Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Merry Christmas, 2012!
Christmas 2012 music
* White Christmas- Michael Buble
* Santa Baby- Taylor Swift
* Someday At Christmas - Justin Bieber
* Silent Night- Christina Aguilera
* Its Christmas All Over The World- Sheena Easton
* Merry Christmas Darling- Glee
* Last Christmas- Taylor Swift
* Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Christina Aguilera
* Give Love on Christmas Day- Michael Jackson
* O Holy Night- Danny Gokey
* Christmas In Our Hearts- Jose Marie Chan
* Do You Hear What I Hear- Carrie Underwood
* My Only Wish- Britney Spears
* I'll Be Home For Christmas- Michael Buble
* All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey
* Hark! The Herald Angels Sing-Gloria- Mariah Carey
* Sleigh Ride- Ralient K
* Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree- Miley Cyrus
* It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas- Michael Buble
A CHRISTMAS MUSIC PLAYLIST FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY
BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE - JAMES TAYLOR, NATALIE COLE
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN - PEGGY LEE
PLEASE COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - THE EAGLES
HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS - ELLA FITZGERALD
CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE - VINCE GUARALDI
WE NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS - THE NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS
THE HURON CAROLE - TOM JACKSON
WHAT CHILD IS THIS - VANESSA WILLIAMS
CAROL OF THE BELLS - HARRY SIMONE CHOIR
MARY'S BOY CHILD - BONEY M
LET IT SNOW - DEAN MARTIN
CHRISTMAS BLUES - HOLLY COLE
SNOWFALL - DORIS DAY
MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY - CHARLES BROWN, BONNIE RAITT
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS - BOB DYLAN
A CHRISTMAS SONG - NAT KING COLE
SANTA BABY - MARIA MULDUAR
JINGLE BELL ROCK - BOBBY HELMS
RIVER - JONI MITCHELL
SONG FOR A WINTER'S NIGHT - SARA McLACHLAN
SLIPPIN' AND SLIDIN' - BUDDY HOLLY
TAKIN' CARE OF CHRISTMAS - RANDY BACHMAN
By Oliver North - PatriotPost.us
EPHRATA, PA -- Five years ago, this annual Christmas column was written while our Fox News "War Stories" team was embedded with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division south of Baghdad. A year earlier, the Christmas 2006 column was written in Ramadi, Iraq, while we were embedded with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines in what was then the bloodiest place on the planet. In 2005, this column originated with 3d Battalion, 7th Marines and the 2nd Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, in Anbar Province. In the days before Christmas that year, we were able to document the first free elections ever held in an Arab country.
Committee has no obligation to hold its meetings in public, announce decisions in draft form or even consider public comments. Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee Think the contraception decision was bad? Wait until bureaucrats start telling your insurer which cancer screenings to cover.
By SCOTT GOTTLIEB - WSJ.com
Offended by President Obama's decision to force health insurers to pay for contraception and surgical sterilization? It gets worse: In the future, thanks to ObamaCare, the government will issue such health edicts on a routine basis—and largely insulated from public view. This goes beyond contraception to cancer screenings, the use of common drugs like aspirin, and much more.
Under ObamaCare, a single committee—the United States Preventative Services Task Force—is empowered to evaluate preventive health services and decide which will be covered by health-insurance plans.
Yes, Virginia, there really is retirement Some people don't believe in retirement any more.
By Andy Landis - MarketWatch.com
I frequently hear " I can't retire because I don't have $2 million ... because I can't live on Social Security ... because the market is down ..." and on and on.
The Ghost of Retirement Past will tell you, people have always retired, in good times and bad. And the Ghost of Retirement Present says they still do. Some have plenty of money, some don't. But they find a way to retire, if that's what they want to do ... or are forced to do.
