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The singer

My parents both loved great singers, so I was exposed to a lot of them. One of my favorites then and now is the great Tony Bennett. Here’s a link to a 2002 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime

Jonathan Coulton:

The liberation of Ebenezer Scrooge

I’m not going to ruin this by pulling an excerpt. Just go read Fred Clark’s essay about Ebenezer Scrooge – and Jamie Dimon.

Virtually Speaking tonight

Beginning 5pm pacific, 8pm eastern

Hour 1: Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd discuss this week in movement liberalism.

Hour 2: CW Anderson,  an ethnographer who studies the news, and how changes in technology, culture and economics are shaping journalism, will join us to discuss the concept of Hacking Journalism.   You can find Chris at http://www.cwanderson.org/ or follow @chanders



A Christmas Song

David Roberts of Grist does a nice job of summing up the importance of the new EPA rule regarding the emission of mercury and other toxins from coal- and oil-fired power plants:

… This one is a Big Deal. It’s worth lifting our heads out of the news cycle and taking a moment to appreciate that history is being made. Finally controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will save save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live.

More here.

Side 1

The only Christmas album you’ll ever need! A Phil Spector Christmas:


And it was Jane who spoke
she said, it’s true, your cousin’s not a Christian
“But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have,
the world we share
And you find magic from your God
And we find magic everywhere.”

“The Christians and the Pagans,” Dar Williams.

A very happy holiday season to everyone who’s celebrating. I dedicate this song to you and yours:

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

Holiday Affair

A romantic comedy set at Christmastime and starring Robert Mitchum in a more-or-less wholesome role, wooing a very young Janet Leigh. The role seemed a good career move at the time (1949), as Mitchum was still trying to recover from bad publicity regarding a marijuana bust. More here.

Obama to issue NDAA signing statement

OK, but it’s still unclear what effect this will have on the law regarding detention of American civilians:

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed speculation Wednesday that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement when he makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its controversial detention provisions law.

“We made really substantial progress in moving from something that was really unacceptable to the administration to something with which we still have problems,” Holder said in response to a question from the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez. “But I think through these procedures, with these regulations we will be crafting, we can minimize the problems that will actually affect us in an operational way.”

Holder said the language of the NDAA had been moved in a “substantial way” from some of the original language which led the president to issue a veto threat.

“So we are in a better place, I think the regulations, procedures that will help, and we’ll also have a signing statement from the president” which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.

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