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  • Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is If we policed the U.S. the way we do Afghanistan:
    Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - If we policed the U.S. the way we do Afghanistan
  • Some memorably idiotic tweets from 2012:
    Why we need an Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households: http://t.co/...
    @BryanJFischer via web
    Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers
    @jack_welch via Twitterrific
    Consider this your invitation to post your own favorites for the year.
  • Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas who started his career in Congress in 1980 as a Democrat and switched to the Republicans in 2004, is now, at 89 the oldest representative ever to serve in the House.  
  • The year as seen by Weather Underground:
    8) The Non-Winter of 2011-2012
    "Flowers are sprouting in January in New Hampshire, the Sierra Mountains in California are nearly snow-free, and lakes in much of Michigan still have not frozen. It's 2012, and the new year is ringing in another ridiculously wacky winter for the U.S. In Fargo, North Dakota yesterday, the mercury soared to 55°F, breaking a 1908 record for warmest January day in recorded history. More than 99% of North Dakota had no snow on the ground this morning, and over 95% of the country that normally has snow at this time of year had below-average snow cover." That was the opening of my January 6, 2012 blog post, called "Remarkably dry and warm winter due to record extreme jet stream configuration." The contiguous U.S. saw its 3rd lowest snow cover on record during both winter and spring, and the winter of 2011 - 2012 was the 4th warmest and 24th driest winter in U.S. history, going back to 1895. A primary cause of this warm and snowless winter was the most extreme configuration of the jet stream ever recorded, as measured by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
  • Ready to return the stuff you got and hated? A list of return policies from Consumer World may be helpful.
  • Mark Zuckererg's sister bellyaches about Facebook photo being reposted to Twitter: Uncool, she says.
  • Definitely not uncool space photos of 2012:
    A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
    A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this
     natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
  • Gun and ammo sales up: According to the FBI's website, there were 16.8 million background checks for gun ownership through the end of November this year. A deluge of requests for background checks came in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, which were done with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle based on the AR-15 "plaform," the civilian version of the military M-16:
    Brownells, which describes itself as the world's largest firearm accessories supplier, said it had sold more than 3.5 years' worth of magazines in a 72-hour span. Its president, Pete Brownell, wrote an apology to customers on gun-owner forum AR15.com after complaints arose over a delay in orders placed on the company's website.
  • 2012 as seen by Dr. Ruth's tweets:
    Seems Martian Rover made huge discovery. My guess? Used condom.
    @AskDrRuth via web
  • Holiday sales growth weakest since 2008:
    A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmasincreased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.

    In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent as the financial crisis that crested that fall dragged the economy into recession. Last year, by contrast, retail sales in November and December rose between 4 percent and 5 percent, according to ShopperTrak, a separate market research firm. A 4 percent increase is considered a healthy season.

  • Guns and gun ownership by country

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will not go to an inaugural ball (9+ / 0-)

    I explain why and what I am doing instead in this post to which I invite your attention

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:01:09 PM PST

  •  May 2013 bring more peace on this earth. nt (8+ / 0-)

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:05:26 PM PST

  •  Zuckerberg kitchen photo: amusing that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, JML9999, Aunt Pat, koNko

    cohorts of one of the country's richest person still uses crappy Morton salt.
    That's probably what she's embarrassed about; "it's about human decency" :b

    •  I like to call Morton salt "Mormon salt" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999, Aunt Pat

      But then I suffer from an over abundance of punnery. ;D

      To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:10:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dear Randi (0+ / 0-)

      The internet is a public space and you are a public figure.

      And I thought the apology you got was pretty decent.

      So get over it.

      PS - BTW, speaking of Facebook Policy, how about that Instagram dust-up? Awesome!, no?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:02:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait, holiday sales are UP. Only the INCREASE was (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, jj32, Meteor Blades, Noddy

    less than the year before.

  •  Wow, Dr. Ruth is still alive (and kicking!) (5+ / 0-)

    I hope my wife is still thinking about sex (with me, of course) when she's the same age. ;D

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:08:07 PM PST

  •  Labor pains? (4+ / 0-)

    Although couple of today's diaries answered some questions, I'm wondering what all is going on with labor with the Longshoremen, Wisconsin, Michigan and that bozo Chowder.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:09:00 PM PST

  •  Where the Deer and the Antelope (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yojimbo, Aunt Pat, PSzymeczek

    Play are Road Pizza

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:09:10 PM PST

  •  Pooties! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow

    What's the difference between a Bengal and a Toyger?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:09:41 PM PST

  •  Some great messaging from the House GOP here (7+ / 0-)

    Not.

    Right now, the GOP position on the fiscal cliff is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to move a bill to avert the fiscal cliff or else he’s abdicating his duties. That line will be played on repeat this week, aides say.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/...

    So that means McConnell and Boehner wont block a Harry Reid-created bill? Sounds fine to me.
  •  Holiday sales NOT weakest since 2008 (6+ / 0-)

    If 2012 holiday sales were the weakest since 2008, they were weaker than in 2011. But they were stronger than in 2011:

    Holiday sales weakest since 2008:

    A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year

    The growth might have been weaker than any year since 2008 - or something. But since they increased over 2011, they're not the weakest since before that.

