Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Weekly Roundup for 12.24.2012

The Weekly Roundup for 12032012

You might say the week is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workweek, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Weekly Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 7 days -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

Continue reading The Weekly Roundup for 12.24.2012



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South Africa: Mandela convalesces at home

JOHANNESBURG (AP) ? South Africa's presidency says it has no updates on the condition of former leader Nelson Mandela, who is convalescing at home after a hospital stay and is reported to be doing better.

The South African Press Association quotes presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj as saying Saturday that he has no new information on 94-year-old Mandela, who was released from a hospital on Wednesday. The former president, who spent 27 years in prison under apartheid, was admitted Dec. 8 and received treatment for a lung infection.

He also had a procedure to remove gallstones.

Maharaj previously said doctors have noted progress in Mandela's condition but will continue to treat him at his home in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton.


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Union Commits Arson At Church Building Site Because Of Non-Union Contractor

Love them union thugs -- not even houses of worship are sacred to them if they aren't getting their cut of the construction costs. This little escapade is likely to add half-a-million dollars to the construction of the church.

The site where Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is building a new meetinghouse was damaged by arsonists during Christmas week, and police are now "absolutely" sure the attack was the result of a dispute between members of a Philadelphia construction union and the project's nonunion contractor.

Although no suspects have been identified in the Dec. 21 incident, Lt. George McClay of Northwest Detectives said Friday that he was certain the small Quaker building on East Mermaid Lane was targeted because it is being built with nonunion labor.

"I absolutely think it is a union issue," McClay said.

Given the long history of organized criminal activity by unions, the time has come for a national right-to-work law to protect workers -- and the American people as a whole -- from these violent criminals.


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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Video: Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., delivers weekly GOP address (cbsnews)

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AP sources: Saints, Payton, agree to terms on deal

File-This Jan. 15, 2007 file photo shows New Orleans Saints football coach Sean Payton listening to a question at a news conference in New Orleans. The suspended New Orleans Saints head coach has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, according to two people familiar with the deal, said Friday Dec. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

File-This Jan. 15, 2007 file photo shows New Orleans Saints football coach Sean Payton listening to a question at a news conference in New Orleans. The suspended New Orleans Saints head coach has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, according to two people familiar with the deal, said Friday Dec. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) ? The New Orleans Saints and suspended coach Sean Payton will indeed be together again next season as the bounty scandal fades into history and the bid to win a second Super Bowl resumes.

Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, according to two people familiar with the deal.

The people told The Associated Press about the deal Friday night on condition of anonymity because it hasn't been signed and final details regarding the length of the contract and financial compensation are still being worked out.

"Very happy it is official," Brees said in an email to the AP. "Never had any doubts."

Payton was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' head coach in 2012 before being suspended for the whole season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

Payton signed an extension in 2011 that would have kept him in New Orleans through 2015, but Goodell objected to certain language in that deal, leaving Payton's future uncertain until the deal was reached Friday. The language in question in the previous extension gave Payton the right to opt out early if general manager Mickey Loomis left the club for any reason.

The new agreement, which was first reported by Fox Sports, also must be approved by the NFL.

Payton is the only coach in Saints history to win a Super Bowl, a title earned at the end of the 2009 season. But his legacy was tarnished by the NFL's bounty probe, as Goodell ruled that Payton failed to exert proper institutional control over a cash-for-hits bounty program run by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-2011.

Although the Saints objected to the characterization of what coaches and players have said was nothing more than a performance pool for big plays, Goodell suspended Payton for the entire season. The commissioner also suspended Loomis for half of the season and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games.

Payton is 62-34 as in regular-season games as Saints head coach and 5-3 in the postseason. During the three seasons before his suspension, the Saints won 41 regular-season and playoff games combined, more than any other team in the NFL.

Payton has primarily handled the offense in New Orleans, teaming up with Brees to break numerous NFL and club records. The single-season NFL records set by the Saints in 2011 included yards passing by a team (5,505) and a quarterback (5,476). The Saints also set a record for total offensive yards with 7,474.

Although speculation ran rampant that Payton could essentially become a free agent after this season and end up elsewhere, Brees repeatedly said he would be "shocked" if Payton ended up anywhere but New Orleans next season. Brees is under contract with the Saints through the 2016 season, and Payton was the driving force in the Saints' effort to acquire Brees as a free agent in 2006.

Without Payton on the sideline this season, the Saints missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Brees remained prolific, but his 18 interceptions also tied for a league high heading into the final weekend of the season.

The Saints headed into Sunday's season finale against Carolina at 7-8, hoping to avoid their first losing season since they went 7-9 in 2007.

Payton is expected to return to the Saints immediately after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, unless Goodell allows him to return earlier.

When Payton reports back to work, it will offically close the book on the bounty saga that has overshadowed the Saints' organization since the NFL first announced on March 2 that it found the Saints ran a program that paid improper cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.

In addition to the suspensions of Payton, Loomis and Vitt, the Saints also were dicked second-round draft choices in 2012 and 2013, though Goodell has said he could potentially restores the Saints' 2013 second-round choice and dock the team a later-round pick.

Meanwhile, four current or former Saints were initially given suspensions of varying lengths. Two current Saints defensive captains, linebacker Jon Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, were among those suspended. Vilma was banned for the whole season and Smith for four games, but the players successfully challenged their punishment with the help of the NFL Players Association and never served a game.

Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to oversee the players' appeals, ruled that the NFL probe was accurate in its findings that the Saints ran and improper program and attempted to cover it up, but that the evidence was not strong enough to warrant unprecedented suspensions for players who had been only fined for similar behavior in the past.


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Associated Press


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Comments - Hartman Simons Commercial Real Estate Blog - Typepad

As we announced recently, we here at Hartman Simons are thrilled to announce the hiring of two new attorneys: Laura Kurlander and Leslie Brooking. For today?s installment, we sat down with Laura to talk about her legal career, why she enjoys commercial real estate work ? and her love of a good bike ride. Many thanks to Laura for her time.

Laura Kurlander

Laura Kurlander

On what areas will your practice at Hartman Simons focus??

Kurlander: I specialize in commercial leasing and development of office, retail and warehouses. The pace of commercial transactions has been picking up during the past year and I?ve been lucky enough to get involved in ground-up development projects for mixed-use facilities, office buildings and shopping centers. Our retail clients are opening stores across the country in a more strategic manner than in the past, but doing so at a good pace.

In addition to my commercial real estate work, I also represent telecommunications companies in connection with their entries into office and retail buildings and hotels. My work includes the negotiation of telecom agreements related to the services provided, including voice, Internet and video services. My practice is expanding in this area, which is exciting as the industry is rapidly evolving.

Give us an overview of your legal career before joining Hartman Simons.?

Kurlander: I graduated from NYU School of Law in 1990 and was the only member of my class at that time to move to the South. Everyone else remained in large cities throughout the rest of the country.?

I started at King & Spalding, knowing its reputation across the country, and knew that would be a great starting point for my legal practice. I stayed there for two years and then moved to a small firm known as Minkin & Snyder, which has since merged into Greenberg Traurig. Minkin & Snyder had a strong real estate group and also a corporate group that represented media companies.

At the smaller firm, my practice area was broader, as I was immediately given control of deals and quickly learned about golf-course community development, radio and TV station assets, and banking work. I stayed there for six years and then started doing freelance, contract work for almost 10 years. My hours were fabulous, and my schedule was within my control. I was lucky enough to continue to obtain work through my connections with King & Spalding, Minkin & Snyder and then through my work with the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, for which I served as president from 1998 to 1999.

What inspired you to become a lawyer, and why are you drawn to commercial real estate??

Kurlander: I went to law school to be a prosecutor. While at NYU, I spent a summer with the Manhattan District Attorney?s office and spent a year working with New York Legal Aid. I loved the practice of criminal law, but I also had to pay for private-school tuition. I ended up working as a summer associate for King & Spalding and just clicked with the attorneys in the real-estate department.

My evolution as a real estate attorney was a result of the people, not the practice. I grew to truly enjoy the twists and turns of commercial real estate transactions, although the past few years were pretty tough. I enjoy the counseling and negotiating that occurs daily in a transaction practice and am thrilled that the market is alive again. I?ve still had an opportunity to work in criminal justice as a volunteer for Legal Aid in the domestic-violence unit.

How do you like to spend your time away from the office ? what are some of your hobbies?

Kurlander: I?ve always considered myself an active person and am always on the move. I have competed in triathlons for more than 20 years and just completed my first half-Ironman (70.3 miles) in September.

My favorite sport is cycling, and I try to get on my bike a few times a week, regardless of the temperature. This past summer was difficult as the heat and humidity were unprecedented. Despite the short days, I prefer my winter rides.

I stay active in the community and am currently chairing a women?s retreat for Temple Sinai members. I am also an active volunteer with Second Helpings, for which I collect and deliver food to a food bank in town a few times a month. Last, but most importantly, I am married to a wonderful man, Jeff Nagel, and together we have four children, all of whom are teenagers. Being a master planner is a key to balancing work, family, self and sanity during these years.


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Adopt A Pet In New York City: Featured Animals For 12/28/2012, Courtesy Of NYC's Animal Care & Control (PHOTOS)

Every week The Huffington Post New York features city animals up for adoption, in partnership with Animal Care & Control of New York City.

A nonprofit organization, AC&C gives shelter to more than 30,000 dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals each year.

Interested in a new pet? AC&C has adoption centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, all open daily from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

All AC&C adoptions include vaccinations, a microchip, spay/neuter, one month of free pet health insurance and a free office visit at a participating veterinarian.

For more information on adopting, go here, or call (212) 788-4000.

Also! From Dec. 1 through January 1, cats at AC&C are 2-for-1.

All photos and captions courtesy of AC&C.

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Can You Fire An Employee After Your BDSM Fling Sours ...

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A toy store tryst involving rough sex has resulted in a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Ever been in a relationship that was terrible, and your partner wasn't necessarily good in bed but knew the stuff you liked? Right then, I ? I mean you ??stuck around because the thought of admitting to a new person what you were into was terrifying and then teaching them how to do it properly was a headache just to contemplate. I ? again, you ? have all been there. Unfortunately, a New York toy shop manager took things a bit too far.

More from YourTango: Post-Christmas Shopping: What To Buy With Your Gift Cards

Per Canoe, a 26-year-old toy store employee is suing her former boss because he wanted to fire her after she broke up with him when their relationship veered into territory well-explored by the feature film Secretary. The vigorous rogering was one thing but their trysts went down a painful path. The suit references these bad times as, "increasing acts of 'rough' sexual activities, including hitting, slapping and biting."

