Wednesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

Holiday candles 14

Santa Baby” was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt with Henri René and his orchestra in New York City, in July, 1953. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5502 (in the USA),[2] and by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalog number B 10728. The song was a huge hit for Kitt, and she later said that it was one of her favorite songs to record; she reprised it in the 1954 film New Faces. Kitt re-recorded the sing for Kapp Records in 1963, using a more uptempo arrangement (Madonna‘s popular rendition for the 1987 charity album A Very Special Christmas was based on this latter version). In 1954, Kitt recorded a new version of the song with new lyrics titled “This Year’s Santa Baby”, to no commercial success. Writers listed did not change.

The song is heard in the films Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Elf (2003), and Boynton Beach Club (2005).

About SouthernGirl2

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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75 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

  1. eliihass says:

    LOL at Hillary Clinton and her press release. Trying to take credit as usual and trying to insert herself into the good news of advancement of Cuba-Americano relations.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Had a Helluva Good Month Since the Midterms
    —By Kevin Drum

    | Wed Dec. 17, 2014 3:37 PM EST

    So how have things been going for our bored, exhausted, and disengaged president? He’s been acting pretty enthusiastic, energized, and absorbed with his job, I’d say. Let us count the things he’s done since the November 4th midterm elections:
    ■November 10: Surprised everyone by announcing his support for strong net neutrality.
    ■November 11: Concluded a climate deal with China that was not only important in its own right, but has since been widely credited with jumpstarting progress at the Lima talks last week.
    ■November 20: Issued an executive order protecting millions of undocumented workers from the threat of deportation.
    ■November 26: Signed off on an important new EPA rule significantly limiting ozone emissions.
    ■December 15: Took a quiet victory lap as Western financial sanctions considerably sharpened the pain of Vladimir Putin’s imploding economy.
    ■December 16: Got nearly everything he wanted during the lame duck congressional session, and more. Democrats confirmed all important pending nominees, and then got Republican consent to several dozen lesser ones as well.
    ■December 17: Announced a historic renormalization of relations with Cuba.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/obamas-had-helluva-good-month-midterms

  3. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Eric Holder’s parting shot: Police abuse scandals mean the nation has “failed”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/12/17/eric_holders_parting_shot_police_abuse_scandals_mean_the_nation_has_failed/

  4. rikyrah says:

    Tim Shorrock @TimothyS
    Follow
    “Church bells are ringing throughout Havana. I’ve never seen anything like it.” — CNN’s reporter in Cuba.
    11:22 AM – 17 Dec 2014

  5. rikyrah says:

    GottaLaff @GottaLaff
    Follow
    BREAKING: Supreme Court says Arizona must issue driver’s licenses to immigrants http://fw.to/M4zxHw
    11:49 AM – 17 Dec 2014

  6. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka
    Follow
    Alan Gross: “Ultimately, the decision to secure my release was made in the Oval Office. To President Obama, I say thank you.” #Cuba

  7. rikyrah says:

    Dylan Williams @dylanotes
    Follow
    So Obama just yoinked Cuba from a Russia he weakened, firmed US standing in Latin Am & worked with the Pope to free a Jew. That’s Wednesday.
    10:22 AM – 17 Dec 2014

    • Kathleen says:

      But, but dronezzzzz! and spying and upsetting Billmon and Griftwald and stuff. You know??? Priorities, sheeple!
      ////

  8. rikyrah says:

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime
    Follow
    The fact that the Obamas handle all this shit with such grace and smoothness is why I’ll never regret my vote. Amazing people.
    9:38 AM – 17 Dec 2014

  9. rikyrah says:

    HELL MUTHAPHUCKIN’ NO, THEY WON’T FIX IT

    ………..

    If the Supreme Court Breaks Obamacare, Will Republicans Fix It?

    If the justices strike down the law’s subsidies, voters will demand a fix. But who in Congress is going to give?

    By Sam Baker and Sophie Novack

    Republicans want the Supreme Court to blow a major hole in Obamacare next year, but they are still debating whether they would help repair it—and what they should ask for in return.

    There’s a very real chance the high court will invalidate Obamacare’s insurance subsidies in most of the country, which would be devastating for the health care law. It would become almost entirely unworkable in most states, and the cost of coverage would skyrocket.

    That loss for the Affordable Care Act might seem like a clear-cut political win for the GOP, but the reality would be far messier.

