“Mary, Did You Know?” is a Christmas song with lyrics written by Mark Lowry and music written by Buddy Greene.
Mark wrote the words in 1984 “when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. It was while he was working on the project that Mark considered what it would have been like to have been Jesus’ mother”. The music was written by Buddy Greene several years later. Michael English was the first recording artist to record and release ‘Mary did you know” on his debut album aptly titled “Michael English” which was released on January 1st, 1992.
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Rep. for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has died, a senior administration official confirms.
May he rest in peace. Prayers to his family.
Thoughts & Prayers to the family! May he rest in peace.
Breaking News Alert: Obama-GOP tax cut deal passes key Senate test
December 13, 2010 4:13:19 PM
A sweeping tax package negotiated by President Obama and Republican leaders has won 60 votes in the Senate, enough to end debate and move to final passage as soon as Tuesday night. A final tally may not be available for hours, however, as the vote was being held open to accommodate senators traveling back to Washington.
If approved by the Senate, the measure would go to the House, where many Democrats are more reluctant to back the compromise, which would extend tax breaks enacted during the Bush administration for taxpayers at all income levels, including the very wealthiest households. Many House Democrats are particularly upset about a provision that would exempt estates worth up to $10 million from a revived estate tax.
Earlier Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the House may try to amend the terms of the estate tax, a risky move that would sent the bill back to the Senate and potentially upend the bipartisan compromise — increasing the odds that a host of tax cuts could expire on New Year’s Eve.
For more information, visit washingtonpost.com
Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 12/13/2010
Is the Hudson ruling good news for health reform?
By Ezra Klein
District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee, has, as expected, ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. So why are health reformers so unexpectedly pleased?
There are two reasons, but first, let’s put this into context. Hudson’s ruling is the third from a district court so far. Previously, Judge Norman Moon found the mandate constitutional, and so too did Judge George Steeh. Both Steeh and Norman were Clinton appointees, which is to say that so far, the rulings are proceeding along predictably partisan lines.
Hudson ruled against the government, but he didn’t stop it (you can read the full opinion here). He refused the plaintiff’s request for an injunction against the legislation’s continued implementation. The construction of the bill’s infrastructure will continue. And second, he refused to overrule anything but the individual mandate itself.
The real danger to health-care reform is not that the individual mandate will be struck down by the courts. That’d be a problem, but there are a variety of ways to restructure the individual mandate such that it doesn’t penalize anyone for deciding not to do something (which is the core of the conservative’s legal argument against the provision). Here’s one suggestion from Paul Starr, for instance. The danger is that, in striking down the individual mandate, the court would also strike down the rest of the bill. In fact, that’s exactly what the plaintiff has asked Hudson to do.
Hudson pointedly refused. “The Court will sever only Section 1501 [the individual mandate] and directly-dependent provisions which make specific reference to 1501.” That last clause has made a lot of pro-reform legal analysts very happy. Go to the text of the health-care law and run a search for “1501.” It appears exactly twice in the bill: In the table of contents, and in the title of the section. There do not appear to be other sections that make “specific reference” to the provision, even if you could argue that they are “directly dependent” on the provision. The attachment of the “specific reference” language appears to sharply limit the scope of the court’s action.
Hudson will not have the last word on this. Anthony Kennedy will. The disagreements between the various courts virtually ensure that the Supreme Court will eventually take up the case. But right now, the range of opinions stretch from “the law is fine” to “the individual mandate is not fine, but the rest of the law is.” That could create problems for the legislation if the mandate is repealed and Republicans block any attempts at a fix, but it’s a far cry from a world in which the Supreme Court strikes down the whole of the health-care law.
Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/13/2010
Net neutrality lobbying to peak this week
By Cecilia Kang
Expect lobbying around net neutrality to reach fever pitch through Tuesday. After that, the Federal Communications Commission will go into its bunker to deliberate a draft of rules that will be voted on Dec. 21.
One group, Free Press, plans to let the FCC know that it doesn’t like what it has heard so far. The public interest group will deliver a petition to the agency, with 2 million signatures, saying draft rules that don’t regulate wireless networks with anti-discrimination provisions do not go far enough. The petition also will call for stronger rules that prohibit network operators from offering paid prioritization of some services that could effectively make the delivery of other Web sites worse. Free Press and dozens of other media reform and consumer advocacy groups jointly sent a letter along these lines last week.