    Besides, 2008 holiday sales were the last time retail spending was funded by the totally bogus insertion of $TRILLIONS into people's pockets from the credit bubble. It all has to be paid back (unless you're a bank) with interest, without meaningful increases in incomes since they collapsed when the bubble popped.

    Without actually reforming the doomed economic system that hit the fan after 2008, it's practically a Christmas miracle that there's any growth at all in overall retail spending.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:10:55 PM PST

  •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, koNko

    Those space photos are awe-inspiring.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:13:21 PM PST

  •  This is a classic Fee Fried Foe Frum (10+ / 0-)

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:13:22 PM PST

  •  Woah! Big Snow Dump Here in N Ohio Today. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, Aunt Pat, orlbucfan, koNko

    I figure we're at 4" and counting, starting after the morning dog walk. Big fat arc from St. Louis and Memphis up over Detroit, Lake Erie, Pittsburgh, Toronto and just west of New York City.

    This will make a lot of holiday travel fun.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:23:33 PM PST

  •  So I looked at the gun statistics thing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, Egg, Aunt Pat, winsock

    Wow, the US is dwarfed by gun violence in Latin America. Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, Venezuela, etc. have way higher rates. Of the ones I listed only Mexico (and 9.9 per 100,000) isn't in the double digits. The US is at 2.97 and Honduras is 68.43 though that may be driven that high from the political situation there.

    That chart also proves the old line about "lies, damn lies, and statistics" though. Lichtenstein shows up with a rate per 100,000 nearly the same as the US. Of course they had ONE gun related homicide but with their small population that really skewed the numbers.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:24:53 PM PST

    •  Me too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, FrankRose

      Lot's to play around with there.  I really need to download to spot relationships better, but here's a couple of observations:

      All (I think) of the highest gun murder rates are from countries in the southern hemisphere.  

      U.S. is highest gun murder rate of major countries that is entirely in the northern hemisphere.

      Quite a few countries with substantial gun ownership (France, Sweden, Canada (which I think we all new), with very low gun murder rates.

      There is definitely not a high correlation between gun ownership and gun murder rate.  Many central American countries with low gun ownership and huge gun murder rates.

      Makes me wonder whether the concentration of guns in some households in the U.S. is actually a good thing for the gun murder rate here.  That guns are not well distributed is likely a good thing.  Switzerland, for example, (I think) has a requirement (or almost) for all households to have a rifle since they don't have a standing army.  That will bring up the percentage of guns per population, but does not indicate the same mentality as in the U.S. where a small percentage of households have hundreds of guns.

      I was also a bit surprised that only 60% of the murders in the U.S. were gun related.  I assumed it would be higher.

      Anyway, lots to chew on and I would be interested in other's observations.

      the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

      by Egg on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:44:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Illuminating point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast

      about statistics and the example of Lichtenstein, population 36,304.  Thanks for that.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:01:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  check out the poverty statistics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      in all those latin american countries. also check out their level of inrastructure development and penetration.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is why statists like the one provided by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        the Guardian are two-edged swords used in this debate. Plenty of other poor countries with guns don't have those numbers. It's ridiculous to say the availability of guns has no bearing on gun deaths but making blanket assessments ONLY on that data point does a disservice to the debate. It's a complex problem and I firmly believe that using, or more correctly misusing, statistics hurts our efforts to reduce gun deaths.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:00:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  rAmen (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontheleftcoast

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:15:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  which economically developed democracies (0+ / 0-)

          have gun death rates like ours? which economically developed democracies have gun ownership rates like ours?

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:19:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about Argentina? (0+ / 0-)

            According to the UN they, like the US, rank as 'Very High' in the HDI (Human Development Index) and despite their ranking as 62nd in gun ownership they have a higher rate of firearm deaths (3.02 v. 2.97). See, cherry picking based on statistics is always going to lead to results like that. I want to reduce the number of guns and gun deaths but I don't see how this line of argument is going to lead to it. I just don't.

            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:26:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  argentina (0+ / 0-)

              is still considered a developing economy, and the villas miseria hold over 2/3 of a million people. such staggering poverty is unheard of even in the u.s., and such villas are where much crime concentrates and originates.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:33:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the US has 2,000,000 people in prison (0+ / 0-)

                Stop this. For every "fact" we throw out in this debate there is a counter to it. The problem doesn't come down to numbers and statistics. Do you want to lower the number of gun deaths? I know I do. But I can't see how debating it this way is going to succeed. I think we need to do things like end the drug war (which would have a positive effect on the murder rates in Latin America), reduce poverty, improve education and opportunities for all. That will lower our gun crime rate and murders committed with guns. Or are you against doing any of those unless you have statistics to back it up?