Agenda 21 Is Being Rammed Down The Throats
Of Local Communities All Over America
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Have you ever heard of Agenda 21? If not, don't feel bad, because most Americans haven't. It is essentially a blueprint for a "sustainable world" that was introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 200 counties and it has been modified and updated at other UN environmental summits. The philosophy behind Agenda 21 is that our environmental problems are the number one problem that we are facing, and that those problems are being caused by human activity. Therefore, according to Agenda 21 human activity needs to be tightly monitored, regulated and controlled for the greater good. Individual liberties and freedoms must be sacrificed for the good of the planet. If you are thinking that this sounds like it is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers intended when they established this nation, you would be on the right track. Those that promote the philosophy underlying Agenda 21 believe that human activity must be "managed" and that letting people make their own decisions is "destructive" and "dangerous". Sadly, the principles behind Agenda 21 are being rammed down the throats of local communities all over America, and most of the people living in those communities don't even realize it.
Everything You Need To Know
About the Economy in 2012, in 34 Charts
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Give the Mayans credit. They came within a week or so of predicting the fiscal cliff. That's a forecasting record most economists can only dream of.
Okay, so the fiscal cliff isn't exactly the end of the world. It's just a particularly premature dose of austerity, which is bad enough. But if we've learned anything the past two years, it's that this Congress will find a way to muddle through after it's exhausted all other options, including voluntary default. And that's really been the theme of 2012. Whether it was slow, steady growth in the U.S. (but no recession), a slow, steady recession in Europe (but no implosion), or a slow, steady slowdown in China (but no hard landing), 2012 was the year of muddling through. And the year of the central banker. And the U.S. election.
Merry Christmas! The economy is doing better than you think.
By Neil Irwin - WashingtonPost.com
Two new numbers out Friday morning indicate that the U.S. economy is plugging along better than you thought.
The most important legs of the economy—consumers and businesses—both showed surprising resilience in November, even as negotiations heated up over the fiscal cliff.Personal consumption spending rose 0.4 percent and incomes rose 0.6 percent, according to one report. According to another, overall orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent while a key measure of business investment, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, rose a surprising 2.7 percent.
The Upside of the Fiscal Cliff
BY CHARLES HUGH SMITH - FinancialSense.com
Facing reality is positive. That's the upside to the fiscal cliff.
There are two definite upsides to the fiscal cliff:
1. We are finally starting a national discussion of spending-taxation trade-offs
2. We are at last starting to (grudgingly) accept there is no free lunch, what I call the Free Lunch Fantasy of limitless borrowing at near-zero interest rates: taxes for upper-income wage-earners will revert to previous levels while those drawing Federal dollars must accept reductions in spending.
Confiscation of Gold - Then What? Part 3
BY JULIAN PHILLIPS - FinancialSense.com
In this part of the series on the subject of Confiscation, we look at the realities that you face in trying to avoid your gold being confiscated should a Confiscation Order be issued in your country. But first we ask the question, is there really a danger of gold being confiscated? We believe that there is.
"Importantly, Central Banks and the Authorities possibly will not wait for the monetary system to crash before acting to ensure they have enough gold to keep the monetary system working. They will act well ahead of that time to make sure they avoid a collapse and attempt to engineer the event so as to catch gold investors by surprise, removing their chances of making any contingency plans. With their prime objective being to shore up confidence in the monetary and banking system, they could not afford to signal the market about their intentions beforehand. We are not just talking about the U.S.A. but many other countries that may precede or follow the U.S. in these acts. The trouble is that the gold they 'acquire' maybe yours.
The Unadulterated Gold Standard Part 3
by Keith Weiner - ZeroHedge.com
There would be no central bank with its "experts" to dictate the rate of interest and no "lender of last resort". There would be no Securities Act, no deposit insurance, no armies of banking regulators, and definitely no bailouts or "too big to fail banks". The government would have little role in the monetary system, save to catch criminals and enforce contracts.
As mentioned in Part I, people would enjoy the right to own gold coins, or deposit them in a bank if they wish. We propose the radical idea that the government should have no more involvement in specifying the contents of the gold coin than it does specifying the contents of the software that runs a web server. And this is for the same reason: the market is far better at determining what people need and far better at adapting to changing needs.
How The Fiscal Cliff Talks Collapsed
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
The collapse of the Fiscal Cliff talks should come as no surprise to anyone (except, of course, for all those "expert" political commentators virtually all of whom saw a deal by December 31: a full list of names is forthcoming). The reason: a simple one - a House torn, polarized to a record extreme, and a political environment in which the two parties, in the aftermath of a presidential election humiliating to the GOP, reached unseen before antagonism toward each other. In this context, it was absolutely inevitable that America would see a replica of last summer's debt ceiling collapse, which mandated a market intervention, in the form of a crash, and the wipeout of hundreds of billions in wealth - sadly the only catalyst that both parties and their electorate, understand.
