New York City may drop a giant Waterford crystal ball on New Year’s Eve, but the folks around Brasstown, NC prefer their method – dropping a live possum. “It ain’t the new year until the possum drops” has been the saying around town for the past 19 years – but not anymore. (Snip) “We’re not gonna break no laws.” Logan said he just doesn’t understand all the fuss about using a life possum. For years, they put the critter in a decorated cage and lowered him down at the stroke of midnight. Afterwards, they released the possum into the woods. But PETA argued it was cruel.
Jackie Lee was stunned when he applied for a job at General Electric´s locomotive plant in far north Fort Worth, but was rejected. (Snip) Lee, who has 22 years of experience at American but recently accepted a buyout package to leave that job, applied for a position as a locomotive assembler at the plant, known as GE Manufacturing Solutions. It was no ordinary job interview, he said; at one point, he and other applicants were placed on teams and asked to build things with Legos. The Haslet resident thought he did well in the interview -- his group built an airplane with their toy building blocks -
Some out-of-work Americans might have to look no further than our neighbor to the north for employment. Canada is looking to hire tens of thousands of skilled workers for its booming energy industry. With the third-largest oil and gas reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Canada wants to double its oil production in the next 10 years. While it has plenty of oil to tap, there aren´t enough skilled workers to help secure it. That´s especially true in the western province of Alberta, where mining the oil sands and creating the infrastructure for it is providing plenty of work.
Washington - A U.S. official says retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein´s forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78. The official tells The Associated Press that Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. The official wasn´t authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin´ Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper. He lived in retirement in Tampa, where he had served in
Government By Fiat: Quietly, on Christmas Eve while no one was looking, President Obama unveiled his regulatory plans for the coming year. Why all the secrecy? What´s he got to hide? Plenty, it seems. By law, Obama was supposed to issue his regulatory plans last April. But, as with so many other things, he simply ignores the laws he finds inconvenient. Who´s to stop him? Even the Associated Press has noticed: "Since the election, the Obama administration has quietly reopened the regulations pipeline" on everything from "workplace safety to a crackdown on Wall Street," the news service wrote last week.
Gun Control: A different set of gun laws applies to network anchors, but even stranger is a newspaper publishing a map showing not only who has a firearm but also telling predators who doesn´t. It should have been sufficient for the Gannett-owned Journal News, headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., reporting on increased calls for stricter gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn., to have noted that about 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in the Lower Hudson Valley — one of every 23 adults —
Given that hypocrisy is an important part of diplomacy, and diplomacy is necessary to foreign policy, allow me to congratulate you on winning a second term. I wish I could also congratulate you on your conduct of international affairs. I do thank you for killing Osama bin Laden. It was a creditable action for which you deserve some of the credit you´ve been given. Of course the intelligence was gathered, and the mission was undertaken, by men and women who, although they answer to your command, answer to duty first. And it is difficult to imagine
Politics: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced Thursday she´s leaving her post. Is she getting out just ahead of an investigation into the illegal use of private emails for official government business? Federal law bars government employees from using private email accounts for official communications unless the emails are appropriately stored and can be tracked. The objective is to ensure open government. Apparently, though, Jackson would prefer to work in the shadows outside the disinfecting light. Suspicions led the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general to launch a probe into Jackson´s email use and prompted at least two congressional
If Michelle Obama´s greige nail polish she wore during her Democratic National Convention speech was enough to spark discussion from Pulitzer prize-winning authors, then her Christmas Day polish is sure to cause fireworks. The First Lady, visiting a military base in Hawaii with President Barack Obama, celebrated December 25th in summery style, wearing a sleeveless cotton dress, sandals and a neon yellow pedicure. While she kept her hands bare, the pop of yellow on her toes was a simple way to liven up and add some colour to her black and white ensemble.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa´s president says a dog should not be man´s best friend. President Jacob Zuma made critical remarks about pet care that touch on sensitive race relations in South Africa, which was dominated by whites until apartheid was dismantled almost two decades ago, The Star newspaper reported Thursday. The newspaper cited Zuma as saying in a speech Wednesday that the idea of having a pet is part of "white culture" and that people should focus on family welfare. The president´s office sought to clarify his remarks, saying he was encouraging "the previously oppressed African majority"
HONOLULU —After a brief vacation in Hawaii, President Obama is on his way back to Washington to address proposed extended tax cuts and looming fiscal cliff.The president left Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam around 10 p.m. Wednesday night.Before boarding the plane, the Commander-in-Chief shook hands with military personnel, thanking them for their service. Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, who was named by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as the replacement for late Sen. Daniel Inouye, flew on Air Force One with the president. The First Lady and daughters are staying in Hawaii at the family´s vacation home in Kailua.
Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West appeared on the Tavis Smiley radio show on Thursday where he weighed in with his thoughts on how the media and lawmakers are responding to the tragic massacre of teachers and children in Newtown, Connecticut. West expressed his frustration over how eagerly the media demanded a conversation about gun laws after Newtown, but seems unmoved by endemic gun violence in America’s cities where the victims are primarily minorities. “We can’t just shed tears for those on the vanilla side of town,” West said.” They are precious, but they are no less or more
With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) heading back to the floor of the upper chamber to deliver dueling speeches blaming the other for Congress’ failure to reach a compromise to resolve the fiscal cliff, CNN anchor Candy Crowley expressed exasperation with President Barack Obama’s hands-off approach to dealing with Congress. She asked why the White House was not dealing directly with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), to which her guests replied that Democrats may see a political advantage to going off the cliff in January.