    Such a ruling would weaken the law’s individual mandate and make coverage unaffordable for millions of people. And because many of those people live in Republican-run states or 2016 battlegrounds, they’ll be asking for a solution.

    That would leave Republicans with a difficult choice: Do they continue to push for an all-out repeal of the law—creating a standoff with Democrats who will dig in in the hopes of legislation undoing the Supreme Court’s decision—or do they seek a deal that alleviates the law’s burden on those who’ve lost their subsidies? Such a deal would likely include pullbacks of major parts of the law, but it would also require Republicans to give up on a full “root-and-branch” repeal.

    A ruling isn’t expected until June. Key GOP lawmakers are just beginning to weigh their options if the Court does invalidate the law’s subsidies. Those conversations are still preliminary, and the party hasn’t settled on a strategy yet. “I’ve had a lot of conversations about it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, who will soon take over as the chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. “I’m just in the beginning [stages] of that.”

    But by the summer, both parties will need a plan. “We’ve got to consider everything, from a substitution for the bill to amending the bill to working with President Obama to try to get him to work in good faith with us,” Hatch said.

    The case before the Supreme Court argues that subsidies should not be available to people who live in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges. At least for now, that’s 36 states. If the challenge succeeds, coverage would become unaffordable for as many as 99 percent of enrollees in those states, according to a court brief from liberal economists. Some 4 to 5 million people would likely drop their coverage.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/health-care/if-the-supreme-court-breaks-obamacare-will-republicans-fix-it-20141214?ref=health_care_edge

  10. rikyrah says:

    Do Right-Wing Christians Want People to be Destitute?

    The anti-government rhetoric of conservatives would mean throwing millions of people into destitution — and they’re counting on it.

    November 26, 2014 |

    The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is now in its fourth year, and the numbers point to a solid success. Thanks to Obamacare, millions of people can afford health insurance for the first time, and millions more still have health insurance because now they can’t be dropped by their insurance company for getting sick. The once-astronomical growth of costs has slowed substantially, and in some markets is even decreasing.

    The ACA isn’t a perfect solution, but its successes deserve to be celebrated. And they’re especially notable in light of the fact that the law has had to run (and is still facing) a gauntlet of the most ferocious opposition that’s ever confronted any major piece of legislation: a blizzard of lawsuits, filibusters, attack ads spreading ludicrous scare tactics, lockstep opposition from conservative politicians. Even now, refusenik Republicans are deliberately impeding it by refusing to set up their own state exchanges or expand Medicaid in states they control. The Republicans have tried so hard to make Obamacare fail because its success undermines their creed that government can never accomplish great things or make society a better place to live. As evidence of this, a new talking point has become the conservative refrain: that it should never have been the government’s job to aid the needy at all, and that people should instead turn to private charity, like churches, for help. For example, the Republican senator-elect from Iowa, Joni Ernst, has said

    http://www.alternet.org/do-right-wing-christians-want-people-be-destitute?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

  11. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014
    The New Conversion Rate

    Posted by Zandar

    Alternet’s Adam Lee has a theory about why Republicans want to destroy the safety net for America’s poor and let church charities deal with them instead: putting millions of Americans under a new theocratic state is exactly what they want.

    Cutting government charity on the scale that Republican Congresses propose would be Armageddon,” according to local charities and food banks. But I think there’s an explanation that runs deeper than indifference. I suspect many religious conservatives are well aware that what they propose would mean throwing millions of people into destitution. In fact, they may be counting on it.

    Under the law, churches have wide latitude to discriminate and to put conditions on whom they’ll hire and whom they’ll serve, far more than any private business. In exchange for ladling out soup, they can make people sit through a sermon; they can impose an ideological loyalty test; they can refuse to serve people they think might be gay; they can discriminate for any reason or for no reason at all. (The one thing that churches can’t legally do is tell their members how to vote – at least, they can’t do this if they want to retain their tax exemption – but they’re fighting hard to repeal even that trivial restriction, with right-wing pastors all around the country repeatedly flouting the law and daring the IRS to punish them.)

    While most evangelical churches proclaim that they want people to convert voluntarily, their actions show otherwise. When given the chance to coerce their audience, they’ll do so gleefully, as we’ve seen in prison ministries all over the country where inmates are given special rewards and privileges in exchange for their cooperation with religious indoctrination.