But of course there is another wrinkle to this story. The store's boss thought that he had purchased his employee's complicity in indulging his sexual proclivities by way of a raise, from doubling her income to $60K (before taxes, she's not playing for the Yankees) to even covering some of her other expenses including rent. As you can imagine, he was not pleased with getting dumped. The suit alleges that he soon began putting his ducks in a row to terminate from employment as she terminated him from their dangerous sexual arrangement (allegedly).

What can we learn from this? Obviously, there's that old thing about not pooping wear you sleep/eat. But mostly, it reminds me that grown men who hang around toys all the time can turn violent and horny.

More from YourTango: Matchmaking Tips: How to Set Up Your Friends

Given this new information, it's a surprise that Santa's workshop can make it until December 26th to commence their two-week coke-fueled BDSM orgy.

More juicy stories from Yourtango:


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Sugar Nation: How Diabetes Affects So Much | What's Next?

Are we a nation hooked on sugar? It?s not a new idea. In fact, it?s the subject of an upcoming documentary, Sweet Nothing: America?s Addiction to Sugar. It?s also the topic of a recent book that is aptly titled, Sugar Nation by Jeff O?Connell.

In this book O?Connell?s personal story reflects a national and very public health crisis: diabetes.

It begins because O?Connell, a health writer for numerous fitness magazines, learns that his estranged father is dying of complications from diabetes. Thinking he himself is immune ? because he is ?skinny? and ?healthy? ? O?Connell discovers that he is dangerously pre-diabetic. The book follows his attempt to reconcile with his father and fight the nearly inevitable onset of this terrible disease at the same time.

Reading the book will ?scare the starch? out of you!

O?Connell races through the book to learn as much as he can about the disease that is killing his father and threatening to take him down the same path.

The main takeaway is that sugar exists in our food supply much more than the simple white stuff you put in your coffee. It is our systemic reliance on simple carbohydrates that throw the body out of whack for so long that it creates the perfect setting for diabetes to emerge in the body and begin its damage.

If you think of diabetes as a manageable disease thanks to medicine and diet, you might be surprised to learn how many body systems are negatively affected by glucose and how present diet recommendations could be making the situation even worse. Anyone who has diabetes or is dangerously close to diabetes needs to read this book. It turns out that blood sugar problems contribute to a wide range of major health issues, particularly heart disease and stroke. Irregular blood sugar also negatively affects circulation and can cause everything from limb amputation to blindness.

The addictive quality of sugar has been studied for several years. However, you can ask anyone with a serious sweet tooth how difficult it can be to stop eating once you start! While the word ?addiction? is frowned upon by those in ?real? addiction recovery programs ? AA, Narcotics Anonymous ? there seems to be growing evidence that, although in differing proportions, sugar and even wheat may contribute to hazardous compulsive eating habits.

The first popular book on the topic was Sugar Blues, published in 1975. It is still relevant today in our even greater ?over sweetened? world. The new documentary looks at recent

What can you do to limit the amount of sugar in your diet and gain the health advantages? A recent pin on the Sweet Nothing?s Pinterest page breaks it down as thus:

?Eat less CRAP:
C ? carbonated drinks
R ? refined sugar
A ? artificial sweeteners and colors
P ? processed foods

Eat more FOOD:
F ? fruit and veggies
O ? organic lean proteins
O ? omega 3 fatty acids
D ? drink water?

O?Connell would probably add that daily, rigorous exercise is also very important to regulate internal blood sugar and reduce dietary cravings for the sweet stuff, too.

Is it too late if you?ve already been diagnosed with diabetes? A resounding NO! You should always consult a doctor before going off of medication or taking over-the-counter supplements. However, changing your diet to drastically reduce carbs and simple sugars is one approach suitable for most. Another is increasing your amount of daily exercise. Both are two strategies to live longer and feel better!


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Google?s Mobile Future Is Now

card-flightsGoogle Now may be one of Google's most underrated new products of 2012, but I think it will turn out to be Google's killer mobile product in the long run. It's the one tool that brings together virtually everything Google knows about you and where you are and then turn all of this information into a useful dashboard on your phone. No other Google product (with the possible exception of some of its advertising services) draws up such a wealth of data about you.


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Mont. group collecting paper hearts for Newtown

In this Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 photo, Joy Manning, neighbor of program coordinator Gala Thompson, sorts some of the hundreds of paper hearts received as part of the Paper Hearts Across America program, in Billings, Mont. The goal of Paper Hearts Across America is to collect nearly 19 million paper hearts, the estimated amount it would take to stretch a chain of hearts from Billings to Newtown, Conn. Thompson tells the Billings Gazette her family started Paper Hearts Across America as a way to discuss the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings where 26 people were killed Dec. 14. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)

In this Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 photo, Joy Manning, neighbor of program coordinator Gala Thompson, sorts some of the hundreds of paper hearts received as part of the Paper Hearts Across America program, in Billings, Mont. The goal of Paper Hearts Across America is to collect nearly 19 million paper hearts, the estimated amount it would take to stretch a chain of hearts from Billings to Newtown, Conn. Thompson tells the Billings Gazette her family started Paper Hearts Across America as a way to discuss the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings where 26 people were killed Dec. 14. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)

In this Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 photo, a table is set up in front of the home of Joy Manning, neighbor of program coordinator Gala Thompson, so passersby can write on paper hearts for the Paper Hearts Across America program, in Billings, Mont. The goal of Paper Hearts Across America is to collect nearly 19 million paper hearts, the estimated amount it would take to stretch a chain of hearts from Billings to Newtown, Conn. Thompson tells the Billings Gazette her family started Paper Hearts Across America as a way to discuss the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings where 26 people were killed Dec. 14. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)

(AP) ? It started as a way for one Montana family to talk discuss the tragic school shooting of 26 children and adults. Now it's blossoming into an international movement to build a chain of handmade paper hearts to stretch nearly all the way across the nation.

