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We Are The World 25 For Haiti

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We Are the World

The recording of ‘We Are The World 25 For Haiti’ embodies the same enthusiasm, sense of purpose and generosity as the original recording 25 years ago. Through the contributions of the new voices to this rendition of ‘We Are The World,’ and with the help of our partners, the We Are The World Foundation will be committed to transparency and will help further the spirit of activism that was at the heart of the original song and movement.

We are developing mechanisms to permit our donors and members of the community to monitor the funds raised, the expenses paid, and the charitable grants funded by the We Are The World Foundation, a newly created not-for-profit organization founded by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie who have invited Wyclef Jean, Paul Haggis, Randy Phillips, Peter Tortorici and Ambassador Luis Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank to join them on the board. The Foundation is dedicated to raising money and to making grants to charitable organizations with meaningful and efficient relief and development programs that are responding to the continuing crisis in Haiti.

Please visit the website, to learn more…

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Republicans — Not Obama — More Often on Wrong Side of Public Opinion

Posted by: BuellBoy

Nate SilverFiveThirtyEight/Nate Silver~One of the more commonplace assertions among pundits on the center-right — made rather carelessly by Victor Davis Hanson and more thoughtfully by Jay Cost, is that agenda put forward by Obama and the Democrats is overwhelmingly unpopular and that Democrats are simply getting their comeuppance for having pushed such a liberal set of reforms forward. These claims, however, rely on selective evidence, invariably citing policies like health care and the GM bailouts which are indeed unpopular (strongly so, in some cases), while ignoring many other issues on which Obama has been on the right side of public opinion.

In fact, a more objective and equivocal evaluation of public opinion on more than two dozen specific issues finds that the Republican Congress has far more often been on the wrong side of it. Attempting to be as comprehensive as possible, I’ve identified 25 issues that Obama and the Democrats have made an affirmative effort to push forward since taking office a year ago, and summarized public opinion on each of them. Most of the numbers that I’ve cited come from PollingReport.com.

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos


December 1st Do They Know Its Christmas? (Band Aid)

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December 2nd The Christmas Song (Christina Aguilera)

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December 3rd Christmas Time is Here (Toni Braxton)

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December 4th Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt and Friends)

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December 5th I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas (Bing Crosby)

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December 6th Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Luther Vandross)

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December 7th Joy to the world (Mahalia Jackson)

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December 8th Thank God Its Christmas (Queen)

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December 9th Last Christmas (Wham!)

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December 10th The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)

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December 11th Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)

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December 12th Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)

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December 13th Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (James Taylor)

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December 14th Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland)

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December 15th Let It Snow (Boyz II Men)

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December 16th Jingle Bells (Bebe and Cece Winans)

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December 17th Little Drummer Boy (Celtic Woman)

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December 18th Here Comes Santa Claus (Gene Autry)

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December 19th The First Noël (Allison Crowe)

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December 20th Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (John Denver)

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December 21st Merry Christmas, Baby (Bruce Springsteen)

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December 22nd Silent Night (Kelly Price)

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December 23rd All I Want For Christmas is You (Mariah Carey)

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December 24th Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Brenda Lee)

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December 25th Merry Christmas Darling (The Carpenters)

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 20th)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Performed by John Denver

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a Christmas song introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics, which has become more common than the original. The song was credited to Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, although during a December 21, 2006 NPR interview, Martin said that Blane had encouraged him to write the song but had not had anything more to do with writing it. In 2007, ASCAP ranked “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” the third most performed Christmas song written by ASCAP members of the past five years.


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Lyrics

Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present is here today
Bringing joy that may last

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
May your heart be light
In a year our troubles will be out of sight
From now on

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
In a year our troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Precious friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

I know that
In a year we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we’ll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a merry little Christmas now.

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 19th)

The First Noël Performed by Allison Crowe

The First Nowell” (sometimes The First Noel or just Noel) is a traditional English Christmas carol, most likely from the 18th century. In its current form it is of Cornish origin, and it was first published in Some Ancient Christmas Carols (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Christmas Carols (1833), edited by William B. Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert. The melody is unusual among English folk melodies in that it consists of one musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a variation on that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. The refrain, also unusually, merely repeats the melody of the verse. It is thought to be a corruption of an earlier melody sung in a church gallery setting; a conjectural reconstruction of the earlier version can be found in the New Oxford Book of Carols .

The word Nowell comes from the French word Noël meaning “Christmas“, from the Latin word natalis (“birth“). It may also be from the Gaulish words “noio” or “neu” meaning “new” and “helle” meaning “light” referring to the winter solstice when sunlight begins overtaking darkness.


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Lyrics

The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Refrain:
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the east, beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.
(Refrain)

And by the light of that same star
three Wise Men came from country far;
to seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.
(Refrain)

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
o’er Bethlehem it took its rest;
and there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.
(Refrain)

Then entered in those Wise Men three,
full reverently upon the knee,
and offered there, in his presence,
gold and myrrh and frankincense.

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 18th)

Here Comes Santa Claus Performed by Gene Autry

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” is a Christmas song written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman.

