CNN Senior Political Contributor
We are approaching the eve of Christmas and maybe in that spirit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid morphed into Santa Claus, giving out presents to the little boys and girls who were naughty and (not so) nice this year.
Of course, he was not using his own money.
America's overused credit card, issued by the Bank of China, may have to be used one more time to pay for Reid's deals. The majority leader traded to help ensure the votes of Sens. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Chris Dodd, Bernie Sanders and others representing 11 states by giving them special perks for staying on the health care bus that's about to drive us all over the financial cliff.
They may argue they weren't bribed, but they certainly were rewarded. The price was enormous.
Editor's Note: Three members of the family of a Mexican marine who died in a shootout last week were killed Tuesday in the southern state of Tabasco, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. Michael Ware was in Juarez, Mexico to report on the violence.
Special to CNN
When the United States, China, Brazil, India and South Africa struck an agreement in the United Nations' climate change summit in Copenhagen, many other countries were unhappy with the outcome.
Roberta Alenius, a spokesperson for the European Union presidency, initially denied any unanimous consensus, but the EU eventually wound up supporting the accord.
Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese head of the G77 group of developing countries, has objected that the U.S.-backed proposals would be devastating for the poorer countries. "This is an idea, not a deal," Di-Aping is reported to have said. "Sudan will not be a signatory to a deal that destroys Africa."
The defining tone of the summit was resounding discord. Ban Ki-moon, U.N. secretary-general, called it "not everything we hoped for." A number of developing countries, led by Venezuela and Bolivia, did not even support the deal. At the same time, the full body of 193 countries agreed to "take note of the Copenhagen Accord" without accepting it. Even President Obama acknowledged that the agreement was "not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change."
Special to CNN
When people say the message of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is as relevant today as it was in 1843, they usually have in mind Ebenezer Scrooge's conversion.
Overnight, he's transformed from a mean old skinflint who believes that those unable to support themselves had better die "and decrease the surplus population" to an almost riotously generous giver to charitable causes.
They remember especially, perhaps, Scrooge's change of heart toward his poor, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit and how he promises to ensure that Bob will be able to afford the medical treatment that his beloved little son, the crippled Tiny Tim, will need if he is to survive - a plot detail that resonates with particular strength in America today, where citizens struggle with health care costs.
CNN New York
Our long national nightmare is over ... BlackBerry service is back.
For more than eight hours last night, BlackBerry customers throughout North America were without e-mail and Internet service after a widespread outage that began at about 6:30 p.m. ET. The company sent an e-mail to subscribers that estimated 100% of its users were affected at one point. It’s the second such outage in a week and raises questions about the reliability of the fast-growing service – there are now about 32-million subscribers according to Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry.
Mixed news on the economy this morning – on a negative side, housing is still in rough shape. New home sales plunged 11-percent in November, a bigger decline than expected. On the brighter side, personal income rose 0.4% in November, the fastest pace in six months. That helped boost personal spending a half percent last month, the second straight increase, though a bit less than expected. And consumers are in a better mood about things – the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said the final December reading rose to the highest level since September.
AC360° Associate Producer
It’s going to be a busy Christmas Eve morning on the Senate Floor. It looks as if the final Senate vote on the health care bill will take place before 9 a.m. on Thursday. Although Senators and their staffers will be on the Hill the day before Christmas, many consider this an early Christmas gift compared to the original plan of holding an evening vote. The last time the Senate was in session on Christmas Eve was in 1963 for a report on foreign aid appropriations as the Vietnam War escalated.
We’re also digging deeper on how you will be affected by health care reform. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will report on the shortage of primary-care doctors in this country. This a common refrain heard from all sides of the health care debate. What will the reform do to increasing the number of physicians available and improving overall access to care? If health insurance is offered to millions, could more people overwhelm an already strained system?
President Obama was supposed to travel to Hawaii today where he will be celebrating the holiday, but he told reporters yesterday that he would not leave until the Senate has completed its work on passing the health care bill. He is now scheduled to depart on Thursday morning. Tonight we’ll be looking at the President’s agenda over the past year. How do you think he has fared? Has he met your expectations? What do you hope him to tackle in 2010?
Mexico City, Mexico
Three members of the family of a Mexican marine who died in a shootout last week were killed Tuesday in the southern state of Tabasco, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said.
Marine 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedec Angulo Cordova was fatally shot during a gunbattle that resulted in the killing of Arturo Beltran Leyva, one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords. The killing of his family members has raised speculation in Mexico that it was an act of retaliation by the Beltran Leyva's drug cartel, CNN en Español reported.
Very early Tuesday, gunmen entered the family's home and opened fire, killing Angulo Cordova's mother, sister and a third relative, the state-run Notimex news agency reported. Angulo Cordova's brother was injured in the shooting, the agency said.
Editor's Note: After last night's show, we heard from some of you who wrote in to thank us for reviewing how much money has been spent on lobbying. What do you think? Let us know.
AC360 thank you for reviewing how much money has been spent for lobbying. Let us know how much insurance money is being given to both Democrats & Republicans because the obstructionists to healthcare reform receive insurance support.