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11:00 PM ET, December 16, 2008


 Top Items: 
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
For immediate release  —  The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to establish a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent.  —  Since the Committee's last meeting, labor market conditions have deteriorated, and the available data indicate that consumer spending …
Edmund L. Andrews / New York Times:
Fed Cuts Benchmark Rate to Near Zero  —  WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve entered a new era on Tuesday, setting its benchmark interest rate so low that it will have to reach for new and untested tools in fighting both the recession and downward pressure on consumer prices.
The Huffington Post:
Hale “Bonddad” Stewart: The Fed's Kitchen Sink Interest Rate Policy
Discussion: The Big Picture
Monica Davey / New York Times:
Blagojevich Impeachment Inquiry Stalls  —  SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A committee of the Illinois House considering evidence and testimony in an impeachment inquiry against Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich adjourned its first day of hearings after about an hour on Tuesday, after the governor's lawyer …
Bob Cusack / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:   Rove Blasts Obama On Senate Seat Scandal
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Newt denounces Blago attacks  —  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is denouncing Republican attempts to link President-elect Barack Obama and disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.  —  Senator John McCain Sunday distanced himself from Republican National Committee attacks on Obama …
The Huffington Post:
Gingrich Rips RNC For Its Blagojevich Attacks  —  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent a rather scathing letter to Mike Duncan on Tuesday, accusing the RNC chairman of engaging in “a destructive distraction” by attempting to tie Barack Obama to Rod Blagojevich.
Charles Thomas / WLS-TV:
Jackson, Jr. may have been working with feds to investigate gov.  —  Jackson has been fighting for his reputation since the federal complaint revealed his supporters were willing to raise money for the governor, if Jackson was appointed to the Senate.  —  The new information appears …
Jackson, Jr. an informant to Blago investigations  —  SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CNN) — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — who was cited in a criminal complaint against Rod Blagojevich — has been an informant for at least a decade with the U.S. Attorney's office, and has informed on the embattled governor of Illinois …
J. Taylor Rushing / The Hill:
GOP probes Holder's role in Elian Gonzales case  —  Senate Republicans have requested information about Attorney General nominee Eric Holder's role in the Elian Gonzales controversy as part of a broad probe into his tenure with the Clinton administration and potential ties to presidential scandals during that era.
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Balloon Juice
Marc Ambinder:
Where Republicans Can Pick A Fight
Discussion: Spin Cycle
Michael Sneed / Chicago Sun Times:
Rahm's calls on tape  —  The Blago scandal . . .  Sneed hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds — dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!  —  A lot of chit-chat?  —  Hot air?  —  Or trouble?
Michael Calderone / Michael Calderone's Blogs:
NBC's Whitaker on press corps: 'We're going to have to get tougher'  —  During today's press conference, President-elect Obama brushed off a question from Tribune reporter John McCormick about the Blagojevich scandal, and what interaction any advisers had with the Illinois Governor.
Washington Post:
Vilsack and Salazar Nominations Expected Weds.  —  President-elect Barack Obama has tapped former Iowa governor Thomas J. Vilsack to be his secretary of agriculture and will introduce Vilsack tomorrow at a news conference in Chicago, where he will also name Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) …
Jeff Zeleny / The Caucus:
Vilsack Picked for Agriculture Secretary
Discussion: CNN and The New Republic
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Clinton chides supporters on Kennedy  —  Hillary Clinton has told her supporters not to involve her in their efforts to stop Caroline Kennedy's path to the U.S. Senate, a person familiar with replacement discussions said.  —  The move clears a major obstacle between Kennedy and the seat.
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Video: Joe Scarborough rips the Tanning Bed Media  —  Via the Newsbusters, Joe Scarborough belatedly discovers the vast difference in how the media treated Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in this election.  As I mentioned a number of times, the national media rushed to Wasilla to cover …
James Pethokoukis / Capital Commerce:
The 10 Dopiest Business and Economy Leaders of 2008  —  ¡Ay, caramba!  In a year when Wall Street imploded, the Big Three automakers neared collapse, and the economy plunged into its worst downturn in at least a generation, finding business and economy “leaders” who messed up badly isn't too hard.