Gala Thompson and her family's Paper Hearts Across America estimate it would take about 19 million small paper hearts to connect Billings, Mont., to Newtown, Conn. They're hoping to gather that many hearts so they can deliver them to the residents of Newtown and show them there's still good in the world.

And the response is growing, with more than 10,000 decorated hearts already sent from as far away as China and Australia, the Billings Gazette reported ( ).

"It's gone above and beyond what we hoped, really, from the first day," Thompson said. "I was thinking the first 500 hearts we got, that was great. But now, it's grown on its own."

The project is in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A gunman killed his mother before opening fire at the school, killing 20 children and six adults. He then killed himself.

Word about Paper Hearts Across America spread through news reports and a Facebook page ? which contains a template for the hearts ? and contributions have come from nearly every state.

People are sending boxes of the hearts to Broadwater Elementary in Billings, which agreed to be a collection point until the group reaches its goal. School officials are hanging the hearts in hallways until they're sent to Connecticut.

"The hearts come in boxes and boxes and we all just get so excited," Thompson said. "We've been able to cover the whole inside of one of the school buildings and we're moving to the other one now."

Thompson said she wants people to know that it's not just a project for school kids. She wants universities, families, businesses, hospitals and others to get involved.

"Hopefully, Newtown will be flattered by this gesture and about how many people are compassionate and kind," she said. "There's more kindness in the world than there is hate, and that's what this is all about to begin with."


Information from: Billings Gazette,


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In The Long Run ? Blog Archive ? The World Wide Web Is An ...

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Instead of a fulltime business you could just be after an additional income stream, which the Internet caters for handsomely. Spend a little time on your computer looking for information on starting a web business, and you will find plenty of it. You can only start making money once you get your business started, so don?t delay in doing your research.

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As winter storm bears down on Midwest, death toll climbs

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A winter storm system that blew through Christmas Day with Gulf Coast tornadoes and snow in the nation's midsection headed for the Northeast on Wednesday, spreading blizzard conditions that slowed holiday travel.

The death toll rose to six with car accidents on snow and sleet-slickened highways in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Post-Christmas travelers braced for flight delays and a raft of weather warnings for drivers, a day after rare winter twisters damaged buildings in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Snow blew across southern Illinois and southern Indiana early Wednesday as the storm tracked up the Ohio River valley toward the Eastern seaboard and New England.

There were whiteout conditions in parts of southwestern Indiana, where 6 inches or more of snow had fallen by midmorning around Evansville. State police reported dozens of vehicles stuck after not being able to get up a hill on a central Indiana highway, while some roads around Evansville were impassable with wind gusts around 30 mph.

A blizzard warning was in effect for much of the state's southern two-thirds and more than a dozen counties issued travel watches asking residents to make only essential driving trips.

"People need to not travel. They need to just go where they're going to be and stay there," said Rachel Trevino, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service bureau in Paducah, Ky., which covers southwestern Indiana.

In snowy Arkansas, the storm left more than 189,000 customers without electricity Wednesday, utility Entergy Arkansas said.

Severe thunderstorms were forecast for the Carolinas while a line of blizzard and winter storm warnings stretched from Arkansas up the Ohio River to New York and on to Maine.

Thirty-four tornadoes were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during the outbreak Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

Rick Cauley's family was hosting relatives for Christmas when tornado sirens went off in Mobile. Not taking any chances, he and his wife, Ashley, hustled everyone down the block to take shelter at the athletic field house at Mobile's Murphy High School in Mobile.

It turns out, that wasn't the place to head.

"As luck would have it, that's where the tornado hit," Cauley said. "The pressure dropped and the ears started popping and it got crazy for a second." They were all fine, though the school was damaged, as were a church and several homes, but officials say no one was seriously injured.

Camera footage captured the approach of the large funnel cloud.

Mobile was the biggest city hit by numerous twisters. Along with brutal, straight-line winds, the storms knocked down countless trees, blew the roofs off homes and left many Christmas celebrations in the dark. Torrential rains drenched the region and several places saw flash flooding.

More than 750 flights around the U.S. were canceled as of Wednesday morning, according to the flight tracker The cancelations were mostly spread around airports that had been or soon would be in the path of the storm.

Holiday travelers in the nation's much colder midsection battled treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions from the same fast-moving storms. In Arkansas, highway department officials said the state was fortunate the snowstorm hit on Christmas Day when many travelers were already at their destinations.

Two passengers in a car on a sleet-slickened Arkansas highway died Wednesday when the vehicle crossed the center line and struck an SUV head-on. In Oklahoma, the Highway Patrol said a 76-year-old Wisconsin woman died Tuesday when the car she was riding in was hit head-on by a pickup truck on Interstate 44.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had earlier reported that a 28-year-old woman was killed in another crash Tuesday on a snowy highway. The storm's winds were blamed Tuesday for toppling a tree onto a pickup truck in Texas, killing the driver, and another tree onto a house in Louisiana, killing a man there.