Autry got the idea for the song after riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles, during which crowds of spectators chanted, “Here comes Santa Claus“. This inspired him to write a song that Haldeman set to music. A demo recording was made by singer/guitarist Johnny Bond, whose recording made use of ice cubes to mimic the sound of the jingling sleigh-bells. This inspired the use of real sleigh-bells in Autry’s own recording of the song.

Autry first recorded the song in 1947; released as a single by Columbia Records, it became a #5 country and #9 pop hit. He re-recorded it again for Columbia in 1953 and once more for his own Challenge Records label in 1957.


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Lyrics

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
Pullin’ on the reins
Bells are ringin’, children singin’
All is merry and bright
Hang your stockings and say your prayers
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys
For boys and girls again
Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle,
Oh what a beautiful sight
So jump in bed and cover your head
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor
He loves you just the same
Santa Claus knows we’re all Gods children
That makes everything right
So fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He’ll come around when the chimes ring out
That it’s Christmas morn again
Peace on earth will come to all
It we just follow the light
So lets give thanks to the lord above
That Santa Claus comes tonight!

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 17th)

Little Drummer Boy Performed by Celtic Woman

The Little Drummer Boy” is a popular Christmas song, with words and music by Katherine K. Davis. Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone have been credited with writing the song, even though they were only the arrangers for their recordings of it. The version that made the song popular was the one sung and recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale. It is also known as the “Carol of the Drum“.

Davis first composed the words and music for “Carol of the Drum” (ostensibly transcribed from a traditional Czech carol) in 1941. In 1957 Onorati arranged the song for a recording by the Jack Halloran Singers on Dot Records, but this version was not released in time for Christmas. The following year Simeone re-arranged the song yet again and retitled it for his Chorale’s hit single version, which was issued on 20th Fox Records’ 45-121 with a 45rpm picture sleeve, then on their LP called Sing We Now of Christmas, which became an enormous bestseller. In 1963 the company, now known as 20th Century Fox Records, retitled and reissued their album. It was now called The Little Drummer Boy: A Christmas Festival, in order to boost sales even higher, as the 45-rpm single had continued to be a seasonal hit.


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Lyrics

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 16th)

Jingle Bells Performed by Bebe and Cece Winans

Jingle Bells” is one of the best known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and copyrighted under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” on September 16, 1857. Despite being inextricably connected to Christmas, it is not specifically a Christmas song.

When James Lord Pierpont’s song was originally published in 1857, it had a different chorus melody, which was more classical, even Mozart-like. The 1857 lyrics differed slightly from those we know today. It is unknown who replaced the chorus melody and the words with those of the modern version. The song was reprinted in 1859 with the revised title of “Jingle Bells, or the One Horse Open Sleigh.”



Lyrics

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh yeah

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

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Why Progressives Are Batsh*t Crazy to Oppose the Senate Bill

Op-ed by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com

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Pick your sub-headline:

a) It’s time to stop being polite and start getting real.
b) Here’s hoping a picture is worth 1,000 words.



Any questions?

OK, I imagine that there will be a few. Here’s how I came up with these numbers.

Senate Bill. These estimates are straightforward — they’re taken directly from the CBO’s report on premiums for people at different income levels. A family of four earning an income of $54,000 would pay $4,000 in premiums, and could expect to incur another $5,000 in out-of-pocket costs. The $4,000 premium represents a substantial discount, because the government is covering 72 percent of the premium — meaning that the gross cost of the premium is $14,286, some $10,286 of which the government pays.

One caution: this reflects the situation before the public option was removed from the bill. But, provided that the subsidy schedule isn’t changed as well, that shouldn’t change these numbers much.

Status Quo. In 2009, the average premium for a family in the individual market was $6,328, according to the insurance lobbying group AHIP. However, this figure paints an optimistic picture for two reasons. Firstly, the average family size in the AHIP dataset is 3.03 people; for a family of four, that number would scale upward to $7,925, by my calculations. Secondly, the CBO’s estimates are based on 2016 figures, not 2009, so to make an apples-to-apples comparison, we have to account for inflation. According to Kaiser, the average cost of health coverage has increased by about 8.7 percent annually over the past decade, and by 8.8 percent for family coverage. Let’s scale that down slightly, assuming 7.5 annual inflation in premiums from 2009 through 2016 inclusive. That would bring the cost of the family’s premium up by a nominal 66 percent, to $13,149. And remember: these are based on estimates of premiums provided by the insurance lobby. I have no particular reason to think that they’re biased, but if they are, it’s probably on the low side.

Not only, however, would this family paying a lot more under the status quo, but they’d be doing so for inferior insurance. According to the CBO, the amount of coverage in the individual market would improve by between 27 and 30 percent under the Senate’s bill. Taking the midpoint of those numbers (28.5 percent), we can infer that there would be about $1,427 in additional cost sharing to this family in the status quo as compared with the Senate bill; this would bring their cost sharing to $6,427 total.

