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Congressional staffers often travel
on tabs of foreign governments
Washington Post, by T.W. Farnum    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 2/18/2013 4:56:07 AM     Post Reply
About a dozen congressional staffers flew business class on a trip to China last summer and stayed at luxury hotels while touring the Great Wall and the Forbidden City and receiving a “briefing on ancient artifacts and dynasties” at the Shanghai Museum. The all-expenses-paid visit came courtesy of China. The Chinese government hosted a day of meetings with officials in Beijing followed by eight days packed with outings to destinations often frequented by tourists along with a stop at a missile frigate and two others related to national security — the official theme of the trip.

Welcome to Debt Anonymous:
Why America Needs to Act Now
Daily Beast, by Mark McKinnon    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 2/18/2013 4:52:04 AM     Post Reply
“If we are worried about health-care costs in the year 2025, why do we have to worry about it now?” So said the king of the debt-deniers, economist Paul Krugman, last week on Morning Joe. Wow. We don’t have a spending problem like an alcoholic doesn’t have a drinking problem. “Our nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path.” That was the opening line in “The Moment of Truth” report delivered to President Obama more than two years ago by his own fiscal commission, when the nation’s publicly held debt was $9 trillion, or about 63 percent

Rubio Raises More Than $100,000
Off Water Bottle Incident
ABC News, by Arlette Saenz    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 2/18/2013 4:40:46 AM     Post Reply
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has hauled in some serious cash since his water sipping moment Tuesday during the Republican response to the State of the Union. Reclaim America, Rubio’s PAC, has raised more than $100,000 by selling more than 3,450 water bottles since Wednesday, a source close to Rubio confirmed to ABC News. The white water bottles, which bear the name “RUBIO” in bright red letters, come with a minimum donation of $25. “Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you … he hydrates you too,” the donation request read. Late night comedians have spoofed

  


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Column: Our collective
obsession with the trivial
Associated Press, by Liz Sidoti    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 2/18/2013 4:34:13 AM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON -- Persistently high unemployment. A sluggish economy. Debt. Deficit. Obesity. Fundamental disputes over guns, immigration and the climate. A to-do list that would exhaust even the most vigorous multitasker. A meteor in Russia, even. Yet what created one of the buzziest brouhahas in America last week? Florida Sen. Marco Rubio´s inopportune sip of water on live TV. Enormous challenges pack the nation´s plate, but this country just can´t seem to get enough of the small stuff. It sometimes feels as if the collective obsession with the trivial is drowning out significant moments and overshadowing important debate.

´There´s battle lines being drawn ...´
Morning Journal [Lorain, OH], by Tom Skoch    Original Article
Posted By: Harlowe- 2/18/2013 12:57:22 AM     Post Reply
Here’s a riddle, but it’s not funny, and I’m almost afraid to contemplate the answer: What do you get when you cross aggressive government attempts to strip citizens of their Second Amendment rights with at least 65 million American gun owners, who have just bought roughly 65 million more guns in only the last four years? Let’s just say, “trouble” could be a euphemism for an answer. (Snip) Why are our government “servants” — elected and otherwise — trying to criminalize law-abiding taxpayers with confiscatory and unconstitutional laws and regulations?

Corruption scandal shocks,
saddens metro law enforcement
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Bill Torpy *    Original Article
Posted By: Ribicon- 2/17/2013 11:53:55 PM     Post Reply
All eight Forest Park police sergeants were called to the department Tuesday for routine training. Victor Middlebrook and Andrew Monroe, two solid officers recently promoted to sergeant, were teamed up and told to head to their training station. They then walked into a room filled with federal agents and their boss, Chief Dwayne Hobbs, who was having one of the worst days of his 40-year career. The two sergeants were being arrested, accused of being part of a group of Atlanta area officers who allegedly served as bodyguards for agents posing as drug dealers. Hobbs was flummoxed when federal

“Huge problems” plague Georgia
WIC program, cost taxpayers millions
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Rhonda Cook *    Original Article
Posted By: Ribicon- 2/17/2013 11:45:51 PM     Post Reply
A federal program that provides food for low-income women and their children is so badly mismanaged in Georgia that state taxpayers could be slammed with a $20 million penalty. Systemic problems in the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, commonly know as WIC, have allowed stores to charge the government outrageous prices for basic commodities such as milk, according to a review of state and federal records by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The situation is so dire that federal officials want Georgia to stop approving new stores as WIC vendors until the state gets its act together.