Obama Suggests Short-Term Deal to Avert Cliff
By DAVID LAWDER and ROBERTA RAMPTON, Reuters - TheFiscalCliff
The White House on Friday tried to rescue stalled talks on a fiscal crisis after a Republican plan imploded in Congress, but there was little headway as lawmakers and President Barack Obama abandoned Washington for Christmas.
In remarks before flying to Hawaii for a break, Obama suggested reaching a short-term deal on taxes and extending unemployment insurance to avoid the worst effects of the "fiscal cliff" on ordinary Americans at the start of the New Year. "We've only got 10 days to do it. So I hope that every member of Congress is thinking about that. Nobody can get 100 percent of what they want," said Obama.
Barack Obama 'eager' to fall off fiscal cliff,
says senior Republican senator Senator John Barrasso tells Fox News Sunday he thinks the president is 'eager to go off fiscal cliff for political purposes'
By Matt Williams in New York - Guardian.co.uk
President Barack Obama has been accused by a senior Republican of being eager to take the US over the fiscal cliff for political gain, as Washington edges closer to a year-end deadline with no deal in sight.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Senator John Barrasso, the third-highest ranking senator in the GOP, suggested that the president "sensed victory at the bottom of the cliff".
Stop-gap fix most likely outcome of "fiscal cliff" talks
By Richard Cowan and Fred Barbash
WASHINGTON | Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:02pm EST
(Reuters) - The "fiscal cliff" deadline is days away and the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama have left town for Christmas.
But even if they were still here, it wouldn't have mattered, according to Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He says they were going nowhere to resolving the disagreement over how to fix the nation's fiscal problems.
Bill Gross: Fed's 'Hot Air' Will Keep Bond Bubble Aloft
By Aaron Task - CNBC.com
After getting burned in 2011 by betting against Treasuries, Bill Gross learned a time-honored lesson: Don't fight the Fed.
"Of course there is" a bubble in the bond market, PIMCO's founder and co-CIO tells The Daily Ticker. "[But] I don't think rates are going to go much higher...the Fed is blowing lots of air -- some say hot -- and constantly inflating the bubble."
Fitch expects 'Bond Bubble' carnage when rate cycle turns The worldwide stampede into corporate debt over the past year has fuelled a "bond bubble" that threatens heavy losses for investors once interest rates spike up again, Fitch Ratings has warned.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Yields on 10-year US corporate bonds have fallen to the lowest levels in history as a result of central bank liquidity, halving from 4pc to well under 2pc since early 2011.
Fitch said investors could cope with a gentle reversion to higher rates, but a "sudden rise" would devastate the portofolios of life insurers, pension funds, and other fixed-income institutions.
"If interest rates were to revert rapidly to early-2011 levels, a typical BBB-rated US corporate bond could lose 15pc of its market value, with longer duration bonds [30 years] suffering a 26pc loss," it said.
Pimco's El-Erian: Ugh, Recession Is Now More Likely
By: Mohamed El-Erian, CEO & CO-CIO, Pimco - CNBC.com
Here is a simple way to think about the political calculus of Washington's latest twists and turns. And — unfortunately — it suggests that economic and market dislocations may be needed to get our politicians to cooperate and govern properly.
A major issue from day one was the extent to which the lack of trust between our political parties undermined Washington's ability to govern.
Sen. Joe Lieberman: 'Likely' country will go over 'fiscal cliff'
after Boehner's plan rejected Tells CNN 'colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history.'
AP - NYDailyNews.com
WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Lieberman says he feels "it's more likely than not" that the country will go over the "fiscal cliff" now that House anti-tax rebels rejected Speaker John Boehner's plan because it would raise rates on million-dollar earners.
Lieberman says going over the cliff "will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history."
Dollar Remains Higher Against Euro Amid U.S. Fiscal Cliff
By Monami Yui - Bloomberg.com
The dollar remained higher against the euro as concern U.S. lawmakers will struggle to agree on a budget deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts boosted demand for safer assets.
