President-Elect Barack Obama

Barack Obama probably cannot fix every leaky roof and busted boiler in the nation’s schools. But educators say his sweeping school modernization program — if he spends enough — could jump-start student achievement.

Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Illinois lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, saying the step is necessary to restore public confidence in state government.

From Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic Monthly: Obama has a lot to face starting January 20th. Where the discussion isn't going is the possibility that the first foreign policy crisis the administration will face will be the complete economic collapse of a large, unstable nation.

From Terence Samuel at TheRoot.com: Blagojevich may be the one indicted, but Jesse Jackson Jr. has a real trial ahead of him.

John McCain paid a lighthearted visit to David Letterman on Thursday, joking: “I don’t want to talk about the bleeping campaign.”

Barack Obama insists he didn’t have any contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or anyone else who might have been scheming to sell the president-elect’s U.S. Senate seat. But he has not yet given his transition staff the same clean bill of health — perhaps with good reason.

From Jack Healy at The NYTimes.com: President-elect <a title="More articles about Barack Obama" href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html?inline=nyt-per">Barack Obama</a> said on Thursday that he never spoke to the governor of Illinois about Mr. Obama’s replacement in the <a title="More articles about the U.S. Senate." href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/senate/index.html?inline=nyt-org">United States Senate</a>, and that no one on his staff had been involved in any deal-making regarding Mr. Obama’s successor.

President-elect Barack Obama intends to round out his environmental and natural resources team with a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and three former Environmental Protection Agency officials from the Clinton administration.

With Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich defying calls for his resignation, state officials pondered reducing his power or forcing him from office amid an intensifying criminal investigation that has made him arguably the most toxic politician in America.

From Ben Smith at Politico: The Transition just launched a <a href="http://change.gov/page/content/openforquestions">Digg-style tool</a> by which citizens can ask questions and vote on the questions they think Obama's aides should answer. What's your question?

From Sam Fulwood III at TheRoot.com: It's become something of a parlor game for the chattering class to compare President-elect Barack Obama to the pantheon of presidents. There's an equally—perhaps more—apt yardstick by which to measure Obama... See story & related links after the jump.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich could still appoint someone to fill Barack Obama‘s U.S. Senate seat despite charges that he tried to barter it away for cash or a plum job in what prosecutors call “a political corruption crime spree.”