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National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer released a statement today on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

On November 9, 1989, Germans from both sides of the Berlin Wall joined together to breach the barrier that divided them and began the process of reuniting their country. The year 1989 was pivotal in the 20th century and in world history. Poland held a historic parliamentary election that ended communist rule. Hungary boldly cut the barbed wire fence separating it from Austria, drawing back the Iron Curtain. And, with the Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovakia, Central and Eastern Europe chose freedom over oppression, liberty over captivity, and hope over despair.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9, 2009, General James L. Jones, USMC (Ret), National Security Advisor to the President will host the members of the diplomatic corps representing all of Europe and the former Soviet Union at a lunch to join together and observe and celebrate this historic day and the events that followed. At the lunch, participants will also view the ceremonies in Berlin to which Secretary Clinton will lead a Presidential Delegation.

In this context, General Jones said, "an enduring legacy of 1989 is the vibrant partnership that we share with Europe - a partnership in which we are standing together to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I am pleased to celebrate this partnership with my European colleagues on November 9, 2009, as we commemorate the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall."

There may be a new wrinkle to the staff shakeup at the Washington Times that we reported earlier: the announcement of the promotion of Jonathan Slevin to the posts of acting publisher and president of the Washington Times comes just one day after the paper admitted that Slevin himself selected the person who wrote the paper's glowing book review of a book he coauthored, in violation of newspaper policy.

The book review is a year old -- though the clarification just ran in the Sunday newspaper. And executive editor John Solomon -- who may be leaving the newspaper along with three other top executives -- hasn't been seen at the newspaper since.

It's not clear that any fallout from this book review had anything to do with the staff shakeup. But the timing does seem a little coincidental.

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A new Los Angeles Times poll finds a tie in the California Republican Senate primary, with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and state Rep. Chuck DeVore at 27% each, for the right to go up against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

A whopping 40% of Republican primary voters were undecided, plus 4% who refused to answer and 2% who said they preferred another candidate. The take-away from this poll is that both candidates have a long way to go in building up their respective name identifications.

Expect both candidates to tout the big-name conservatives who are supporting them. DeVore is running an antiestablishment campaign, and has the endorsement of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Fiorina has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- for whom Fiorina had been a campaign surrogate during the 2008 presidential election - as well as the conservative hero Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). (The NRSC itself is not backing Fiorina, but the endorsement of the top leaders in the caucus is a pretty strong statement.)

Did American University professor James Thurber ever sign on to act as an independent ethics adviser for astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner, in the wake of the scandal over those forged letters to lawmakers on climate change? The two principals can't seem to agree.

Thurber has now backed out of the gig, after an ad he ran in Roll Call praising Bonner raised questions about how independent he could truly be. But how firm was the arrangement in the first place?

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Westboro Baptist Church, the fringe-of-the-fringe anti-gay group famous for protesting at military funerals and claiming that God is punishing the country for its tolerance of homosexuality, was spotted this morning protesting outside Sidwell Friends, the school attended by Sasha and Malia Obama.

Protesters were carrying signs with anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-Obama slogans, slowing down traffic all along Wisconsin Avenue this morning.

One member, Megan Phelps-Roper, posted a picture on Twitter of the protest.

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The CIA is denying an ABC News report that the agency has refused to brief Congress on any knowledge it has about Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army major suspected in the shootings at Fort Hood last week.

"This is a law enforcement investigation, in which other agencies -- not the CIA -- have the lead. Any suggestion that the CIA refused to brief Congress is flat wrong," CIA spokesman George Little tells TPMmuckraker in a statement.

ABC's Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole, and Brian Ross quoted an anonymous senior lawmaker as saying "the CIA had, so far, refused to brief the intelligence committees on what, if any, knowledge they had about Hasan's efforts."

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accused Democratic leaders of trying to "ram" the health care bill through Congress over the weekend and said voters should "look closely" because death panels remain in the legislation.

Palin took to Facebook a few hours after the late-night vote to tell her nearly 1 million supporters the bill was "disastrous" for the economy but they should "hold on to hope."

"We've got to hold on to hope, and we've got to fight hard because Congressional action tonight just put America on a path toward an unrecognizable country," Palin wrote. "The same government leaders that got us into the mortgage business and the car business are now getting us into the health care business."

Palin, who used her Facebook feed to further the phony death panel meme earlier this year, brought it up again:

We had been told there were no "death panels" in the bill either. But look closely at the provision mandating bureaucratic panels that will be calling the shots regarding who will receive government health care.

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