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12:40 AM ET, December 26, 2007

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 Top Items: 
Elena Becatoros / Associated Press:
Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass  —  BAGHDAD (AP) - Thousands of Iraqi Christians made their way to church through checkpoints and streets lined with blast walls, many drawing hope from a lull in violence to celebrate Christmas Mass in numbers unthinkable a year ago.
Rsinderbrand / CNN Political Ticker:
Bush gives purse, gets biking gear for Christmas  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's hard to imagine a tough guy from Texas shopping for a pocketbook, but President Bush gave his wife a new purse and a silver tray for Christmas, according to an aide to First Lady Laura Bush.
Discussion: Shakespeare's Sister
Julie Bosman / New York Times:
Edwards Gets Demerits for Tardiness on the Trail  —  MANCHESTER, Iowa — It seemed as if everybody in this northeast Iowa town had squeezed into the Cedar Lodge Steakhouse one night this month for a John Edwards event.  —  Everyone, that is, except Mr. Edwards.
Sebastian Junger / Vanity Fair:
Into the Valley of Death  —  A strategic passage wanted by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Afghanistan's Korengal Valley is among the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S. forces.  One platoon is considered the tip of the American spear.  Its men spend their days in a surreal combination …
Discussion: Taylor Marsh and Weekly Standard
John Steele Gordon / Opinion Journal:
A Brief History of Christmas  —  The Elizabethans partied hard.  The Puritans banned it.  Now comes the ACLU.  —  Christmas famously “comes but once a year."  In fact, however, it comes twice.  The Christmas of the Nativity, the manger and Christ child, the wise men and the star of Bethlehem …
Michael Barbaro / New York Times:
Disappointing Sales During Holiday Season  —  Spending during the Christmas season rose just 3.6 percent over last year, the weakest rate in at least four years, a report by a credit card company said.
Spencer S. Hsu / Washington Post:
Immigrant Crackdown Falls Short  —  Despite Tough Rhetoric, Few Employers of Illegal Workers Face Criminal Charges  —  In its announced clampdown on companies that hire illegal workers, the federal government has arrested nearly four times as many people in the past year as it did two years ago …
Christopher Drew / New York Times:
Democrats Try to Rein In Fees on Consulting  —  It was the spring of 2004, and Senator John Kerry had just secured the Democratic presidential nomination.  But as huge sums of money began pouring into his campaign, his top strategists had more on their minds than just getting ready for a tough race against President Bush.
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Questions and Answers About Americans' Religion  —  More than 8 out of 10 Americans identify with a Christian faith  —  Christmas is obviously a Christian holiday.  But what percentage of Americans today identify with a Christian religion?  —  About 82% of Americans in 2007 told Gallup interviewers …
Daniel McGinn / Wired News:
Home Sweet Gadget: How Our Technolust Helped Bring Down the Housing Market  —  Wander the floor of the International Builders' Show in Orlando in February and you'll see little evidence that the US housing market is experiencing its sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.
Discussion: The Newshoggers
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Partisan Fissures Over Voter ID  —  The Supreme Court will open the new year with its most politically divisive case since Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election, and its decision could force a major reinterpretation of the rules of the 2008 contest.
 
 
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