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The crossword puzzle at 100:
A talk with Merl Reagle, puzzle man
Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], by Tirdad Derakhshani    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/22/2013 2:08:21 AM     Post Reply
One hundred candles for the crossword puzzle! One hundred cheers! The crossword, which has delighted, stimulated, exhausted, and frustrated millions of men and women, turns 100 years old Saturday. To commemorate, we thought we´d ask - how does the mind of a crossword maker work? We picked the brain of one of the country´s better-known puzzle-masters, Merl Reagle, whose Sunday crossword is syndicated in more than 50 newspapers, including The Inquirer. How does the mind of a Merl Reagle work? "You have to love words and a playful turn of mind," said Reagle, 63, who was born and raised in

In Hawaii, Obama tries
for uninterrupted vacation
Associated Press, by Josh Lederman    Original Article
Posted By: NorthernDog- 12/21/2013 11:03:57 PM     Post Reply
HONOLULU — An ocean away from Washington worries, President Barack Obama opened his annual Hawaii vacation Saturday on a quiet note — and hoped it would stay that way for the next two weeks. (Snip) The president has no public events scheduled during his vacation, which is expected to last through Jan. 5. In previous years, frequent golf outings have accompanied trips to local restaurants and other island outings. A few weeks of low-key rest and relaxation would be a welcome change of pace for Obama, who reflected on a high-stakes year of brinkmanship and health care woes as he

Peter O´Toole´s devoted cat Sydney
says goodbye to a legend in wake
at Lawrence Of Arabia star´s home
Daily Mail [UK], by Philip Nolan    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/21/2013 10:21:05 PM     Post Reply
It was a touching farewell to one of Hollywood’s greatest hell-raisers. During Friday night’s wake--where Peter O’Toole’s body was laid out in an open coffin--the legendary actor’s cat Sydney climbed on to his chest and stayed there for the evening. And at his funeral yesterday there was waltzing in the aisle. Friends including rock star Sting and the band Alabama 3 attended the wake at O’Toole’s London home. O’Toole’s first wife Sian Phillips and his daughters Kate and Patricia, and his former partner Karen Somerville and their son Lorcan were among those who attended yesterday’s funeral at Golders Green crematorium



EU spoils David Cameron’s Christmas
Telegraph [UK], by Christopher Booker    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/21/2013 10:05:58 PM     Post Reply
When it comes to “Europe”, David Cameron must feel like Brer Rabbit when he gets entangled with the Tar Baby. [Snip] He launches his great bid to renegotiate a “new relationship” for Britain with the EU, only to discover that his European colleagues are not remotely interested, because such a thing would be against all the rules of their club. He and Theresa May huff and puff about how they are going to stem the flood of immigration, only to be told that, under the EU’s “freedom of movement” rules, all their little ploys are out of the question.

Spain accused of blocking
Gibraltar aid to Philippines
Telegraph [UK], by Fergal MacErlean    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/21/2013 10:00:39 PM     Post Reply
Spain has been accused of acting in a “hateful fashion” as it banned emergency food from Gibraltar destined for the typhoon-hit Philippines. Spain´s customs officials prohibited food donated in a charity drive on the Rock from entering Spain where it was due to be shipped from the port of Algeciras to the Red Cross in Manila, citing problems over issuing certificates. The departure of the 20-foot container packed with food, blankets, vitamins and drinking water will be delayed until after Christmas. MPs viewed the delay as being politically motivated in the tense dispute over Gibraltar´s sovereignty.

Company parts ways with PR
exec after AIDS in Africa tweet
CNN, by Brian Stelter    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 8:59:29 PM     Post Reply
The "tweet heard round the world" was followed by the sound of a slamming door Saturday. Media company IAC has "parted ways" with the company PR executive who tweeted: "Going to Africa. Hope I don´t get AIDS. Just kidding. I´m white!" "The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC. We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question," an IAC spokesman said in a statement. "There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally," he said. "We hope, however, that time

Arapahoe High School update:
17-year-old Colorado shooting victim
Claire Davis dies
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 8:49:17 PM     Post Reply
LITTLETON, CO - A suburban Denver high school student who was shot in the head by a classmate died Saturday afternoon, hospital officials said in a statement. Claire Davis, 17, was in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range at Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13. Friends and well-wishers had posted prayers online and raised money to help pay for her medical care. "It is with heavy hearts that we share that at 4:29 p.m. this afternoon, Claire Davis passed away, with her family at her side," the statement from Littleton Adventist Hospital. "Despite the best efforts of our physicians



Colorado high school
shooting victim dies at hospital
CNN, by Tom Watkins & Ralph Ellis    Original Article
Posted By: southernstench- 12/21/2013 8:49:16 PM     Post Reply
Claire Davis, the 17-year-old high school senior shot by a classmate at their Colorado school, died Saturday at the hospital where she was being treated. "It is with unspeakable sadness that we write and say that Claire has passed away from the gunshot wound she received at Arapahoe High School on December 13," her family said in a statement posted on the Facebook account of Littleton Adventist Hospital. "Although we have lost our precious daughter, we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years -- we were truly blessed to be Claire's parents.

