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Despite Ourselves
PJ Media, by Richard Fernandez    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2013 4:42:18 AM     Post Reply
It’s the time to remember O Henry’s old hoary tale about a girl who sold her hair — a valuable thing in those days — to buy a present for her beau. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas… Where she stopped

The Power of Christmas
Washington Post, by Michael Gerson    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/25/2013 4:37:41 AM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON -- ´Tis the season for creche display controversies and public school decoration debates and First Amendment argumentation, when all the ideologues get a little extra outrage or victimization in their stockings. The holiday is observed across the nation with injunctions and festive debates on cable television. Little children wait in line at the mall to have their picture taken with Bill O´Reilly or the Rev. Barry Lynn. (That last part, to my knowledge, is not true, but it should be.) This year´s celebration is all the more poignant in the light of a fallen reality television star who manufactures duck

The Legitimacy Problem
New York Times, by David Brooks    Original Article
Posted By: Pluperfect- 12/25/2013 4:32:05 AM     Post Reply
It’s pretty clear that the implementation of Obamacare will set the tone for how Americans think about government for years to come. There are two large questions to be settled, which you might call the questions of competence and coercion. The first is whether the government is competent enough to manage large programs. Can the administration get the website to work, set rules for the right insurance products or impose efficiency measures to restrain costs? These are still open questions. Democrats see the early messiness as the temporary teething pains inevitable to a new large enterprise. Republicans see them as the



America Is Not The Grinch
Foreign Policy Magazine, by John Norris    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2013 4:29:25 AM     Post Reply
Between the steady drip of Edward Snowden leaks about the National Security Agency and Syria´s slow burn, it seems pretty easy these days to cast the United States as the villain when it comes to international affairs. That makes this holiday season an ideal one to debunk one of the longest-standing myths about the United States: that it is miserly when it comes to helping other nations through foreign aid. (Snip)The United States is not only the largest donor of ODA in the world, providing more than $30.5 billion toward that end in 2012, but it makes far and away

White House Extends Time for
Health Care Sign-Up … Again
ABC News, by Shushannah Walshe    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2013 4:24:22 AM     Post Reply
People who are unable to finish applying for health insurance by midnight may still be able to get coverage beginning Jan. 1 if they can show that they missed the Tuesday deadline because of problems with HealthCare.gov, the Obama administration said today. Officials caution that the deadline remains today at midnight, but will consider individual circumstances that prevented consumers from finishing their application, judging those on a case-by-case basis. This is just the latest extension of the sign-up period by the administration. The original deadline for people seeking coverage that begins Jan. 1 was Dec. 15. It was later extended to Dec.

2-Year Renovation Starts for
Capitol´s Famous Dome
Associated Press, by Charles Babington    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2013 4:21:31 AM     Post Reply
A world-famous symbol of democracy is going under cover, as workers start a two-year, $60 million renovation of the U.S. Capitol dome. Curved rows of scaffolds, like Saturn´s rings, will encircle it next spring, enabling contractors to strip multiple layers of paint and repair more than 1,000 cracks and broken pieces. The dome will remain illuminated at night and partly visible through the scaffolding and paint-capturing cloths. But the Washington icon -- and portions of the Rotunda´s painted ceiling that lies below -- will be significantly obscured for many months. The project is beginning just as the nearby Washington Monument sheds scaffolding

Pope Francis celebrates first
Christmas Eve mass at Vatican
Fox News, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/25/2013 4:16:27 AM     Post Reply
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis lauded Jesus´ humble beginning as a poor and vulnerable baby as he celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass as pontiff Tuesday in St. Peter´s Basilica. "You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable," Francis said of Jesus as he delivered his homily in the basilica, packed with faithful. Francis has dedicated much of his nine-month-old papacy to drawing attention to the plight of the poor, of children, and other vulnerable members of society. He noted that the first to receive news of



