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The man who´s taught the world the
meaning of humility: He lives in a B&B
and makes sandwiches for his guards.
Could Francis be the greatest Pope ever?
Daily Mail [UK], by Guy Adams    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/26/2013 6:19:21 AM     Post Reply
Question: Who was the most talked about person in the world this year? Answer: Not Justin Bieber, Prince George or even Nelson Mandela, but a small, grey-haired man from Argentina called Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Known since March 13 as Pope Francis, the spectacle-wearing 77-year-old was 2013’s most discussed human being, according to the Global Language Monitor’s annual survey of the internet. The accolade lays bare his astounding ability--unique among modern religious leaders--to shape the news agenda and capture hearts and minds with a succession of charismatic speeches and colourful public gestures. Yesterday, Francis drew a near record crowd estimated at

Britain´s littlest shepherd, aged two, a lamb
called Twinkle - and a bond between boy
and sheep that will melt your heart
Daily Mail [UK], by Frances Hardy    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/26/2013 6:07:36 AM     Post Reply
Boxing Day morning is traditionally a time for long sleeps and leisurely breakfasts. But while most of Britain takes it easy after yesterday’s festivities, little Arthur Jones will be out in the Dorset countryside mending fences. [Snip] He also feeds the sheep, rattling a tiny pail containing a handful of pellets. ‘Come on Twinkle!’ he calls to a ewe with a dense white fleece and a calm demeanour, who dutifully trots across to him. His mum Sarah--Nicky’s daughter--has many reasons to be proud of him; not least because he was born two-and-a-half months prematurely and has cerebral palsy.

Anarchy in Detroit
Reason Magazine, by Zach Weismuller    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:49:29 AM     Post Reply
Tom Nardone is the founder and president of the thriving e-commerce site, PriveCo, which specializes in products that customers don´t want their friends and neighbors to know they´re buying—vibrators, enema bags, hair loss treatments, etc. Three years ago, Nardone started applying his entrepreneurial expertise to a different problem: the dreadfully maintained parks in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Weeds and trash have transformed Detroit´s playground jungle gyms into actual jungles. Nardone knew it was no use approaching the city´s hapless Department of Recreation, so he brought his ride-on lawnmower down to a public park and got to work. Then he



A&E’s Duck Dynasty Dilemma
National Review Online, by Lee Habeeb    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:45:28 AM     Post Reply
It had never happened before. When big, powerful TV executives ask a star to apologize for what they deem inappropriate comments or behavior, the star simply complies. A team of publicists is assembled, the star does the obligatory apology tour for the press and promises never to do or say what he did or said again. Ever. But the TV gods never met a man like Phil Robertson. Or his family. When they decided to place the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan on a non-suspension suspension for his comments to a GQ magazine writer about homosexuality, the executives at A&E

Christmas with the GIs: How American
soldiers proved a huge hit with British
families during WWII as they ´filled the
chairs left empty by British fighting men´
Daily Mail [UK], by Lucy Crossley    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 5:40:43 AM     Post Reply
Bearing gifts of extra rations, Coca Cola and nylon stockings it is no wonder that American GIs were popular house guests among British families during the Second World War. With British soldiers away in Europe, war-hit families were issued with an urgent plea to invite their US colleagues to share their Christmas celebrations. Faced with the prospect of their guests bringing extra food with them, families jumped at the chance to welcome the Americans into their homes, with some 50 invitations being offered for every GI, or Government Issue. For troops serving in a foreign land, far away from home, Christmas was

The 2013 ´Pantsuit Patrol Award´ For
Blind Devotion To Hillary Goes To...
Independent Journal Review, by Mike Miller    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 5:35:25 AM     Post Reply
Media Research Center presents its annual Pantsuit Patrol Award to the person its distinguished panel judges believe best blew Hillary Clinton’s horn during the year. It’s recipients are notable. And…the envelope goes to…Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, who slobbered all over “Her Magnificence” in a January 2 article: “The idea of losing Hillary has seemed especially unbearable at this political moment. It’s as if she has become, literally, the ship of state. She stands for maturity, tenacity, and self-discipline at a time when everyone else in Washington seems to be, in more senses than one, going off a cliff — a parade

What to Do When
ObamaCare Unravels
Wall Street Journal, by John H. Cochrane    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:31:46 AM     Post Reply
The unraveling of the Affordable Care Act presents a historic opportunity for change. Its proponents call it "settled law," but as Prohibition taught us, not even a constitutional amendment is settled law—if it is dysfunctional enough, and if Americans can see a clear alternative. This fall´s website fiasco and policy cancellations are only the beginning. Next spring the individual mandate is likely to unravel when we see how sick the people are who signed up on exchanges, and if our government really is going to penalize voters for not buying health insurance. The employer mandate and "accountable care organizations" will take



Local courts reviving ´debtors´
prison´ for overdue fines, fees
Fox News, by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:23:54 AM     Post Reply
As if out of a Charles Dickens novel, people struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States. Critics are calling the practice the new "debtors´ prison" -- referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off. Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American