Trees fell on homes and across roadways in several communities in southern Mississippi and Louisiana. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency, saying eight counties reported damages and some injuries.

It included McNeill, where a likely tornado damaged a dozen homes and sent eight people to the hospital, none with life-threatening injuries, said Pearl River County emergency management agency director Danny Manley.

The snowstorm that caused numerous accidents pushed out of Oklahoma late Tuesday, carrying with it blizzard warnings for parts of northeast Arkansas, where 10 inches of snow was forecast. Freezing rain clung to trees and utility lines in Arkansas and winds gusts up to 30 mph whipped them around, causing about 71,000 customers to lose electricity for a time.

Christmas lights also were knocked out with more than 100,000 customers without power for at least a time in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

Blizzard conditions were possible for parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky up to Cleveland with predictions of several inches to a foot of snow. By the end of the week, that snow was expected to move into the Northeast with again up to a foot predicted

Jason Gerth said the Mobile tornado passed by in a few moments and from his porch, he saw about a half-dozen green flashes in the distance as transformers blew. His home was spared.

"It missed us by 100 feet and we have no damage," Gerth said.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White House: Obama likely to curtail holiday trip

KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) ? President Barack Obama is likely to cut short his traditional Christmas holiday in Hawaii to return to Washington as lawmakers consider how to prevent the economy from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, the White House said Tuesday.

Obama could fly back to the nation's capital as early as Wednesday, just five days after arriving in Hawaii, White House officials said. In the past, the president's end-of-the-year holiday in his native state has stretched into the new year.

Congress is expected to return to Washington on Thursday. Automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in January. So far, the president and congressional Republicans have been unable to reach agreement on any alternatives.

Lawmakers have expressed little but pessimism for the prospect of an agreement coming before Jan. 1. On Sunday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said she expects any action in the waning days of the year to be "a patch because in four days we can't solve everything."

The Obamas were spending the holiday at a rented home near Honolulu. On Christmas Day, the president and first lady Michelle Obama visited with Marines to express thanks for their service.

"One of my favorite things is always coming to base on Christmas Day just to meet you and say thank you," the president said. He called being commander in chief his greatest honor as president.

Obama took photos with individual service members and their families.


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Social Media For Marketing - Mehak Naheem Online Business Coach

Today I am going to share a post on the topic of social media for marketing your business. I get so many people asking me about social media because they just can?t get it to work for their business. If you?re an online marketer or business owner and trying to build a brand, remember the brand is you! So always engage with your followers and share what you do on a daily basis but then relate this back to working from home. If you?re spending hours and hours on social media and not getting results, you?re probably not doing it correctly.

You should post 2-3 times a day at different times to send your messages to different people. That?s not saying to spend 2-3 hours a day looking at other peoples profiles, thats?s not social media for marketing and that won?t get you leads! Leads are the people who are interested in what you are offering, like you and are potential customers. I would recommend using a good email marketing system to give people value over a period of time and so they can find out more about you. Also by using an email marketing system you can track your leads so you know what type of marketing is working best for you. Try out an email marketing system I use for 30 days CLICK HERE!

social media for marketing

Your leads are what you?re trying to generate here so people are put into your marketing funnel and then they will work with you. Social media for marketing is a great free way to generate leads and have lots of consumer engagement. It?s a known fact that people like to buy not be sold to, they also like to buy from people they like. So the more you share the more they will interact.

It?s also better to have a Facebook page as oppose to a profile because a page doesn?t have a limit of how many people can like it but you can only have 5000 friends on a profile. Also a page is good for marketing purposes if you decide to use Facebook ads at a later stage.

Paid Social Media For Marketing Your Business

Paid social media for marketing can be quite costly especially if you?re new to the industry and have just bought a course or business. Also at this stage you probably don?t know much about paid marketing so it?s very easy to lose a lot of money. This is why you need a mentor to teach you the best converting strategies and increase your knowledge. Are you telling people to do what you want them to do, ie: share your posts or visit your site? If you?re not then chances are people won?t. You have to remember that any type of social media for marketing, whether it?s Facebook or Twitter, does work but if you have the knowledge and are carrying out your marketing correctly, only then you will see results.?For more tips to grow your business and work with me CLICK BELOW.

social media for marketing



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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Half a ?cliff? may be better than none (Powerlineblog)

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Stepparenting & Blended Families 2013: Remarried with Children ...

Buy on the merchant's website looking and browse reviews. If you're trying to search out Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family with the simplest price. This is the simplest deals for you. Where you could find these item is by on-line looking stores? Read the review on Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family Now, it's the simplest deal. So do not lose it.

Remarried with Children
Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family
by Barbara LeBey
4.2 out of 5 stars(12)

New!: $14.00 $13.12 (as of 12/24/2012 09:45 PST)
84 Used! | New! from $0.01 (as of 12/24/2012 09:45 PST)

Stepparenting & Blended Families

It's the most daunting task many parents will ever face: bringing two growing families together into one brand new marriage. But even though statistics show that most remarriages are at high risk--especially when there are kids involved--more and more people are learning how to make them work and more and more kids are coming out of them with their psyches and souls intact. This honest and hopeful book looks at those successes--and at some failures--to show what they have in common: ten essential secrets that are at the heart of a healthy blended family.

