Sunday, December 26, 2010

Headlines - Sunday December 26

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's proposed cuts to contractor spending will be less expansive than previously feared, according to local congressional representatives who met with a top Pentagon official last week.

A Dec. 21 meeting at the Pentagon convened local congressional representatives and their staffs with Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn. There, congressional officials said they learned that planned reductions will target a category of contractor spending known as "service support" worth about $4.3 billion annually, not the much larger, $143 billion service contracting industry.

Pope Ratzinger's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands
It's easy to have peace for yourself and your religion when you control the news that gets out and live in a country of your own where you are untouchable.
Claire Hirschkind couldn't go through the stripsearch scanner because of a pacemaker-type device in her chest.  So she was taken to a female TSA officer to be groped.

"I told them, 'No, I'm not going to have my breasts felt,' and she said, 'Yes, you are,'" Hirschkind told KVUE in Austin.

After refusing to acquiesce, she was arrested.

"The police actually pushed me to the floor, and handcuffed me," she said. "I was crying by then. They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security."

Hirschkind had planned to visit friends in California for Christmas.  Now she's banned from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.



With the year end approaching, Frank Rich waxes nostalgic over things we've lost... including the American dream of economic mobility.

It's a measure of how rapidly our economic order has shifted that nearly a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in America on this year's Forbes list make their fortunes from financial services, more than three times as many as in the first Forbes 400 in 1982. Many of America's best young minds now invent derivatives, not Disneylands, because that's where the action has been, and still is, two years after the crash. In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling — "this business of securitizing things that didn't even exist in the first place," as Calvin Trillin memorably wrote last year — rather than the rebooting and rebuilding of America.


And yes, Virginia (and England, and France) a white Christmas really can come from global warming. Judah Cohen explains why more heat can perversely result in more snow.

As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. ... the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier.



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