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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Obama Cuts Vacation Short As 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms

HONOLULU (AP) - With a yearend deadline looming before the economy goes over the so-called fiscal cliff, President Barack Obama is cutting short his traditional Christmas holiday in Hawaii, planning to leave for Washington on Wednesday evening.

Obama was expected to arrive in Washington early Thursday, the White House said late Tuesday. First lady Michelle Obama and the couple's two daughters are scheduled to remain in Hawaii until Jan. 6.

In the past, the president's end-of-the-year holiday in his native state had stretched into the new year. The first family left Washington last Friday night.

Congress was expected to return to Washington on Thursday. Before he departed for Hawaii, Obama told reporters he expected to be back in the capital this week.


Spokesman: George H.W. Bush In Intensive Care

Former President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital "following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever," but he is alert and talking to medical staff, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said in a brief email that Bush was admitted to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on Sunday. He said doctors are cautiously optimistic about his treatment and that the former president "remains in guarded condition."

No other details were released about his medical condition, but McGrath said Bush is surrounded by family.


Double-Digit Increase In Reported Sexual Assaults At Military Academies

The Pentagon's latest report on sexual assault at the three military academies finds sexual assault reports jumped by 23 percent over the past year. But DoD says combined with other findings in the annual study, the figure is not necessarily bad news.

The report to Congress lists 80 sexual assaults reported at the service academies in the 2011-2012 school year, compared with 65 the year before. Fifteen of the victims were at the Army's West Point, 13 at the U.S. Naval Academy and 52 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Thirteen of them happened before the victim entered military service.

Maj. Gen. Gary Patton, the director of DoD's sexual assault prevention and response office, said each of those reports reflects the fact that someone was the victim of a heinous crime. But DoD sees the trend lines as positive in one respect.

"Because sexual assault is a grossly unreported crime, not only in the military but in society, we view an increase in reports as a positive trend that's indicative of an increase in victim confidence," he said. "We view any report being positive, because it means they're receiving some sort of care."


Opposed To Same-Sex Marriage, Company Ends Wedding Business

An Annapolis company whose old-fashioned trolleys are iconic in the city's wedding scene has abandoned the nuptial industry rather than serve same-sex couples.

The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors.

While most wedding businesses across the country embraced the chance to serve same-sex couples, a small minority has struggled to balance religious beliefs against business interests.


SPD Press Release 12-26-12

Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Rolling Out Soon: Here’s What’s About To Happen

There are plenty of times we’re critical of Facebook — the $1 message from strangers plan, launching auto-play ads— but with its new privacy controls it’s actually kinda sorta seems like the social network is (dare we say it?) making things easier for users. The new settings have rolled out globally and will be hitting U.S. accounts soon as well. They look like they’re easy to navigate, so, high five there, Facebook.

The first big change discussed by Facebook is a new “Shortcuts” tabthat will appear in the upper right hand tool bar on your Facebook homepage. There are three options that now appear laid out in plain terms: “Who can see my stuff?” “Who Can contact me?” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”

Body Found In Home Of Ambush Killer Of Firemen

The ex-con who lured two firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of gunfire left a rambling typewritten note saying he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people," police said Tuesday as they recovered burned human remains believed to be the gunman's missing sister.
Police Chief Gerald Pickering said 62-year-old William Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, armed himself with a revolver, a shotgun and a military-style rifle before he set his house afire to lure first responders into a death trap before dawn on Christmas Eve.
"He was equipped to go to war, kill innocent people," Pickering said.
The rifle he had was a military-style .223-caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle with flash suppression, the same make and caliber weapon used in the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Pickering said.



Christmas Abott loves CrossFit and Olympic lifting, she wrote on her Facebook fan page. She’s only 5’3″ and weighs 115 pounds, which she also notes means that she likes “surprising people with my strength.”

But she also likes tackling “any challenge that is said can’t be done.” Perhaps one of these was joining a NASCAR pit crew. It’s a physically demanding job where not only strength but speed are of the essence. Abott has proved that she both and joined a pit crew as the first female ever in NASCAR history.

