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Never-before-seen photos
from the ´It´s a Wonderful
Life´ snow-covered set
Fox News, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/25/2012 6:14:51 AM     Post Reply
Many hope for snow on Christmas. Frank Capra demanded it. The “It’s a Wonderful Life” director wouldn’t settle for the fake snow other movies of 1940s typically used to create a winter set. He wanted real snow for his Christmas classic. The above never-before-seen photos from LIFE.com show the set of the 1946 flick, which used a revolutionary new technique to create more realistic snow. The artificial snow created for the film was costly, but it blanketed the fictional town of Bedford Falls and changed how snow would be depicted in holiday movies to come.

Jack Klugman, 1922-2012,
Creator of Iconic TV Types
Slate, by June Thomas    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/25/2012 6:03:37 AM     Post Reply
In his long acting career, Jack Klugman, who died on Christmas Eve aged 90, created two iconic TV types that have now become stock characters. In the 1970-75 small-screen adaptation of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, he played a jerk who was also the show’s most lovable character. As Oscar Madison, Klugman channeled a bear trapped in a tiny Manhattan apartment with Tony Randall’s mosquito of a neatnik, Felix Unger. No matter how slobbish and inconsiderate Oscar might be, Klugman’s winning smile—and Oscar’s extraordinary patience with Felix’s uptight ways—made it impossible to dislike him.

Ship crew held for 1,000 days
rescued off coast of Yemen
CNN, by Catherine E. Shoichet & Neda Farshbaf    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 5:55:03 AM     Post Reply
They were trapped at sea for 1,000 days, held on their own ship by Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen. A petition pushing for their release described hostages huddled in tight spaces aboard the MV Iceberg 1, given only rice and water to survive. Conditions were so harsh on the ship that one member of the 24-person crew reportedly committed suicide by jumping overboard. Another was killed by pirates. Over the weekend, troops from the Puntland Maritime Police Force rescued the 22 hostages remaining on the Panama-flagged vessel, ending the longest time anyone has been held hostage by pirates,

  


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Obama Playing Chicken
With Economic Disaster
Townhall, by Kevin Glass    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 5:48:18 AM     Post Reply
Many progressive reporters and bloggers have been pushing the idea that going over the fiscal cliff into January will have very little effect on the economy and will actually help President Obama achieve his legislative goals. Indeed, Republican Sen. Barrasso hypothesized that President Obama was "eager" to go over the cliff. Unfortunately, going over the fiscal cliff has real economic effects, and the progressives who are claiming otherwise are irresponsibly pushing the country to unnecessary economic pain. "If it lasts three weeks, I´m pretty sure we get a recession out of it," Princeton University economist

Simply Christmas
American Spectator, by Quin Hillyer    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/25/2012 5:42:10 AM     Post Reply
Sometimes it’s easy to strive too hard to find new meanings in the old familiar Christmas story. The symbology is in some senses profound but also so obvious, and in some ways so simple, that it can seem hackneyed, especially in our modern, jaded world. The impulse is either to give mere lip service to the Christmas message or, for those with a different cast of mind, to try to complicate it in search of some great new insight. In the latter frame of mind, I found myself writing this, based on a visit on location earlier this month….

Court filings surge in FOIA
cases during Obama years
Washington Times, by Dave Boyer    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/25/2012 5:31:30 AM     Post Reply
A study has found that more federal court complaints were filed during the first term of the Obama administration to force the government to abide by the Freedom of Information Act than were filed against the administration of President George W. Bush in his second term. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University said the FOIA filings in the last two years of Mr. Bush’s second term and the last two years of Mr. Obama’s first term showed a jump of 28 percent — from 562 to 720.

America’s Greatest Christmas Classic
National Review Online, by Rich Lowry    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 5:25:40 AM     Post Reply
America’s classic Christmas song was written by a Jewish immigrant. Born in Russia with the name Israel Baline, he was the genius songwriter we know as Irving Berlin. He wrote “White Christmas” for the 1942 Hollywood musical Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. On set, the movie’s hit number was presumed to be another Berlin composition, the Valentine’s Day song “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” At first, it was. Then “White Christmas” captured the public’s imagination, and it hasn’t quite loosed its grip since.

  


  

Yule be glad you waited to shop
New York Post, by John Crudele    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 5:20:38 AM     Post Reply
Look around your Christmas gathering today and spot the person who showed up without gifts. Now decide whether this person is: 1) a cheapskate 2) too busy and important for the mundane things in life 3) broke and not about to go into debt to buy something people don’t need anyway 4) believes it’s better to receive than give, or 5) he is one of the growing number of people who shop after Christmas and, essentially, give their friends and relatives verbal IOUs today: “Sorry, Mom, I just couldn’t get to the store. I’ll take care of ya later.”