Add the $6,247 to the $13,149 and you get an annual cost of $19,576 — for a family earning $54,000! Obviously, very few such families are going to be able to afford that unless they have a lot of money in the bank. So, some of these families will go without insurance, or they’ll by really crappy insurance, or they’ll pay the premiums but skimp on out-of-pocket costs, which will negatively impact their fiscal and physical health. But if this family were to want to obtain equivalent coverage to that which would be available to them for $9,000 in the Senate bill, it would cost them between $19,000 and $20,000, according to my estimates.

Status Quo with SCHIP. Fortunately, some families in this predicament do receive some relief via the SCHIP program. SCHIP eligibility varies from state to state; a family earning income at 225 percent of the poverty line, as this family does, is eligible for SCHIP in about half of the country.

Premiums are fairly cheap under SCHIP — for a family at 225 percent of poverty, generally on the order of about $60 per month to cover two children. We’ll assume that this will inflate slightly to $75 per month, or $900 per year, by 2016.

The two adults in the household will still have to buy insurance in the individual market, which will cost $7,684 by 2016. That makes the family’s total premium $8,584.

For the adults, we assume that the cost sharing component runs proportional to premiums, and totals $3,756. For the children, this calculation is a little bit more ambiguous. Out-of-pocket costs under SCHIP are capped at 5 percent of family income, which would be $2,700 for this family. But that’s a cap and not an average — we’ll assume that the average is half of the cap, or $1,350. Total cost-sharing, therefore, is $5,106 between the adults and the children.

This means that premiums plus out of pocket costs will equal $13,690 for this family. I estimate the subsidy by subtracting this figure from the cost of unsubsidized insurance in the individual market; the difference is $5,885.

Caveat/Disclaimer. There are, obviously, some simplifying assumptions here, especially with regard to SCHIP. The only thing I can promise you is that I’m “showing my work“. I would actively encourage people to pick apart these numbers and come up with their own, more robust estimates. One thing that should probably be accounted for is that the families in both the status quo and the status quo + SCHIP cases will frequently be able to deduct their health care expenses from their taxable income, especially if they’ve incurred substantial out-of-pocket costs. That means that the difference in net costs is slightly exaggerated by my figures.

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The closing…

Nate SilverI understand that most of the liberal skepticism over the Senate bill is well intentioned. But it has become way, way off the mark. Where do you think the $800 billion goes? It goes to low-income families just like these. Where do you think it comes from? We won’t know for sure until the Senate and House produce their conference bill, but it comes substantially from corporations and high-income earners, plus some efficiency gains.

Because this is primarily a political analysis blog, I think people tend to assume that I’m lost in the political forest and not seeing the policy trees. In fact, the opposite is true. For any “progressive” who is concerned about the inequality of wealth, income and opportunity in America, this bill would be an absolutely monumental achievement. The more compelling critique, rather, is that the bill would fail to significantly “bend the cost curve“. I don’t dismiss that criticism at all, and certainly the insertion of a public option would have helped at the margins. But fundamentally, that is a critique that would traditionally be associated with the conservative side of the debate, as it ultimately goes to mounting deficits in the wake of expanded government entitlements.

And please do pick apart my numbers: I’m sure that you will find some questionable assumptions and possibly some outright errors. But if you found a persuasive, progressive policy rationale against the bill, I’d be stunned.~~Nate Silver

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44-D’s Twenty-five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 15th)

Let It Snow Performed by Boys II Men

Boyz II Men are a Grammy Award-winning American group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Initiated during 1988 as a quintet which originally included Marc Nelson, Boyz II Men found fame as a quartet, with members Nathan Morris, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman,and Wanya Morris on Motown Records during the early 1990s. Nelson left the group before their first recording to pursue a solo career. The group specialized in new jack swing-style music.

Based on sales, Boyz II Men is the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time. They recorded five number 1 R&B successes between 1992 and 1997 and have sold more than 60 million albums. Three of its number 1 hits, “End of the Road“, “I’ll Make Love to You“, and “One Sweet Day” (with Mariah Carey), set and exceeded records for the longest period of time a single remained scored at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; “One Sweet Day” still holds the record. Although “On Bended Knee” did not exceed any records, it was still a very popular song that reached number 1 and made Boyz II Men the third artist (behind The Beatles and Elvis) to replace themselves at the number one rating of the Billboard Hot 100.


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Lyrics

Let It Snow Let it snow, Let it snow Hey, It’s another Christmas holiday
Its a joyous thing let the angels sing
Cause we’re together
We got a thing can’t let it slip away
No, outside its raining sleet
When our bodies meet
I don’t care about the weather CHORUS:
Let it snow, Let it snow
Outside its cold but the fire’s blazin’
So baby let it snow
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow Ohhhh, come over here and help me trim the tree
I wanna wrap you up baby
Then you’ll see you’re the only present I need
There’s so much more
Waiting for you in store
From this precious day
I can gladly say
There’s no place I’d rather be
I know you are my everything, come a little closer
God must have sent you down from heaven CHORUS
Let it snow, Let it snow
Let it snow, Let it snow (Repeat 4x)
I don’t care what the weather may be
as long as you’re here with me. (Fade out)

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