Obama has begun repealing Obamacare
Washington Post, by Jennifer Rubin    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:14:15 AM     Post Reply
Obamacare as written is already gone, dismantled by its namesake. Obamacare itself has not, strictly speaking, collapsed of its own weight. Rather, it has been changed from its original, unworkable form first by Chief Justice John Roberts and then by the president into some new, unworkable mishmash. Obamacare per se is already gone. The question remains whether the law in some form will remain or whether the 2016 contest will be about what sort of plan replaces Obamacare. The latter is the odds-on favorite. David Brooks on “Meet the Press” yesterday predicted (correctly, in my view) further undoing of the

An Ode to Spam
New York Times, by Gail Collins    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 5:08:48 AM     Post Reply
I would like to take time now to thank everyone who sent me holiday messages via the Internet: The wishes of good cheer, the reports of family achievements in the year past, and the multiple requests for my email or bank password. Possibly that last group was not acting on its own volition. Just last week I got a note from the novelist Erica Jong, asking me for my email password, and another from the historian Carol Berkin, requesting my Bank of America account number. Thanks to my skills as a journalist, I instantly deduced that both were fraudulent. Also, I

Taking Tolerance Too Far
Creators Syndicate, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 5:03:55 AM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON — In a recent and very good book, John L. Allen comes to the judgment that “Christians today indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet,” and he concludes that “the transcendent human rights concern of our time is this rarely noted persecution.” (Snip)We see the intolerance against American Christians (and against American people of faith in general) on display every year during this “Holiday Season.” There are the great battles waged generally by a few nonbelievers against Christians across America for putting up Nativity Scenes. The nonbelievers generally win.



New ObamaCare fees coming in 2014
New York Post, by S.A. Miller & Geoff Earle    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 4:58:30 AM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON — Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill. The cost of President Obama’s massive health-care law will hit Americans in 2014 as new taxes pile up on their insurance premiums and on their income-tax bills. Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break. But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.” The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14

Obama’s dangerous immigration
reform agenda and amnesty
Washington Times, by Emily Miller    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 4:54:39 AM     Post Reply
Before leaving on his 17-day vacation in Hawaii, President Obama declared that one of his top priorities for 2014 will be immigration reform, with amnesty. He knows that congressional Republicans feel pressure to do something to woo Hispanic voters. Mr. Obama will leverage those political forces for the midterm elections, even though he doesn’t even enforce the existing immigration laws. Mr. Obama held a rare press conference Friday before hopping on Air Force One for the direct flight to Honolulu. It was in an attempt to buck up his plummeting poll numbers after a year of failures. “Immigration reform, probably the biggest thing

Obama´s albatross: Transparency
Politico, by Josh Gerstein    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 4:46:21 AM     Post Reply
Five years into his presidency, Barack Obama might have been reaping kudos for ushering in a new era of transparency in government. Instead, he’s under fire for his administration’s secrecy. The White House has faced a fusillade of high-profile complaints in recent weeks from all corners of Washington. Reporters are in an uproar over their limited access to the president, most recently when the White House released pictures taken by official photographer Pete Souza of Obama and former President George W. Bush together on Air Force One during the lengthy journey to and from South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Russian Diplomats’ Medicaid Fraud
Raises Questions About Foreign
Officers Accessing Taxpayer Benefits
PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 12/26/2013 4:43:10 AM     Post Reply
Congress is digging into how foreign diplomats accessed — and reportedly defrauded — federal benefits programs. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) wrote Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday to say he’s “deeply troubled” by the reports that dozens of Russian diplomats and their families committed Medicaid fraud while in the U.S. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 25 current and former Russian diplomats and 24 of their spouses allegedly participated in a scheme to illegally obtain Medicaid benefits for prenatal care and related costs by underreporting their income or falsely claiming



Israel to S. Africa: Obama´s year in travel
The Hill [DC], by Justin Sink    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 4:35:48 AM     Post Reply
Presidents historically shift their focus to the international stage in their second terms, finding greater flexibility and more power without the constraints a hostile Congress can put on domestic policy. But world affairs can also prove unpredictable and tumultuous, as President Obama found in 2013. While the president crisscrossed the globe, he was confronted with an international community increasingly skeptical of the U.S. Controversies over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the U.S. response to Syria´s civil war, and tumult in the Middle East all eroded the president’s standing in the world — and led to some high-stakes international drama.

Cruise Ship Spends Christmas
Stuck in Ice off Antarctica
ABC News, by Russell Goldman    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 4:32:38 AM     Post Reply
Fifty-seven people spent Christmas aboard a cruise ship that has become stuck in the ice in a remote region off the coast of Antarctica and rescue vessels are at least two days away, Australian maritime officials told ABC News. The Russian-operated Akademik Shokalskiy, an ice-strengthened vessel built in 1984 for oceanographic research, became stuck in the ice about 1,500 nautical miles from Hobart, Tasmania, and issued a satellite distress call early this morning, Andrea Hayward-Maher of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. “We’ve been in touch with the master of the vessel, who says they are beset by ice,” spokeswoman Hayward-Maher said.

