* Mark Evanier's wonderful Mel Tormé story, and here's the man himself in duet with Judy Garland.
* Joshua Held's Christmas card, with a little help from the Platters.
* Brian Brink's virtuoso performance of "The Carol of the Bells"
* "Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime."
* Ron Tiner's one-page cartoon version of A Christmas Carol
FULL Democratic Debate - December 19, 2015 - ABC. The Guardian says, "Sanders outshone Clinton on foreign policy at the debate. But who watched?"
* But for those who listened, people who know better than to believe lies about single-payer were frustrated when Sanders did not say immediately that it's false to claim that the program would cost more rather than saving money both in taxes and out of pocket. "Hillary Clinton spreading the idea that a single-payer health care system would bankrupt America is keeping U.S. citizens sick, injured, and broke. Right now, we have a failing health care system, and a single-payer system that would be both cheaper and provide care to every single woman, man, and child, is desperately needed." Even The Washington Post has admitted this. America's residents already spend more in taxes alone on health care than taxpayers in almost any other country do (exceptions are Sweden and Luxembourg), and that's before they even start looking for a health insurance plan. There is no country in the world where the full bite of medical care is higher than in the United States - the real difference being that although everyone pays for medical care, the people in those other countries not only pay much less, but can afford to use their medical system when they need it. Sooner or later, someone needs to ask Madame Secretary why she keeps lying about this.
So, the Friday night right before the debate, there was a stream of constantly updating stories on how some geek in the Sanders campaign saw a breach in the security that was supposed to exist between some Clinton campaign data and their own and naturally checked it out to see what their own exposure must be from the other side - which is a mistake to do without witnesses if you're part of a political campaign, but pretty much what most geeks would do in other circumstances. Anyway, the net was abuzz with accusations and recriminations and conflicting charges from each side. (And, yes, the DNC went a little nuts if you ask me, and I'm not surprised that some people were pissed.)
* Charlie Pierce wants to know, "Why Did the DNC Let the Bernie-Hillary Tech Story Leak?: A better question: Would it have leaked if the roles were reversed?"
* Rachel Maddow figured the DNC had no reason to release this story unless it was intended as a smear. And even Slate says, "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Is Acting Just Like the Villain Bernie Sanders Says She Is."
* David Dayen, "The real scandal in the Bernie/DNC feud is the one nobody is talking about [...] But there's a crater-sized hole in this reporting. The reason this controversy sprung up in the first place is that the DNC has been facilitating a monopoly, with all the usual results from that decision. In fact, it's a case study in why policymakers should aggressively protect against monopolies. NGP VAN, the private company that provides database software for voter information, has a sole-source contract with the DNC. And the DNC exploits this to force state parties and candidates that want their voter data, which has been refined and sharpened by campaigns for years, to use NGP VAN. This gives the DNC incredible power to dictate who gets to see the voting history and contact information for every registered voter in America. It also creates enormous potential risk."
No matter how you look at it, though, someone should really primary Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
International Business Times:
* "Hillary Clinton Says She Is Unaware Of Big Money That Oil And Gas Companies Have Given Her And Family Foundation."
* Hillary Clinton Denounces Corporate Crime While Accepting Cash From Blackstone, Firm Sanctioned By SEC
John Scalzi with Eight Things About Donald Trump
"The General Election Electoral Vote Map: Hillary vs. Bernie" - I'm not at all convinced that Clinton would lose against whatever the GOP runs, but I've always been sure that Sanders would win bigger and have much longer coat-tails. I think he could even win the white vote, which would leave the GOP True Believers without their favorite argument. The ex-conservative who wrote this article says that Bernie can win handily but Clinton's negatives put her "into Mondale or Dukakis territory." So it's time to ask Clinton's supporters, "What are you going to do if a Republican beats Hillary?"
"Don't Silence Michigan Librarians: The Michigan House and Senate pulled a fast one last week and Governor Snyder needs to do the right thing for libraries, schools, and parks by Vetoing SB 571. If SB 571 becomes law, librarians would be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards would be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. We need honest and transparent elections. SB 571 is ridiculous. It is both anti- free speech and anti- good government. Don't let the politicians in Lansing force librarians to hide information about what is on your ballot! Join thousands of citizens from around Michigan and tell Governor Snyder to Veto SB 571 because information needs to be free by signing the petition today. "
* "CIRCLE OF LIES: Dodging Blame for the Flint River Disaster" - but the blame goes right up to the governor's office.
"IETF approves HTTP error code 451 for Internet censorship: The 451 HTTP error code, first proposed in 2012 as a tribute to Ray Bradbury's classic novel is now an IETF standard and is the preferred error message for a server to send to a browser when content is blocked for legal reasons.".
Bill Black: A "Jihadist" Against the Banks? [...] But this is how far the Justice Department has fallen. Not only will they not prosecute the elite bank frauds that drove the crisis, but anyone that wants them to do their job they're treating as a terrorist."
"Military to Military: Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war: Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office - and that there are ‘moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him - has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped."
Frank Luntz pretends to offer American Muslims an unedited voice, and CBS helps.
Gawker calls them "The Least Inspiring Group of Class Warriors Ever Assembled in Human History."
In her closing remarks at the 2015 Internet Governance Forum, APC's Nadine Maowad said, "Keep fighting for a free and open internet - if not, we are going to lose it."
Last October Matt Yglesias made this important point: "Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble. [...] But the much more significant question facing the party isn't about the White House - it's about all the other offices in the land. The problem is that control of the presidency seems to have blinded progressive activists to the possibility of even having an argument about what to do about all of them. That will change if and when the GOP seizes the White House, too, and Democrats bottom out. But the truly striking thing is how close to bottom the party is already and how blind it seems to be to that fact." There have been many times when I wanted to smack Matt for being such a damned "centrist", but he's not wrong about this, although I wonder if he's aware of just how much the "centrist" types have been responsible for this dire situation. You expect people who are young and naive to think it's enough to elect a presidential candidate, but why did Rahm Emanuel want to ditch Howard Dean and his 50-state strategy? Why did the Democratic leadership allow small-d and big-D democratic groups to be corralled into a cult of personality whose sole "policy" goal seemed to be simply to promote, support, and defend Barack Obama? Why does the leadership deliberately undermine democratic legislators who are popular and maybe even charismatic, in favor of candidates no one likes? Why is it so important to them to get people to be quiet instead of loudly promoting the policies and values of both the Democratic platform and, really, most of the people in the country? Why do they actively discourage challenges to hard-right Republican incumbents who could easily be unseated with just a little bit of support from the Democratic Party?
"Power-pop justice is served as Cheap Trick enters the Rock ‘N' Roll Hall Of Fame."
* "Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Can Blue Men Sing the Whites? Edition: From approximately 2011, and the praise Jeebus just renewed for another season cable music show Live at Daryl's House, please enjoy Daryl Hall and the incomparable Smokey Robinson and a mind-blowing live version of Smokey's classic 'Tears of a Clown.'"
Swedish crime novelist Sara Lovestam took a break from making a gingerbread house this year and instead made a gingerbread typewriter.
I have vague memories of linking to this video a few years ago, but let's see that Rube Goldberg stuff again.
The Beethoven's birthday Google Doodle was fun.
An entire year later, no one at The Washington Post has proofread Daniel W. Drezner's "The War on Jewish Christmas must be stopped."