ABC News featured Abott last month reporting she was trained for the job by Turner Motorsports. Her duty on the crew is in the front tire position where she cranks off all five lug nuts, pulls off the tire, replaces it with a fresh one and puts the lug nuts back on. Then repeat on the other side. According to ABC, the entire pit crew’s efforts take about 12 seconds. 


US Retailers Report Weakest Holiday Sales Since 2008

U.S. holiday retail sales this year were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers' rising uncertainty about the economy.

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. 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.



A federal judge on Monday denied a request by Planned Parenthood to temporarily block Oklahoma from terminating a contract with the agency to provide nutritional services to low-income mothers.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ruled that although the state’s stated reasons don’t seem to be sufficient cause for ending agreements with Planned Parenthood’s three Tulsa-area clinics that have been in place for 18 years, the group’s response to the state’s concerns was insufficient enough to warrant ending the relationship.

The decision will likely mean that the group will have to close one of the clinics and eliminate six full-time staff positions when the contracts end on Dec. 31, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s President and CEO Jill June said in a statement.



(TANEYTOWN, MD) – A Carroll County man armed with a hammer and acting disorderly was fatally wounded by a Taneytown Police Department officer when he failed to surrender and advanced threateningly at the officer.

The man is identified as Edward L. Becker, Jr., 26, of the unit-block of Commerce Drive, Taneytown, Md. He was pronounced dead at the Carroll Hospital Center.

The officer involved is a four and one-half year veteran of the Taneytown Police Department. He is not being identified at this time by Chief William Tyler. He has been placed on routine administrated leave by Chief Tyler, which is procedure in police-involved shootings.

Chief Tyler requested the police-involved shooting be investigated by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit. Investigators from the Homicide Unit, the Westminster Barrack, and State Police crime scene technicians responded to the scene to process evidence and conduct the investigation.

The preliminary investigation indicates that shortly after 8:30 p.m. yesterday, the parents of Becker called 911 and reported he had been drinking and was acting disorderly. Becker’s father reported his son was smashing windows out of his truck with a hammer.

Three Taneytown Police Department officers responded to the area of the address on Commerce Street. They saw Becker walking down the street toward them. They exited their vehicles and began shouting commands to Becker to drop the hammer and surrender. Becker continued to approach. The officers, who were all in uniform and marked patrol cars, retreated down the street and positioned themselves behind their police cars.

The investigation indicates the officers continued to shout commands to Becker to drop the hammer and surrender. Becker ignored the commands and continued to approach the officers. He approached to approximately within arm’s length of an officer and raised the hammer.

In fear for his life, the officer fired his .40 caliber Glock 22 department issued pistol. He was the only officer on the scene who fired his pistol. Becker was struck in the upper torso and stopped his advance.

Officers immediately administered emergency care and summoned EMS personnel. Becker was transported to Carroll Hospital Center.

The investigation is continuing. Upon completion, it will be forwarded to the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office for review.


Late yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly approved a 5% budget increase for 2012-2013--with half of the additional spending going towards the UN's "political missions," which typically handle peacemaking and conflict resolution. In a time of global austerity, the UN's career diplomats have decided they deserve more cash.

The spending is particularly concerning given the fact that the UN is hardly known for running a tight financial ship. Last week, the Associated Press published an article headlined: "Santa Arrives Early at UN," referring to the newly renovated office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who also received a "new armored car wrapped in a red ribbon with a big bow." A significant amount of UN spending is also wasted on controversial propaganda, such as a recent art display depicting the proto-state of Palestine as encompassing all of the State of Israel.

The United States is responsible for 22% of the UN's regular budget, including the political missions. Some of these missions complement U.S. activities in Iraq and Afghanistan; others, such as the UN Special Coordinator Office for the Middle East Peace Process, do not. 


In 2013, It's Lights Out For The 75-Watt Incandescent

Let's use the occasion of the shortest day of the year to say so long to another energy-wasting incandescent lightbulb. Federal law mandates that 75-watt bulbs can no longer be made in the U.S. or imported as of January 1, although retailers can sell remaining stock. Fortunately, in Consumer Reports lightbulb tests we found an LED that uses only 17 watts but is as bright as a 75-watt bulb.