UPS Overload Leaves Miffed
Customers Short of Presents, Meals
Associated Press, by Liz Neporent    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 12/26/2013 4:30:01 AM     Post Reply
If your gifts didn’t arrive on time to place under the tree this year, United Parcel Service might be to blame. The nation’s largest package carrier failed to deliver all packages to consumers by Christmas Eve, deflating the holiday spirit for some irate customers. In a statement, UPS said it simply could not keep up with last-minute shipments as “the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network.” The company spokeswoman called it “a perfect storm” of problems, blaming the delays on the normal surge in deliveries this time of year, the compressed shopping season, and

Michelle Keeps it Real
with Reverend Al
American Thinker, by Jeannie DeAngelis    Original Article
Posted By: DW626- 12/26/2013 3:21:23 AM     Post Reply
After heading up a ´poor me´ sob-story session with mothers in the Oval Office, packing for the nine-hour flight to Oahu, and wrapping up a 16-day Obamacare public relations blitz, ´Mom-to-Mom´ Michelle found time to take to the airwaves and dial in to the "Keeping it Real with Reverend Al Sharpton" radio show. If I might digress for moment, Al Sharpton is a man who, judging from his hairdo and his manner, is neither ´real´ nor ´reverend.´ Nonetheless, apart from making some inane arguments as to why everyone should sign up for Obamacare, true to form the first lady began by dragging

Three Turkish Cabinet ministers
resign amid corruption investigation
Los Angeles Times, by Glen Johnson    Original Article
Posted By: SoCalGal- 12/25/2013 11:08:03 PM     Post Reply
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Three senior ministers in Turkey´s Cabinet resigned Wednesday as a secret 14-month corruption investigation of bid rigging and bribery intensified, threatening to topple the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. The graft inquiry presents the most serious challenge to the legitimacy of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan´s government since opposition protests six months ago. The investigation has netted millions of dollars in cash stashed away in shoe boxes, exposed sanctions-breaking deals with Iran and revealed bribes paid to allow construction in protected areas. Outrage has morphed into protest, with thousands taking to the streets over the weekend after


Erdogan has played his cards wrongly
Gulf News [Dubai, UAE], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: SoCalGal- 12/25/2013 10:54:26 PM     Post Reply
Two years ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considered a man with a vision. And Turkey was seen as a shining example, a country whose government managed to integrate democracy and conservative Islamic traditions. Experts used to urge regional states to emulate what was then called “the Turkish Model”. It was an attractive model that was meant to appease the religious sentiments of Muslims and at the same time their hopes for representative government. Turkey was also touted as a regional necessity to counter the increasingly aggressive drive by Iran to spread its unwelcome influence in the Arab world. That is where

Graft Scandal Is Approaching
Turkey Premier
New York Times, by Tim Arango    Original Article
Posted By: Emerson- 12/25/2013 10:46:27 PM     Post Reply
ISTANBUL — A corruption investigation that has encircled the Turkish government moved an ominous step closer to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, as three top ministers whose sons have been implicated abruptly resigned — and one of them, on his way out the door, said Mr. Erdogan should step down as well. The resignations, coming only hours after the ministers welcomed Mr. Erdogan at the Ankara airport as he returned from Pakistan late on Tuesday, were enough to inspire new talk of a deepening crisis, which Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly denounced as a foreign plot. But the words

Justin Bieber announces his
retirement on Twitter
Guardian (UK), by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Bubbasuncle- 12/25/2013 10:10:45 PM     Post Reply
Twas the night before Christmas, all over the house, not a creature was stirring – except for Justin Bieber, who chose Christmas Eve to announce his "official" retirement on Twitter. (snip) series of Tweets direct to fans. Just last week, Bieber had told a Los Angeles radio station he planned to quit. "After the new album, I´m actually retiring, man. I´m retiring," he told Power 106 on December 17. However, he then suggested that was not, in fact, the case. "I want to grow as an artist, and I´m taking a step out, I want my music to mature," he

Cryptolocker ransomware has
´infected about 250,000 PCs´
BBC News, by Leo Kelion    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 12/25/2013 8:57:21 PM     Post Reply
A virulent form of ransomware has now infected about quarter of a million Windows computers, according to a report by security researchers. Cryptolocker scrambles users´ data and then demands a fee to unencrypt it alongside a countdown clock. Dell Secureworks said that the US and UK had been worst affected. It added that the cyber-criminals responsible were now targeting home internet users after initially focusing on professionals. The firm has provided a list of net domains that it suspects have been used to spread the code, but warned that more are being generated every day. Ransomware has existed since at least 1989,

NY Times: Obamacare Extensions
´A Sweeping Exercise of Executive Power´
Breitbart Big Journalism, by Wynton Hall    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/25/2013 8:08:53 PM     Post Reply
On Christmas Eve, the Obama administration announced yet another Obamacare enrollment extension on its HealthCare.gov blog for anyone who claims to have missed the myriad sign-up deadlines due to problems with the website. The New York Times called the announcement "vague" and noted that "it was not clear on Tuesday how many people would be affected, or how consumers would prove that website errors had prevented them from signing up by the deadline on Tuesday night." The Obama administration announcement also failed to note when the "special enrollment period" would cease; however, White House

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