While President Obama spent his Christmas Eve afternoon golfing with friends, the first lady was hard at work helping children from across the country track Santa’s every move. Mrs. Obama took roughly 30 minutes out of her Hawaiian family vacation to answer calls from children asking where Santa was located as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, according to a White House official. “Have you been a good boy this year?” Mrs. Obama asked Fischer from North Carolina. “Yes, ma’am” responded the polite 5-year-old,
It´s hardly a secret that Barack Obama, like every president no doubt, muses about his ultimate legacy and spot in the presidential pantheon. He approaches his second term confronting tough and shifting challenges that will play big roles in shaping the rest of his presidency and his eventual place in history. In the coming months, Obama will have to decide where to be ambitious, where to be cautious, and where to buy time. He draws political strength from his surprisingly easy re-election in a bad economy. It´s partly offset, however, by Republicans´ continued control of the House,
Hi Townhall Readers- Yes, I know I´m on vacation, but even so I can´t but help to spout about stuff. This week I will be taking selections from writings I´ve written elsewhere regarding life and liberty and sharing them with you. Don´t you feel special now? Today´s selection is a letter I wrote to someone who was coming of age and wanted advice about being a man. It´s not that I think I´m an expert. Far from it. But he thought it helpful and it can serve as a point of discussion for Christmas Day. Dear __
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Jake Devincenzi was thrilled to get his hands on Google´s new Nexus 4 smartphone. He admired its sleek black case and large touch screen — and he couldn´t wait to tear it apart.(Snip)Devincenzi, a 20-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, works part time for IFixit, a company that has less of a business mission than a manifesto: "Repair is independence. We have the right to remove ´Do Not Remove´ stickers." With the helping hands of technicians such as Devincenzi and repair guides written by volunteer tech experts, IFixit is tapping into
As if Superstorm Sandy and the looming fiscal crisis weren´t enough, a potential strike by thousands of dock workers from Boston to Houston threatens to shock the economy as early as this weekend. Business groups and state officials in recent days have called on President Obama to intervene, and use emergency powers to "avoid a coast wide port shutdown." They warn it could cost billions, citing estimates that a 10-day port lockout in 2002 cost $1 billion a day -- and caused a major backlog in shipments. Florida Gov. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is the latest to enter the fray and call for White House
Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has confirmed that the department is looking into allegations that NBC´s David Gregory violated D.C.´s gun banning laws during a recent taping of Meet the Press. In a discussion about gun control, host David Gregory brandished a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar "assault rifle." The discussion took place on December 23, during the broadcast of NBC´s Sunday morning political talk show. Washington D.C.’s gun laws, however, state that even possessing such a device is a violation. Meet the Press is filmed at NBC´s D.C. studios
Imagine it´s Christmas Eve in your local church and the offering plate is passed to help a local orphanage build an addition because there´s "no room in the inn." But just when you´re about to give generously to the cause, you recall that politicians in Washington recently voted to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving. Would you give as much under reduced charitable deductions? Despite the fact that charitable deductions are the 10th-most popular tax break (nearly 40 million Americans claim them annually), those in Washington are willing to gamble that
DALLAS — When Ralph Hall was elected to the U.S. House in 1980 at the age of 57, he had already served in the Navy in World War II, built a successful business career and served in Texas´ state government for many years. On Christmas Day, the North Texas congressman will become the oldest person ever to serve in the U.S. House, surpassing the record of North Carolina Rep. Charles Manly Stedman, who died in office in 1930 at age 89 years, 7 months and 25 days. Hall, who turns 90 on May 3, became the oldest House member
Merry Christmas to the Fourth Estate! Hope you´ve enjoyed your goose or turkey or whatever your family tradition includes (latkes for those who are Jewish). When you return to work, there are a few loose ends on which you might want to follow up. "Follow up." It´s a term that has gone out of style in the age of Obama. You members of the press have become remarkably uncurious since he´s been in the White House. A blanket of benevolent uncuriousness smothers news about Obama administration wrongdoing.
Random thoughts on the passing scene: When I was growing up, an older member of the family used to say, "What you don´t know would make a big book." Now that I am an older member of the family, I would say to anyone, "What you don´t know would fill more books than the Encyclopedia Britannica." At least half of our society´s troubles come from know-it-alls, in a world where nobody knows even 10 percent of all. Some people seem to think that, if life is not fair,
Tehran, Iran - An Iranian semi-official news agency says there has been another cyberattack by the sophisticated computer worm Stuxnet, this time on the industries in the country´s south. Tuesday´s report by ISNA quotes provincial civil defense chief Ali Akbar Akhavan as saying the virus targeted a power plant and some other industries in Hormozgan province in recent months. Akhavan says Iranian computer experts were able to "successfully stop" the worm. Iran has repeatedly claimed defusing cyber worms and malware, including Stuxnet and Flame viruses that targeted the vital oil sector,
You really would need to have a heart harder than the five-pence piece in the Christmas pud not to feel sorry at present for Professor Richard Dawkins. Christmas must be such a terrible trial for the planet’s most celebrated--and angriest--atheist. All that cheerfulness and pleasure associated with Christianity’s main celebration seems to drive him simply nuts. Indeed, just a few days ago he lunged into yet another wild denunciation of religious faith. This time, the Chief Inquisitor of Unbelief declared that raising a child as a Catholic was worse than subjecting it to sexual abuse. His view of religion is
I have to admit to a certain amount of amusement at this petition to get Piers Morgan deported from the United States. As you can see, the petition itself has quite easily reached the numbers required to gain a response from the White House. There are a number of problems with the petition of course. The first one being that while what Morgan actually said (“You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you” being not the sort of thing we expect a TV host to say) is undoubtedly protected by the First Amendment. His bosses have every right to fire him if they want:
