Morning Must Reads: December 17

In the news: NSA program called "almost Orwellian" by federal district judge; Obama's approval rating matches personal worst; small business Obamacare rate hikes; Mexico's oil rush

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • “A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.” [NYT]
    • The 5 worst problems with ’60 Minutes’ love note to the NSA [FP]
  • “With a bipartisan budget deal now on track to pass, the debt limit is looming as a focal point for the next high-stakes fiscal battle between Democrats and Republicans, as well as between tea-party and business-friendly factions of the GOP, as candidates position for the midterm elections.” [WSJ]
  • “President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantages over Republicans in Congress eroded in many areas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
  • “Think the canceled health policies hurt the Obamacare cause? There’s another political time bomb lurking that could explode not too long before next year’s elections: rate hikes for small businesses.” [Politico]
  • The Most Notable Global Stories of 2013 [Atlantic]
    • Welcome to the Mexican Oil Rush of 2014 [Slate]
  • Happy Holidays from your friends at U.S.A. [New Yorker]