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
HOW WE KILLED ZARQAWI.  —  Reuel Marc Gerecht still thinks life is an episode of 24.  “If you had been confronted on 7 September 2001 with a captured Khalid Shaykh Muhammad or Abu Zubaydah,” he says in response to Andrew Sullivan, “and you knew that a major, mass-casualty terrorist strike …
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:   Reynolds Keeps Flailing
NY Daily News:
State budget unveiled, full of new taxes and cuts  —  ALBANY - Gov. Paterson released a $121 billion slash-and-burn budget Tuesday morning that slams New Yorkers with 88 new fees and taxes - even on their iPods.  —  Calling the budget the “greatest economic and fiscal challenge of our lifetimes …
Jonathan Karl / ABCNEWS:
Exclusive: Cheney Says He's Changed  —  Vice President Reflects on Time in Office, Assesses Obama's Team  —  In an exclusive interview with ABC News, a reflective Vice President Dick Cheney praised President-elect Barack Obama's national security team and admitted he's changed during his time in office.
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Becerra's out  —  Rep. Xavier Becerra tells the editorial board of La Opinion that he has turned down the job of U.S. trade representative, having concluded — trade watchers take note — that trade won't be the first, second, or third priority of the Obama administration.
Mike Lillis / The Washington Independent:
Foreign Auto Makers Won Billions in Government Subsidies  —  General Motors production line.  (Flickr: steelcityhobbies)  —  To hear Southern Republicans tell the story, the financial burdens facing Detroit's automakers are self-made troubles to be settled by the laws of Adam-Smith capitalism.
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The Southern Way  —  Nice piece from Mike Lillis at The …
Discussion: The Bellows
George Packer In / New Yorker:
SEAN PENN FOR SENATOR!  —  The cover of the December 15th Nation magazine features an article by the veteran foreign correspondent Sean Penn on his recent trip to Venezuela and Cuba.  Travelling in the company of Douglas Brinkley, the noted actor, and Christopher Hitchens …
Jello Biafra / Firedoglake:
Jello Biafra Writes An Open Letter To Barack Obama  —  (Jello Biafra's 1979 mayoral campaign against Diane Feinstein was the first I ever worked on, which probably says a lot.  We're proud to publish his open letter to Barack Obama — jh)  —  My Friends (couldn't resist, I had to say it),
Discussion: The Sideshow and ATTACKERMAN
Christine Harper / Bloomberg:
Goldman Sachs's Tax Rate Drops to 1%, or $14 Million  —  A A A  —  Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which got $10 billion and debt guarantees from the U.S. government in October, expects to pay $14 million in taxes worldwide for 2008 compared with $6 billion in 2007.
John Gapper / John Gapper's Business Blog:
Eliot Spitzer shows his face in Chinatown  —  If Eliot Spitzer had had to choose a venue at which to make his re-entry into society, he would presumably not have selected a former massage parlour in Chinatown on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  —  But Mr Spitzer, who resigned as governor …
World Public Opinion:
Poll Finds Widespread International Opposition to US Bases in Persian Gulf  —  US Approach to Muslim World Given Poor Grades by Many Nations  —  A poll of 21 nations around the world finds widespread opposition to the United States having naval forces based in the Persian Gulf.
Timothy Williams / New York Times:
Iraqi Shoe-Thrower to Appear in Court  —  BAGHDAD — The Iraqi television reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush during a news conference is scheduled to appear before a judge on Wednesday, the first step in a potential criminal prosecution against him, a senior lawyer and the reporter' s brother said on Tuesday.
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 More Items: 
Greg Miller / Los Angeles Times:
Cheney was key in clearing CIA interrogation tactics
Gary Andres / Weekly Standard:
Do You Tattoo?  —  According to Pew Research, nearly …
Discussion: and Reason
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Discussion: Newsalert
Anna Mulrine / US News:
U.S. Military to Launch Pilot Program to Recruit New Local Afghan Militias
Jeremy Korzeniewski / AutoblogGreen:
US Prius assembly in Mississippi officially on hold
 Earlier Items: 
Bonnie Malkin / Telegraph:
Australian couple served with legal documents via Facebook
Discussion: Silicon Alley Insider and TalkLeft
Jill Drew / Washington Post:
Frenzy  —  It was Wall Street's version of an inside joke …
Ali Frick / Think Progress:
Juan Williams: Iraqi Protesters Are ‘Ingrate[s]’ Who Should Appreciate U.S. Invasion
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Serious security flaw found in IE