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10:25 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 …
Callie Shell / Time:
Why History Can't Wait  —  Yes, Obama could talk — like nobody's business — but talk didn't win the election.  According to the daily tracking polls, the tumblers clicked into place precisely at the moment the financial hurricane hit, when the wizards of Wall Street proved as incompetent …
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.
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:
Paul Krugman / TPMCafe:   The Global Jigsaw  —  Bob Reich raises an important question that's …
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 …
CNN:   Jackson Jr. talked to feds on Blagojevich
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.
Discussion: TigerHawk
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.
Discussion: A Blog For All
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
Fox News:
Scientists Call AP Report on Global Warming ‘Hysteria’  —  Scientists skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of man's activites are criticizing a recent Associated Press report on global warming, calling it “irrational hysteria,” “horrifically bad” and “incredibly biased.”
Discussion: QandO and Don Surber
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” …
Discussion: On Deadline
San Francisco Peninsula / San Francisco Peninsula …:
Rep. Eshoo to push for Fairness Doctrine  —  Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (pictured), D-Palo Alto, said Monday she will work to restore the Fairness Doctrine and have it apply to cable and satellite programming as well as radio and TV.  —  “I'll work on bringing it back.
Discussion: Commentary and
Dina ElBoghdady / Washington Post:
HUD Chief Calls Aid on Mortgages A Failure  —  Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Steve Preston said the centerpiece of the federal government's effort to help struggling homeowners has been a failure and he's blaming Congress.  —  The three-year program was supposed to help 400,000 borrowers avoid foreclosure.
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
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.
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.
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 …
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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
Agence France Presse:
Bush says sacrificed free-market principles to save economy
Watching romantic comedies ‘can spoil your love life’
Discussion: The Corner and Dr. Helen
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: 
Jello Biafra / Firedoglake:
Jello Biafra Writes An Open Letter To Barack Obama
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