Blues Cruise
New York Magazine, by Joe Hagan    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 5:09:00 AM     Post Reply
The whole thing was white, and broken, that much was clear. A week after the presidential election, when the dreams of Republicans were dashed with President Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney, we were snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean. In the distance was a shipwreck. “You could make out the pieces of it,” said Ralph Reed, the right-wing political operator who had bolstered the Evangelical Christian vote for Romney. “It was deep and murky.” Jonah Goldberg, the National Review contributor and author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left,

Edward M. Kennedy Jr.
will not run for Senate
Boston Globe, by Mark Arsenault    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/25/2012 5:00:19 AM     Post Reply
The decision by Edward M. Kennedy Jr. on Monday to pass on a run for US Senate in Massachusetts in 2013 eliminates one of the few Democrats with the star power to ward off serious challengers within his own party, increasing the odds of a tough Democratic primary fight that could damage the eventual nominee. Three Democratic congressmen, Edward Markey of Malden, Michael Capuano of Somerville, and Stephen Lynch of South Boston, have signaled interest in running for the Senate in a special election, for a seat expected to open

We all can be George Bailey
Hot Air, by Ed Morrissey    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 4:56:08 AM     Post Reply
Salena Zito reminds us that the true message of Christmas isn’t how many presents we get under the tree – nor how many we give, for that matter. Just as George Bailey lent his neighbors a real helping hand in It’s a Wonderful Life, we all can find ways to do the same — every day: Today is as good a day as any to think about how you conduct your own life. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of responding with an angry gesture, just smile and wave.

  


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Pakistan´s loneliest church celebrates
Christmas in Taliban country
Reuters, by Mehreen Zahra-Malik    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 4:50:50 AM     Post Reply
SOUTH WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan-This Christmas, pastor Nazir Alam will stoke up a fire, lay a fresh cloth on the altar and welcome parishioners as they arrive at his church in Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area known as an al-Qaeda haven. "The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best," said 60-year-old Alam, a former missionary who has celebrated his last ten Christmases there. "There´s not much left to do but to pray and rejoice." Outsiders might see little cause for joy. Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for minorities,

Half the Facts You
Know Are Probably Wrong
Reason Magazine, by Ronald Bailey    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 4:47:12 AM     Post Reply
Dinosaurs were cold-blooded. Increased K-12 spending and lower pupil/teacher ratios boost public school student outcomes. Most of the DNA in the human genome is junk. Saccharin causes cancer and a high fiber diet prevents it. Stars cannot be bigger than 150 solar masses. In the past half-century, all of the foregoing facts have turned out to be wrong. In the modern world facts change all of the time, according to Samuel Arbesman, author of the new book The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (Current). Fact-making is speeding up, writes Arbesman,

Earth First Journal
Assassination Hit List
PJ Media, by J. Christian Adams    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2012 4:41:21 AM     Post Reply
The latest newsletter from the environmentalist group Earth First! Journal contains a curious topic — assassinations. In fact, the newsletter conveniently provides the names, addresses and phone numbers of the assassination targets. Naturally, none of this is to be taken seriously, the environmentalists tell us. From the newsletter: Let us say clearly, this is not a call to undertake assassinations of the elite scum who are pillaging the planet and enslaving the populace — but not because we think that is a bad idea. And it’s also not because we think killing CEOs and lobbyists is negative PR either.

Charles Durning, Oscar-
nominated king of the character
actors, dies at 89 in NYC
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/25/2012 3:05:39 AM     Post Reply
LOS ANGELES — Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died Monday at his home in New York City. He was 89. Durning’s longtime agent and friend Judith Moss told The Associated Press that he died Monday of natural causes in his home in the borough of Manhattan. Although he portrayed everyone from blustery public officials to comic foils to put-upon everymen, Durning may be best remembered by movie audiences for his Oscar-nominated, over-the-top role

  


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Christians flock to Bethlehem
to mark Jesus´ birth,
as pope presides over
Vatican Mass
Fox News, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/25/2012 2:44:00 AM     Post Reply
VATICAN CITY – Despite the tension and violence that shook the Holy Land this year, Christians from around the world flocked to Manger Square in Bethlehem on Monday to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the ancient West Bank town where he was born. Others traveled to Vatican City, where Pope Benedict XVI had lit a Christmas peace candle set on the windowsill of his private studio. Pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered below in St. Peter´s Square for the inauguration Monday evening of a Nativity scene and cheered when the flame was lit.

Piers Morgan Deportation
Petition Reaches 49,000
Signatures, White House
Must Respond
Mediaite, by Anjali Sareen    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/25/2012 2:27:17 AM     Post Reply
The petition to deport CNN host Piers Morgan for his recent comments on gun control has reached over 49,000 signatures as of this posting, which will force the White House to respond. The petition, created Friday, needed 25,000 signatures within 30 days for the White House to take action and it’s reached far more than that in a mere three days. In case you missed it, the petition called for Morgan to be deported for his “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution.” Gun advocates are angry about Morgan’s comments calling for increased gun legislation in America and are accusing him

A ´dad´ is tenth most popular
Christmas list request for children
Telegraph [UK], by Hannah Furness    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/25/2012 2:17:34 AM     Post Reply
When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats. But a survey of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting "a dad" instead. A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer. A "pet horse" was the third most popular choice, with a "car" making a bizarre entry at number four.

