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1:00 AM ET, December 24, 2008


 Top Items:
Transition Team Releases Review of Contacts  —  Today the Obama Transition Team released the review of Obama Transition staff contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his office.  Download a PDF of the memo.
Jeff Zeleny / New York Times:
Obama Report Outlines Talks on Senate Seat  —  HONOLULU — In the days after Barack Obama's election as president, Rahm Emanuel, a top adviser, suggested to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois that Mr. Obama's Senate seat should be filled by Valerie Jarrett, a confidante of Mr. Obama.
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Breaking: Obama finally releases report on staff's contacts with Blagojevich; Update: No quid pro quo  —  4:30 p.m. on December 23rd, when both he and Emanuel are literally thousands of miles away.  Well played, Messiah.  —  Here's the five-page PDF.  Updates coming.
Discussion: Riehl World View and
The Smoking Gun:
Obama Interviewed In Blagojevich Probe  —  President-elect, two aides quizzed last week by federal prosecutors  —  President-elect Barack Obama and two of his top advisers were interviewed last week by federal prosecutors probing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's alleged bid …
Discussion: Don Surber and Dean's World
Mary Katharine Ham / Weekly Standard:
Obama's 4:30 p.m., December 23rd Blago News Drop  —  The time and date dictated by Patrick Fitzgerald for releasing Team Obama's internal investigation just happen to fall at the most convenient time of the year for burying bad news.  Does that mean there necessarily is bad news?
The Huffington Post:
Emanuel Heads To Africa As Blagojevich Report Drops  —  With the Obama transition team set to release an internal report regarding the extent of its interactions with embattled governor Rod Blagojevich, one of the key figures in the mix is heading out of the country.
Murrayw / Murray Waas:
Exclusive: Cheney's admissions to the CIA leak prosecutor and FBI  —  Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a still-highly confidential FBI report, admitted to federal investigators that he rewrote talking points for the press in July 2003 that made it much more likely that the role …
Dennis Prager /
When a Woman Isnt in the Mood: Part I  —  Given our preoccupation with politics and economics, it is easy to forget that for most of us micro issues still play a greater role in our lives.  So here are some thoughts that, as heretical as they might sound, have been found extremely helpful …
John H. Richardson / Esquire:
Why Obama Really Might Decriminalize Marijuana  —  The stoner community is clamoring to say it: “Yes we cannabis!”  Turns out, with several drug-war veterans close to the president-elect's ear, insiders think reform could come in Obama's second term — or sooner.
Susan Kelleher / Seattle Times:
Seattle refuses to use salt; roads “snow packed” by design  —  To hear the city's spin, Seattle's road crews are making “great progress” in clearing the ice-caked streets.  —  But it turns out “plowed streets” in Seattle actually means “snow-packed,” as in there's snow and ice left on major arterials by design.
Faiz Shakir / Think Progress:
Rev. Pat Robertson: 'I am remarkably pleased with Obama...he's picked a middle-of-the-road Cabinet.'  —  In an interview with CNN's The Situation Room, conservative televangelist Pat Robertson ripped the Bush administration for its failures in mishandling and mismanaging the economic bailout …
Tim Graham /
Joe the Plumber Laughs at CNN Anchor Who Insists He's Fair, He's Not Pro-Obama  —  Just before 8 am Eastern time on the Tuesday edition of CNN's American Morning, anchor John Roberts interview Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, and something unusual happened.  After a battery of questions …
Discussion: Cold Fury and Hot Air
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO ABOUT IT.  —  Over at BoingBoing, Clay Shirky engages in a bit of self-congratulatory schadenfreude for predicting the collapse of the newspaper business model back in 1993.  And no doubt: He was prescient.  But like a lot of folks (many of them named Jeff Jarvis) …
Discussion: Don Surber
Tim Lee / The Technology Liberation Front:
The News Innovator's Dilemma
Discussion: Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
What Might Have Been  —  Ezra Klein makes the case that the decline …
Discussion: Eschaton
Deb Riechmann / Associated Press:
Bush pardons man who helped Israel during wartime  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - In a gesture of forgiveness for a decades-old offense, President George W. Bush on Tuesday granted a pardon posthumously to a man who broke the law to supply aircraft …
Discussion: and Israel Matzav
Associated Press:   Bush pardons 19, commutes 1 prison term
Kevin Grandia / DeSmogBlog:
Massive Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee puts the lie to Clean Coal  —  When it comes to PR spindoctoring there is always one surefire cure - reality.  —  If you were fooled by the multimillion dollar “clean coal” PR marketing campaign take a look at this video footage of a massive flood …
Josh Kraushaar / Scorecard's Blogs:
Coleman speaks!  —  For the first time since the Minnesota Senate recount began, Sen. Norm Coleman briefly talked to a Minneapolis TV station about the recount, where he finds himself trailing Al Franken for the first time.  —  “I feel fairly confident.  In the end, the good Lord's going to decide …
It's a Wonderful Thought  —  Over the years, Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life has become a Christmas classic—a heartwarming, eye-watering parable about virtue being its own reward.  —  The story of George Bailey, the big-hearted proprietor of Bailey Savings & Loan, is morally uncomplicated.
Rick Warren — Out of the Closet!  —  Rick Warren, the pastor who will deliver the invocation next month for Barack Obama, apparently is doing a little image-adjusting in West Hollywood.  —  We got this pic, taken yesterday at Out of the Closet thrift store.
Bill Gertz / Washington Times:
EXCLUSIVE: Obama wants Bush war team to stay  —  Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is asking many of the Bush administration's 250 Pentagon political appointees to remain on the job until the incoming Obama administration finds replacements — a move designed to prevent a leadership vacuum …
Rush Transcript / Democracy Now:
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Calls for Independent Counsel to Investigate Cheney and Rumsfeld for Violating Torture Laws  —  Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York has urged Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Vice President Dick Cheney …
Washington Wire:
Obama Transition Names More National Security Staff  —  Today, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden announced the nomination of key members of their national security team, including James B. Steinberg for Deputy Secretary of State, and Jacob Lew for Deputy Secretary of State …
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 More Items: 
Felicity Barringer / New York Times:
In Reversal, Court Allows a Bush Plan on Pollution
Discussion: On Deadline
Josh Kraushaar / The Politico:
Lone Star State to pick up 3 seats
Discussion: Associated Press
Siun / Firedoglake:
36 Hours of Torture - Thanks to Our Allies in Iraq
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
A housing scammer, pardoned
Discussion: The Raw Story, Salon and The RBC
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Obama Attends Memorial for Grandmother
 Earlier Items: 
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
Discussion: Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias
Little Green Footballs:
NPR Rewrites Rathergate History to Cover Up Fraud
Discussion: NPR and TigerHawk
Child porn investigation catches California lawyer
Discussion: Tabloid Edition
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
Shuster Pushes Inhofe On Global Warming Skepticism: 'If There Is …
Discussion: Washington Monthly