So much for a star-studded special election. Ben Affleck isn´t running for Senate in Massachusetts after all, he announced on Monday, POLITICO´s Mike Zapler reports: The actor took to his Facebook page Monday to say he´s not running to replace Sen. John Kerry, who´s expected to easily win confirmation as secretary of state. Earlier Monday, Ted Kennedy Jr. said he´s not taking the plunge into elected politics, either. "I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office," Affleck wrote. "Right now it´s a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo
Almaty, Kazakhstan - A military aircraft carrying 27 people including top members of the Kazakhstan border guard service crashed Tuesday in the south of the country with many fatalities feared, officials said. The KNB security service said the An-72 military transport aircraft was carrying seven crew and 20 servicemen, including the acting head of the Kazakh border service Turganbek Stambekov. The plane crashed 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Shymkent airport where it had been due to land after a flight from the capital Astana. A security source told the Interfax news agency that all those on board
Washington - Want to come to President Barack Obama´s inauguration? There´s plenty of room. Second inaugurations tend to draw fewer spectators and finding a place to stay in Washington won´t be nearly as difficult this time as it was four years ago. District of Columbia officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors for the Jan. 21 inauguration. That´s far less than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall in 2009 to witness the swearing-in of America´s first black president. Back then, some hotels sold out months in advance and city residents rented out their homes
Should journalists be advocates for tougher gun control measures? It´s a question worth asking as more and more reporters, commentators, and TV anchors are openly promoting stringent gun policies in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. It´s not just the ranters on the left, like MSNBC´s Lawrence O´Donnell, who recently called National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre "the lobbyist for mass murderers." O´Donnell is a controversialist who says things like that all the time. (Snip) More notable are the ostensibly straight-news journalists who have come down on the side of stronger gun control.
In a nebula far, far away..... Here´s special holiday photo. It´s another one of those amazing Hubble Space Telescope photographs that captures the stellar beauty of space beyond what our naked eyes can see from Earth. This array is known as NGC 5189. NASA released it because it looks like a Christmas holiday light house beyond anything your showy neighbors could come up with. This planetary nebula resembles colorful blown glass to some eyes, like mine. It actually captures one of the final stages of a dying star, not unlike our Sun in a few billion years.
The fiscal cliff is exposing some brassy hypocrisy on Wall Street. Eager to score points with the White House, one CEO after another is throwing capitalism over the edge. Remarks by leading captains of industry over the past few weeks have sounded alarmingly anti-market. Some of these multimillionaires have even questioned the value of the economic system that allowed them to flourish. Here´s a rundown of some of the more disturbing murmurings coming from corporate America these days: • In a recent interview with CBS News´ "This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose, General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt
Second Amendment: When big-government politicians and their media allies team up to incite hysteria, any voice of reason is attacked as if it were crazed and evil. The latest victim heads the National Rifle Association. Tabloid "journalism" is no stranger to the gutter, or to serving the interests of the ever-expanding state. In 1975, for instance, the New York Daily News ran its infamous "Ford to City: Drop Dead" front-page headline, which ultimately led to President Ford caving in and bailing out the wasteful, corrupt New York City government. The tabloid´s agitation against Ford also helped him lose,
While it now seems to us to be Christmas 2012, somewhere behind us it is still Christmas 1941. Imagine you are paddling a canoe downstream. From God´s view above, he sees the bend in the stream you´ve already passed. He sees you now, paddling slowly next to the pines on the bank. He sees beyond the bend ahead, where a deer is lapping the tumbling water. (Snip) It´s December 6th, 1941. A little girl named Arlene is awaiting the arrival of guests for her 8th birthday party. She is growing up American,
In May, Richard V. Wilson approached a female neighbor on the street and shot her in the back of the head, a crime that stunned their quiet Katonah neighborhood. What was equally shocking for some was the revelation that the mentally disturbed 77-year-old man had amassed a cache of weapons — including two unregistered handguns and a large amount of ammunition — without any neighbors knowing. “I think that the access to guns in this country is ridiculous, that anybody can get one,” said a neighbor of Wilson’s who requested anonymity because it’s not known whether the gunman,
Twenty-five years after a teenage Tawana Brawley falsely dragged his name through the mud as a gang-raping, kidnapping racist, it’s payback time for Steven Pagones, a former Dutchess County prosecutor whom she still owes $429,000, including interest, on a 1998 defamation judgment. “In all these years, she’s never told the truth about this hoax or paid me a cent,” he said yesterday. “Now I’m going to seek anything I’m entitled to under the law,” Pagones said in response to a Sunday Post exclusive that revealed Brawley is working under a new name, Tawana Gutierrez,
Luke Raymond cannot wrap up one of his most heartfelt gifts this Christmas. His offering is much too personal. Raymond and about 30 of his classmates at Cardinal Gibbons High offer a different kind of gift – support for those grieving the loss of loved ones. As members of the school’s Pallbearers Society, the group assembles several times each year to help carry the coffins of people they have never met.They generally know almost nothing about the deceased. Gibbons is a nonboarding parochial school, but pallbearers are available to any family in the community,
It is now official. Last week, President Obama nominated John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, saying Kerry’s ”entire life has prepared him for this role.” He further contended that Kerry’s service as a Vietnam veteran taught him the “responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power.” That assessment may come as a shock to the thousands of Vietnam veterans whose reputations Kerry trashed in order to advance his own radical political agenda. Remarkably, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unable to attend the nominating ceremony due to her continuing effort to dodge testimony
It´s 2:00 a.m. You are at home in your bed sound asleep. Your wife is sleeping beside you, and your children are asleep in their rooms down the hall. The muffled sound of a window breaking interrupts your slumber. You´re groggy and you wonder if it was just a dream, so you lie there quietly and listen. A few seconds later, you hear other sounds.