Rather than wait for the new Congress to be installed in January, President Obama decided to press forward for the Senate confirmation of Andrew Traver for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The effort to exclude illegal aliens from the benefits of “in-state” tuition rates has suffered a setback in California, as that state’s Supreme Court has overturned a lower-court ruling that would have required illegals to pay “out-of-state” rates. In Texas, however, the tuition struggle between legal and illegal residents is being fought out in a different venue: the student Senate at Texas A&M University.

AP reported on November 17 that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters after a 90-minute breakfast meeting with members of Congress, was exerting pressure on the Senate to vote on a new U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons treaty. Clinton asserted that postponing the vote until the next session of Congress would undermine national security.

In a five-page resignation letter submitted on Tuesday morning, Republican National Committee (RNC) political director Gentry Collins delivered a harsh indictment of RNC chairman Michael Steele. Politico reports that the letter condemns the “disorganization that plagues the Republican party.”

On Sunday night, comedian and actress Tina Fey won the Mark Twain Prize for Humor on PBS’ annual broadcast of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. As a popular Sarah Palin impersonator on Saturday Night Live, Fey did not miss the opportunity to make a few jokes about Palin during her acceptance speech. However, some of Fey’s more controversial jokes were conveniently removed by Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the final cut of the awards show, though PBS claimed the editing was not politically motivated.