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6:30 PM ET, December 22, 2010


 Top Items: 
EXCLUSIVE: Senate Strikes Deal on 9/11 First Responders Bill  —  Oklahoma Senator Will Allow a Vote on Bill to Care for 9/11 First Responders; Bill Cut to $4.2B  —  Senate Democrats and Republicans have struck a deal to secure passage of a bill to provide health benefits and compensation …
Dan Friedman /
Senate's Returning Democrats Unanimously Favor Filibuster Reform  —  All except Dodd sign a letter urging Majority Leader Harry Reid to change the rules.  —  All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action …
Raymond Hernandez / The Caucus:
Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill  —  Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency  —  Senator Charles E. Schumer outside the Senate chamber on Wednesday.  —  5:42 p.m. |  Updated The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others …
The Huffington Post:
9/11 First Responders Storm Tom Coburn's Office To Protest Block On Their Health Care Bill (VIDEO)  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION? … UPDATE: The Senate has reached a deal that is expected to allow for the passage of a scaled-down health care package.  —  Senator Coburn responded in a statement:
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
How Did Republicans End Up Against 9/11 Responders Bill?
Discussion: Wonkette and The Maddow Blog
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Coburn: 'We Don't Have' The ‘Extra’ Money Needed For 9/11 First Responders (Updated)
Discussion: Ezra Klein
Ezra Klein:
Why has the lame-duck session been so productive?  —  So far, the lame-duck session has managed to pass an $850 billion tax-cuts-and-stimulus deal, the repeal of DADT, the Defense Authorization bill, a continuing resolution to keep funding the federal government, the START treaty …
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Americans See U.S. as Exceptional; 37% Doubt Obama Does  —  Majority believe U.S. at risk of losing status as greatest country in the world  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans widely agree that the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart …
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Democrats take victory lap, claiming a ‘do-something Congress’
Congress Finds its Mojo
Discussion: The Atlantic Online and The Note
Mitch McConnell / National Review:
Change Has Come to Congress
Discussion: The New Republic
David Neiwert / Crooks and Liars:
Barney Frank completely pwns hapless CNS reporter attempting ‘gotcha’ DADT question  —  You can tell that all these reporters for right-wing propaganda organs like the Media Research Center spend waaaay too much time watching Fox News and their army of would-be ambush journalists.
Brian Moylan / Gawker:
Barney Frank Makes a Fool Out of Conservative Reporter Over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'  —  A conservative reporter from right-leaning CNS News thought he would play gotcha journalist and ask gay Congressman Barney Frank about gay and straight soldiers showering together.  Big mistake.  Huge.
Terry Krepel / Media Matters for America:
Gotcha Fail: Rep. Frank Turns Tables on CNS
Discussion: Advocate
Washington Post:
Obama signs DADT repeal before big, emotional crowd  —  President Obama signed the landmark repeal of the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy Wednesday morning, handing a major victory to advocates of gay rights and fulfilling a campaign promise to do away with a practice that he has called discriminatory.
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
Last-Ditch Move to Block Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Fails
Today's Lesson from the White House: Take Hostages
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Peter Baker / New York Times:
Senate Passes Arms Control Treaty With Russia, 71-26  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a new arms control treaty with Russia, scaling back leftover cold war nuclear arsenals and capping a surprisingly successful lame-duck session for President Obama just weeks after his party's electoral debacle.
Discussion: Commentary, FrumForum, Gawker and Truthdig
Patricia Murphy / Politics Daily:   Senate Ratifies START Treaty 71 to 26; A Win for Obama, a Loss for Jon Kyl
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
The rise of the Petulant Party
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:   Senate ratifies long-stalled nuclear arms treaty with strong bipartisan support
Los Angeles Times:
Senate passes New START treaty
Jon Bershad / Mediaite:
Oops!  Fox & Friends Accidentally Identifies Elie Wiesel As “Holocaust Winner”  —  Wow.  We all make mistakes and typos.  There will probably be at least one in this post alone.  However, some typos are worse than others.  This is one of those typos.  Last week, Fox & Friends …
Discussion: PopEater
Doug Mataconis / Outside the Beltway:
Fox News Chyron Identifies Elie Wiesel As “Holocaust Winner”
Discussion: Wonkette and Gawker
Jennifer Epstein / The Politico:
Huck: Palin wrong, FLOTUS right  —  Potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says Sarah Palin's wrong and Michelle Obama's right, at least when it comes to the first lady's push to combat childhood obesity.  —  “With all due respect to my colleague and friend Sarah Palin …
John Fund / Wall Street Journal:
The Net Neutrality Coup  —  The campaign to regulate the Internet was funded by a who's who of left-liberal foundations.  —  The Federal Communications Commission's new “net neutrality” rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations.
Sean Cockerham / Anchorage Daily News:
Supreme Court rules against Miller  —  The Alaska Supreme Court today ruled against Joe Miller on all counts, a decision that leaves his challenge of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's victory on life support.  —  “There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified …
Discussion: Conservatives4Palin
The Politico:
GOP unveils strict new House rules  —  The new House Republican majority will force lawmakers to vote when they want to raise the nation's debt ceiling, publish committee attendance records, ban former members from lobbying in the House gym and require new mandatory spending to be offset by cuts to other programs.
Matt Lewis / Politics Daily:
When 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Meets Religious Liberty … I've recently authored several posts discussing how social conservatives seem to have lost the gay issue but have won on the life issue.  There are many reasons for this, but one, I think, has to do with who the perceived “victim” is.
No Congress Since 1960s Makes Most Laws for Americans as 111th  —  However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the past two years, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more law affecting more Americans since the “Great Society” legislation of the 1960s.
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The ‘Subsidy’: How Merrill Lynch Traders Helped Blow Up Their Own Firm
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Rachel Weiner / The Fix:
Steven Spielberg advising Nancy Pelosi on rebranding Democrats
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The Michael Moore interview
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 Earlier Items: 
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A Scientist, His Work and a Climate Reckoning
D-Lo / Weasel Zippers:
UK Muslims Start “The Evils of Christmas” Campaign
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The Huffington Post:
At Kaplan University, ‘Guerilla Registration’ Leaves Students Deep In Debt