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3:40 PM ET, December 14, 2008


 Top Items: 
Mike Allen / The Politico:
McCain scolds GOP for whacking Obama  —  In a surprising rebuke to the warriors who fought for him through tough times, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday sided with President-elect Barack Obama and scolded the Republican National Committee for fanning the Illinois corruption scandal.
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama team's ‘unanswered questions’  —  The “unanswered questions” — as the Republican National Committee and others are calling them — will continue to haunt President-elect Obama and staff in the sordid case of the Illinois governor accused of attempting to sell Obama's Senate seat.
The Huffington Post:
McCain Whacks RNC, Defends Obama Over Blagojevich (VIDEO)
Discussion: D-Day
Steven Lee Myers / New York Times:
Bush Arrives in Iraq for a Final Visit  —  BAGHDAD — President Bush flew to Iraq on Sunday, a final trip to highlight the recently completed security agreement between Iraq and the United States.  —  Air Force One arrived in Baghdad at 4 p.m. after a 10-and-a-half-hour overnight flight from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.
Jules Crittenden:
Victory Lap  —  Bush makes a last visit to Iraq.  Reuters: … Either that, or they bought the distortions, outright lies and pro-jihadi propaganda they were spoonfed over the past five years by Reuters and others.  Can't just let him have his victory.  Don't worry, he's leaving it in good hands.
Ben Armbruster / Think Progress:
Iraqi Journalist Throws His Shoes At Bush During Press Conference In Baghdad (Updated)  —  Iraqi Journalist Throws His Shoes At Bush During Press Conference In Baghdad (Updated)»  —  President Bush is in Baghdad today on a surprise farewell visit highlighting the security deal recently reached between the U.S. and Iraq.
Bush makes surprise visit to Iraq
Discussion: Connecting.the.Dots
Michael Isikoff / Newsweek:
The Fed Who Blew the Whistle  —  Is he a hero or a criminal?  —  Nigel Parry / CPI for Newsweek  —  From the magazine issue dated Dec 22, 2008  —  Thomas M. Tamm was entrusted with some of the government's most important secrets.  He had a Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance, a level above Top Secret.
Hilzoy / Washington Monthly:
Whistleblowers  —  Newsweek has a fascinating story about the person who first leaked the warrantless surveillance story: … It's fascinating, and well worth reading in its entirety.  For now, I want to focus on one comment by Frances Frago Townsend: … In general, I agree with Townsend.
Discussion: Emptywheel, Kevin Drum and The RBC
Associated Press:
Palin's church damaged in suspicious fire  —  ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Gov. Sarah Palin's home church has been badly damaged in an arson fire.  —  Damages to the Wasilla Bible Church were estimated at $1 million, authorities said today.  No one was injured in the fire, which was intentionally set while people …
Carol E. Lee / The Politico:
Biden to shrink VP role — big time  —  Joe Biden is laying plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama's White House, according to an official familiar with his thinking.  —  It's not just that Biden won't sit in on Senate Democrats' weekly caucus meetings …
Deborah Blum / The Huffington Post:
Why My Dog (And I) No Longer Watch CNN  —  In my home office we are boycotting CNN.  Of course, my home office is a room at the back of my house occupied by myself and the family dog, a boxer named Dodger, who contributes by snoring musically while I work.  —  Nevertheless, we take this boycott seriously.
Peter Baker / New York Times:
The Lasting Effects of Political Poison  —  WASHINGTON — It came to John D. Podesta during a jog through the scenic Rock Creek Park over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  His boss was going to be impeached and there was no way around it.  It took Rahm Emanuel a little longer to reach that conclusion.
New York Times:
A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits  —  “We are not going to rest until we change the rules, change the laws and make sure New York remains No. 1 for decades on into the future.”  —  WASHINGTON — As the financial crisis jolted the nation in September, Senator Charles E. Schumer was consumed.
Bill Marsh / New York Times:
Illinois Is Trying.  It Really Is.  But the Most Corrupt State Is Actually . . .  Where is officialdom most crooked?  Last week, many guessed it must be Illinois, after news that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taped making brazen personal demands in exchange for his selection of a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama.
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 More Items: 
Thomas Erdbrink / Washington Post:
Iranian Woman Blinded by Spurned Suitor Persuades Court to Punish Him Similarly
Discussion: Althouse
Paul Vitello / New York Times:
Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches
Washington Post:
Stimulus Package To First Pay for Routine Repairs
Jack Healy / New York Times:
Ecuadorean Man Dies From Beating Before His Mother Arrives to See Him
Discussion: Gothamist and Box Turtle Bulletin
Associated Press:
What to do? Gov meets with top defense lawyer
Discussion: and Below The Beltway
 Earlier Items: 
Megan McArdle:
Just desserts  —  I'm hearing the truly bizarre argument …
Discussion: Commentary
Steve Hendrix / Washington Post:
For Some on Obama Team, Capital Is Close to Home
Liz Sidoti / Associated Press:
Obama faces heady challenges, and they're growing