Most screw-in bulbs have to use at least 27 percent less energy by 2014 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The phase-out started last January with 100-watt bulbs and now 75-watt lightbulbs will fade away. If you're looking for replacements consider the Philips AmbientLED (model 17W 75W A21 Soft White 418400). Using 17 watts, it instantly brightens and casts a nice warm light—it scored an impressive 99 out of 100 after 3,000 hours of testing. This dimmable LED can be used in lamps and ceiling fixtures.


The Cultural Impacts Of Growing Singlehood And Childlessness

Pat Buchanan wrote The Death of the West in 2001. Chapter Two was titled “Where Have All the Children Gone?”

Five years later, Mark Steyn wrote “America Alone,” which also examined falling birthrates in the West. This year, Ross Douthat wrote in the New York Times about America’s falling birthrates.

Buchanan worried about the erosion of Western, Christian culture. Steyn worried mostly about our public pension systems, which depend on every generation being bigger than the one before. Douthat worried about the moral character, the “decadence” that is a cause and a result of widespread childlessness. All of arguments have points I agree with and ones I disagree with. It’s an important topic that much of our media avoids delving deeply into.


Liberty and Safety Must Walk Together

by Delegate Mike McDermott

The easiest political solution in response to the murderous rampage in Connecticut would be to point the finger at something...anything...and ban it to the abyss. We could then pronounce our children to be “safe” and accept the kudos for our “success”. Politics as usual.

On the books, we have thousands of gun laws obeyed by our good citizens while ignored by criminals. Most of our mass shootings have been perpetrated by those suffering from mental illness who were not armed with “assault rifles”. The massacre at Virginia Tech involved a handgun and resulted in significantly more victims.

In order to solve the problem, let’s begin by confessing that we cannot stop it from happening again. We cannot fix all the sick, broken people determined to do others and themselves harm. We cannot take away all of the guns. We cannot afford cops at every entrance to every school.

We can, however, harden the target and limit our vulnerabilities if we become aggressive in our response to potential threats. There are school districts in our country which have adopted a proactive approach to security threats. Within their schools are certain staffers (known only to the administration) who carry concealed firearms within the school. These trained individuals are designated as “Guardians” and they represent a vigilant line of defense for those we must protect. They are equipped and ready to stand in the gap. Like Sky Marshals, School Guardians remain behind the scenes unknown to all, but prepared nonetheless.

We can opt to provide less lethal technology, such as Tasers, to select staff within our schools. While their effective range is limited, they could provide a line of defense for those who currently have nothing at their disposal. This would require minimal expense and training and could be in place within a matter of weeks.

How I wish one or more of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary had been a “Guardian” or equipped with a Taser. How differently might the outcome have been.

We must change the way that we view mental health issues and options in our country. We closed the doors on institutions during the 1980’s only to provide no alternatives. The results surround us and it is politically incorrect to even discuss the issues. If we feel your conduct or actions place our society at an undue risk, your liberty should be in jeopardy. We recognize this when it comes to passenger aircraft, and it is time we recognized it outside of the airports as well.

The media must police itself or be subjected to fines for sensationalizing instead of simply reporting these types of tragedies. Most of these murdering crazies seek celebrity status, even in death, and the electronic media is generally only too glad to oblige. Why do we understand this when it comes to streakers at a televised event, yet fail to grasp it in these situations? There is a balance missing that the media desperately needs to find or we can find it for them.

Preparing our children to take their place in civil society is the responsibility of parents. Teachers, mentors, and the rest of society can only reinforce what parents are instilling. There are some who advocate taking certain guns from responsible citizens while simultaneously letting junior play the most hellish video games available night and day. What’s wrong with that picture? Training a child is the toughest, most important job if we are to preserve a civil society for the coming generation. In this, we must hold each other accountable. We simply must stop subsidizing and making excuses for antisocial behavior.

I will introduce legislation in the next two weeks which would:

Authorize a Maryland School District to implement a “Guardian” program;
Authorize a Maryland School District to issue Taser style less-lethal weapons to select personnel within a school;
Authorize persons who possess Conceal-Carry Permits along with Active or Retired Law Enforcement Officers (who are certified to possess firearms) to carry a concealed firearm on the campus of a public school.