  


  

‘Downton Abbey,’ Season 3
Finale: TV Recap
Wall Street Journal, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 2/17/2013 11:03:26 PM     Post Reply
The gods of Downton Abbey seem to require a sacrifice after every birth. A few weeks ago we lost Sybil and tonight we lose Matthew. This episode originally aired in the U.K. on Christmas, but there isn’t much holiday spirit. It actually takes place a year after the last episode’s cricket match. Young Sybil is becoming a toddler. First, the happy news. It’s a boy for Mary and Matthew; the earldom is secured. The young family shares a tender moment before Matthew drives home to Downton from the hospital. He meets a tragic end when his car

2 Senate Opponents Vow
To End Bid to Block Hagel
New York Times, by Ravi Somaiya    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 11:01:30 PM     Post Reply
Two of the most outspoken Republican critics of Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense indicated Sunday that they would no longer hold up his Senate confirmation. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Fox News Sunday that he would stand aside because Mr. Hagel had disavowed comments that he was said to have made (Snip) “I don’t believe he is qualified,” Mr. McCain said. “But I don’t believe that we should hold up his nomination any further because I think it’s a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered.”

Merrick Wins a Tournament
He Grew Up Watching
New York Times, by Karen Crouse    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 2/17/2013 10:51:31 PM     Post Reply
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — From the tee box, the 10th hole at Riviera Country Club looks like another vanilla par 4 on the PGA Tour, a 315-yard test that is no match for today’s generation of swashbuckling players. The hole, and the player who tamed it to win the Northern Trust Open, are proof that looks can be deceiving. Before Sunday, John Merrick might have been hard for the average golf fan to pick out in a threesome waiting to tee off. Merrick, 30, has pleasant looks and a pleasant demeanor, and in his first six years until this year on the tour, his results were perfectly pleasant:

How Europe Bankrolls Terror
New York Times, by Nasser Weddady    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 10:46:18 PM     Post Reply
When northern Mali fell to terrorists and foreign militants last April, a debate began over the causes of the country’s chaotic collapse. Many argued that it was a direct byproduct of NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya, which sent thousands of well-armed men across the Sahara to Mali. Others pointed to Mali’s internal corruption and ethnic divisions. But little was said about the most important factor: Europeans have knowingly bankrolled Islamist radicals with ransom payments since at least 2003. Sixteen years before the 9/11 attacks, the United States sold Iran weapons indirectly in the hopes of freeing American

  


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Country singer Mindy McCready
dead of apparent suicide
USA TODAY, by Brian Mansfield and Bill Welch    Original Article
Posted By: bamapreacher- 2/17/2013 10:38:23 PM     Post Reply
Mindy McCready, a country singer better known recently for her ongoing personal troubles than for her string of late-´90s hits, died Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in her Arkansas home, the Cleburne County sheriff said. Sheriff Marty Moss said his office received a call to the McCready home around 3:30 p.m. local time in Heber Springs, Ark., west of Memphis and north of Little Rock. "Ms. McCready is deceased from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,´´ Moss told USA TODAY. He said officers found McCready at the scene.

Obama Faces Risks in Pipeline Decision
New York Times, by John M. Broder & Clifford Krauss *    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 10:34:54 PM     Post Reply
President Obama faces a knotty decision in whether to approve the much-delayed Keystone oil pipeline: a choice between alienating environmental advocates who overwhelmingly supported his candidacy or causing a deep and perhaps lasting rift with Canada. Canada, the United States’ most important trading partner and a close ally on Iran and Afghanistan, is counting on the pipeline to propel more growth in its oil patch, a vital engine for its economy. (Snip) They discussed the Keystone pipeline project, among other subjects, and Mr. Kerry promised a fair, transparent and prompt decision.

