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29 Jan 2012 23:09


Politics: Conservative columnist: Newt, please shut up

  • Time is not Newt Gingrich’s friend, because the more time he has, the more he talks.
  • George Will on “This Week”• Regarding the hazardous effects of Newt Gingrich’s prolonged loquacity. Will was reacting in part to Gingrich’s allegation, made earlier on the same show, that Mitt Romney is a “maniacal liar.”  Just last month, Gingrich had pledged to run “a positive campaign focused on our country’s future;” guess that’s easy to say when you’re the frontrunner.  source

29 Jan 2012 21:52


World: Syria conflict: Calls for outside involvement rise as Arab League leaves

  • The current battles taking place in and around Damascus may not yet lead to the unraveling of the regime, but the illusion of normalcy that the Assads have sought hard to maintain in the capital since the beginning of the revolution has surely unraveled. … Once illusions unravel, reality soon follows.
  • U.S.-based Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid • Discussing the current situation in Damascus, where government tanks have gone into rebel strongholds in an attempt to take back the ground. The situation in the country is quickly deteriorating, with another 62 killed throughout the country Sunday, and the Arab League had to suspend their mission in the region on Saturday as a result of the violence. The big question here: Will outside military forces have to get involved to help ease the situation? Libya was a controversial decision for the U.S. and NATO, and the situation in Syria is in many ways as violent and unhinged. While the U.S. may not heed the call again, the United Nations might. A lot of difficult questions to answer in Syria. source

29 Jan 2012 21:05


Biz: Why does the FDA keep seizing imported orange juice?

  • 14% of all foreign orange juice is apparently tainted source
  • » The seized OJ contained a banned fungicide: The Food and Drug Administration has had to step up its orange juice-seizing lately, because a common fungicide called carbendazim, which, mind you, is safe in small amounts, is showing up in some of the imported orange juice. (Initially, this was reported to be a blanket ban, though the FDA says they’re only testing orange juice.) Here’s the kicker, though, from FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey: “We don’t feel that this is a safety problem. This is more of a regulatory issue.” So basically, they’re seizing a crapload of OJ because it’s got a chemical that is apparently being poorly regulated. You would assume it’s dangerous to consumers, but it’s not. Wait … we’re not following this.

29 Jan 2012 13:30


Tech: Study: Teens flocking to Twitter more than they did two years ago

  • 8% of young people ages 12-17 had Twitter accounts in 2009, according to a Pew study
  • 16% of young people ages 12-17 had Twitter accounts in 2011, according to an updated study source
  • » Not so square anymore? Two years ago, Twitter had a bit of a reputation as the social network of choice for slightly older professionals, while many young teens were giving it a pass. The study appeared to be showing an interesting trend among teens, who preferred to stick with Facebook or other services. Things appear to have changed since then. “I love twitter, it’s the only thing I have to myself … cause my parents don’t have one,” noted 17-year-old Britteny Praznik. One major difference? Rather than self-promotion, the goal seems to merely be social in nature. Wow, who would’ve thought? A social network for social networking? Be still our hearts.

29 Jan 2012 12:17


U.S.: GOP: We’ll make this payroll tax cut extension work, we swear

  • There is broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year … The problem is paying for it. … (Democrats) just don’t want to cut any spending. That is what made it problematic. But we will get it done. We will get it done before the end of February.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Emphasizing that the payroll tax cuts that proved a thorn in the GOP’s side back around Christmas will get extended through the new year, no matter how many arms McConnell has to twist. The thing is, though, he’s not the guy who has to do the hard work. It’s Boehner in the House, who pissed off his rightward-leaning members by ignoring their wishes to score a deal. However, even Boehner is confident: “I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve this fairly quickly,” he said. The tax cuts expire at the end of February, but there’s no word on how they plan to pay for this. source

29 Jan 2012 11:46


Politics: Rick Santourm leaves campaign trail to tend to sick daughter

  • “You think she’s fine, and then one cold and she’s this close to dying.” Days ahead of the important Florida primary, Rick Santorum found himself having to make an unexpected detour Saturday, as his 3-year-old daughter Bella, who suffers from a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18, was admitted to the hospital. Bella has already beaten the odds in many ways — many children with the condition don’t survive their first week, let alone their first year. The presidential candidate, who is running behind Gingrich and Romney, is relying on surrogates to keep things going while he’s gone, but it’s not the first time Bella’s health has forced the cancellation of Santorum’s campaign events. A tough situation for Santorum to deal with, especially as the contests turn into real primaries with real stakes. (photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickrsource

29 Jan 2012 11:26


World: The Department of Defense can’t account for a crapload of Iraq War spending

  • $2 billion of DoD’s Iraq War spending unaccounted for (oops) source
  • » Audit time! With the Iraq War’s chapter effectively closed, now’s apparently a good time to look back at all the money we spent there. There’s a problem, however: Of the $3 billion the Iraqi government set aside for the Department of Defense to use for reconstruction between 2004 and 2007, approximately two-thirds of that is unaccounted for. Worse, auditors can’t even find most of the documents: “From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports,” an audit says. “However, it can locate only the first four reports.” Ever lose track of like $2 billion bucks? It’s fun, right?

29 Jan 2012 10:58


U.S.: Occupy Oakland protests: Arrests, tear gas, tough statements from officials

  • Whenever journalists are arrested/detained for reporting the news, everyone’s freedom is at risk.
  • KGO Radio reporter Kristin Hanes • Discussing her arrest late Saturday as the Occupy Oakland protests flared up. She and Gavin Aronson of Mother Jones were among the over 200 people placed into custody Saturday night, as the Oakland protests reached a new breaking point — including the burning of an American flag. Both mayor Jean Quan and the police were quick to pin negative attention on the protesters: “The Bay Area Occupy Movement has got to stop using Oakland as their playground,” Quan said in a statement. However, it’s important to keep in mind the nature of the police actions — including violence towards protesters and the use of tear gas grenades. An OpenSalon writer has a pretty informative first-person piece worth reading, which describes both the nature of the protesters (not as bad as reported) and why things flared up Saturday. source