The U.S. currency stayed higher versus most of its major peers after House Republican leaders canceled a vote on Speaker John Boehner's plan to allow higher tax rates for annual income above $1 million last week, sending stock prices lower. The yen was near a 20-month low versus the greenback after Shinzo Abe, who is poised to become Japan's prime minister, said he will consider changing the law on the Bank of Japan if it fails to revise its inflation target up to 2 percent next month.
The biggest tax stories of 2012 Three issues that will continue to shape policy next year
By Bill Bischoff - MarketWatch.com
1. Pro-Tax Obama Wins Re-election
For the past four years, it's been clear that President Barack Obama would like to raise taxes — especially on "rich" folks with incomes above about $250,000. Due to the lousy economy, however, the president was forced in 2010 to go along with a two-year extension of the so-called Bush tax cuts. That extension runs out at the end of this year, but the tax rates for next year and beyond remain up in the air. At this point, the only thing we know for sure is the tax increases that will automatically kick in — unless Congress and the president can agree on something different.
What End of Bush Tax Cuts Would Mean for You Unless Congress takes action,
it's not just the "rich" who will see higher tax bills.
By Bischoff - SmartMoney.com
The so-called Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. While you may already know that, you may not fully understand what's in store for you and your family. Here's what to expect.
Higher Tax Rates for All
You may think only individuals in the top two brackets will face higher federal income taxes if the Bush cuts go bye-bye as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2013. Not true. Unless Congress takes action and the president goes along (whoever that is), rates will go up for everyone -- not just "the rich." Specifically, the existing 10% bracket will go away, and the lowest "new" bracket will be 15%. The existing 25% bracket will be replaced by the "new" 28% bracket; the existing 28% bracket will be replaced by the new 31% bracket; the existing 33% bracket will be replaced by the 36% bracket; and the existing 35% bracket will be replaced by the 39.6% bracket.
Bottom line: We'll all see higher taxes.
Preparing for 'Taxmageddon' Bischoff: Beneficial estate and gift tax provisions are set to expire at the end of this year. Here's what to expect.
By Bischoff - SmartMoney.com
The 2010 Bush tax cut extension legislation also established a favorable, but temporary, federal estate and gift tax regime for 2011 and 2012. But we will go back to the bad old days on Jan. 1, 2013, unless Congress takes action and the president goes along.
Some commentators are calling the end of the income tax cuts, in conjunction with the scheduled demise of the current beneficial estate and gift tax provisions, as "taxmageddon."
Here's what you need to know, starting with where we stand right now.
How free online returns can spark shopper loyalty
by James G. Maxham III
and Amanda B. Bower - WashingtonPost.com
The big idea: Many online retailers view product returns as an unwieldy cost that drains margins, and several are asking customers to absorb return shipping costs. But consider the upside of free returns: enhanced customer loyalty that could spark more purchases.
The scenario: U.S. firms spend billions annually in the handling, shipping, insuring and processing of returned products. Returns are particularly problematic for online retailers, in part because customers might not know what they're actually getting. To partially stave off profit losses and control excessive return rates, many retailers have established what they believe to be a "fair" deal in the form of equity-based return shipping policies. If retailers determine that returns are their own fault, they will absorb the return shipping costs; otherwise, responsibility falls to consumers. Yet, the chances that customers and retailers will agree on who's to blame are fairly low.
Obamacare Mandate: Sterilize 15-Year-Old Girls for Free--Without Parental Consent
By Sabrina Gladstone - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) - Thanks to an Obamacare regulation that took effect on Aug. 1, health care plans in Oregon will now be required to provide free sterilizations to 15- year-old girls even if the parents of those girls do not consent to the procedure.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finalized the regulation earlier this year.
Medicare Is the Real Fiscal Cliff Obstacle Medicare May Be Silent Killer in Budget Battles
By Josh Boak - The Fiscal Times
Taxes may be taking the lion's share of the spotlight right now in the fervor to negotiate a fiscal cliff deal, but Medicare looks more and more like the major obstacle to putting the federal budget on a stable course.
