In what has been described as a last-ditch effort to save the healthcare overhaul that is first on his Christmas wish list, President Barack Obama has summoned all 60 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus to the White House on Tuesday for an 11th-hour pep talk in anticipation of an impending vote on the Senate’s version of a bill that would alter the healthcare industry by changing Medicare, offering long-term care to retirees and the disabled, and creating a government-subsidized and administered panoply of health insurance policies.

meet on hookA Nebraska Court of Appeals ruled on December 8 that an illegal immigrant who was injured on the job at Cargill Meat Solutions in Schuyler, Nebraska, is entitled to worker compensation.

money pileThe Senate on December 13 passed a mammoth omnibus spending bill variously described as costing $447 billion or $1.1 trillion, depending on whether "mandatory" spending for programs such as Medicare and Social Security were included in the tabulation. The Senate vote completed congressional action, sending the legislation to the President for his signature. Dozens of federal agencies received average budget increases of 10 percent.

detainee“The Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture, but the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a post originally published on the leftist DailyKos blogsite.

crime sceneAccording to the Associated Press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “railed against gun violence” on December 11, one day after a street peddler died in a shootout with police in Times Square. Unfortunately, this type of crime is increasingly typical in high-crime areas of major U.S. cities, especially where gun control laws make it extremely difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess a gun. Yet Bloomberg, the founder the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, viewed the shootout as evidence that there are "too many guns on the streets."