Economist: N.C. unemployment
drop may be tied to benefits changes
Charlotte Observer [NC], by Rick Rothacker    Original Article
Posted By: Muncsdad- 12/24/2013 11:51:10 PM     Post Reply
North Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen more than other states’ this year, and changes in the state’s unemployment system may be a contributor, Wells Fargo Securities economist Mark Vitner wrote in a report Tuesday. The state’s unemployment rate started the year as one of the highest in the country but has fallen two percentage points from a year ago to 7.4 percent in November, according to state commerce department data. The state’s unemployment rate is now .4 percentage points higher than the U.S. average, compared with 1.6 percentage points higher in November 2012. In July, North Carolina decided to end federal

San Francisco bans wood
burning on Christmas Eve
Fox News, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/24/2013 10:39:35 PM     Post Reply
Sorry, San Francisco. No chestnuts on an open fire this Christmas Eve. Bay Area officials have banned residents from burning wood, indoors and outdoors, on Tuesday -- and might extend the ban into Christmas Day -- as part of an air quality initiative. The order came from a governmental body called the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. It issued a "Winter Spare the Air Alert," which prohibits people from burning wood, manufactured logs or "any other solid fuels" in fireplaces and outdoor fire pits. According to KTVU, air quality officials said pollution was expected to hit unhealthy levels amid a high-pressure system.

Joplin, Mo. and church devastated by 2011
tornado celebrate Christmas Eve of hope
Fox News, by George Kindel    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/24/2013 10:32:17 PM     Post Reply
"Why was I saved?" It´s a question the Rev. Justin Monaghan asks often of himself - and of God. On Tuesday night, as he celebrates Christmas Eve Mass in what once was a hardware store, and that now serves as the makeshift home of Saint Mary´s Roman Catholic Church, it´s a question he´ll silently share with hundreds of parishioners and everyone living in Joplin, Mo., for whom Sunday, May 22, 2011, will forever be a day of sadness - and hope. It's the second Christmas since a monstrous and deadly EF5 tornado ripped a mile-wide, six-mile long gash through the residential heart of the city - at 5:41 p.m. - leaving more than 160 dead in its wake.

Crowds throng Bethlehem for Christmas
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/24/2013 10:00:46 PM     Post Reply
Bethlehem, West Bank - Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations on Tuesday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the biblical birthplace of Jesus on a cool, clear night. The heavy turnout, its highest in years, helped lift spirits in Bethlehem as leaders expressed hope that the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own. "The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land,



It’s a Very Merry Christmas for
Washington’s Parasite Class
Town Hall, by Daniel J. Mitchell    Original Article
Posted By: mikkins2- 12/24/2013 9:51:48 PM     Post Reply
Last year, while writing about the sleazy and self-serving behavior at the IRS, I came up with a Theorem that explains day-to-day behavior in Washington. It might not be as pithy as Mitchell’s Law, and it doesn’t contain an important policy prescription like Mitchell’s Golden Rule, but it could be the motto of the federal government. Simply stated, government is a racket that benefits the DC political elite by taking money from average people in America. I realize this is an unhappy topic to be discussing during the Christmas season, but the American people need to realize that they are being raped and pillaged by the corrupt

Scott Walker Signs Bill Making
it Harder to Change Native
American Mascots
Townhall, by Kevin Glass    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/24/2013 9:50:47 PM     Post Reply
As pressure mounts from activists nationwide on schools that use Native American mascots for their sports teams, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last week that would make it harder for Wisconsin public schools to change their name. The Republican measure requires a petition to trigger a state review of a nickname — a departure from current law, which states a single complaint is enough to prompt an evaluation. It also wipes out all previous state orders for schools to drop race-based mascots. Walker, a Republican, signed the measure privately Thursday afternoon. He released a statement saying he´s worried current

Researchers Investigate If Peanuts During
Pregnancy Curb Nut Allergies in Offspring
ABC News, by Gillian Mohney    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 12/24/2013 9:38:22 PM     Post Reply
Could a peanut-heavy diet for pregnant women help keep their children from suffering dangerous nut allergies? Researchers are investigating the possibility in a new study. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, the study found that when pregnant women ate more peanuts and tree nuts they tended to have children with fewer nut allergies. Peanut allergies in children have gone up from 0.4 percent in 1997 to 1.4 percent in 2010, according to the study. Researchers examined more than 8,000 children and their mothers to understand how diet during pregnancy might affect allergies in children.