AT&T executive vice president Jim Cicconi continued to make his rounds at the FCC last week, meeting with Chairman Jules Genachowski’s staff and Republican commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker. Cicconi stressed that any rules approved by the commission shouldn’t go beyond legislative proposals offered earlier this year that keep wireless networks largely free of regulation. AT&T has been among the most active companies lobbying on the issue in recent weeks.
The Open Internet Coalition, a group that represents some public interest groups along with Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, plans to send a letter Monday to Genachowski saying it won’t support the rules as they reportedly stand. The OIC wants clear definitions on what a broadband service provider is; equal rules applied to wireless networks; and a legal presumption that paid prioritization won’t be allowed.
FCC’s Clyburn optimistic about net neutrality consensus
FCC’s net neutrality plan gets picked apart from all sides
FCC’s net neutrality plan opens doors for paid fast lanes, higher rates for consumers
Posted at 7:04 AM ET, 12/13/2010
YouTube releases 2010 top-10 list
By Rob Pegoraro
The year isn’t done, but a site devoted to short-form videos may not have the attention span to wait until Dec. 31 to tally up its most popular clips. YouTube released its top-10 list for 2010 this morning.
In a blog post announcing the results, YouTube community manager Mia Quagliarello also ticked off the most-viewed major-label music videos (Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga accounted for six of the top 10) and the most common search terms for each month (from “haiti” in January to “firework” in November). She then attempted to quantify what a colossal time-suck this Google subsidiary has become: “During 2010, you all watched more than 700 billion YouTube videos, and uploaded more than 13 million hours of video.”
(Another way to look at YouTube’s impact on our lives came in an e-mail from publicist Annie Baxter: In the middle of 2007, the site’s users were uploading an average of 6 hours of video every minute; that rate has soared to 35 hours of video per minute.)
Read on for links to those top ten clips, plus my comments on each. For your avoiding-work-on-a-Monday-morning pleasure, embedded versions follow after the jump.
“BED INTRUDER SONG!!! (now on iTunes)”: Proves you can make a song out of anything–here, a young man’s anger at the attempted rape of his sister by some creep who crawled in through a window–if you add a catchy backing track and digitally tweak the vocals beyond recognition. The song sped up the charts after it went on sale at the iTunes Store.
“TIK TOK KESHA Parody: Glitter Puke – Key of Awe$ome #13”: This sendup of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” was better on the first viewing than on the second. (I should confess here that, being old and in the way, I hadn’t seen the original video until after viewing this clip.)
“Greyson Chance Singing Paparazzi”: Sixth-grader performs Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a talent festival. He is, in fact, quite good, as a host testifies afterwards: “In my opinion, he just taught Lady Gaga a lesson.”
“Annoying Orange Wazzup”: Somewhat creepy talking fruits reenact the Budweiser “Wassup” commercial that aired during the 2000 Super Bowl, adding one moderately clever plot twist halfway through. I still prefer the original Bud ad.
“Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”: Speaking of Super Bowl ads, this is another example of how a clever commercial with high production values can provide entertainment value in its own right. Also, he’s on a horse!
“Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10”: This trippy, tearful, quasi-orgasmic description of a double rainbow sighting had viewers wondering “what was this dude smoking, and can I have some?” It made enough of a dent in pop culture to get a shout-out during the Presidents’ Race in Nationals Park in an Aug. 29 game, amusing me but possibly confusing fans who don’t make a habit of following Internet memes.
“OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version – Official”: If you don’t like watching pointlessly complicated Rube Goldberg assemblages at work, you probably hate puppy dogs and America too. OK Go (led by native Washingtonian Damian Kulash) has made a music video worth replaying, which isn’t something I’ve said too often since high school.
“Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan”: And here I thought that covering technology would insulate me from having to write about Justin Bieber. In this clip, talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel (whose tweet made the double-rainbow clip famous months after its uploading) introduces the teenage singer to his biggest little fan.
“THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE – Trailer”: And here I thought that covering technology would insulate me from having to write about Twilight. This trailer promotes the movie, in which Bella must choose between Edward and Jacob… uh, can we please move on to the next clip?
“Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome, France”: Man drives tricked-out car at unsafe speeds, executing precise maneuvers with little room for error. The engine races, the wheels spin, the tires smoke, merriment is had by all. At close to eight minutes, this is also by far the longest clip in YouTube’s top 10; all the others run less than four minutes, and most are under three minutes long.
Of the Top 10, the two I’d enjoy watching again would be the OK Go and Ken Block clips–and I’d give the edge to the former, since it has so many details to discover in repeat viewings. Which one tops your best-of list? Which one has you ready to complain to my editors for inflicting it upon you?
For Anderson Cooper’s New Daytime Talk Show, Just Call Him Anderson
Just call him Anderson.
When CNN’s Anderson Cooper adds a daytime talk show to his roster of daily duties next fall, the new show will take the simple, informal title Anderson, according to a report by The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter.
The Warner Bros./Telepictures strip, which has been bought by local stations in 20 markets, was first revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, who quoted Cooper on his new gig:
“It’s fun and interesting to work in daytime television. The format is unique and you can really go in-depth on a wide range of fascinating and compelling stories. With this new program I hope to relay important information and relate to people and the audience in a completely different way. It’s an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself and create something worthwhile and special in daytime.”
Here are the details:
Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutionalBy Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court ProducerDecember 13, 2010 12:48 p.m. EST
(CNN) — A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional — setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson struck down the “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.
Hudson’s opinion contradicts other court rulings finding the mandate constitutionally permissible.
“An individual’s personal decision to purchase — or decline purchase — (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach” of the U.S. Constitution,” Hudson wrote. “No specifically constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance.”
A federal judge in Virginia earlier this month had ruled in favor of the administration over the purchase requirement issue, mirroring conclusions reached by a judge in Michigan.
Hudson’s ruling raised strong doubts about the government’s authority to mandate the purchase of insurance coverage for individuals and employers.
Virginia officials had argued that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause does not give the government the authority to force Americans to purchase a commercial product — like health insurance — that they may not want or need. They equated such a requirement to a burdensome regulation of “inactivity.”
Virginia is one of the few states in the country with a specific law saying residents cannot be forced to buy insurance.
Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March, after promoting Democratic-led health reform efforts for months after taking office. The law is widely considered to be the signature legislative accomplishment of the president’s first two years in office.
Among other things, the measure was designed to help millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans receive adequate and affordable health care through a series of government-imposed mandates and subsidies. The federal government stated in court briefs that 45 million Americans last year were without health insurance, roughly 15 percent of the country’s population.
Critics have equated the measure to socialized medicine, fearing that a bloated government bureaucracy will result in higher taxes and diminished health care services. About two dozen challenges have been filed in federal courts nationwide.
On November 8, the Supreme Court rejected the first constitutional challenge to the health care reform effort, resisting a California conservative group’s appeal. The justices refused to get involved at a relatively early stage of the legal process.
The high court rarely accepts cases before they have been thoroughly reviewed by lower courts.
Legal experts say they expect several of the larger issues in the health care debate to ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. A review from the high court may not happen, however, for at least a year or two.
The highest-profile lawsuit may come from Florida. State officials there have objectd not only to the individual coverage mandate, but also to a requirement forcing states to expand Medicaid. Florida’s litigation is supported by 19 other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.
Health care reform — a top Democratic priority since the Truman administration — passed the current Congress in a series of virtual party-line votes. Opponent derisively labeled the measure “Obamacare.” Republican leaders — who captured the House of Representatives in the midterm elections — have vowed to overturn or severely trim the law.
The 63-year-old Hudson was named to the bench in 2002 by former President George W. Bush. He is a former state and federal prosecutor.
“While this court’s decision may set the initial judicial course of this case, it will certainly not be the final word,” Hudson wrote in October.
The case decided Monday is Virginia v. Sebelius (3:10-cv-00188).
Politics, pure politics…
That judge is full of shit. Pure bullshit.
