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5:05 PM ET, December 25, 2017


 Top Items: 
Avi Selk / Washington Post:
‘A gift-wrapped package of poo’: Why a man left a box of manure for Steven Mnuchin  —  It was one of those gag cards you can buy in a drugstore.  “Merry Catsmess!” read the caption.  And in a personal touch, as if for emphasis, Robby Strong had enclosed a box of horse manure.
Discussion: Raw Story
89.3 KPCC:
This man sent horse manure to the Treasury secretary to protest Trump's tax plan  —  Photo posted on Twitter by Robert Strong of Eagle Rock.  Strong said he was the person who put horse manure in a gift-wrapped box left near the Bel Air home of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the night of Dec. 23.
Los Angeles Times:
Secret Service takes over investigation of package of manure sent to Steve Mnuchin's Bel-Air home
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Washington Post:
Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options … The first email arrived in the inbox of CounterPunch, a left-leaning American news and opinion website, at 3:26 a.m. — the middle of the day in Moscow.  —  “Hello, my name is Alice Donovan and I'm a beginner freelance journalist …
Nataliya Vasilyeva / Associated Press:
Russian officials bar Navalny from running for president  —  MOSCOW (AP) — Russian election officials on Monday formally barred Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president, prompting calls from him for a boycott of next year's vote.  —  The Central Election Commission …
Discussion: RedState
Jacey Fortin / New York Times:
Parents Killed After Warning Daughter About Boyfriend's Racist Views, Family Says  —  A husband and wife were shot dead in their Virginia home three days before Christmas by a 17-year-old boy they had warned their daughter not to date because of his racist views, according to officials and news accounts.
Larry Fitzgerald /
An Appreciation of John McCain, Who Spent Six Christmases as a Prisoner of War  — Over his years with the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald has become a friend and admirer of Arizona Sen. John McCain.  This Christmas he pays tribute to a man who as a POW in Vietnam was a model of selfless heroism …
Kurt Schlichter /
Christmas Is the Perfect Time to Mock Liberals, and Other Random Thoughts  —  When we gather together this Christmas, it's going to be super-awkward since everybody is dead because Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Scam, repealed net neutrality, and cut taxes.
Associated Press:
Text of Pope Francis' traditional Christmas day message  —  VATICAN CITY (AP) — Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!  —  In Bethlehem, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.  He was born, not by the will of man, but by the gift of the love of God our Father, who “so loved the world …
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Philip Pullella / Reuters:
Mideast needs two-state solution, Pope says in Christmas message
Discussion: IJR and Axios
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Sally Yates: Watch out for ghosts at Mar-a-Lago  —  Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates  —  is defending the FBI in response to President Trump  —  's attacks on the law enforcement agency — and specifically Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.  —  Yates in a tweet on Sunday …
New York Times:
Why Saad Hariri Had That Strange Sojourn in Saudi Arabia  —  BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, was summoned at 8:30 a.m. to the Saudi royal offices — unseemly early, by the Kingdom's standards — on the second day of a visit that was already far from what he had expected.
Discussion: Politico and Al Jazeera English
Ambassador Haley on the United States Negotiating a Significant Reduction in the UN Budget  —  Today, the United Nations agreed on a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.  Among a host of other successes, the United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget.
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
Trump puts the world's worst crooks and killers on notice  —  After months of conflicting messages, last week the Trump administration took a big step toward drastically expanding punishments for human rights abusers and kleptocrats all over the world.  The move also reveals how government professionals …
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 More Items: 
Yonette Joseph / New York Times:
How Do You Keep an Elephant Warm? Knit a Giant Blanket
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Ted Mann / Wall Street Journal:
Regulators Propose Rollbacks to Offshore Drilling Safety Measures
Discussion: Axios
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
After a Chaotic Start, Congress Has Made a Conservative Mark
Tyler Bridges / The Advocate:
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco: Seeking prayers in new ‘fight for my own life’ against cancer
Karoun Demirjian / Washington Post:
Departing GOP lawmakers warn that their party could lose majorities in 2018
Discussion: Daily Kos
 Earlier Items: 
Avery Anapol / The Hill:
Trump and first lady Melania participate in NORAD Santa calls
Discussion: Axios
Olivia Beavers / The Hill:
Guatemala announces plan to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem
Discussion: Politico and RedState
New York Times:
Democrats Leave Few Seats Unchallenged in Quest for House Control
Adam Lusher / The Independent:
At least 10,000 people died in Tiananmen Square massacre, secret British cable from the time alleged
Discussion: Axios and The Daily Caller