Judge Strikes Down Utah Traditional
Marriage Laws, Calls Them ´Irrational´
Breitbart Big Government, by Ken Klukowski    Original Article
Posted By: athina- 12/21/2013 8:48:40 PM     Post Reply
One week after a federal judge in Utah held laws against polygamy are unconstitutional, another Utah federal judge has held that the U.S. Constitution also contains a right to same-sex marriage, describing laws defining marriage as between men and women “irrational.” In his 53-page opinion for Kitchen v. Herbert on Dec. 20, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby—who was appointed by President Obama in 2011—compared marriage laws that do not include homosexual pairings to racist laws. He noted that in its 1967 case Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment a Virginia law

White House Tries to Prevent
Judge From Ruling on
Surveillance Efforts
New York Times, by Charlie Savage, David Sanger    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/21/2013 8:25:08 PM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets. In a set of filings in the two long-running cases in the Northern District of California, the government acknowledged for the first time that the N.S.A. started systematically collecting data about Americans’ emails and phone calls in 2001, alongside its program of wiretapping certain calls

Spike in Harm to Liver
Is Tied to Dietary Aids
New York Times, by ANAHAD O’CONNOR    Original Article
Posted By: FlyRight- 12/21/2013 8:19:33 PM     Post Reply
When Christopher Herrera, 17, walked into the emergency room at Texas Children’s Hospital one morning last year, his chest, face and eyes were bright yellow — “almost highlighter yellow,” recalled Dr. Shreena S. Patel, the pediatric resident who treated him. About 55,000 dietary supplements, largely unregulated, are sold in the United States. Christopher, a high school student from Katy, Tex., suffered severe liver damage after using a concentrated green tea extract he bought at a nutrition store as a “fat burning” supplement. The damage was so extensive that he was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant. “It was terrifying,” he



Scott Rasmussen Slams WaPo for
Calling Congressional Critics ‘Haters’
Breitbart Big Journalism, by Robert Wilde    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 7:51:01 PM     Post Reply
Scott Rasmussen, the prolific pollster, criticized the Washington Post´s characterization of Americans unhappy with both Republican and Democrat performances in government as “haters.” Rasmussen said, “Tens of millions of Americans disapprove of the way both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing their jobs. According to the hometown paper for America´s political class, this makes them ´Haters.´" In a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post, there are three teams in America: the Democrat team, the Republican team, and the Haters Team. Rasmussen says that “This wasn´t just a casual reference by a lazy journalist. Not only did the paper

Al Sharpton´s Chicago Town
Hall Erupts into Revolt
Against Machine Politics
Breitbart´s Big Government, by Rebel Pundit    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/21/2013 7:37:11 PM     Post Reply
On Thursday, a town hall meeting hosted by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to address gun violence exploded into a revolt against “Chicago Machine” politics, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the aldermen in City Hall, with panel and audience members calling to vote out their elected officials. One 82-year-old preacher even called for “Tea Party” style meetings in some of Chicago’s south side communities such as Altgeld Gardens and Trumbull Park. “This was a historic event,” Paul McKinley of V.O.T.E. (Voices of the Ex-Offender) and former 2nd Congressional District GOP nominee to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. told Breitbart News.

Judi Dench felt a tremendous
responsibility toward Philomena Lee
Los Angeles Times, by Rebecca Keegan    Original Article
Posted By: Harlowe- 12/21/2013 7:16:04 PM     Post Reply
LONDON — The first time Judi Dench witnessed the power of acting, she was 7 and saw her brother get away with using a swear word. (Snip) Dench´s latest performance — for which she has so far received Screen Actor Guild and Golden Globe nominations — is as a more ordinary but just as dignified woman in the drama “Philomena,” in which she plays a working-class Irish mother who enlists a jaded journalist (Steve Coogan) to help her find the son whom nuns forced her to give up decades earlier.

Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs
The Hill (Washington DC), by Julian Hattem    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 6:51:02 PM     Post Reply
Federal intelligence officials are declassifying eight documents about the origins of controversial surveillance systems created under former President George W. Bush. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced on Saturday that it had declassified the court documents dating from 2007 to this year, which the federal government had used to justify keeping the surveillance program secret. Details about the data collection unveiled by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have raised alarms about the practice. The new disclosures are part of a long-running lawsuit from a civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They were ordered



Meet The Press Reportedly in
Jeopardy as NBC Looks to Cut
Back DC Bureau
Mediaite, by Matt Wilstein    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 6:46:51 PM     Post Reply
As we head into 2014, the fate of the longest-running news program on television is starting to look uncertain. According to a new report from the New York Post’s Claire Atkinson, NBC News chief Deborah Turness is looking to make some major cutbacks at the network’s Washington D.C. bureau, where Meet The Press is produced. Atkinson quotes one unnamed executive as saying, “Instead of getting better, NBC News has been getting worse [since Turness arrived earlier this year.] It’s a mess.” In October, the reporter cited rumors about Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski adding Meet The Press hosting

3 US military aircraft hit
in S. Sudan, 4 wounded
Associated Press, by Rodney Muhumuza & Jason Straziuso    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 6:36:52 PM     Post Reply
NAIROBI, Kenya— Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battle ground between the country´s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day before. The U.S. military aircraft were about to land in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation´s worst violence over the last week, when they were hit. The military said the four wounded troops were in

Vatican´s Consultant Firm Warned
WH of Obamacare Rollout Flop
Breitart´s Big Peace, by Dr. Susan Berry    Original Article
Posted By: markinalpine- 12/21/2013 6:18:25 PM     Post Reply
The private U.S. management consultancy firm hired by the Vatican to advise it on its media operations is the same firm that warned the White House of serious problems with the Obamacare rollout. (snip) The White House requested that McKinsey assess possible Obamacare rollout scenarios. The company ended up finding a range of problems with the healthcare exchanges and warned the Obama administration as far back as March that the federal website for enrollment into Obamacare, Healthcare.gov, could very well fail. Reuters had reported in November that McKinsey, in its 14-part slide presentation, told the White House that the tight window

Short Hills mall carjacking
suspects had criminal records
ranging from bank robbery to burglary
Star-Ledger [Newark, NJ], by Ted Sherman    Original Article
Posted By: Ribicon- 12/21/2013 4:27:12 PM     Post Reply
Newark — When Basim Henry robbed a Union Township bank in November 2003, it was not hard to connect him to the crime. He had driven his white Pontiac to the bank on Morris Avenue, authorities said, and left it parked illegally on an adjacent side street with the keys in the ignition. At least three of the four men charged this morning in the fatal carjacking of a Hoboken lawyer at a The Mall at Short Hills last Sunday evening have been arrested before, according to state and federal records, for crimes ranging from burglary to bank robbery.

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Anti-Gay
Comments: Clay Aiken Weighs In
Yahoo! TV!, by Tim Kenneally    Original Article
Posted By: NorthernDog- 12/21/2013 4:05:52 PM     Post Reply
Former “American Idol” contestant Clay Aiken offered his thoughts on the scandal surrounding “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments on Thursday night, saying that such comments and attitudes are “built out of fear.” (Snip) “I think it certainly shows that we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to people being accepting and understanding,” Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008, said. “Homophobia, racism …. all of it’s built out of fear. All of it’s out of fear. And if you grow up in an area like Louisiana and you’re not exposed to diversity, then you


Cracker Barrel Announces Removal
of Some Duck Dynasty Merchandise
Breitbart Big Hollywood, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 2:41:44 PM     Post Reply
Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel posted Friday night on its Facebook page that it would no longer carry some Duck Dynasty merchandise after Phil Robertson, of the "Duck Commander" company and family, was suspended from the show. The statement reads: Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture. We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.

PICTURED: Four men arrested for
killing lawyer, 30, who was shot dead
while protecting his wife in carjacking
at New Jersey mall
Daily Mail (UK), by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/21/2013 2:01:04 PM     Post Reply
Four men have been arrested over the death of a lawyer shot in front of his wife during a carjacking outside a New Jersey mall last week, authorities said on Saturday. The suspects in the fatal carjacking on Sunday last week, in which Dustin Friedland was killed at The Mall, Short Hills, were arrested in a series of raids overnight. Three of the men were arrested in their homes in New Jersey and the fourth was arrested in a Pennsylvania hotel, between 9pm on Friday and 3am Saturday. The suspects were identified as Hanif Thompson, 29, Karif Ford, 31, Basim

´Duck Dynasty´: A&E warned Phil
Robertson about speaking out too much
Los Angeles Times, by Scott Collins    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/21/2013 1:55:58 PM     Post Reply
Anyone looking at the "Duck Dynasty" uproar may wonder why A&E didn´t warn Phil Robertson about the dangers of talking too much to reporters. But it now looks like they did. (Snip)In essence, the network was asking Phil - a man of legendary individuality, who once passed up an opportunity to sign with the NFL because it might interfere with his hunting - to be somewhat less Phil-like. But that is the kind of wobbly bargain that reality TV producers have been forced to make. If they bought the show, they were getting a volatile personality in the mix. A&E could of

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