No Easy Route if Assad Opts
to Go, or to Stay, in Syria
New York Times, by Ann Barnard and Hwaida Saad    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 12/25/2012 12:43:12 AM     Post Reply
BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria sits in his mountaintop palace as the tide of war licks at the cliffs below. Explosions bloom over the Damascus suburbs. His country is plunging deeper into chaos. The United Nations’ top envoy for the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, met with Mr. Assad in the palace on Monday in an urgent effort to resolve the nearly two-year-old conflict. (Snip) From his hilltop, Mr. Assad can gaze toward several possible futures.

Remembering what
matters on Christmas Eve
Chicago Tribune, by John Kass    Original Article
Posted By: Piercentire- 12/24/2012 11:38:25 PM     Post Reply
For all the children who should be loved always, but especially on this wondrous night, with our arms around them and a long good-night kiss on the temple, a kiss more precious than anything wrapped in a box. For all the parents who linger in the doorways of the bedrooms, watching the sleeping shapes. For all the babies who aren't loved and have been forgotten, and who may grow up with a hard crust around their hearts because someone didn't plant those kisses and give those hugs. For every couple who adopts a child to save a life. For every young woman who has given up her child for adoption to

  



Pakistan-Haqqani ties
threaten to thwart U.S.
Washington Times, by Ashish Kumar Sen    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 12/24/2012 11:15:46 PM     Post Reply
Western officials and analysts say U.S. and U.N. pressure is failing to persuade Pakistan to cut its ties to a terrorist network whose attacks coalition forces fear could complicate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network, based in Pakistan’s northwest region, receives financial and logistical support from Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Western officials say. (Snip) “Although the relationship with ISI is not always smooth, it is also unlikely the Haqqanis would survive if the Pakistani state turned against them,” the report says.

Pet pantries make sure
furry friends don´t go hungry
Detroit Free Press, by Christina Hall    Original Article
Posted By: Ribicon- 12/24/2012 10:50:54 PM     Post Reply
Elizabeth DeMasellis´ family is like many in metro Detroit -- living paycheck to paycheck. There are bills to pay and diapers to buy. Sometimes, when money gets tight, food for the family´s furry friend Zoe, a boxer-beagle mix, is stretched a little, or she gets a hot dog. That is, until three months ago, when the 30-year-old Milford mother of three learned she could get dog food at Community Sharing Outreach Center in Highland Township, which she has visited for clothing and food for her family. Since then, DeMasellis has gotten free bags of dog food — keeping Zoe´s belly

West Milford mystery: How was
atheist billboard destroyed?
The Record [Hackensack, NJ], by Jeff Green    Original Article
Posted By: Ribicon- 12/24/2012 8:55:19 PM     Post Reply
West Milford ­— An atheist group’s billboard displayed in front of Town Hall was destroyed early Sunday morning, but police said it is impossible to know whether the cause was vandalism or mother nature. A township resident posted the sign last week in protest of the Township Council’s decision allowing all religious symbols to be displayed on public property. The billboard, featuring a Nativity Scene and the Three Wise Men in the background, read: "You KNOW it’s a myth; this season, celebrate REASON!" On Sunday, the resident, Gary Steele, said he found the 2-by-9-foot billboard ripped to

Turkey lifts objection
to Israel-NATO cooperation
Reuters, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 12/24/2012 8:48:22 PM     Post Reply
Ankara - Turkey has given approval for Israel to participate in non-military NATO activities in 2013, withdrawing an earlier objection driven by an ongoing dispute between the former regional allies, a Turkish official said on Monday. Relations between Israel and what was once its only Muslim ally crumbled after Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists on board. The rift has continued despite US efforts to encourage a rapprochement between the two regional powers

Aides Ready To Postpone
Swearing-In Of Chávez
New York Times, by William Neuman    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 12/24/2012 8:33:17 PM     Post Reply
Caracas, Venezuela — Aides to President Hugo Chávez, who is recuperating from cancer surgery in Cuba, say they will postpone Mr. Chavez’s inauguration, now set for Jan. 10, if he is too ill to return to Venezuela to begin his new term. Opposition politicians and commentators have said that if Mr. Chávez is not in Venezuela to be sworn in on that date, a constitutional provision would kick in requiring that a new election be held within 30 days. But government officials loyal to Mr. Chávez have forcefully rejected that notion and said the swearing-in could take place

Group Says Gaza Palestinians
Violated Laws of War
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 12/24/2012 8:24:38 PM     Post Reply
Gaza militants violated laws of war by launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians during last month´s fighting, Human Rights Watch said in a release Monday. The Israeli military said 1,500 rockets were fired at Israel during the eight-day offensive against Gaza militants, including the first rockets from the Gaza Strip to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas. (Snip) "Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at the New York-based rights group. "There is simply no legal justification for launching

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