As a stepparent with six children in a blended family, Barbara LeBey draws on her own family's hard-won success, as well as on extensive interviews and new research to show how to navigate the stresses, sticking points, pitfalls and perils most couples don't even anticipate. Starting with her first controversial secret--that the new marriage comes first, even before the demands of the children--LeBey debunks prevalent stepfamily myths and anticipates common traps. (Among them, money issues, warring stepsiblings, and destructive exes.) A strong advocate for children (including how to guard against fade-out parenting), she also suggests ways that in-laws, schools, and the legal system itself could provide better support for blended families. REmarried with Children is an expert, compassionate, down-to-earth book to turn to over and over again for advice, support and sanity.

Key topics include how to:

-Meet your children's and stepchildren's needs--without letting them undermine your new marriage

-Understand the new roles, new rules, and the new relationships for children and stepchildren of a blended family

-Deal with angry and/or manipulative exes--without adding fuel to the fire

-Handle key decisions about finances, religion, traditions, behavior and discipline

-Maintain healthy relationships with your children's grandparents--and other relatives--from a previous marriage

-Recognize warning signs of trouble ahead--and get the help you need

From the Hardcover edition.

  • Rank: #417538 in Books
  • Published on: 2005-10-25
  • Released on: 2005-10-25
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.06" h x .75" w x 5.91" l, .71 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 320 pages


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Your History: 2012 in Review Part 1 - Inside Gaming Daily Blog

The year 2012 was transformative for the video game industry. It began with more than one uncomfortable glimpse into the industry?s dark side, exposing the prices paid to keep business running. And a surefire hit franchise stumbled, leading its fans to lose faith, and its creators to lose face. As the year progressed, however, it seemed as though the status quo was shifting. Amid the deeply entrenched system of big budget studios and publishers, suddenly smaller projects were capturing the hearts and minds of gamers. And instead of simply garnering attention, these projects were actually getting funding. But will these new paradigms kick start a new age of video gaming? Or will the big boys come back in 2013 with a vengeance?

Double Trouble

Shortly after the start of the New Year, shocking news rocked the video game world, and the tech industry as a whole. In early January, three-hundred workers in China had gathered on the roof of their factory and threatened mass suicide to protest unfair working conditions. The factory was making Xbox 360 consoles, and was owned by Foxconn, the Chinese corporation whose plants manufacture electronics for Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Apple, and more. Though the incident ended peacefully, the effect on the industry was bracing.

The protests were something of a wake-up call for many companies, spurring probes into the way Foxconn ran its factories. Three months later, an investigation by Apple revealed a number of labor law violations being perpetrated at Foxconn-owned facilities. Despite these revelations, most tech companies continued to contract with Foxconn for manufacturing duties, though it?s said reforms are being put in place.

But while the harsh realities of the industry?s manufacturing practices were exposed for the world to see, dark clouds continued to gather over the business?s corporate side. THQ, a publisher whose financial difficulties the year before forced it to cancel franchises and close several studios, announced in late-January that it would begin a ?strategic realignment? to focus on ?core game franchises.? The result? Two-hundred-and-forty employees being laid off, CEO Brian Farrell taking a 50 percent pay cut, and even more studio closures.

A few days after THQ?s announcement, the company received an official warning that it was in danger of being delisted from the NASDAQ stock exchange, a result of their stock?s value having dipped below a dollar to 70 cents a share. Aside from the rough economy and lower-than-expected sales, THQ pointed the finger at its uDraw Tablet peripheral, a stylus-enabled controller that was a hit on the family-friendly Wii in 2010?and an utter flop for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. The company claimed the uDraw was to blame for its disastrous loss of $56 million in the third quarter.

While THQ?s troubles were the most visible, early 2012 brought plenty of doom and gloom elsewhere as layoffs abounded. id Software, Sega, Starbreeze, and Obsidian Entertainment had all laid off staff in the first three months of 2012, a result of the sluggish economy. All in all, it was a difficult time to work in the video game business.

So what about the consumer side of the industry? In February, Sony released their brand new portable console, the PlayStation Vita, in North America. Since Nintendo?s 3DS handheld had seen a rocky launch the year before, some analysts predicted a similar uphill battle for Sony?a belief reinforced by the console?s slow adoption after its Japanese launch in December 2011. Each week after its Japanese release, the Vita?s sales dropped lower and lower, being surpassed for numerous weeks by its predecessor, the PSP. Unfortunately for Sony, the slow Japanese launch was as a sign of what was to come in North America. Despite excellent reviews, the console failed to catch on, and still struggles to find its place in the marketplace.

But the market wasn?t all doom and gloom. A brand-new IP published by Electronic Arts in February managed to find a solid audience, no mean feat in a marketplace so dependent on sequels and brand recognition. The game?s stylized fantasy world was conceived and designed by legendary author R.A. Salvatore and comic book veteran Todd McFarlane, and developed at Maryland-based Big Huge Games.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, was launched to solid critical reception and sales approaching half a million. The game?s release was more than just a victory for a new IP?it was a success for Big Huge Games? parent company, Rhode Island-based 38 Studios, which had rescued Big Huge from its former owner?THQ?which planned to shut it down. Based on the strength of Amalur?s performance, it looked as though the industry had a new force to be reckoned with, and a sequel seemed inevitable.

