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10:45 AM ET, December 26, 2008

memeorandum

 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 …
RELATED:
Ilaina Jonas / Reuters:
Retailers' holiday sales plummet: Spending Pulse
Discussion: 24/7 Wall St.
Heather Burke / Bloomberg:
Holiday Sales in U.S. Fell as Much as 4%, SpendingPulse Says
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.
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.”
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 …
RELATED:
Ann Scott Tyson / Washington Post:
Study Criticizes Bush Approach to War Funding, Calls for Changes  —  President-elect Barack Obama's administration needs to monitor war spending much more closely than the current White House has, according to a new study that criticizes President Bush's approach to funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars …
Discussion: Think Progress and Time
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.
Discussion: Don Surber, Hot Air and TIME.com
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble  —  “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 a novel theory …
RELATED:
Paul Richter / Los Angeles Times:
Bush a catalyst in America's declining influence
Mike Glenn / Houston Chronicle:
Naked man fights Harris deputies; dies after Taser shocks  —  A naked man who was banging on doors and windows at a northside apartment complex died Wednesday after being shocked by Tasers at least three times during a confrontation with Harris County sheriff's deputies, authorities said.
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
White House Press Corps Faces Unique Challenges in Hawaii  —  It's prime time and CNN's Ed Henry is standing on the white sand of Waikiki Beach, reporting live on President-elect Barack Obama's holiday vacation in Hawaii.  With the volcanic mountain Diamond Head in the distance …
Turki al-Faisal / Washington Post:
Peace for the Mideast  —  How Our Plan Could Aid Barack Obama's Efforts  —  RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President-elect Barack Obama is about to inherit not just a nation entrenched in two wars but a world of instability and an entire Middle East that is sick with discord.
Discussion: Commentary, Yourish.com and Soccer Dad
Rick Klein / ABCNEWS:
Clinton Helping Clinton Retire Debt  —  Clinton Foundation Business Helps Reduce Hillary Clinton's Remaining Campaign Debt  —  Sen. Hillary Clinton's in-the-red campaign committee has found an innovative way to pay down a slice of its debt — and is getting help from President Clinton's foundation …
Discussion: Top of the Ticket
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.
 
 
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Michael Saul / NY Daily News:
Caroline has stiffed N.Y. Dems for years
Discussion: TIME.com and JammieWearingFool