    What they want, in short, is a captive audience. If government charity were to be cut off, the churches wouldn’t be able to come close to supplying the wants of everyone, and so they’d have strong incentive to impose stringent conditions on the people they did help. Only the most faithful, the most compliant, the most submissive would be able to get through the door.

    And that’s precisely the state of affairs that the religious right yearns for. What they want is to build a theocracy from the ground up, where the poor and the needy are abjectly dependent on a church that can yank away the necessities of life if it judges them insufficiently compliant, and so the masses will have no choice but to be corralled and steered. Even today, we can see this conservative vision put into practice, and witness the terrible consequences that result when it blocks the government from helping the needy. Consider Mississippi, which is both the most religious and has the most churches per capita of any U.S. state. If rosy visions like Ernst’s were true, Mississippi would be the best place in the country to live. But in reality, it’s the poorest and (by life expectancy) sickest state.

    If you thought right wing Christians were furious with poor people getting tax money and having to jump through hoops to show they’re really needy, wait until they have to go through the church to get basic needs met. Millions of ready souls to be cared for, and the church can set whatever rules they want in exchange for help, including listening to whom they should vote for.

    Which is exactly what the GOP wants.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-new-conversion-rate.html

  12. rikyrah says:

    Judge: Boy, 14, shouldn’t have been executed in SC
    Dec 17th 2014 1:11PM

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A judge has overturned the murder conviction of a 14-year-old black boy who was executed in 1944 in the deaths of two white girls in segregated South Carolina.

    Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen ruled the state did a great injustice when it put George Stinney in the electric chair less than two months after he was convicted and just 12 weeks after he was arrested.

    Mullen heard testimony in the 70-year-old case in January, but most
    of the evidence from the original trial was gone. Mullen says Stinney got an unfair trial and it was impossible to determine the boy’s guilt or innocence.

    She was careful to say her ruling doesn’t apply to other families who
    felt their relatives were discriminated against by a Jim Crow justice
    system ran by whites.

    http://www.aol.com/article/2014/12/17/judge-boy-14-shouldnt-have-been-executed-in-sc/21117720/

  13. Secret talks in Canada, Vatican City led to Cuba breakthrough http://reut.rs/1ztM83f

  14. rikyrah says:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates ✔ @tanehisicoates
    Follow
    10 years world will long for “pragmatic” Obama. 25 years–will be considered one of America’s “greatest presidents.” 50 yrs on the $20 bill.
    10:39 AM – 17 Dec 2014

  15. rikyrah says:

    itgurl @itgurl_29

    Hillary Clinton can’t even move issues of freakin’ People Magazine yet liberals STILL think this lady’s a star who can’t be beaten. Wake up.

    • Liza says:

      I’m afraid this delusion will carry into 2016 and we’ll end up with President Jeb Bush, Neo-conservative former member of the PNAC. Buddies with Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. That alone should scare the sh!t out of everyone who isn’t living alone on some small island.

  16. rikyrah says:

    scary lawyerguy @scarylawyerguy

    That NO ONE in the media saw this Cuba thing coming speaks to the dearth of reporters who actually care about policy & not DC gossip.

  17. ametia says:

    Hello Everyone & greetings from PARIS!

  18. rikyrah says:

    Russian Finance Ministry starts selling foreign currency
    CNBC with Reuters1 Hour Ago

    Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday it was starting to sell its leftover foreign-currency stock and that it considered the ruble to be undervalued.

    Separately, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called on Russia’s top exporters to behave “responsibly” and manage their foreign currency revenues in a way that would not boost ruble volatility, the government’s press office said. At a meeting with Russian exporters, Medvedev also told First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, along with the central bank, to monitor the flows of foreign currency revenues on the market daily.

    The Finance Ministry said it was selling foreign exchange currency from its leftover stocks, of which it has around $7 billion, according to Reuters. The ministry did add in a statement that it considered the ruble “extremely undervalued,” however.

    A combination of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia for its intervention in the crisis in Ukraine, economic problems at home and the continuous slide in the price of oil have all contributed to the ruble’s recent troubles.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102275178#

  19. rikyrah says:

    This just in: Kerry trumps Clinton in best SOS contest. #Notreadyforwhatsherface

  20. rikyrah says:

    Obama announces dramatic shift in U.S./Cuba policy
    12/17/14 12:44 PM—UPDATED 12/17/14 12:46 PM
    By Steve Benen
    For more than a half-century, the United States has had one policy towards Cuba. The policy been embraced by presidents in both parties, it’s been unwavering, and it’s been entirely consistent.

