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I’ve got a heavy day ahead of me and the company Christmas party to go to tonight, so I may not be back to blogging until sometime tomorrow morning.   Please utilize this as an open thread.

Ya’ll have a good one – and TGIF!

Saturday AM Update – 7:42: Hey ya’ll – I’ve had a slight change in plans. Last night at the party the 8-5 was very generous, so much so that I’m going to use part of what I rec’d to go share this morning with someone who I believe needs it very much, so they can do what so many of us love to do – buy a few gifts for people they care about at Christmas time. Back later.

The latest on the Blago scandal

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A rundown:

– Barry Oh! has promised a “full airing” of any interaction anyone on his staff may have had with Blago with regards to his Senate seat.

– But Obama’s COS Rahm Emanuel is busy dodging questions about alleged conversations he is denying took place between himself and Gov. Blago regarding Obama’s replacement.

– MyFoxChicago has a pretty explosive story that talks about how Emanuel allegedly spoke with Blago “on multiple occasions” about replacements for Obama’s Senate seat (via Ed). This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any legal wrongdoing at play here in the Obama admin, but it does suggest that there has been more involvement between the two camps than had previously been suggested.

– The Chi-Tribune reports:

As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois’ next U.S. senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned.

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson’s bid for the Senate.

Wonder what “Senate Candidate #5” has to say about that?

I think it’s safe to say that the “shiny” on the incoming Obama administration has been tarnished as a result of this scandal. Whether or not they did anything legally wrong, it’s never good to have your first term start off with a scandal … especially when you haven’t even officially taken office yet, and especially when you were someone who campaigned against government corruption (even though you were propped up by some of the same Illinois corruptocrats either under investigation by the feds and/or who are already convicted as a result of the investigations).

As written in The Politico this morning, this scandal is going to be an early test of the Obama campaign’s repeated promises about “open government, honesty, and transparency.” And for once, it appears that the media might actually hold them to account.

Stay tuned.