Thursday Open Thread

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This Christmas” is a well-known Christmas song originally recorded by R&B singer/songwriter Donny Hathaway and released as an Atco single in 1970. Hathaway co-wrote the song (it is credited to Nadine McKinnor and “Donny Pitts,” the stage name Hathaway used as a young rap singer). Since Hathaway’s original version, it has become something of a modern holiday standard, covered by a wide range of artists:

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A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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26 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

    HUD funding critical to support more than 500 counseling agencies nationwide

    WASHINGTON – In an effort to help families find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures, the Obama Administration today announced nearly $73 million in housing counseling grants to more than 500 national, regional and local organizations. As a result of the funding announced today, hundreds of thousands of households will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of the housing counseling and counseling training grants awarded today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

    The grants announced today represent a $13 million, or 22 percent increase over last year’s funding level. In announcing the grant awards, Donovan said HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are a critical part of the nation’s housing recovery.

    “These organizations are on the front lines of helping families who are desperate to remain in their homes,” said Donovan. “Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we support these agencies that are working with struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures.”

    Housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners and remaining homeowners after their purchase. HUD-approved counseling agencies not only provide homeownership counseling, but also offer financial literacy training to renters and homeless individuals and families.

    Donovan added, “This critical funding will help counseling organizations continue to assist families in making more informed choices before they purchase a home and counsel families facing foreclosure.”

  2. Wilderness Rules: Obama Plans To Reverse Bush-Era Policy

    DENVER — The Obama administration plans to reverse a Bush-era policy and make millions of undeveloped acres of land once again eligible for federal wilderness protection, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Thursday.

    The agency will replace the 2003 policy adopted under former Interior Secretary Gale Norton. That policy – derided by some as the “No More Wilderness” policy – stated that new areas could not be recommended for wilderness protection by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and it opened millions of acres to potential commercial development.

    That policy “frankly never should have happened and was wrong in the first place,” Salazar said Thursday.

    Environmental activists have been pushing for the Obama administration to restore protections for potential wilderness areas.

    Salazar said the agency will review some 220 million acres of BLM land that’s not currently under wilderness protection to see which should be given a new “Wild Lands” designation – a new first step for land awaiting a wilderness decision. Congress would decide whether those lands should be permanently protected, Salazar said.

  3. Ametia says:

    Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 12/23/2010
    Harry Reid devising plan to press forward with filibuster reform, aide says
    By Greg Sargent

    Still more good news for filibuster reform: Harry Reid is in active discussions with his caucus about moving forward with reform in the new year, and is currently devising a plan to do just that, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me.

    At a caucus meeting this week attended only by Senators and no staff, Reid and fellow Dems devoted a significant chunk of time to a discussion about specific ideas on how to proceed, the aide says.

    Word of Reid’s machinations comes after the National Journal reported yesterday that all the returning Democratic Senators have indicated support for efforts at reform, and are urging Reid to press forward at the start of the new year.

    Though Reid has said in the past that he’s generally supportive of reform, it has been unclear whether he would support active measures to make it happen. But the senior Dem leadership aide says Reid is already working on specific steps forward.

    “They are already talking it through and devising a plan,” the aide said of Reid and fellow Dems, adding that Reid is having “conversations” with other members of the caucus “about the best way to move forward.”

  4. Ametia says:

  5. Ametia says:

    This greasy headed mutha right here:
    Obama the Great – if he does say so himself

    By Dana Milbank
    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    It took President Obama fewer than 50 days to go from shellacking to swashbuckling.

    Seven weeks earlier to the day, the president faced harsh questions about his leadership as he took responsibility for Democrats’ loss of the House in the previous day’s election. But the man who faced reporters Tuesday afternoon in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was treated by his questioners as a conquering colossus – and Obama didn’t mind wearing those shoes.

    “A lot of folks in this town predicted that, after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock,” he said to a roomful of people who had predicted just that. “And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people.”

    He bestowed superlatives on his accomplishments:

    “The most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades.”

    “The most productive two years that we’ve had in generations.”

    Dana, the DOUCHEBAG! Jealousy is so not an attractive look, dude.

  6. Ametia says:

    The President’s Press Conference: “The Most Productive Post-Election Period We’ve Had in Decades”
    Posted by Jesse Lee on December 22, 2010 at 05:19 PM EST
    In the opening remarks of his press conference, the President lamented the fact that the DREAM Act was successfully obstructed by Republicans in the Senate, and readily acknowledged that there will be tough fights over how to cut spending where it’s not needed while maintaining the investments critical to our economy and out future — but nonetheless expressed hope in the massive slate of accomplishments from the last few weeks.