It was Benjamin Franklin who proclaimed, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Let us be a people who truly understand how to provide safety while maintaining our liberty.

Purse Stolen


Starting in 2014, President Barack Obama’s health care law will expand coverage to some 30 million uninsured people. At the same time, insurers no longer will be allowed to turn away those in poor health, and virtually every American will be required to have health insurance — or pay a fine. Insurance will be available through an employer or a government program or by buying it on their own.

For the vast majority of people, the health care law won’t mean sending more money to the Internal Revenue Service. But the wealthiest two percent of Americans will take the biggest hit, starting next year.

And roughly 20 million people eventually will benefit from tax credits that start in 2014 to help them pay insurance premiums. 


Main St. Fighters..... Battle At York

York PA. Two Main St. Gym boxers traveled to York PA last Friday evening to compete on a Profession-Amateur card. Both Ryan Watson, an open class middleweight and Shawn Woodford an open class 152lb, were successful in winning their bouts over Babar Shah of Lincoln Way Gym in York and Ramses Brown of Combat Gym in Bell Mawr N.J. respectively. Woodford scored two standing 8 counts as his opponent regrouped from a barrage of Woodford punches, while Watson scored a unanimous decision win. “We were called to fill in on this pro-am card at the last minute, but the guys were ready” said Coach Hal Chernoff. “Usually when you go into your opponent’s hometown it’s like swimming upstream, you can get there but is harder to get the job done. You don’t want the bout to be close if you can help it, so you might have to take some chances to win convincingly.” Chernoff added.

Both boxers are slated to compete in Salisbury on Sat January 19th at the Main St Gym, along with other Main St boxers matching up wit fighter from around the east coast.

Tickets will be available at the door or you can call 410-430-6687 for tickets or more information.

Maryland's Top Court To Hear Death Penalty Challenge

Maryland's highest court is scheduled to hear a challenge to the state's death penalty law next week, just weeks before the state legislature is expected to weigh a ban on capital punishment.

The challenge was brought by attorneys for Jody Lee Miles, of Wicomico County, who was convicted of robbing and killing Salisbury theater manager Edward Atkinson in 1997.

Miles was sentenced to death in March 1998. He has brought a string of failed appeals since his sentencing, with the Maryland Court of Appeals upholding the sentence last year. In the latest appeal, slated for that court on Jan. 3, Miles' attorney is arguing that the state's death penalty law is illegal under the state constitution.


DEMOCRATIC OFFICIALS In Maryland, NJ, NY And Massachusetts Face Prison Time For Voter Fraud

Businesses Warn Of 'Coast Wide Port Shutdown' As Union Strike Looms, Appeal for Obama Intervention

As if Superstorm Sandy and the looming fiscal crisis weren't enough, a potential strike by thousands of dock workers from Boston to Houston threatens to shock the economy as early as this weekend.

Business groups and state officials in recent days have called on President Obama to intervene, and use emergency powers to "avoid a coast wide port shutdown." They warn it could cost billions, citing estimates that a 10-day port lockout in 2002 cost $1 billion a day -- and caused a major backlog in shipments.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is the latest to enter the fray and call for White House intervention. But a port strike would affect more than the East and Gulf coasts, where all these ports are located. It could choke supply chains across the country. Groups ranging from the automobile industry to the National Retail Federation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Cheese Importers Association of America are warning of dire consequences.



Some interesting news has broken in the wake of the latest push for gun control by President Obama and Senate Democrats: Obama sends his kids to a school where armed guards are used as a matter of fact.

The school, Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has 11 security officers and is seeking to hire a new police officer as we speak.

If you dismiss this by saying, "Of course they have armed guards -- they get Secret Service protection," then you've missed the larger point.

The larger point is that this is standard operating procedure for the school, period. And this is the reason people like NBC's David Gregory send their kids to Sidwell, they know their kids will be protected from the carnage that befell kids at a school where armed guards weren't used (and weren't even allowed).

Shame on President Obama for seeking more gun control and for trying to prevent the parents of other school children from doing what he has clearly done for his own. His children sit under the protection guns afford, while the children of regular Americans are sacrificed.


Major Accident On Rt. 50

Berlin is working a serious crash with multiple entrapment on Rt. 50 west bound near the MSP Barracks. Possible fatality.