´Duck Dynasty:´ A&E brass know
they ducked up suspension
New York Daily News, by Bill Hutchinson    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 12/24/2013 9:33:50 PM     Post Reply
The suits at A&E are realizing the fix to their “Duck Dynasty” scandal is going to require more than extension cords and duct tape. Executives at the cable channel are privately acknowledging they could have better camouflaged the indefinite suspension of the hit reality show’s head redneck, Phil Robertson, an insider told RadarOnline. A&E’s brass also conceded they goofed by continuing to air its No. 1 program amid the controversy sparked by Robertson’s homophobic and racially insensitive remarks to GQ magazine. “Network bosses now recognize they should have just taken the show off the air for two weeks, since reruns



Price to go up on first-class stamps
Associated Press, by Bradley Klapper    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 12/24/2013 9:28:43 PM     Post Reply
Regulators on Tuesday approved a temporary price hike of 3 cents for a first-class stamp, bringing the charge to 49 cents a letter in an effort to help the Postal Service recover from severe mail decreases brought on after the 2008 economic downturn. (Snip) Forever stamps, good for first-class postage whatever the rate, can be purchased at the lower price until the new rate is effective Jan. 26. The higher rate will last no more than two years, allowing the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses. By a 2-1 vote, the independent Postal Regulatory Commission rejected a request to make the price hike permanent, though inflation

Bob Newhart and the Narrowing of Freedom
National Review Online, by Kathryn Jean Lopez    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/24/2013 9:25:07 PM     Post Reply
Humor “makes us free.” That was Bob Newhart’s observation during a commencement address at my alma mater, the Catholic University of America in 1997. “As long as the tyrant cannot control the minds of free men, they remain free,” the comedian continued. “Humor abounded behind the Iron Curtain and in POW camps. Humor is also our way of dealing with the inexplicable. We had an earthquake a couple of years ago in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t more than three or four days later that I heard the first earthquake joke. Someone said, ‘The traffic is stopped, but the freeways are moving.’” “Laughter gives us distance,” he went on

Duke Ellington and the
Great Christmas Secret
National Review Online, by Elizabeth Scalia    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/24/2013 8:37:00 PM     Post Reply
The story goes that if the legendary composer and orchestrator Duke Ellington had met you, and gotten his hands on your mailing address, you’d have gotten a Christmas card from him. It may not come at Christmas, but at some point during the year, his personally written and signed greetings would grace your mailbox. “Duke Ellington and I exchanged Christmas greetings each year,” wrote Joe Delaney of the Las Vegas Sun. “Mine were sent in mid-December. Duke sent his when the spirit moved him.” A reformed Ebenezer Scrooge may have pledged to “honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,”

Churchgoers: Remember that
adage about doing unto others
CBS News, by Bill Flanagan    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/24/2013 8:18:48 PM     Post Reply
Christmas is one of two times a year when you have to get to church early to get a seat. At the Midnight Mass in my hometown, you better be in your pew by 11, or you´ll be sent to the overflow Eucharist in the basement to welcome the Messiah in a metal folding chair, kneel on the linoleum floor, and sing along to an out-of-tune guitar, while the faithful upstairs enjoy a full choir and a pipe organ. Now I know the Holy Family spent the first Christmas in a manger. They´d have loved some linoleum! But I'm always impressed at how folks who miss church all year adopt the devotional intensity of the Third Crusade when it comes to getting a prime spot

At first Christmas as pope,
Francis urges openness to God
Reuters, by Philip Pullella    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/24/2013 7:56:53 PM     Post Reply
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as leader of the world´s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, on Tuesday urged people to shun pride and selfishness and open up their hearts to God and their fellow man. Francis, who last March became the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, celebrated a solemn Christmas Eve Mass for some 10,000 people in a packed St. Peter´s Basilica as hundreds of others watched on mega-screens in the square outside. [snip] Francis delivered a short homily that was as simple as his white vestments: Man can choose between darkness and light.