    It’s also failed miserably.

    U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba has been built on a foundation of isolation: as a result of Fidel Castro’s regime, Americans have imposed a tough trade embargo on the island nation 90 miles from U.S. soil, while maintaining no diplomatic ties. The idea from the outset was to use this isolation to strangle the oppressive Cuban government, but in practice, it’s done nothing of the sort.

    But year after year, election after election, both parties were too afraid of the political consequences to suggest a change. Everyone just went along, keeping the woefully ineffective policy in place. It hasn’t produced any tangible results for the last 54 years, but maybe if we stick with it, eventually the policy will succeed.

    It would take real leadership to change course and adopt a more sensible policy. President Obama offered that leadership today.
    In a surprise move, President Obama planned to announce on Wednesday that Washington is moving to restore full diplomatic relations with Havana, following the release of imprisoned American aid worker Alan Gross.

    President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke yesterday on the phone for 45 minutes to “review and finalize” the plan, according to senior administration officials.

    High-level negotiations between Washington and Habvana began last spring, facilitated by the Canadian government and the Vatican. Pope Francis personally intervened, sending a letter to Presidents Obama and Raul Castro urging the release of Gross and the three Cubans imprisoned in U.S., and calling for closer relations, according to senior administration officials.
    It would be up to Congress to lift the decades-old embargo – an unlikely step given Republican control of the House and Senate – but that doesn’t make today’s developments any less significant.

    On the contrary, this is among the most significant breakthroughs for U.S. foreign policy in a generation.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/obama-announces-dramatic-shift-uscuba-policy

  21. rikyrah says:

    Barack the Deejay: Obamas Reveal Intimate White House Dance Party
    Dec 17, 2014, 12:02 AM ET

    It’s played host to royalty, presidential family Christmases, and first lady summits. At one time it served as FDR’s personal study.

    Now, President Obama says the Yellow Oval Room in the upstairs
    residence of the White House has also served as his personal dance floor.

    In an interview with People magazine for release Friday, Obama reveals that he, the first lady and close friends spent a recent Friday evening grooving to soul tunes in the privacy of their official
    Washington home.

    “Friday night. In the Yellow Oval. We had some guests over. It was a small group,” Obama told the magazine when asked about the last time he danced.

    “Somebody wanted to dance. And Barack was the deejay,” Mrs. Obama explained.

    Obama said his playlist included selections from rock legends.

    “We started with Aretha’s ‘Rock Steady.’ Sly and the Family Stone,”
    he said. “Then we ended the night on Al Green, and everybody did a slow dance.”

    The Obamas are known to love music and dancing, and have been seen singing and dancing in the front row of a regular performance series they host at the White House.

    The president most recently showcased his dancing abilities on stage with Santa at the National Christmas Tree lighting. Earlier this year, Mrs. Obama released a Vine video of herself dancing with a turnip.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/barack-deejay-obamas-reveal-intimate-white-house-dance/story?id=27643025

  22. rikyrah says:

    Being Ted Cruz means occasionally having to say you’re sorry
    12/17/14 08:41 AM
    facebook twitter 3 save share group 18
    By Steve Benen
    In politics, a good apology can be tricky, though the key is understanding exactly what the offending party is apologizing for.

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) seems to realize he’s enraged many of his own Republican allies, and he’s taking steps to make amends, but it’s not entirely clear he understands why he’s drawn his party’s ire. Manu Raju reported yesterday afternoon:
    Ted Cruz privately apologized to GOP senators Tuesday for interrupting their holiday schedules by his surprise tactics that effectively brought the Senate into session over the weekend.

    According to five senators who attended Tuesday’s caucus lunch, Cruz offered the apology in unsolicited remarks, saying that he regretted if any of his colleagues’ schedules were ruined by his maneuvering. He didn’t say whether he would do something similar again, senators said.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/being-ted-cruz-means-occasionally-having-say-youre-sorry

  23. rikyrah says:

    Sam Stein @samsteinhp 20m 20 minutes ago
    SAO: Vatican played a role too. Pope Francis personally issued appeal letter to Obama and Castro calling on them to resolve Gross case.