Breaking News Alert: Provision of nation’s health-care overhaul ruled unconstitutional
December 13, 2010 12:29:42 PM
A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the nation’s sweeping health care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most significant legal setback so far for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.
For more information, visit washingtonpost.com
These mofos will do anything to stop PBO from presiding in America.
Breaking News Alert: Most Americans back tax agreement in new Post-ABC News poll
December 13, 2010 12:07:24 PM
About seven in 10 Americans back the tax deal negotiated last week by President Obama and congressional Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The high bipartisan support for the package masks more tepid public approval for some of the main components of the agreement that comes before a key Senate vote this afternoon.
For more information, visit washingtonpost.com
Good morning all!
Good Morning, Dannie. Waiting for POTUS & FLOTUS to speak at Harriet Tubman Elementary School! another landmark piece of legislation signed!
POLITICSDECEMBER 13, 2010.Tax Deal Set to Pass Senate
Supporters Hope Expected Easy Victory Monday Will Build Momentum in House.
By JOHN D. MCKINNON And JANET HOOK
Democrats are predicting that a much-debated tax agreement will clear a crucial hurdle comfortably in the Senate on Monday, with a margin that they hope will add momentum to the deal in the House.
But even with President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and a growing number of Senate Democrats backing the deal, House Democrats remained eager to test whether they could push Republicans to raise the proposed tax rate on estates.
It wasn’t clear how far House Democrats would push such a fight. If a bill isn’t passed by the end of the year, tax rates are scheduled to go up, although the White House could block an immediate increase in withholding levels, pending passage of a tax bill by a new Congress next year.
Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a top adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, predicted Sunday that some sort of tax deal would pass in the House before the current session ends.
The House is “very focused on getting a comprehensive tax compromise passed by the end of the year,” Mr. Van Hollen said in an interview. If Republicans won’t alter the estate-tax provision, he added, “then we have to go from there.”
Obama To Sign Child Nutrition Bill
WASHINGTON — Legislation to provide more lunches and dinners to school children and make the meals healthier is expected to become law on Monday.
President Barack Obama, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, is scheduled to sign the bill at a District of Columbia elementary school.
The $4.5 billion measure would expand free school meals for the needy and give the government the power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines, lunch lines and fundraisers during school hours.
The legislation increases the federal reimbursement for free school lunches by 6 cents a meal at a time many school officials say they can’t afford to provide the meals. The new funds also will allow 20 million additional after-school meals to be served annually in all 50 states. Most states now only provide money for after-school snacks.
Good deal! These states are to be ashamed of themselves. Red states that refuse funding for political gains, while our kids go hungry.
It’s taken 30 years to get to this point for school lunches. A few extra cents per child who needs a good meal. SMGDH
It’s airing live in a few minutes here:
Christie Todd Whitman Cautions Republicans Against Overreaching, Says Palin Lacks ‘Depth’
Appearing on Fareed Zakaria GPS this morning, former New Jersey Governor and EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman (R) cautioned Republicans against overreaching in the new Congress, noting that they’re already “misinterpreting this election” by “standing up and saying ‘no’ to everything.” “This idea that compromise is somehow defeat, actually is the antithesis of the way this country was founded,” she noted. Whitman ridiculed the GOP goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act and insisted that “most Americans don’t want the health care reform repealed” — “they want it improved, they want it changed, but they feel, basically, there were some basic changes that needed to be made in it.”
Asked about Sarah Palin’s influence on the Republican party, Whitman admitted that she could “see a scenario” under which Palin can become the party’s nominee for president in 2012, but suggested that she would not be voting for her:
WHITMAN: I don’t think she’ll win nationwide…the base isn’t big enough and Republicans should have learned that…you’ve got to start competing for the center. And so far, I haven’t seen a lot of outreach on the part of Sarah Palin for that. She’s more concentrated on that base and energizing them. Which is fine, but it’s not going to win you a general election.
Tee hee hee..
Good Morning, 3 Chics, Friends & Lurkers!
Christmas Glitters Graphics
Happy MUN-dane, SG2, friends, & lurkers! :-)
Join me in a cup on my morning drive. :-)
I love a good cup of coffee. Hot, black & strong! ;)
Keep warm up there!
-7 degree 32 below with windchill…….. yipes!