As part of the talks to avoid the year-end cliff, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner – challenging a core Republican belief – have agreed to some form of a tax rate hike on wealthy Americans. Obama prefers higher rates on incomes above $400,000 as part of a grand bargain, while Boehner, in both his counter offer and the alternative Plan B, wants a starting point of $1 million.
Avalanche of boomers may bury Social Security There are those who like to say that demography is destiny. And if that's true, then our destiny is becoming increasingly clear. The unclear part may be what to do because of it, particularly as it affects Medicare and Social Security.
By Robert Powell - MarketWatch.com
Consider, for instance, a recent release from the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to that release, the population in the U.S. is projected to grow much more slowly over the next several decades, but the population age 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2060, from 43.1 million to 92.0 million.
Judge blocks Missouri insurance law on birth control
AP - FOXNews.com
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A federal judge on Friday blocked a new Missouri law that requires insurers to exclude birth control coverage for moral objectors, ruling that it conflicts with an insurance mandate under President Barack Obama's health care law.
The temporary restraining order halts the Missouri law just three months after the Republican-led Legislature enacted it by overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
Postal workers continue hunger strike
against proposed delivery cuts
By Alicia M. Cohn - TheHill.com
Despite most of Congress leaving town for the holidays, postal workers are continuing a hunger strike protesting legislation to save the United States Postal Service (USPS) through budget cuts.
The hunger strike began Tuesday and is expected to end late Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Six former and current postal workers, part of a group called Communities and Postal Workers United, are calling the strike "six days starving to save six-day delivery." Their goal is to stop Congress from reducing postal delivery to five days a week.
40 Years of Floating Money, Declining Wage Result 40 Years Of Floating Money,
40 Years Of The Average Worker Getting Poorer
By Nathan Lewis - Forbes.com
The reason we have floating currencies today is to enable economic management via currency manipulation. Central banks attempt to guide macroeconomic factors like unemployment, economic growth, interest rates, inflation and so forth by jiggering the currency.
This idea is very old, and was expressed in many forms by the Mercantilist writers of the 1600-1780 period. The other idea, equally ancient, is the Classical ideal of a currency that is as stable, predictable, and free of human influence as possible. This is typically represented by a value link of some sort, either to gold, or perhaps another major international currency.
American Dream Fades for Generation Y Professionals
By Elliot Blair Smith - Bloomberg.com
After being dismissed from her job as a Midtown Manhattan securities attorney in October 2009, Christina Tretter-Herriger hitched a used horse trailer to her Dodge Ram pickup and drove 1,628 miles to Texas.
The 32-year-old lawyer sold skin-care products in Houston before finding work as the assistant general counsel of a futures-trading firm where an irate customer punctuated a recorded voice-mail message with gunfire.
GM Recalls 119,000 Trucks, SUVs
By Paul Ausick - 247WallStreet.com
General Motors Co. has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the company is recalling 119,000 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon vehicles built in model years 2010 to 2012. The company said that the vehicles may have been assembled without the required secondary hood latch.
A secondary latch may be required to keep the hood closed in the event that the first latch fails to prevent the hood from flying open unexpectedly. GM said its first notice of the missing latch came in late September this year. The company did not report any accidents related to the missing latch.
Workers at GM, Ford to Score Nice Bonuses This Year
By Paul Ausick - 247WallStreet.com
Profit-sharing bonuses for United Auto Workers' members at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are expected to be at least as large as last year's payout at General Motors and larger than the year-ago bonuses paid at Ford. Approximately 55,000 GM hourly workers and 40,000 Ford employees are in line for the payments.
GM workers can expect bonuses of between $5,500 and $7,000, and Ford's employees could receive a payment of more than $8,000 each, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The payments are based on a formula that gives workers a $1 bonus for every $1 million in North American operating profit at the two companies.
Delta Air Gets 22,000 Applications for 300 Attendant Jobs
By Mary Schlangenstein - Bloomberg.com
Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), the world's second-largest carrier, received 22,000 applications for about 300 flight attendant jobs in the first week after posting the positions outside the company.
The applications arrived at a rate of two per minute, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson told workers in a weekly recorded message. Applicants will be interviewed in January and those hired will begin flying in June, for the peak travel season.