                To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:45:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  sorry (0+ / 0-)

                  apples to apples. argentina is not comparable to the united states. europe, japan, australia are. economically developed democracies have many problems, but they are very different from developing countries.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:57:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And the millions we cram thru prisons makes us (0+ / 0-)

                    comparable to Japan, Europe, or Australia in what way? Your argument comes down to "For the set of criteria I'm willing to consider the US is horrible" That is the very definition of cherry picking. And you will never convince the gun owners of this country by doing it. And I notice you carefully avoided answering the last half of my comment. Should I make the ridiculous inference that you don't really care about lowering deaths from guns unless you get to do it your way? Why is reducing guns the only way you think we can solve this problem? Because it seems you're fixated on that as the one and only solution to the problem. I'd love to see gun ownership rates go down but with the current SCOTUS I see zero chance of that happening thru legislative means. So rather than expend political effort on what I see as pointless I want to tackle the problem in a way I think will succeed.

                    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:06:37 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i wasn't aware (0+ / 0-)

                      that our prisons distribute guns to prisoners. pandemic poverty, lack of infrastructure, and enormous slums however breed crime and make it impossible to track criminals. australia and britain responded to mass violence with strict gun control and look what happened.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:41:28 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you think there is no connection between (0+ / 0-)

                        the massive US prison population, poverty, and gun deaths in this country then you need to do some serious soul searching.

                        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:37:28 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  there is some (0+ / 0-)

                          but anyone who thinks our lack of gun control isn't the primary reason- by far- of our rates of gun violence needs much more than soul searching.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:44:53 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                            When the murder rate of black males in this country is 20X higher than white females you think the primary reason for gun deaths in this country is mostly the availability of guns? You just claimed that poverty is the driving force in other countries where even far lower gun ownership rates result in far higher gun deaths. Yet here, we're somehow different? That poverty, the prison system, and other factors can't significantly contribute to the gun death rates here?

                            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:56:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  um (0+ / 0-)

                            once again, ignore context. apples to apples and you might find your way to the right track.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:12:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm saying poverty kills (0+ / 0-)

                            Regardless of the country. That's as "apples to apples" as I can get. Because you need to ignore that fact to make your point only diminishes your argument.

                            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:14:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  try again (0+ / 0-)

                            poverty in this country isn't remotely as extreme as in the developing countries. which is one of the reasons they're considered developing. it's as if you're standing sweltering on a blazing hot day, desperately looking for reasons as diverse as people breathing and plants decomposing, while ignoring that big yellow thing in the sky.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:26:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

  •  R.I.P. Gerry Anderson (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Aunt Pat, high uintas, Eric Blair

    Pioneer of Supermarionation and creator of Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Thunderbirds (among lots and lots of other series), which I declare to be satisfactory, MOST satisfactory!

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:26:22 PM PST

  •  Too Much To Post a Cmment To (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat
  •  Didn't know Dr. Ruth was still around. I'm not a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    big fan of David Letterman, but when she used to go on there and make Letterman squirm it was fantastic.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:42:38 PM PST

  •  If tonights snow storm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, high uintas

    reaches the predicted peak (now over a foot and perhaps reaching 20") it will top the entire snowfall we had for last year... including the one foot snowfall we had on Oct. 29 which was the only significant snow we had all winter.

    - Taconic Mountains of Upstate New York

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:45:46 PM PST

  •  If Brownells were a responsible corporate citizen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    it would immediately suspend sales of the Bushmaster.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:52:20 PM PST

  •  89 is oldest? I would have guessed average. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CHUDLEIGH
  •  Speaking of a warm Michigan winter (0+ / 0-)

    My snapdragons were still blooming (!) a couple of days before Christmas. They can tolerate some cold, but this was ridiculous. Expect the snow we're getting today to finish them off.

  •  Hall-go away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    Can't that old Bastard, hypocrite, Hall just go away, what can he actually accomplish and do at that age??? He has his fat pension and generous health care, just go away

  •  West Wing Week: 12/21/12 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    "We Are There For Them"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President addressed the national tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and promised meaningful action to address gun violence, while the White House invited some of its newest Pinterest followers, and the President spread some holiday cheer.
    http://www.youtube.com/...
    The Kennedy Center Honors will air tonight on CBS at 9PM ET / 8PM CT.
    Barbara Walters’s interview with The Obamas will air tonight on ABC’s ‘Nightline’ at 11:35PM ET / 10:35PM CT

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:43:56 PM PST

  •  You could have named that moon: TITAN (0+ / 0-)

    I know Saturn is lousy with moons -- between 30 and 60+, depending on who's counting and how -- but Titan is way cool.  Second largest moon in the Solar System (after Jupiter's Ganymede), it has an optically thick atmosphere with hints of something below....

    I know, Saturn isn't lousy with anything.  It's beautiful, gorgeous, with a horde of moons and rocks and debris orbiting it, along with various ices that made the rings stick out of Galileo's early drawings.

    You know what's fun?  Showing a youngster (or oldster) his/her first sight of Saturn through a telescope, even a moderately small one. There's always a gasp.  That part never gets old.

    (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

    by argomd on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 01:46:11 PM PST

  •  Drones (0+ / 0-)

    USAF Pilot's Opinion on Drones . . .

    Drones will not be late to briefings, start fights at happy hour, destroy clubs, attempt to seduce others' dates, spill flaming hookers, purchase huge watches, insult other Services, sing "O'Leary's Balls," dance on tables, yell ~ "Show us your tits!!!" or do all of the other things that we know win wars !"

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