Numerous patients. Ocean Pines medic unit requested to assist.

Study: More Casinos Don't Mean More Money For State

More casinos do not necessarily mean more casino-goers, according to a study released by the University of Iowa.

It's a finding Maryland may have to grapple with as its casinos double in number over the next four years.

The survey looked at how much and how often Iowa residents reported using the state's 21 casinos and compared the results to similar surveys conducted in 1995 and 1989. While the number of Iowa casinos has more than doubled since 1995, the percentage of Iowans who gamble dropped from 23 percent to 14 percent over that time. The number of residents who refrained from gambling grew from 72 percent in 1995 to the current 83 percent.


Lost Dog 12-24-12

She is a 2 yr old blood hound. Her name is Dakota and she has a purple ravens collar on along with a black shock collar. She is very sweet but can be nervous with other people. She got on a scent late last night around civic ave. can you please post a picture and my contact info so we can get a Christmas Miracle ! Cell phone 443-614-1451

Official: Navy SEAL Died Of Apparent Suicide

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. military officials are investigating the apparent suicide of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan.

Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Saturday of a gunshot wound to the head while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, a U.S. military official said Monday on condition of anonymity because the death is still under investigation.

The official said Price failed to show up for an appointment and was found when others went to check on him.

Price was from Virginia Beach, Va.-based SEAL Team 4, which is part of the mission to train Afghan local police to stave off the Taliban in remote parts of Afghanistan.


Iran: Computer Worm Strikes Again; U.S. Blamed

An Iranian semi-official news agency says there has been another cyberattack by the sophisticated computer worm Stuxnet, this time on the industries in the country's south.

Tuesday's report by ISNA quotes provincial civil defense chief Ali Akbar Akhavan as saying the virus targeted a power plant and some other industries in Hormozgan province in recent months.

Akhavan says Iranian computer experts were able to "successfully stop" the worm.


Today's Survey Question 12-26-12

How much weight do you think you lost/gain over the Holidays?

Lost Dog 12-26-12

This dog got out Christmas Eve, on Zion Road at Cannon drive/ Cannon farm estates neighborhood. If anyone has found him, please call 443-523-0029 or 410-749-2538. His name is Cuddles and is very skittish toward all but his owner. Maybe food will help lure him.

New Extreme Sport: Trampoline Wall

There Is Such A Thing As The Milk Cliff: If Congress Doesn’t Act Soon, Prices Could Double

For the apparently shrinking amount of milk drinkers out there, we’ve got some bad news: There’s a thing called the Milk Cliff, and we’re standing on it. If Congress doesn’t act on a new farm bill that amends a policy from 1949, the price of a gallon of milk could increase and possibly even double.

Firemen's Killer Left Chilling Note, Deaths At 3

An ex-con killed two firefighters with the same caliber and make military-style rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre after typing a note pledging to burn down his neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people," police said Tuesday as another body, believed to be the gunman's missing sister, was found.

William Spengler, 62, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, set his house afire before dawn Christmas Eve before taking a revolver, a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle to a sniper position outside, Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.

The death toll rose to three as police revealed that a body believed to be the killer's 67-year-old sister, Cheryl Spengler, was found in his fire-ravaged home.


Twinkies & Wonder Bread To Likely End Up With Different Parents Following Hostess Collapse

As potential buyers line up to pick the sweet, slightly artificial-tasting bones of Hostess, it appears more and more likely that the company’s snacks will end up under new ownership that doesn’t include Hostess’ bread brands.
It’s like one of those industrial revolution tales of orphaned siblings being split up and sent off to live with different sets of parents. Except this is about snack cakes and incredibly white sandwich bread, so it’s even more heartbreaking.

Ready For A New Toll In Maryland?

A new toll could be added one of the D.C. region's busy roads, if a state lawmaker gets his way.

The idea is to add a new toll at the Maryland border with Pennsylvania along U.S. Route 15, and it comes in a bill introduced by Maryland Sen. Ron Young.

He wants the money to help pay for three road projects, including a Route 15 interchange at Monocacy Boulevard north of the city of Frederick, and the widening of Route 15 in the city of Frederick from two to three lanes in each direction.