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Sunday, December 23

23.Dec.2012 - Giving Up Christmas, Climate is an Economic Problem, Preventing Caucasus Disaster, Drugs and Money Laundering, Democrats Slam NRA, Unemployment Down, America is More Unequal Than Most, All-American Torture Nightmare, Bible Makes Violent Americans? and much more.

How I Gave Up Christmas and Found Serenity

Give Christmas the heave ho-ho!

Climate Change Is Not Just an Environmental Problem -- It's an Economic One
The world's economy revolves around carbon-spewing technologies. And until those controlling the resources figure out how to make money in changing, there will be no serious change.
2013 Could Be One Of The Warmest Years
How will by the days and nights of 2013? Scientists have an answer. The year will be one of the warmest years on record. In its annual forecast for the coming year, the Met Office predicts that globally, 2013 will be 0.57C above long-term average.

Preventing The Coming U.S. Disaster In The Caucasus
The United States is risking a disastrous renewal of war in the Caucasus between Armenians and Azeris over the breakaway Armenian-populated Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (RMK, or Artsakh in ancient Armenian).

Guns, drugs, and money laundering
Former U.S. Attorney for Fort Smith-based Western District of Arkansas (Mena)

Democrats Slam NRA's Response To School Shooting
The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.
Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, speaks in response to the Connecticut school shootings, at a news conference in Washington on Friday.

NRA’s LaPierre suggests a solution for 1% of gun deaths

LaPierre starting talking about 20 minutes after the announced starting time. The media was informed that any Q & A would have to wait until Monday at the earliest. Here’s an often-paraphrased, compressed version of what was said. The NRA joined the nation in the horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the fatalities in Newtown. LaPierre said that “Some have tried to exploit the tragedy for political gain.” That’s an apparent reference to those who have introduced responsible gun control legislation.

The search for water in our solar system and beyond

Earth is the only planet in our solar system with a long-term, stable supply of liquid water – essential for the formation and evolution of all organic life. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t other pockets of water elsewhere in our solar system (and around other stars).

Unemployment down: which states are doing better than others
Unemployment rates fell in 45 states in November, but the strength of the job market varies widely by region, according to US data. Local resources and housing markets are among the reasons.

Tired Of The Games? Tell Congress To Get Its Priorities Straight
With a little more than a week to go before the country reaches the fiscal cliff, House GOP leadership brought forward an ill-conceived, unbalanced and partisan plan this week only to watch even it fall apart Thursday night.  The so-called “Plan B” would have caused taxes to increase on the middle class and lower income families, placing more of the burden for deficit reduction on those who can least afford it, while giving more special tax breaks (like the estate tax) to the wealthiest households.  Prior to that, House Republicans narrowly passed an NEA-opposed bill that would cut more spending for education and other essential programs and slash critical services for those most in need, including preventing as many as 280,000 low-income children from receiving school meals.  Read NEA’s letter opposing both bills and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s response to the House action
Why America Is More Unequal Than Most
Reuters: 'Americans are now less likely to move into a class above their parents than are people in other rich countries.' (photo: TPM Muckraker)
merica has a higher degree of income inequality than almost any other developed country. Only three of the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rank higher - Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

Israeli Parliament Bans Arab MP From Running for Reelection

Today’s only successful ban came against Arab MP Haneen Zoabi, who was on the Mavi Marmara aid ship the Israeli Navy attacked. The right-wing MPs on the committee argued that this amounted to “supporting terrorism” with Likud MP Danny Danon arguing that “Democracy must have its limits” and Zoabi’s place is prison.

Torture: An All-American Nightmare
US prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. (photo: unknown)
There's one particular nightmare that Americans need to face: in the first decade of the 21st century we tortured people as national policy. One day, we're going to have to confront the reality of what that meant, of what effect it had on its victims and on us, too, we who condoned, supported, or at least allowed it to happen, either passively or with guilty (or guiltless) gusto.

Politicians Decry Fake Torture, Cover Up Real Torture

Even if a lifetime of exposure to the continuous hypocrisy of politicians has turned many of us into jaded, cynical shells of human beings reduced to selecting "None of the Above" when voting, every so often something comes along that breaks through our hardened shells... and carves another slice off our dwindling faith in humanity. This is one of those moments.

NRA: To Protect The 2nd Amendment, We Must Trample The 1st and 4th Amendments

As predicted, one element of the NRA's "big announcement" today was to lash out andblame media, music and movies for violence. Most news stories are focusing on the wacky idea of putting armed guards in every school (and to do so in the next few weeks as well) and creating a database of the mentally ill, but the lashing out at video games and movies, despite no evidence that they actually lead to violence, seems equally ridiculous. 

Does the Bible Make Americans More Violent?

Americans can be notoriously prudish about sex, yet our entertainments are stuffed with violent acts. Could this go all the way back to the Bible?

Survivors of Israeli offensive on Gaza give heartbreaking testimonies in new video

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