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9:25 AM ET, December 17, 2008


 Top Items: 
Peter Baker / New York Times:
Bush Prepares Crisis Briefings to Aid Obama  —  WASHINGTON — The White House has prepared more than a dozen contingency plans to help guide President-elect Barack Obama if an international crisis erupts in the opening days of his administration, part of an elaborate operation devised to smooth …
Kenneth P. Vogel / The Politico:
Obama's e-mails raise cash, concerns  —  Want a sleek Obama '08 coffee mug, a four-year calendar with pictures of Barack Obama on the campaign trail, or a blue T-shirt with “Change Can Happen” emblazoned under stylized photos of the incoming president and vice president?  —  You'll have to hurry.
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 …
Jackson Jr. talked to feds on Blagojevich
Discussion: Political Machine
Charles Mahtesian / The Politico:
Nepotism Nation: Dems embrace dynasty politics  —  Barack Obama's path to the presidency included beating what had been one of the nation's most powerful families.  But, in an unusual twist, his election last month is helping accelerate the trend toward dynasty politics.
Person of the Year 2008  —  INSIDE:
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones:
MEDIAN WAGES....So let's assume that we manage to stabilize the economy sometime soon via whatever combination of stimulus spending, tax cuts, and bailouts you think is best.  What's next?  Where will demand come from to get the economy moving normally again?  Paul Krugman comments:
Who Will Bail Out Uncle Sam?  —  By EXAMINER EDITORIAL HOT ZONE  —  The United States of America is bankrupt.  Don't believe it?  Consider this: Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Wall Street Journal:
SEC to Probe Its Ties to Madoffs  —  The Securities and Exchange Commission will examine the relationship between a former official at the agency and a niece of financier Bernard L. Madoff, after the SEC's chief admitted “apparent multiple failures” to oversee the firm at the center of an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
Jeffrey Goldberg:
George Tenet, Drunk in Bandar's Pool, Screaming about Jews  —  I just picked up Patrick Tyler's forthcoming book, A World of Trouble, about America's tortured relations with the Middle East, and the prologue contains this whopper of a scene, one that is quite devastating, if true …
Discussion: Marc Ambinder
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.
Susan Crabtree / The Hill:
Trips to Caribbean appear to have broken House rules  —  For at least five of the last six years, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have spent a few days each fall at a different luxurious Caribbean island resort.
Jim Lindgren / The Volokh Conspiracy:
What the Duncan Appointment Suggests About Obama.  Tom Maguire has a great roundup of reactions to the Arne Duncan appointment.  Included are these: … Maguire points out that Vallas and Duncan were on one side of the education wars and Obama and Ayers were on the other (along with …
Discussion: The Corner, Freakonomics and Redhot
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Obama charm offensive sways Republicans  —  President-elect Obama is waging a charm offensive on congressional Republicans.  In recent days he has personally called at least a dozen ranking GOP members of committees he will need to work with next year.  —  The highly personal …
Discussion: Booman Tribune and The Note
Laura Meckler / Wall Street Journal:
Bush Abortion Rules Face Possible Reversal  —  Obama Team Looks at Regulation Set to Be Finalized This Week Letting Medical Staff Refuse to Take Part in Practices They Oppose  —  WASHINGTON — The outgoing Bush administration this week will finalize a regulation establishing a “right of conscience” …
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),
Washington Post:
Federal Reserve Slashes Interest Rate to Historic Low  —  The Federal Reserve slashed a key short-term interest rate to effectively zero today, and signaled that it will “employ all available tools” to try to arrest the nation's economic freefall.  —  In a bold show of force …
Watching romantic comedies ‘can spoil your love life’  —  Watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, a study by a university in Edinburgh has claimed.  —  Rom-coms have been blamed by relationship experts at Heriot Watt University for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.
Discussion: The Corner and Dr. Helen
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.
Joe Gandelman / The Moderate Voice:
Gingrich Echoes McCain: Denounces RNC Obama Blagojevich Linkage Campaign
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.) …
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 More Items: 
UK troops to leave Iraq ‘by July’
Washington Post:
New Poll Shows 63% Are Already Hurt by Downturn
Discussion: The Sideshow and
Adam / pomomusings:
The Bible & Homosexuality: Enough with the Bible Already
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Scott Payne / The Moderate Voice:
The Ineffable Likability of Bush
 Earlier Items: 
Christine Harper / Bloomberg:
Goldman Sachs's Tax Rate Drops to 1%, or $14 Million
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Video: Joe Scarborough rips the Tanning Bed Media
George Packer In / New Yorker:
Discussion: Gawker and AmSpecBlog