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A huge House shellacking...|| Newscom/ Roll Call&&

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio has his own way of getting in the Christmas spirit: he has inmates perform Christmas carols for him "American Idol"-style and serves the winner a "full turkey dinner with all the real trimmings" as opposed to the usual gruel, which the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says "vaguely resembles an average Christmas meal" and costs 14 cents.

A press release from Arpaio's office says the man who describes himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" would be holding a caroling contest for pre-trial inmates in "a move likely to make Ebenezer Scrooge smile."

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The Senate this week confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee, Stacia A. Hylton, to head the U.S. Marshals Service. Hylton has come under fire from human rights groups who are concerned about her ties to a private prison company.

Critics said that Hylton, was too cozy with private prison companies that work with the U.S. Marshals Service in part because she worked as a consultant for the GEO Group, the second largest private prison company in the U.S. But Hylton defended her work during her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that she followed all ethics requirements and regulations before she left federal service in early 2010.

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If you were looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the non-Jews and Muslims on your holiday gift list, World Net Daily Books had just the answer with their new book America's War on Christianity, which was released just in time for the War on Christmas.

World Net Daily was kind enough to send a review copy of the book, which author Brad O'Leary says he wrote because President Barack Obama "declared that America is not a Christian nation."

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Until the next Congress starts, the media will have little to prattle on about besides the Democrats lame duck accomplishments. Already lost in the coverage are two key facts: 1.) The Dems' victories came at the expense of Republicans, many of whom really blew it these past few weeks; and 2.) The Democrats didn't win everything.

Here's our list of the lame duck's top five losers.

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Republicans attacked it as a perversion of democracy, and used it as an excuse to continue to vote against Dem priorities. Democrats recognized it as their last chance to accomplish much of anything for the next two years. People in the media mistook it for a Barack Obama renaissance.

Certainly Democrats accomplished more than most people expected they would these last several weeks. But between the victories and the compromises and the defeats, it's hard to keep track of who came out on top.

Here's a list of the lame duck's big winners to help you sort it all out.

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This graph should tell you everything you need to know about why progressives -- and now Democrats -- are so interested in reforming Senate rules.

But there's a flipside to the new push. It's not that it's a bad idea. It's that Democrats are being too ginger about the whole thing. First some hindsight: The right time to end the 60 vote "requirement" would have been in January 2009, when it was clear to anybody who'd been paying attention to Congress in 2007 and 2008 that the filibuster was going to really kneecap President Obama.

Doing it in 2011 would be fine, but, with Republicans taking over the House, sort of moot.

But that's not what Dems are talking about doing. They're talking about other sensible, but much more modest, rule changes. Forcing filibusterers to hold the floor, etc. As a result, in the near term, they'll realize very few benefits, and at the same time set a very recent precedent for changing the rules again in 2013, 15, or 17.

Because Republicans are much more serious than Democrats about using the tools of government to advance their ideological goals, I've long thought that after normalizing the 60-vote "requirement" over the last four years, they'd scrap it as soon as they regained the Senate and White House. Making modest reforms now gives them cover.

That's not a bad thing -- this shouldn't be principally a partisan issue, and at some point the rules are going to have to change more than just at the margin. It would just be to their immediate advantage to do as much as possible while they still run things. But there aren't 51 of them willing to do much more than tweak around the edges.

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