    Sam Stein @samsteinhp · 22m 22 minutes ago
    That letter came after the president’s meeting with Pope Francis. His
    personal appeal was “very rare.” SAO unaware of previous instance

  24. rikyrah says:

    President Obama: ‘There’s no black man my age’ who hasn’t been confused for a valet
    By Jose A. DelReal December 17 at 9:04 AM

    President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spoke candidly about race relations in the U.S. in a highly personal interview with People Magazine, recalling their own experiences with racial bias before moving to the White House.

    “I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” said the first lady. “Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”

    The pair took turns giving examples of race-based assumptions about their social class, relating their experiences to broader racial profiling trends. The first lady recalled a black-tie event when the president, dressed in a tuxedo, was asked to fetch coffee by another guest.

    “There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” the president said during the interview.

    The president, who stressed that race relations in America are improving, also alluded to several high-profile instances of violence against black men and racial profiling.

    “The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” President Obama said. “It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/17/president-obama-theres-no-black-man-my-age-who-hasnt-been-confused-for-a-valet/

  25. rikyrah says:

    but but but…Vlad showed POTUS who’s boss…right?

    ………………

    Russian Rate Jump Fails to Stop Ruble Crash

    By Vladimir Kuznetsov and Ksenia Galouchko

    Dec 16, 2014 12:18 PM CT

    The ruble plummeted into a freefall, losing as much as 19 percent as panic swept across Russian financial markets after a surprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on the currency.

    The ruble sank beyond 80 per dollar, a record low, before rebounding after Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev denied speculation that the government would turn to foreign-exchange restrictions to stop Russians from converting money into dollars. It was trading at 68 per dollar, down 5.4 percent on the day, at 8 p.m. in Moscow. Bonds and stocks also tumbled, with the RTS equity gauge dropping the most since 2008.

    “I am speechless,” Jean-David Haddad, an emerging-market strategist at OTCex Group in Paris, said in an e-mailed message. He said policy makers need to consider currency controls as “the last solution” to halt the ruble’s 52 percent plunge this year. “What a failure for the central bank.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/ruble-snaps-six-day-loss-on-surprise-rate-increase-to-17-percent.html

  26. BREAKING: Obama, Castro ready to talk about end of U.S. embargo http://thebea.st/1szOl7f

  27. rikyrah says:

    ThisMagicalEarth @MagicalEarth
    Follow
    The Senate Just Cemented Pres Obama’s Judicial Legacy, diversity AND numbers for lifetime appointments http://huff.to/1wEm709 #POTUSPositive
    1:15 AM – 17 Dec 2014

  28. rikyrah says:

    ‘Roc,’ ‘Different World’ ‘The Parent ‘Hood,’ ‘The Hughleys’ Are Coming to Bounce TV

    In its first foray into “off-network” series acquisition, Bounce TV has landed the television rights to 4 shows in individual, multi-year licensing agreements, announced today.

    In the deals, the nation’s first-ever and rapidly-expanding broadcast television network for African Americans acquires “Roc” (72 episodes) and “The Parent ‘Hood” (90 episodes) from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; “A Different World” (144 episodes) from Carsey-Werner Distribution; and “The Hughleys” (89 episodes) from Twentieth Television.

    The 4 popular series will be scheduled together to create a new line-up leading into prime time, with the network airing 2 episodes of each show back-to-back, Monday-Friday starting at 5pm, beginning on Monday, January 5, 2015.

    “Research shows that our rapidly-growing audience is hungry for great family-friendly comedy series. These 4 iconic sitcoms fit beautifully together and will further drive our already-robust ratings and viewership,” said Jonathan Katz, Chief Operating Officer of Bounce TV.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/roc-different-world-the-parent-hood-the-hughleys-are-coming-to-bounce-tv-20141216

  29. rikyrah says:

    A whole new day on filling the federal courts
    12/16/14 12:54 PM
    facebook twitter 6 save share group 10
    By Steve Benen
    For much of President Obama’s tenure, there have been plenty of complaints from the left – including some from me – about the way in which Democrats dealt with judicial nominees. The White House seemed slow to send would-be judges to the Senate for consideration, and the White House would respond there was no rush – Senate Republicans were blocking too many nominees anyway.

