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Obama uses summit to
turn up heat on republicans
Power Line, by Paul Mirengoff    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 6:02:41 AM     Post Reply
At the White House on Friday, President Obama apparently told the “summoned” that he wants Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to reach a deal on the income threshold for tax hikes along, I assume, with a few other partial “cliff” fixes. If they don’t reach a deal, Obama will have Reid call for a Senate vote on Obama’s plan to increase taxes on everyone earning $250,000 or more, plus an extension of expiring unemployment benefits. The idea is to apply pressure on McConnell to reach a deal in order to avoid a vote on Obama’s plan.

Forget The ´Dairy Cliff´ —
People Have Been Drinking Less
And Less Milk For The Last 30 Years
Business Insider, by Rob Wile    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/29/2012 5:55:31 AM     Post Reply
Among the many cliffs America faces on Jan. 1 is the "dairy cliff." That´s the scenario where Congress fails to pass a farm bill to extend agricultural subsidies, which in turn would cause milk prices to soar. But USDA data shows 2011 milk sales reached their lowest levels since 1984, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel´s Rick Barrett. In September, Barrett wrote that total U.S. beverage milk sales last year were 53 billion pounds - about 6 billion gallons, he reports. Plus, more than half of all adults no longer drink milk at all, data site Informa recently reported.

If the Japanese Diet Included Deer,
It Might Keep Wolves From the Door
Wall Street Journal, by Chester Dawson    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/29/2012 5:50:11 AM     Post Reply
BUNGO-ONO, Japan—For Yusuke Hashimoto, mayor of this small hamlet in southwestern Japan, desperate times call for desperate measures. The town is one of the country´s top producers of shiitake mushrooms, but they are also popular with local deer. And that´s the rub. "Deer are encroaching on farmers´ ability to make a living," said Mr. Hashimoto, who has become part of a growing movement to reinstate four-legged carnivores to control the herd. Japan´s last native canine—the extinct Canis lupus hodophilax—was killed off in 1905 as national policy. Bringing out a stack of books about wolf folklore, Mr. Hashimoto explained reintroducing wolves



Leave Thelma & Louise Alone
Atlantic, by Garance Franke-Ruta    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 5:43:27 AM     Post Reply
How´s this for cultural amnesia: Politico´s Jonathan Allen wrote this morning of fiscal cliff negotiations: "If they go over the cliff, they´ll do it together. But it won´t be some happy Thelma-and-Louise-style climax." Happy? Has anyone actually watched Thelma & Louise lately? The 1991 movie is about two women who go on the lam after one saves the other from an attempted rape by shooting the attacker. Convinced the police won´t believe them, they set out to drive to Mexico. But they don´t make it, and the film ends with the two driving off the edge of a cliff

USDA funding to trade groups like
Christmas tree growers raises eyebrows
Washington Guardian, by John Solomon    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 5:39:04 AM     Post Reply
Most Americans have never heard of the Risk Management Agency, but the obscure U.S. Agriculture Department office spreads good cheer and millions of dollars in grants each year to industry trade groups and universities in the name of promoting economic stability in the farming industry by reducing risk. Along the way, such well-oiled players as the $1 billion-a-year Christmas tree industry or the grape farmers who supply California’s booming winemakers have cashed in on the largesse. Even the lobby for prune growers got in on the action, scoring funds to teach its members how to better negotiate marketing contracts, records show.

Bronx woman, accused of scam
to solicit Newtown massacre
donations, also conned with
Hurricane Sandy charities
New York Daily News, by Chelsia Rose Marcus*    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 5:33:21 AM     Post Reply
The Bronx woman the feds accused of running a ghoulish online scam to profit off the Newtown school massacre also set up at least four charities to solicit donations after Hurricane Sandy. Nouel Alba, 37, was also accused online of impersonating a relative of a second Newtown victim. There was no sign of her on Friday as federal agents raided her home, removing two boxes of possible paper evidence and three smaller packages. The search came a day after she was busted for posing as the aunt of Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old

Obama Orders Pay Raise
for Biden, Members
of Congress, Federal Workers
Weekly Standard, by Daniel Halper    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/29/2012 5:25:37 AM     Post Reply
President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden. According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he´ll now make $231,900 per year. Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase. Here´s the list of new wages,



Fiscal Cliff Diving.
American Spectator, by Peter Ferrara    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 5:19:57 AM     Post Reply
Remember your high school civics, when your teacher explained the process for passing federal legislation in Washington? First the Speaker of the House goes to ask permission to pass proposed legislation from the Emperor in the White House. If the Speaker does not get the Emperor’s approval before trying to pass a bill, then he is just wasting everyone’s time. Further, if the Senate does not agree with what the House has passed, the Senate Majority Leader can just say the magic incantation, “Dead on Arrival,” and the Speaker of the House skips town. Wait — that’s not what the Constitution says.

