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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cambodia sends Uighur asylum-seekers back to China

A group of Muslims who fled China after deadly ethnic rioting and sought asylum in Cambodia have been sent back home, even though rights groups fear they face persecution there.

Full Story

Prison population to have first drop since 1972

The United States may soon see its prison population drop for the first time in almost four decades, a milestone in a nation that locks up more people than any other.

Prison population to have first drop since 1972

The crop circle hoax that went global

The crop circle hoax that went global

A 1976 prank "flying saucer nest" actually caused people to believe.

How to live happily on 75% less money

How to live happily on 75% less money

Catherine Goerz's income dropped from $8,000 to $1,900 a month, but her quality of life improved.

Massive storm slams the East Coast

Massive storm slams the East Coast

Heavy snowfall creates treacherous road conditions and knocks out power to tens of thousands.

Cities that skipped the housing bust

10 cities that skipped the housing bust

Unlike most of the country, these metro areas have enjoyed increases in home prices.

Bargain autos you shouldn't touch

Bargain autos you shouldn't touch

You can find deep discounts on these cars, but they still might not be worth it.

Cop News

Best online stores for last-minute gifts

Best online stores for last-minute gifts

These sites offer great selection and quick delivery on everything from shoes to affordable art.

Needles successfully extracted from Brazil boy

Surgeons on Friday successfully removed four sewing needles from the lung and near the heart of a Brazilian toddler, allegedly plunged into him by his stepfather during a month-long series of bizarre rituals.

Full Story

"Weird Pyramid UFO" seen hovering over Russia

There's some seriously weird stuff going on in the far north.

The other day it was those mysterious Norway lights, and this time it is the weird flying Pyramid thing seen over the Kremlin, Russia.

"Weird Pyramid UFO" seen hovering over Russia

How undercover cops get suspects' DNA

This article from the LA Times includes a description of how an undercover cop lifted a DNA sample from Stephanie Lazarus, a police woman was under investigation for murdering her romantic rival.
An undercover officer surreptitiously trailed Lazarus, 49, as she ran errands, waiting until she discarded a plastic utensil or other object with her saliva on it. The DNA in her saliva was compared with evidence collected from the murder scene. The genetic code in the samples matched conclusively, police and prosecutors have said.
And this is one of the main reasons that biometric identifiers are so very risky... You can protect the PIN for your debit card by shielding the keypad when you enter it, but how do you keep counterfeiters from getting your DNA for authenticating the debit-card of the future? We throw off fingerprints, DNA, hand-geometry impressions, gaits and other biometrics at a titanic rate, and there's no way to stop, short of spending all your time in a hazmat suit.

Within You Without You

The Beatles

Science News

From BBC-Science:

Scientists who have mapped one of the most enigmatic mountain ranges on Earth give a first glimpse of their data.

US scientists have reported detecting signals that could indicate the presence of dark matter.

10 great gifts under $10

10 great gifts under $10

These stylish items will make wonderful stocking stuffers for everyone on your list.

Crafty kitten tries to open door

Crafty kitten tries to open door

This acrobatic cat may be small, but he shows big determination in attempting to get into the bedroom.

4 of the Last 8 White Rhinos on Planet Flown Home to Kenya

From Treehugger:

Male Northern White Rhino at San Diego Zoo Photo
Image via: Google Earth Community

Even the organizing agency, Fauna & Flora International, admits is a "last-ditch effort" to save the northern White Rhino - the project itself has been oddly enough titled the "Last Chance to Survive" Project. Yet, four of the last remaining eight northern White Rhinos on the planet are being flown from the Czech Republic to Kenya to live out their last years and (hopefully) make a little love in the process.

Schools Are Dropping Driver's Ed To Save Money

Schools Are Dropping Driver's Ed To Save Money

In recent years, school systems have been trying to save money by cutting back on driver instruction during the school day.

Schools Are Dropping Driver's Ed To Save Money

As bad as the kids they are training to drive now drive this won't be helping the situation.