Amid Declining Popularity, The
Tea Party Prepares To Fight
National Public Radio, by Don Gonyea    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/24/2013 6:43:45 PM     Post Reply
It´s easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House. It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn´t mean it was a year of victories: The movement´s campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren´t as large as they once were. Even so, the movement had a great influence on both the debate and on the direction of the Republican Party this year.

Ex-Clinton aide secretly met with
Iranian officials in summer 2012
The Hill (Washington, D.C.), by Rebecca Shabad    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/24/2013 6:42:29 PM     Post Reply
Vice President Biden’s national security adviser met with Iranian officials as far back as the summer of 2012, a new report reveals. Jake Sullivan secretly traveled to Oman in July 2012 to meet with Iranian officials, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. This would mark one of the earliest in-person meetings the U.S. held with Iran in recent years. Sullivan joined the State Department in 2009 and served under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as deputy chief of staff for policy. Although he moved to the White House in February, he continued to partake in backchannel discussions with Iran. The AP reported just after the

Violence flares between Israeli
military and Palestinians in Gaza
Los Angeles Times, by Batsheva Sobelman    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/24/2013 6:39:10 PM     Post Reply
JERUSALEM-- Israeli military forces launched a series of attacks in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to suspected Palestinian sniper fire that killed an Israeli civilian doing repair work on the border fence, military authorities said. A 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and members of her family were injured in an airstrike on the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, according to local reports. They were some of the heaviest strikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since a weeklong Israeli military campaign ended with a November 2012 cease-fire. Israeli aircraft, tanks and infantry targeted a series of sites across the

Kwanzaa: The Holiday
Brought To You By the FBI
Townhall Magazine, by Ann Coulter    Original Article
Posted By: Scottyboy- 12/24/2013 6:30:28 PM     Post Reply
I had hoped to write about "Duck Dynasty" this week, but that will have to wait. I have too much Kwanzaa shopping left to do. (Is it just me, or is Kwanzaa getting way too commercialized?) Contrary to pundits sniping about Ted Cruz´s campaign to repeal Obamacare, even the most boneheaded liberal ideas never "collapse on their own," which is why we still have public schools and President Obama. If nothing is done, Kwanza will join these horrors in the firmament of American life. It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga -- aka Dr. Maulana Karenga -- founder of United

With Friends Like Obama´s Strike Team,
Obamacare Doesn´t Need Enemies
Investor´s Business Daily, by Editorial    Original Article
Posted By: PageTurner- 12/24/2013 6:22:20 PM     Post Reply
ObamaCare: After a public relations blitz targeting America´s youth, the results are in: The kids aren´t signing up. It´s not just the bad deal on offer that´s keeping them away. It´s also the White House´s tone of contempt. At a Dec. 6 event, one of Obama´s staunchest allies, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., looked over a group of about 200 young, mostly Hispanic students at California State University, Los Angeles, and asked how many of them had signed up for ObamaCare. After no hands went up, he proceeded browbeat them about being potential burdens to "the rest of us taxpayers," adding: "You want to be invincible! And you're thinking you'll stay so.

This Day in Health-Care History
Commentary Magazine, by Rick Richman    Original Article
Posted By: jpundit- 12/24/2013 5:50:58 PM     Post Reply
Lest we forget: exactly four years ago today, Senate Democrats rammed through what would later be called ObamaCare, on a purely partisan vote, ignoring warnings it would be a BFD (big future disaster). On Thursday, December 24, 2009, the New York Times reported on the week: The vote on Monday, in the dead of night, was 60 to 40. The vote on Tuesday, just after daybreak, was 60 to 39. And the vote on Wednesday afternoon, at a civil hour but after less-than-civil debate, was 60 to 39 again -- an immutable tally that showed Democrats unwavering in the march in the march to adopt a far-reaching overhaul of the health care in the

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