Don’t Tread on Six-toed Cats
National Review Online, by Jonah Goldberg    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 5:12:46 AM     Post Reply
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to work harder to persuade ideological friends and foes alike that the way to reduce partisanship and maximize happiness in America is to embrace federalism — the view that we should push as many decisions as possible to the lowest local level feasible. (Snip)For instance, consider the case of Ernest Hemingway’s six-toed cats. According to legend, the writer was given a polydactyl (six-toed) feline named Snowball. Under a deadline, I could not determine whether Snowball was in fact male or female, but assuming he was a he, Snowball managed to overcome the limitations

Farewell, stormin’ norman
New York Post, by Editorial    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/29/2012 5:07:22 AM     Post Reply
It was perhaps inevitable that the first-ever war broadcast live on TV would produce an outsize media hero like its commander, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf. But the four-star general, who died Thursday at 78, was no creation of the media — though he was a natural in front of the cameras. He was, instead, a battle-hardened, highly decorated combat veteran and a brilliant tactician who resisted the impulse of too many other generals to play politician. Never before had America enjoyed such a stunning military success as the air and land assault that drove Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait.

Why Neil Abercrombie
bucked Daniel Inouye pick
Politico, by Seung Min Kim    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 4:57:30 AM     Post Reply
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s decision to buck the dying wish of legendary Sen. Daniel Inouye and install his own No. 2, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, as the state’s soon-to-be senior senator may be less surprising than it seems. Abercrombie and Inouye were not allies. In fact, their two-decade relationship in Congress was marked by rifts — most notably over Inouye’s encouragement of a primary challenger to Abercrombie in the 2010 governor’s race. Abercrombie and Schatz were running mates in that same election.



David Dewhurst campaign
says aide stole at least $600,000
Dallas Morning News, by Terrence Stutz    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 4:53:48 AM     Post Reply
AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign manager is under criminal scrutiny, suspected of stealing at least $600,000 — and possibly more than $1 million — from the Republican’s political accounts over the past several years. Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, a longtime GOP consultant who most recently managed Dewhurst’s failed run for the U.S. Senate, has been accused of falsifying documents to the Texas Ethics Commission that overstated the cash in Dewhurst’s state campaign committee by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Barfield, who also directed Dewhurst’s re-election campaign for lieutenant governor in 2010, did not return calls to his cellphone Thursday.

Obama Emerges, Promises
Three More Days of Posturing
Hot Air, by Bryan Preston    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 4:47:58 AM     Post Reply
Saying that he is “modestly optimistic,” President Obama emerged this evening to call the afternoon meeting at the White House between himself and Congressional leaders “constructive.” Obama said that Senate leaders Reid and McConnell will try reaching a deal on the cliff, and if they cannot, he wants an up or down vote in the House and the Senate on a slimmed down deal that preserves current tax rates on the middle class. The Republican House tried moving just such a deal last week, but failed on the fact that tax rates would still go up

US Budget for Dummies
Hot Air, by Jazz Shaw    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 4:39:59 AM     Post Reply
From my inbox, submitted without comment. * U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000 * Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000 * New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000 * National debt: $14,271,000,000,000 * Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000 Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget: * Annual family income: $21,700 * Money the family spent: $38,200 * New debt on the credit card: $16,500 * Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710 * Total budget cuts so far: $38.50

Questions for Gun Controllers
National Review Online, by Rich Lowry    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/29/2012 4:34:40 AM     Post Reply
In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a call has gone up for a conversation about our gun laws. To that end, here are questions for advocates of gun control who are pushing for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, among other new restrictions, to address school shootings. What’s the functional difference between an assault weapon and a semiautomatic rifle? You do understand that the answer is “nothing”? An assault weapon is not an automatic weapon. It is semiautomatic like most guns now sold in the United States, i.e., it fires every time the trigger is pulled.



Obama picks his favourite
photos of himself for 2012
(not that he likes to show off)
Daily Mail (UK), by Helen Pow    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/29/2012 3:19:53 AM     Post Reply
What with a Presidential election, two severe hurricanes, multiple mass shootings and a fiscal cliff, it has been a busy year for Barack Obama. But at every twist and turn, his decisions, reactions and emotions have been captured in photographs. Now, as 2012 comes to a close, the President has pulled together a collection of his favourite pictures for the year and posted them to the White House Facebook page for America to enjoy. Many of the images of the world´s most photographed man were taken at campaign rallies. Others were shot during down time,

Woman, 24, ´bought firearms
for gunman´ in Christmas Eve
firefighter ambush as survivors
reveal killer bragged of
bludgeoning grandma to death with
hammer because she wouldn´t
give him drug money
Daily Mail (UK), by Helen Pow    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/29/2012 3:13:06 AM     Post Reply
A 24-year-old woman has been arrested for buying the assault rifle used to murder two innocent firefighters on Christmas Eve, on behalf of the killer. Dawn Nguyen of Rochester, New York, was a former neighbor of William Spengler, 62, who shot dead firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka in a shocking ambush as they responded to a house fire he started early Monday morning.Three other people were wounded before Spengler killed himself. According to police, Nguyen purchased the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun on behalf of Spengler, a convicted felon who was barred from possessing weapons,