NC Supreme Court Halts Release Of Convicted Murderers

The court granted a request from the attorney general's office Friday afternoon, shortly before Alford Jones and Faye Brown were set to go free.

NC Supreme Court Halts Release Of Convicted Murderers

Saturday Jam

Today's Saturday Jam

Boom Boom
John Lee Hooker
Hoochie Coochie Man
Muddy Waters
The Thrill Is Gone
BB King

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
December 19, 2009

Over the past few decades, there has been an intense struggle in Washington between the lobbyists for the insurance industry and the interests of the American people over what has been called a Patient’s Bill of Rights – a set of rules to protect Americans from some of the worst practices of the health insurance industry; rules to ensure that all Americans are getting the care they need from their doctors and the care they deserve from their insurance companies.

The last time a Patient’s Bill of Rights was within reach was roughly a decade ago, and it was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, from Ted Kennedy to John McCain. It included the right to an appeals process so you could challenge an unfair decision by an insurance company before a third party. It included the right to choose your own doctor. It included the right to access information about what your health insurance plan means for you. And it called for a new level of transparency so that patients would know if their doctors had a conflict of interest when providing services.

Now, this Patient’s Bill of Rights never made it into law. It fell victim – again and again – to the same special interest lobbying that has blocked passage of health insurance reform for so many decades. But today, we are being given another chance to make it a reality, because each of these rights, and many more, are incorporated in the health insurance reform bill that recently passed the House of Representatives and in the bill that is currently making its way through the Senate.

Both the House and Senate bills would make it against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition or illness. Both would stop insurers from charging exorbitant premiums on the basis of age, health, or gender. Both would prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage when you get sick. And both would put a limit on how much you have to pay out of pocket for the treatments you need in a year or lifetime.

Simply put, the protections currently included in both the health insurance reform bill passed by the House and the version currently on the Senate floor would represent the toughest measures we’ve ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills. Just open these proposals at random and you’ll find on almost any page patient protections that dwarf any of those passed by Congress in at least a decade.

These protections are just one part of a landmark reform that will finally reduce the cost of health care. When it becomes law, families will save on their premiums. Small businesses and Americans who don’t get any insurance today through their employers will no longer be forced to pay punishingly high rates to get coverage. This legislation will also strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program, while saving senior citizens hundreds of dollars a year in prescription costs. And reforms to target waste, inefficiency, and price-gouging by the insurance industry will help make this the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.

The insurance industry knows all this. That’s why they’re at it again, using their muscle in Washington to try to block a vote they know they will lose. They’re lobbying. They’re running ads. They’re spending millions of dollars to kill health insurance reform, just like they’ve done so many times before. They want to preserve a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people.

But now – for the first time – there is a clear majority in the Senate that’s willing to stand up to the insurance lobby and embrace lasting health insurance reforms that have eluded us for generations. The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them.

Whatever their position on health insurance reform, Senators ought to allow an up or down vote. Let’s bring this long and vigorous debate to an end. Let’s deliver on the promise of health insurance reforms that will make our people healthier, our economy stronger, and our future more secure. And as this difficult year comes to a close, let’s show the American people that we are equal to the task of meeting our great challenges.

Thanks for listening, and on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and Bo, happy holidays, from our family to yours.

Unusual Holidays and Celebrations

Today is

Day For South

Daily Almanac

Today is Saturday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2009.

There are 12 days left in the year.

Today In History December 19

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Markham, Ontario, Canada
Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

as well as Scotland, the Philippines, and the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

If you want things done correctly, sometimes it's just better to do them yourself instead of relying on secondary sources for help.
This is a good time to plan for the future, but you might not be able to solidify all of your plans just yet.
It's a good idea to leave some room open for negotiation anyway, especially where your financial situation is concerned.
Find out all you can before you actually make the big move you're contemplating, but make sure you check your sources.

Will do.