    The list began with the New START Treaty on nuclear proliferation with Russia, which had just been approved by the Senate:

    First of all, I’m glad that Democrats and Republicans came together to approve my top national security priority for this session of Congress – the new START Treaty. This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades, and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia. With this treaty, our inspectors will also be back on the ground at Russian nuclear bases. So we will be able to trust but verify; and to continue to advance our relationship with Russia, which is essential to making progress on a host of challenges – from enforcing strong sanctions on Iran, to preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. This treaty will enhance our leadership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace of a world without them.

    But that was only the beginning:

  7. Ametia says:

    Muscle Car Roars Onto Lawn of Bush’s Dallas Home
    Driver says his gas pedal became stuck

    Updated 9:29 AM CST, Thu, Dec 23, 2010

    Authorities have detained someone whose car apparently ran off the road and onto former President George W. Bush’s lawn Wednesday night.

    The Secret Service and Dallas police questioned the man but say they do not believe he intended to cause Bush or his wife harm.

    Dallas police responded to the scene, but the Secret Service is taking the lead in the investigation.

    Investigators said the man had access to the gated Preston Hollow neighborhood Bush lives on. The man was at a friend’s house showing off his Mercury Cougar at about 7:45 p.m., investigators said. (Editor’s Note: Earlier reports described the car as a Plymoth Baracuda. It was later identified as a Mercury Cougar.)

    The man told investigators he ran onto the Bushes’ yard when his gas pedal became stuck.

    Bush and former first lady Laura Bush live on Daria Drive, which is a public street but is gated and protected by the Secret Service detail assigned to the former president.

    Bush spokesman David Sherzer said the Bushes were home at the time of the incident but were never in danger.

    NBC DFW’s Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

  8. McCain Still Angry About 2008 Defeat, Conversations With Advisers & Analysts Reveal

    Conversations with friends, advisers, and analysts reveal McCain as a man still angry at his 2008 presidential loss, fueling his desire to remain in the spotlight and an important part of the debate, even on issues where he is out of step with the majority of Americans.

    David Berman, a political science professor at Arizona State University and a longtime McCain observer, said the senator cannot let go on issues like DADT and START because of lingering resentment about Obama’s win. “He has been on a tear to make Obama look less than favorable, to put it mildly, and I think he is a little bit bitter about the election,” he said. “I think he is a very proud man, he was very upset he didn’t do better, and resents this young man with very little experience beat him in the last election…He doesn’t think of Obama as someone qualified to be commander in chief.”

    Get over it, McCain! The black guy kicked your ass. Use all that money you have and get yourself some therapy. There is help available.

    Obama Closes Out Year With Major Legislative Victories

    WASHINGTON — Buoyant in political victory, President Barack Obama on Wednesday wrapped up a long, rough year in Washington by rejoicing in a rare, bipartisan “season of progress” over tax cuts, national security and civil justice. Halfway through his term, he served notice to his skeptics: “I am persistent.”

    The president who strode on stage for a news conference cut a remarkably different figure than the Obama who, just seven weeks ago, held a similar event in which he somberly admitted he had taken a “shellacking” in the midterm elections and needed to re-evaluate. This time, Obama was about to jet off to a Hawaiian holiday vacation knowing he had secured the kind of legislative wins that rarely come so bundled as they just did, particularly in a postelection lawmaking session.

    Obama spoke on the same day that he found enough allies in both parties to get Senate ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a vote watched around the world as a test of international security and presidential clout. He also signed landmark legislation to allow gays to serve openly in the military, calling himself overwhelmed by the enormity of the moment.

    Ha! What a kickass President!

  10. Oprah Throws Cold Water On A Palin Presidency

    Oprah spoke to Parade magazine for its latest issue, and one of the subjects that came up was a potential run by Sarah Palin for the presidency.

    Oprah has dodged the question about her thoughts on Palin before, most notably in an interview with Barbara Walters, where she pointedly refused to answer whether she thought Palin was qualified. This time, she said the public would “fall in love” with Palin if they watched her reality show. The interviewer then asked if the thought of a Palin run scared her.

    Oprah’s response? “It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public.”


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