WASHINGTON- Lawmakers on Thursday gave themselves a last chance to prevent the United States from plunging off a "fiscal cliff" by setting up a late session in Congress just about a day before taxes are due to rise for most working Americans. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives told their members to be back in Washington from the Christmas holiday break on Sunday night in case they need to vote on budget measures. That leaves the door open to a last-minute solution to avert big tax hikes due to begin on January 1
Newark — Homicides in Newark have spread through the city over the past 30 years like an infectious disease and can be tracked and treated like a public health issue with prevention, inoculation and treatment, according to a study by Michigan State University. The study, among the first to track murder through the lens of medical research, is part of a widening trend among local leaders and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat violent crime like a medical condition.(Snip) Their report, titled "Homicide as Infectious Disease," said the clusters originated in the Central Ward and moved south
The rapid collapse of a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya exposed the vulnerabilities of State Department facilities overseas. But the CIA’s ability to fend off a second attack that same night provided a glimpse of a key element in the agency’s defensive arsenal: a secret security force created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Two of the Americans killed in Benghazi were members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, an innocuously named organization that has recruited hundreds of former U.S. Special Forces operatives to serve as armed guards for the agency’s spies.
Middlesex Borough – A 39-year-old man was hospitalized today after striking himself in the head with a hammer, according to a report and the man’s landlord. The victim, whose name could not be learned, knocked himself out this morning inside a home on Grandview Street. Rescue workers arrived on the scene at 8:20 a.m. to find the victim unconscious. Collins identified the man only as a roommate who rents from him. “He was upset,” said Lucien Collins, 61, owner of the home. He declined to speculate on whether the incident was an accident or suicide attempt.
No longer will Passaic County law enforcement have to take separate cars to respond to a scene where mass arrests are expected. Now the sheriff’s department has a 16-foot dual axle trailer to transport up to 20 officers to parades, demonstrations, shopping frenzies or college parties that might get too rowdy. The $130,000 trailer came from the state’s Department of Corrections through a federal Homeland Security grant, putting Passaic County on New Jersey’s Mass Arrest Response Team. That means the trailer will be deployed anywhere in the state where police need its size, flood lights and amplified speaker system
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced her resignation Thursday as head of one of the most contentious agencies in the Obama administration and leader of the president’s battles to regulate climate change, coal-fired power plants and block the Keystone XL pipeline. Jackson’s departure is expected to take effect as the president is sworn into a second term in January. President Barack Obama has not announced whom he will nominate to fill the post, however her deputy, Robert Perciasepe, is expected to fill the position until her replacement is confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Americans intent on ensuring a school massacre like the one in Newtown, Conn., never happens again could learn a lot from Israel, where the long menu of precautions includes armed teachers. The Jewish state, which has long faced threats of terrorist strikes in crowded locations including schools, takes an all-of-the-above approach to safety in the classroom. Fences, metal detectors and armed private guards are part of a strategy overseen by the country’s national police. (Snip) Oren Shemtov, CEO of Israel’s Academy of Security and Investigation, noted that Headline resplit and Snip added by staff.
AUSTIN — At a Houston news conference early this month, Dr. Donna Campbell stood alongside Gov. Rick Perry, looking the part of a newly elected senator: sharp-eyed, coiffed, wearing a bright pearl necklace. For many, this was a first glimpse at the New Braunfels Republican, who doesn´t yet have an office in the Capitol but now represents state Senate District 25, which includes northern Bexar County.
The atrocities in Newtown constituted a turning point in the Beltway debate on gun control, with Democrats now preparing to introduce – and President Obama vowing to pass – new legislation aimed at further restricting gun ownership. The tragedy in Connecticut seems to have had a similar effect on journalists, who have been even more outspoken in the wake of this tragedy than in other instances. (Snip) The most surprising finding comes in the last line of the story linked above: “The USA TODAY/Gallup poll found 54% have a favorable opinion of the NRA,
A Washington attorney suing the Obama administration for access to alias emails sent by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that a recent decision by the Justice Department to release thousands of those emails next month contributed to her resigning Thursday. Jackson, in a brief written statement, said Thursday she is leaving the EPA after four years on the job, for "new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference." The agency did not offer an explanation. But Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said
NEW YORK -- To his boss, Chris Matthews has become a statesman. His critics probably have other words. The veteran MSNBC host raised his profile as much as any member of the television commentariat during the presidential campaign. His 5 p.m. "Hardball" show has seen viewership jump by 24 percent this year from 2011, 17 percent for the rerun two hours later. Matthews symbolized MSNBC´s growing comfort in being a liberal alternative to Fox News Channel. He engaged in an uncomfortable on-air confrontation with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, seemed nearly apoplectic when President Barack Obama flubbed his Headline split by staff.
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration announced Thursday that she would step down in a statement that implied inaction on climate change during President Obama´s first term. Jackson mentions climate change just once in her statement, saying that at the time of her nomination, she "spoke about the need to address climate change." But the rest of the statement appears to make the tacit argument that she succeeded even though that initiative failed. Jackon lists other issues on her agenda that the EPA was more successful in tackling: "air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment
The U.S. Labor Department has rustled up more taxpayer money to help "jobless workers" pay their health insurance premiums. "It is difficult enough to find new employment, let alone do so without health insurance for you or your family," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a news release dated Dec. 26. "This funding will help eligible workers avoid that prospect by helping them pay for health insurance while they seek new jobs." The money -- in the form of a $1,058,254 National Emergency Grant supplement -- will go to several thousand unemployed people in Alabama, Delaware,