage can make the House more open and transparent to the American people," Boehner wrote.

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Shahira Amin was a deputy head and a senior correspondent for Nile TV -- a government-owned channel -- until yesterday that is, when she quit her job in protest over claims that she was directed to deliver propaganda from the Egyptian government. Amin reportedly said on the air, "I refuse to be a hypocrite. I feel liberated."

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Apple is exerting more control over content purchased for and available on its popular iPad by enforcing rules that require magazine, newspaper and e-reader publishers to sell all content through iTunes.

As of March 31, apps that do not take payments through its iTunes store will be rejected. Although Apple has long required app publishers to sell subscriptions via Apple's "In App Purchase API," some publishers -- notably, The Wall Street Journal andThe Financial Times -- sold them outside Apple's digital store.

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Apple is exerting more control over content purchased for and available on its popular iPad by enforcing rules that require magazine, newspaper and e-reader publishers to sell all content through iTunes.

As of March 31, apps that do not take payments through its iTunes store will be rejected. Although Apple has long required app publishers to sell subscriptions via Apple's "In App Purchase API," some publishers -- notably, The Wall Street Journal andThe Financial Times -- sold them outside Apple's digital store.

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by Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce ProPublica Feb. 4, 2011, 8:48 a.m.

Before he took office, President Obama repeatedly promised voters and Democrats in Congress that he'd fight for changes to bankruptcy laws to help homeowners--a tough approach that would force banks to modify mortgages.

"I will change our bankruptcy laws to make it easier for families to stay in their homes," Obama told supporters at a Colorado rally on September 16, 2008, the same day as the bailout of AIG.

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Put this in your box of things you don't hear everyday: A Republican senator, a tea partier no less, is calling for the United States to loosen its connections with Israel. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told ABC News this week that if it were up to him, the US would stop sending foreign aid to what most Republicans consider to be the nation's most important ally anywhere.

"I think they're an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world," Paul told ABC's Jonathan Karl. "Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don't think so."

Paul, best known as the man who promised to bring the tea party to Washington, didn't say he feels any differently toward Israel than his Republican (and most of his Democratic) colleagues. He just feels that as long as the nation is in the deep debt hole its in, it's time to turn of the cash spigot to the country that 2012 GOP contenders are flocking to in advance of primary season.

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At least two Interior Department offices are testing out iPads in an effort to increase productivity, and a third office is looking to acquire the coveted tablets. But iPads have proven vulnerabilities -- only two weeks ago, a duo was arrested for hacking into AT&T records and exposing 120,000 iPad accounts, including top government officials.

The department is still interested. "They're being used as replacements for laptops and blackberries," said Drew Malcomb, the Interior Department's chief of public affairs. "We see them as filling that need. They have a larger screen, the attachments are onboard and they have most of the capabilities of a laptop."

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