Bomb Attacks Kill at Least 37 in Iraq
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 10:15:03 PM     Post Reply
Baghdad - Car bombs tore through shopping areas within minutes of each other in mainly Shiite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital Sunday, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 100. The attacks come amid rising sectarian discord in Iraq and appear aimed at shaking Iraqis´ confidence in the Shiite-led government. The explosions struck at the start of the local workweek and primarily targeted outdoor markets. (Snip) The attacks began with the detonation of a parked car loaded with explosives in the sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City on Sunday morning.

Official results show Correa
winning Ecuador presidential election
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 10:02:46 PM     Post Reply
Quito, Ecuador – President Rafael Correa, a dynamic leftist who has championed Ecuador´s lower classes with generous social spending but faced wide rebuke as intolerant of dissent, coasted to a second re-election on Sunday. Correa won 56.7 percent of the vote against 24 percent for his closest challenger, former Banco de Guayaquil chief Guillermo Lasso, with 36 percent of the vote counted. So confident was Correa of victory that he appeared on state TV less than an hour after polls closed, hugging jubilant supporters at the Carondelet presidential palace.

  


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New details emerge in
Pistorius murder case
CBS News, by Kelly Cobiella    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 2/17/2013 9:51:44 PM     Post Reply
London - CBS News has learned police believe Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, was in her nightgown in the bedroom when she was first shot. She slept in the same bed as Pistorius, police said. She then ran to the bathroom and locked herself inside, where she was shot in the head, hand and arm. Pistorius reportedly broke through the bathroom door and carried his dying girlfriend down the stairs. Oscar Pistorius, famous for overcoming odds as a double-amputee to compete in the Olympics, was charged Thursday with murdering his girlfriend.

Penn State Dance Marathon
raises record $12.37M
Associated Press, by CHRISTINA GALLAGHER    Original Article
Posted By: ragu- 2/17/2013 7:42:48 PM     Post Reply
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A 46-hour, no-sitting-or-sleeping-allowed dance marathon at Penn State raised more than $12.37 million for pediatric cancer research and care, shattering last year´s record-breaking total by nearly $1.7 million. The announcement delivered by student organizers to more than 700 dancers and thousands of volunteers, along with cancer patients and their families, concluded the weekend-long IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon at 4 p.m. Sunday. The event commonly known as "THON" is billed as the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Counting Sunday´s total, students have now raised more than $100 million for the Four Diamonds Fund

Eating fast food regularly has
the same impact on the liver
as hepatitis, study finds
Daily Mail [UK], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 2/17/2013 7:37:25 PM     Post Reply
A new study shows that regularly eating fast food isn´t just bad for your waistline, it can also damage your liver in ways that are surprisingly similar to hepatitis. The results were revealed on the television program, ´The Doctors,´ where it was found that even just a month of eating fast food can cause significant changes to your liver. French fries in particular were dangerous because of the extra ingredients added. ´We know that they are adding salt, and cooking it in fat, but they´re also putting sugar on them too. Why sugar? Because it helps get them golden crispy

Obama plays golf with love cheat
Tiger Woods on boys´ weekend
(what does Michelle think of that?)
Daily Mail [UK], by David McCormack, Meghan Keneally    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 2/17/2013 7:18:14 PM     Post Reply
President Obama played golf with Tiger Woods on Sunday as he took a break from work during President´s Day weekend. The unexpected golf pairing came as the President enjoys a ´boy´s weekend´ away from his wife and daughters, making his decision to spend the afternoon with one of the world´s most notorious philanderers even more pointed. Though it would be an intimidating round--undoubtedly for both parties--Mr Obama warmed up on Saturday by playing with Woods´ former coach Butch Harmon. After getting pointers from Harmon, Mr Obama must have been feeling good about his game as he played with the Masters´