Online child privacy rules updated by Federal Trade Commission
By RICHARD LARDNER Associated Press - TulsaWorld.com
WASHINGTON - New online child privacy rules will keep anonymous advertisers and marketers from siphoning personal information about preteens but won't restrain innovation among technology companies and businesses that rely on the Internet to reach consumers, government officials said Wednesday.
But those assurances failed to win over software developers who said the cost of complying with the new regulations and the risk of violating them will cause many responsible businesses to abandon the children's marketplace.
Pope Benedict denounces gay marriage
during his annual Christmas message The Pope sent a clear message to gay rights activists who are celebrating gains made this year — the Vatican still thinks same-sex marriage is a 'manipulation of nature.'
BY CAROL KURUVILLA / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Pope Benedict used his annual Christmas message to denounce gay marriage, saying that it destroyed the "essence of the human creature."
In one of his most important speeches of the year, the Pope stressed that a person's gender identity is God-given and unchangeable. As a result, he sees gay marriage as a "manipulation of nature."
Maker Mom Builds Cookie-Cutter Empire With 3-D Printers
BY JOSEPH FLAHERTY - Wired.com
Athey Moravetz is doing some tasty work with her 3-D printers.
The video game designer has worked on PlayStation games like Resistance Retribution and Uncharted Golden Abyss. She's also a self-described "jack-of-all-trades," skilled with 3-D modeling tools like Maya, and knows how to design compelling characters with them.
Michigan labor vote was political payback
By JAMES P. HOFFA - Politico.com
Extremist billionaires have achieved what seemed unthinkable only a few years ago. They rapidly forced through union-busting laws in Michigan, the birthplace of the modern American labor movement.
No one should be confused about why they did it.
The passage of right-to-work-for-less in Michigan wasn't driven by the desire to grow jobs or boost the state's economy. It will do neither. The record on so-called "right to work" in other states is clear. These anti-worker laws lead to lower wages, fewer benefits, increased poverty, more dangerous workplaces and have no credible effect on job growth.
Audits of businesses for illegal immigrants rises
By Manuel Valdes, AP - WashingtonTimes.com
SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached its highest number yet of companies audited for illegal immigrants on their payrolls this past fiscal year.
Audits of employer I-9 forms increased from 250 in fiscal 2007 to more than 3,000 in fiscal 2012. From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million. The number of company managers arrested has increased to 238, according to data provided by ICE.
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Leaving the highly sensitive topic of "gun-control" aside for the time being, one can't help but wonder if it isn't time that the US government, seemingly hell-bent on regulating virtually everything in its quest to prove (to itself?) that America's population can no longer be trusted with making any responsible decisions on it own (and in the process becomingeven bigger), shouldn't be more focused on "fat-control" instead. Why? Because while guns may or may not kill people, the bottom line is that of the 32K or so death attributed to firearms, roughly 20K, or two thirds were suicides, meaning firearm-based homicides were 11,015 in 2010. Putting this number in perspective, every year some 935,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, and 600,000 people die from some form heart disease: 1 in every 4 deaths. Net result to society: the cost of coronary heart disease borne by everyone is $108.9 billion each year. And of all proximal factors contributing to heart disease, obesity and overweight is the main one.
NRA's Wayne LaPierre doubles down
on schools gun plan as anger rises Lobbyist holds his ground as Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence releases plea from parent of Sandy Hook survivor
By Karen McVeigh in New York - Guardian.co.uk
The National Rifle Association doubled down Sunday on its controversial push for armed guards to be stationed in every US school, despite anger among gun control advocates over the group's "tone deaf" proposals.
Responding to widespread condemnation of the lobbying group's press conference on Friday – which broke a week-long silence over the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut – Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive and executive vice president, refused to back down or enter into a new debate.
Gun enthusiasts pack shows to buy assault weapons
By Dave Warner Kevin Murphy
ALLENTOWN, Penn./KANSAS CITY, Missouri | Sat Dec 22, 2012
(Reuters) - Gun enthusiasts thronged to shows around the country on Saturday to buy assault weapons they fear will soon be outlawed after a massacre of school children in Connecticut prompted calls for tighter controls on firearms.