    It wasn’t too long ago that judicial vacancies had reached a crisis level, and the problem seemed intractable with dozens of qualified Obama nominees stuck in Senate quicksand.

    Slowly but surely, however, there’s been some amazing progress on the issue. The Associated Press reported this morning:
    No longer impeded by Republican blocking tactics, Democrats are on track to win confirmation of up to 88 of President Barack Obama’s top judicial nominations this year, a total that would be the highest for any president in two decades.

    Last year, Democrats made it harder for Republicans to derail Obama’s nominations by weakening the Senate’s rule on filibusters. So far this year, the chamber has approved 76 federal court of appeals and district court judges, all of them lifetime appointments.
    To put that 76 figure in context, the Senate confirmed 43 judicial nominees in 2013 and 49 in 2012.

    Also note, this year’s total isn’t done. Thanks to Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) blunder, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was able to move 12 more judicial nominees towards confirmation this week, which may ultimately bring the overall total for the year to 88 – more than double last year’s tally, and the most since Bill Clinton’s second year in office.

    As of this minute, 291 of Obama’s judicial nominees have been confirmed to the federal bench – one more than Reagan at this point in his sixth year, 37 more than W. Bush, and just seven fewer than Clinton. If, however, the 12 pending nominees are approved this week, Obama will be outpacing them all.

    Brookings’ Russell Wheeler told the AP that Obama and the Democratic-led Senate have “changed the face of the judiciary.”

    The rest of the AP article makes clear just how true that is:
    Of Obama’s judges confirmed so far, 42 percent have been women, 19 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic, the White House said. That exceeded the percentages of his immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Clinton, the White House said.

    Another measure of Obama’s impact is on federal appeals courts, which have enormous influence on their regions of the country and can be conduits for cases to reach the Supreme Court. When he took office, 10 of the 13 appeals courts had more judges appointed by Republican than Democratic presidents. Now the balance has switched, with Democratic-appointed majorities on nine of the courts.

    Most significantly, that includes the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, considered the nation’s second-most powerful court because its jurisdiction includes actions by the White House and federal agencies

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/whole-new-day-filling-the-federal-courts

  30. rikyrah says:

    House Dem questions WH public housing relief program
    By Peter Schroeder – 12/15/14 01:00 PM EST

    A leading House Democrat is calling on the Obama administration to “rethink” an affordable housing program, warning it could do more harm than good.

    Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, argued Monday that the administration’s “rental assistance demonstration” program could put public housing at risk.

    Waters is specifically concerned with an aspect of the program that allows state and local governments to mortgage out public housing to the private sector, which in turn can use tax credits to provide subsidized housing.

    She said in a letter to President Obama that the nation’s public housing system has been “chronically underfunded,” but questioned the administration’s push to enticing private capital to come help fill the gap. By inviting for-profit companies into the affordable housing market, Waters warned that future occupants that rely on that support could find themselves pinched by profit-seekers.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/227143-house-dem-questions-wh-public-housing-relief-program#.VJGJ2oTTffA.twitter

  31. rikyrah says:

    Judge takes aim at Obama’s immigration policy
    12/17/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The headlines yesterday afternoon, at first blush, were entirely unexpected. A federal judge in Pennsylvania had apparently declared President Obama’s new immigration policy unconstitutional, which didn’t seem to make any sense given that no one had brought a challenge the White House policy to this district court.

    So what actually happened? This one’s a doozy.
    The case involves an undocumented Honduran man named Elionardo Juarez-Escobar who pled guilty to charges of “illegal re-entry” after he was already deported in 2005. After returning to the United States a short time later, the Juarez-Escobar was eventually put on the Department of Homeland Security’s radar once again after he was arrested for drinking and driving and operating a vehicle without a driver’s license.
    U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, was responsible for sentencing in the Juarez-Escobar case, but Schwab decided the Obama administration’s recent executive actions might apply to the defendant, so the judge took it upon himself to go after the president’s policy at the same time.

    The 38-page memo from Schwab, available in its entirety here (pdf), is a mess. More importantly, it doesn’t seem to have any legal weight – as msnbc’s Amanda Sakuma reported, the opinion “will not likely have any direct impact or serve to invalidate the policy.” The White House policy remains fully intact; Schwab’s angry missive was effectively little more than a press release.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/judge-takes-aim-obamas-immigration-policy

  32. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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