Fiscal cliff stumble could doom
California´s budget recovery
Sacramento Bee, by Kevin Yamamura    Original Article
Posted By: beancounter- 12/29/2012 2:02:35 AM     Post Reply
Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers struck an upbeat tone in recent weeks as they enjoyed their most positive budget outlook since the economic downturn. Whether that mood survives the winter depends on Washington. State budget experts say the biggest immediate threat to California finances is a recession triggered by automatic federal cuts and tax hikes, absent a political deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." The state´s biggest federal program, Medi-Cal, is spared from automatic cuts. But a new recession could threaten the state tax revenue that serves as the lifeblood for California government. "A lot of it relies

Jean Harris, "Scarsdale Diet"
doctor killer, dies
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/29/2012 1:40:45 AM     Post Reply
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -Jean Harris, the patrician girls´ school headmistress who spent 12 years in prison for the 1980 killing of her longtime lover, "Scarsdale Diet" doctor Herman Tarnower, in a case that rallied feminists and inspired television movies, has died. She was 89. Harris died Sunday at an assisted-living facility in New Haven, her son, James Harris, said Friday. She had claimed the shooting of Tarnower, 69, was an accident. Convicted of murder in 1981, Harris suffered two heart attacks while serving her sentence in the Bedford Hills women´s prison north of New York City.

Pentagon, defense industry
brace for looming spending cuts
Fox News, by Molly Henneberg    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/29/2012 1:32:53 AM     Post Reply
With Washington so far unable to avert the looming fiscal crisis, much of the attention has been on the more than $500 billion in tax hikes set to take effect Jan. 1. But failure to strike a deal also means the first wave of roughly $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will hit starting next month. Of that, about $492 billion will be carved out of the Pentagon over the next decade -- that´s about $55 billion a year starting in 2013. It was a scenario so dire that for months Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had claimed his department


Special provisions allow ‘Fast
and Furious’ gunrunning
lawsuit to continue
Washington Times, by Jerry Seper    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/29/2012 12:19:34 AM     Post Reply
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised on Friday the inclusion of special provisions in the proposed 113th Congress rules package that will keep in place legal obligations on Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and others at the Justice Department as a result of “Fast and Furious” subpoenas issued in the 112th Congress. The inclusion in the House rules will allow a civil lawsuit, authorized by a bipartisan vote of the House in July 2012, to continue. Without the provisions, the Justice Department could have argued

Senate leaders hopeful for
last-minute ‘fiscal cliff’ deal
Washington Times, by Stephen Dinan and Dave Boyer    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/29/2012 12:17:27 AM     Post Reply
The top Democrat and Republican in the Senate emerged from a meeting at the White House Friday evening to say they are hopeful they can strike a last-minute deal to avert the tax increases and spending cuts looming in less than four days. “What we come up with is going to be imperfect,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told his colleagues on the chamber floor. He, Sen. Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met with President Obama for a little more than an hour, and the two Senate leaders said

Gun sales surge in
Virginia after Newtown
Washington Post, by Justin Jouvenal    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/29/2012 12:15:05 AM     Post Reply
Gun sales have surged in the region and across the nation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as enthusiasts rush to buy firearms they fear will be outlawed by a fresh push for gun control. Gun dealers requested nearly 5,150 background checks on purchasers in Virginia eight days after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. — the largest number ever in a single day, Virginia State Police said. And in the days since, the daily number of background checks has regularly doubled corresponding totals from the previous year. In Maryland, State Police project

Agreement within reach on
‘fiscal cliff’ deal, officials say
Washington Post, by Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/29/2012 12:12:36 AM     Post Reply
President Obama and Senate leaders were on the verge of an agreement Friday that would let taxes rise on the wealthiest households while protecting the vast majority of Americans from historic tax hikes set to hit in January. The development marked a breakthrough after weeks of paralysis. After meeting with Obama at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said they would work through the weekend in hopes of drafting a “fiscal cliff” package they could present to their colleagues on Sunday afternoon.

Argentine labour leader files
complaint against officials for
last week’s extended looting
MercoPress [Montevideo, Uruguay], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: PageTurner- 12/28/2012 11:32:37 PM     Post Reply
The head of Argentina’s organized labour, Hugo Moyano filed a complaint before a federal criminal court against cabinet chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina and Security Secretary Sergio Berni who openly and repeatedly accused the teamsters leader of being behind the extended rioting and looting of last week when four people were killed, hundreds injured and arrested and left millions of dollars in damages. The complaint accuses the defendants of “violence instigation” and “false claims” when they stated that the teamsters union of Moyano and the gastronomic workers union of

Chávez appreciates loyalty
of the Venezuelan army
El Universal [Caracas, Venezuela], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: PageTurner- 12/28/2012 11:28:38 PM     Post Reply
Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro read over on Friday a greeting message to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB). The message was sent by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez from Havana, Cuba, where he is recovering from a cancer surgery. Joined by the high military command and top leaders of ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Maduro claimed to be fully subordinate to the Venezuelan leader and proceeded to read out the message. In there, Chávez appreciates the army loyalty "at this very complex and difficult time."

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