Democratic voter fraud cases
become ammo for Virginia GOP
Washington Examiner [DC], by Steve Contorno & Andy Brownfield    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 2/17/2013 7:03:16 PM     Post Reply
Well-publicized instances of attempted voter fraud by high-profile Democrats in Virginia and Maryland have helped Republican lawmakers make a case for tougher voting requirements. In Virginia, Patrick Moran, the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, has become the poster child for voter fraud after he was documented on a hidden camera last year coaching an undercover conservative operative on how to forge a utility bill to vote for someone else. At the time, the younger Moran was working on his father´s campaign in Northern Virginia, though he stepped down after the embarrassing incident. Authorities did not file charges

  



Two reasons why the
Left hates Lady Thatcher
Telegraph [UK], by Cristina Odone    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 2/17/2013 6:55:45 PM     Post Reply
John O’Farrell, Labour’s candidate in the Eastleigh by-election, used to contribute amusing articles to the New Statesman when I was the magazine’s deputy editor. The comedian was unfailingly polite in his dealings with me.[Snip] But mention Margaret Thatcher and gentle O’Farrell starts foaming at the mouth and spewing bile. In a book he wrote about his support for Labour, he revealed his “disappointment” when the IRA failed to kill the then prime minister in Brighton, in 1984. “Why did she have to leave the bathroom two minutes earlier?” he asked himself when Mrs Thatcher survived

President Obama enjoys guys’
weekend, golfs with Tiger Woods
Washington Post, by Scott Wilson    Original Article
Posted By: grayjay- 2/17/2013 6:38:48 PM     Post Reply
PALM CITY, Fla. – President Obama on Sunday displayed the freedom that comes with not having another election ahead of him, golfing with Tiger Woods in an enclave of privilege here along Florida’s blustery Atlantic coast. Since his reelection in November, Obama has been talking about the perils facing America’s middle class, highlighted in his State of the Union address last week. On Friday he visited a public high school in his hometown of Chicago, where he spoke in personal terms about the need to reduce gun violence and create jobs in the country’s troubled urban areas.

One of the ´Gun Guys´
Los Angeles Times, by Carolyn Kellogg    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 2/17/2013 5:05:06 PM     Post Reply
Dan Baum has an agenda. He wants you to listen to the guys who like guns — particularly if you are an NPR-listening, Whole Foods-shopping progressive. That´s how you could describe Baum, a former New Yorker staff writer and lefty down the line — except for his love of rifles, revolvers and the rest. "From the urban, educated effete liberal Democrat side of my world I´m hearing all of this disparaging of ´gun guys,´ how stupid and awful they are," (Snip) "These are conversations that for years I´ve endured as kind of like a closeted gay man (

Astronauts’ breath-taking
views of earth from space
showing mysterious ring
around Tehran and other
amazing rare images
Daily Mail (UK), by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 2/17/2013 5:03:39 PM     Post Reply
Astronauts from NASA and its international affiliate programs took awe-inspiring photos of our planet from outer space. The breath-taking photos show a peculiar purple ring around Tehran, Iran, as well volcanoes, deserts, Caribbean islands and Northern Lights, among other incredible sights.The images were taken from from the International Space Station and posted online by NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn, Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield and their space colleagues. ´The Earth has problem skin; one popped, the other didn´t,´ Hatfield jokingly wrote after uploading a volcano that had erupted next to a one that had not. Scroll down to see all 16 images.

The gold rush begins for
fragments of Russian meteor
worth more than £10,000
each as astronomers warn
UK had a lucky escape
Daily Mail (UK), by Sam Webb    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 2/17/2013 4:53:05 PM     Post Reply
The meteor that crashed in central Russia on Friday has sparked a modern-day gold rush as treasure hunters flock to the area for fragments worth more than £10,000. Just a day after the 40-tonne meteor, which injured more than 1,200 people with flying fragments of glass and rubble, hurtled across the sky above Chelyabinsk, locals were out in force seeking fragments to sell to collectors desperate for a piece of the celestial body. Enthusiasts took to the internet to let locals with a fragment know they could make big money.

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