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9:05 AM ET, December 26, 2008


 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
Retail Sales Plummet  —  Price-slashing failed to rescue a bleak holiday season for beleaguered retailers, as sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending, according to new data released Thursday.  —  Despite a flurry of last-minute shoppers lured by the deep discounts …
Ilaina Jonas / Reuters:
Retailers' holiday sales plummet: Spending Pulse  —  NEW YORK (Reuters) - Retailers' sales fell as much as 4 percent during the holiday season, as the weak economy and bad weather created one of the worst holiday shopping climates in modern times, according to data released on Thursday by SpendingPulse.
Discussion: 24/7 Wall St.
Heather Burke / Bloomberg:
Holiday Sales in U.S. Fell as Much as 4%, SpendingPulse Says  —  A A A  —  Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. retail sales fell as much as 4 percent this holiday season as consumers limited purchases to necessities and cut back on clothing, electronics and jewelry, according to SpendingPulse.
Discussion: Buck Naked Politics
Joby Warrick / Washington Post:
Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan  —  The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women.  His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity …
Susan Page / USA Today:
Poll: Obama is man Americans admire most  —  WASHINGTON — A month before his inauguration, Americans choose Barack Obama as the man they admire most in the world, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.  It's the first time a president-elect has topped the annual survey in more than a half-century.
Discussion: and Oliver Willis
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Dollar Shift: Chinese Pockets Filled as Americans' Emptied  —  “Usually it's the rich country lending to the poor.  This time, it's the poor country lending to the rich.”  —  WASHINGTON — In March 2005, a low-key Princeton economist who had become a Federal Reserve governor coined …
Paul Richter / Los Angeles Times:
Bush a catalyst in America's declining influence
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Barack Be Good  —  Times have changed.  In 1996, President Bill Clinton, under siege from the right, declared that “the era of big government is over.”  But President-elect Barack Obama, riding a wave of revulsion over what conservatism has wrought, has said that he wants to “make government cool again.”
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Kevin Sack / New York Times:
Expansion of Clinics Shapes a Bush Legacy  —  NASHVILLE — Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers …
Associated Press:
Blagojevich Attorney Asks Illinois Panel to Subpoena Emanuel and Others  —  An attorney for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has asked the legislative panel considering impeachment of the governor to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses, including President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff.
P.S. Ruckman, Jr / PARDON POWER:
On the Revocation of Pardons  —  “Experts said they knew of no other instance in which a presidential pardon had been revoked.  They said it was not clear whether Bush was legally allowed to do so.”  - Chicago Tribune, December 25, 2008  —  One can hardly blame the Tribune for printing this statement.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Open Left
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Jindal in 2012?  —  Bobby Jindal is seen by many in his party as the Next Big Thing, a political comer who at 37 offers competence, reform and a fresh face for a Republican Party in dire need of all three.  —  But even as he basks in the media glow from his maiden foray to Iowa last month, Jindal is far from a sure thing in 2012.
Peter Baker / New York Times:
Obama Follows a Tradition of Testifying for Prosecutors  —  Every president for more than three decades has had to talk with federal prosecutors at one time or another.  President-elect Barack Obama may have set a land-speed record by giving his first interview to investigators even before taking the oath of office.
New York Times:
E.P.A.'s Doctor No  —  On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal Clean Air Act plainly empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks — and, by inference, other sources like power plants.  —  There was great hope …
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 More Items: 
Nicholas D. Kristof / New York Times:
The Sin in Doing Good Deeds
Discussion: Blog
Jerusalem Post:
8 Katyusha rockets defused in Lebanon
Discussion: A Blog For All and Israel Matzav
Eric Lichtblau / New York Times:
Federal Cases of Stock Fraud Drop Sharply
 Earlier Items: 
Oliver Janney / CNN:
Blog ‘miracle’ saves Christmas for hard-luck family
Discussion: Liberty Street
Selim Algar / New York Post:
Discussion: Don Surber and A Blog For All

From Techmeme:

Shira Ovide / Washington Post:
Many local US police departments are fearmongering by issuing warnings on the privacy risk of the iPhone's NameDrop feature, used to wirelessly share contacts

Duncan Riley / SiliconANGLE:
AWS announces AI foundation model enhancements to its automated speech recognition service Transcribe, now supporting 100+ languages, and to Personalize and Lex

Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Atomico: European startups are on track to raise $42B in 2023, down from $85B in 2022; just seven unicorns are expected in 2023, vs. 48 in 2022 and 108 in 2021

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