On the subject of sequels, EA had yet another big game to publish shortly after Amalur: Mass Effect 3, the epic conclusion to BioWare?s space-faring RPG. Released in March, Mass Effect 3 earned extremely high praise from nearly every critic, and debuted to huge sales. During its first month on shelves, it sold 1.3 million physical units for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, a figure that didn?t take the game?s digital sales into account. Mass Effect 3 seemed to be another hit.

But sales and reviews weren?t the whole story. When gamers completed the single-player campaign, many were shocked to discover an ending that failed to live up to their expectations. Despite a series that managed to carry each gamer?s decisions and stories from one installment to the next, the ending seemed not to take any of what had gone before into consideration. What should?ve been the trilogy?s final triumphant crescendo instead rang hollow in gamers? ears. The legions of fans Mass Effect had built up over the years were not happy.

Gamers started online petitions to convince EA and BioWare to change the ending, with one fan going so far as to send BioWare $1,000 worth of cupcakes to sweeten them into a new finale. Another fan reported EA to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau, claiming the publisher had failed to live up to its claims for the game. The rage continued into April, with Electronic Arts being named by the Consumerist as ?Worst Company in America for 2012.? A week later, the Better Business Bureau agreed with the angry fan?s allegations that EA had misled its customers about Mass Effect 3. Another group, calling itself ?Retake Mass Effect,? raised $80,000 for charity in to try and prove that fans were serious about wanting a new ending.

For their part, EA and BioWare announced they would release an ?extended cut? of the game?s ending as downloadable content later that summer. Whether or not the DLC was always planned for release, or if it was devised as a way to mollify angry fans, was never clear. Either way, the announcement seemed to provide some relief and the furor began to subside.

While fans demanded change in one sector of the industry, they were effecting it in another, sowing the seeds for what may become a revolution in the way business is done. In early February, Tim Schaffer?s Double Fine Productions launched a Kickstarter project that sought funding for a new adventure game. Its goals were modest: raise $400,000 to make the game and film a documentary about its creation.

Within a mere eight hours of launching, the project met its goal. A Kickstarter spokesperson confirmed that the project set a record for time taken to meet its goal, and had ?more backers than any other project on the site.? Before the day had ended, the project broke the $1 million barrier. And Double Fine?s runaway success didn?t end there. Once its thirty days were up in mid-March, Double Fine Adventure had earned $3.3 million in pledged funding, more than 800 percent of its originally sought amount.

Double Fine hadn?t just kick started their new project, but a potential revolution in how games found consumers. Suddenly the industry sat up and took notice of a new way to fund games. Critics began to raise questions about the role of publishers. Many developers had always regarded them as a necessary evil to bring projects to market. The Mass Effect 3 debacle seemed to prove to fans that publishers were still evil?but if Double Fine could raise so much cash, were publishers actually necessary?

For many independent or small-scale developers, the answer was still ?yes??not every studio enjoyed the fan-clout of Double Fine. After five years of arduous development, indie studio Polytron finally finished its long-awaited debut game: FEZ. Its publisher, Microsoft Studios, scheduled the game to hit XBLA in April, a full two years after it was first supposed to launch. But it was worth the wait: after one month on the market, FEZ earned over 100,000 in digital sales and received high praise from critics who?d eagerly awaited its release.

April also saw the release of another unconventional game on digital platforms. Telltale Games had long flown under the radar, releasing critically acclaimed point-and-click style games based on quirky licenses like Back to the Future, Sam & Max, and Homestar Runner. In February, Telltale announced a licensing deal with comic book writer Robert Kirkman to make episodic games based on his successful series, The Walking Dead. The property had already been adapted into a hit show on AMC, and interest in the game was high, even if expectations for another point-and-click from Telltale might have been modest. After all, how could the terror of a zombie apocalypse translate to the format?s slow style?

As it turned out, it translated better than anyone could?ve imagined. Upon its late-April release, the first episode of The Walking Dead earned rave reviews, and sold over a million digital copies in only two weeks.

An adventure game raising over $3 million directly from fans? A point-and-click game tearing up the charts? Mass Effect and BioWare?making fans angry? The first four months of 2012 had defied expectations, and no one could predict what the next few months would bring. And in May, one of the industry?s newest stars would fall, making national headlines and leaving onlookers stunned?

Tune in next time for the true Reckoning?

Part 1 | Part 2


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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mexico frees ex-Marine jailed for bringing in gun

MIAMI (AP) ? A Marine veteran jailed for months in Mexico after trying to carry a family heirloom shotgun across the border has been freed, U.S. officials and his lawyer said late Friday.

The attorney for 27-year-old Jon Hammar tweeted Friday night that his client had been released from a detention center in Matamoros, Mexico.

"Jon is out, going home!" Eddie Varon Levy tweeted.

Patrick Ventrell, the acting deputy spokesman for the State Department, confirmed Hammer's release and return to the U.S. in a statement Friday night.

"Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros met him at the prison and escorted him to the U.S. border, where he was reunited with members of his family," the statement said. "We sincerely appreciate the efforts on the part of Mexican authorities to ensure that an appropriate resolution was made in accordance with Mexican law, and that Mr. Hammar will be free to spend the holidays with his loved ones."

An aide to a legal representative of the Mexican attorney general's office had told U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's staff about the pending release after the Florida Democrat's office got word from Hammar's mother, according to a press release from Nelson's office.

"No American should be in a Mexican jail for five months without being able to have his case in front of a judge," Nelson said in that statement. "We're grateful; this is a good Christmas present."