Reuters reporters went to gun shows in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas, and found long lines to get in the door, crowds around the dealer booths, a rush to buy assault weapons even at higher prices and some dealers selling out.
Sen. Feinstein suggests national buyback of guns
By Joel Gehrke - WashingtonExaminer.com
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that she and other gun control advocates are considering a law that would create a program to purchase weapons from gun owners, a proposal that could be compulsory.
"We are also looking at a buy-back program," Feinstein said todayin a press conference. "Now, again, this is a work in progress so these are ideas in the development."
New kind of magnetism discovered:
Experiments demonstrate 'quantum spin liquid' Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, MIT researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism.
by David Chandler - Phys.org
Ferromagnetism—the simple magnetism of a bar magnet or compass needle—has been known for centuries. In a second type of magnetism, antiferromagnetism, the magnetic fields of the ions within a metal or alloy cancel each other out. In both cases, the materials become magnetic only when cooled below a certain critical temperature. The prediction and discovery of antiferromagnetism—the basis for the read heads in today's computer hard disks—won Nobel Prizes in physics for Louis Neel in 1970 and for MIT professor emeritus Clifford Shull in 1994. "We're showing that there is a third fundamental state for magnetism," says MIT professor of physics Young Lee. The experimental work showing the existence of this new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), is reported this week in the journal Nature, with Lee as the senior author and Tianheng Han, who earned his PhD in physics at MIT earlier this year, as lead author.
'Container Cliff': East Coast Faces 'Devastating' Port Strike
By: Lori Ann LaRocco - CNBC.com
First came the "Fiscal Cliff." Now, get ready for the "Container Cliff."
The threat of a longshoremen's strike that could close 15 ports from Massachusetts to Texas—including the port of New York and New Jersey—has shipping industry leaders, manufacturers and retailers warning of a "devastating blow" to the supply chain.
Like the fiscal cliff in Washington, the deadline for an agreement between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and employers represented by the U.S. Marine Alliance is approaching fast—Dec. 29 to be exact.
What the Looming Port Strike Is Really About
By Michelle Malkin - PatriotPost.us
It's not about jobs. It's not about safety. It's not about improving dockworkers' living standards. The looming, long-planned East and Gulf Coast port strikes are about protecting Big Labor's archaic work practices and corrupt waterfront rackets.
Are you ready for a fiscal cliff? The union bosses of an estimated 14,500 workers at 15 ports are preparing to send the economy plunging back into recession over productivity and efficiency rules changes. You read that right. Much more on that in a moment. But first, here's what's at stake.
Congress completes $633B defense bill
BY DONNA CASSATA - CNSNews.com
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress sent President Barack Obama a $633 billion defense bill for next year that would tighten penalties on Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions and bulk up security at diplomatic missions worldwide after the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya.
The Senate voted 81-14 on Friday for the massive policy measure that covers the cost of ships, aircraft, weapons and military personnel. The vote came less than 24 hours after the House passed the bill, 315-107.
South Korea warns that North Korea
has developed rockets that can reach the US mainland
By David Piper - FOXNews.com
South Korean officials say analysis of debris from the latest North Korean rocket shows it has the ability to reach the US mainland.
At a news conference in Seoul on Sunday, Defense Ministry officials made the announcement after their experts looked at parts of the rocket that fell in the sea after Pyongyang's successful launch on Dec. 12.
They have only recovered part of the first stage of the rocket from the Yellow Sea off South Korea's West Coast.
Syrian airstrike kills at least 60 people
as international envoy visits
By Ben Hubbard - AP - WashingtonTimes.com
BEIRUT (AP) — A government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people on Sunday, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war.
The strike on the town of Halfaya left scattered bodies and debris up and down a street, and more than a dozen dead and wounded were trapped in tangled heap of dirt and rubble.
Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention Advisers deployed with surface-to-air systems bolster President Assad's defences and complicate outcome of any future strikes
By Julian Borger - The Guardian
Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria's more sophisticated air defences – something that would complicate any future US-led intervention, the Guardian has learned.
The advisers have been deployed with new surface-to-air systems and upgrades of old systems, which Moscow has supplied to the Assad regime since the Syrian revolution broke out 21 months ago.