Earlier Friday, Varon Levy said he was flying from Mexico City to Matamoros to pick up his client. After that, the attorney said, they intended to cross the border at Brownsville, Texas. "I'm very happy. I feel that the Mexican legal system came out the way it should have," he said.

U.S. immigration and State Department officials had been at the Mexican detention center waiting for Hammar's release.

A defense lawyer said Mexican authorities determined there was no intent to commit a crime, Nelson's office said. The senator was among a handful of elected officials who urged the State Department to help get Hammar out of Mexico. His family had said he was being held in isolation after threats to his safety were received.

"These past few months have been an absolute nightmare for Jon and his family, and I am so relieved that this whole ordeal will soon be over," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., in a statement. " I am overcome with joy knowing that Jon will be spending Christmas with his parents, family and friends."

The attorney, Varon Levy, said the path for Hammar's return was cleared when Mexican officials decided not to appeal the judge's ruling.

Civilian gun ownership is illegal under Mexican law unless the owner purchases the weapon from a special shop run by the country's Department of Defense.

"The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Mexico," the U.S. Embassy in Mexico writes on its website. "Entering Mexico with a firearm, certain types of knives, or even a single round of ammunition is illegal, even if the weapon or ammunition is taken into Mexico unintentionally."

Mexican law also bans shotguns with barrels of less than 25 inches. The family said Hammar's shotgun has a barrel of 24 inches.

Tourists are allowed to bring guns for hunting on rare occasions, but Mexican officials said all visitors must receive a special permit before entering the country. Mexican customs agents do not issue gun permits. As a result, anyone crossing the border with a firearm or ammunition without a previously issued government permit is in instant violation of Mexican law, which stipulates long jail terms for breaking weapons laws.

Hammar and his friend were on their way to Costa Rica in August and planned to drive across the Mexican border near Matamoros in a Winnebago filled with surfboards and camping gear. Hammar asked U.S. border agents what to do with the unloaded shotgun. His family said agents told them to fill out a form for the gun, which belonged to Hammar's great-grandfather.

But when the pair crossed the border and handed the paperwork to Mexican officials, they impounded the RV and jailed the men, saying it was illegal to carry that type of gun. Hammar's friend was later released because the gun did not belong to him.

Before Hammar's release, Varon Levy said he was not sure of his client's immediate plans upon being freed. "Probably some down time," he said.


Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report from Mexico City.


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Hurting Spaniards celebrate Christmas lottery wins

MADRID (AP) ? Winners of Spain's cherished Christmas lottery ? the world's richest ? celebrated Saturday in more than a dozen locations where lucky tickets were sold, a moment of uplift for a country enduring another brutal year of economic hardship.

Initial reports said there were winners of the maximum prize of ?400,000 ($530,000) in 15 towns or cities. In Madrid, two lottery outlet workers who sold a top-prize tickets celebrated with sparkling wine as curious neighbors gathered. The fortunate winner had yet to make an appearance.

The lottery sprinkled a treasure chest of ?2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) in prize money around the country.

Unlike lotteries that generate a few big winners, Spain's version ? now celebrating its 200th anniversary ? has always shared the wealth more evenly instead of concentrating on vast jackpots, so thousands of tickets yield some kind of return.

Almost all of Spain's 46 million inhabitants traditionally watch at least some part of the live TV coverage showing school children singing out winning numbers for the lottery known as "El Gordo" ("The Fat One.)"

It is so popular that frequently three ?20 ($26) tickets are sold for every Spaniard and many consider lottery day as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season.

Before Spain's property-led economic boom collapsed in 2008 ticket buyers often yearned to win so they could buy a small apartment by the beach or a new car. Now people said they needed money just to get by, or to avoid being evicted from their homes.

Though ticket sales were down 8.3 percent on last year, according to the National Lottery, in the days preceding the draw hundreds of people line up to buy tickets outside outlets that have sold winning tickets before.

Madrid's Dona Manolita lottery store in Madrid is renowned for being particularly lucky and queues there sometimes go round the block. Unemployed construction company office manager Miguel Angel Ruiz drove 165 kilometers (102 miles) to the shop to buy for a pool of players including his wife and relatives.

"We're buying more hoping we'll hit it so we can emerge from poverty," said Ruiz, 39. "Before the crisis, lottery winnings were to buy an apartment or a car, and now it's to pay debts."

Since so many people chip in to buy tickets in groups, top prizes frequently end up being handed out in the same small town or in one city neighborhood. Last year's top winning number hit for 1,800 tickets in the northern town of Granen, population 2,000. Townspeople shared about ?700 million ($925 million), and the rest of the ?1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) was doled out in smaller prizes around Spain.

The Dec. 22 lottery began in 1812 and last year sold an estimated ?2.7 billion ($3.6 billion) in tickets with per-capita spending of about ?70 ($92) just for the Christmas lottery.

Spain holds another big lottery Jan. 6 to mark the Feast of the Epiphany. It is known as "El Nino" (The Child), in reference to the baby Jesus.

But the crisis will hit El Nino and all lotteries going forward. Until now, lottery winnings have been free from taxation, but now prizes above ?2,000 ($2,640) will be liable to a 20 percent tax in 2013.

The government has imposed stinging austerity measures this year in a bid to prevent Spain from asking for a full-blown bailout like those granted to Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus. Spain's unemployment stands at 25 percent and its economy is sinking into a double-dip recession.


Associated Press correspondent Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.


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