Archive for December, 2011

Transgender Star Chaz Bono & Fiance Jennifer Elia Call It Quits!

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

Transgender Star Chaz Bono & Fiance Jennifer Elia Call It Quits!

Cher’s son Chaz Bono has called off his engagement and split from his longtime girlfriend. The transgender star, who was born a girl and was [...]

Transgender Star Chaz Bono & Fiance Jennifer Elia Call It Quits! Stupid Celebrities Gossip

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Source: http://stupidcelebrities.net/2011/12/19/transgender-star-chaz-bono-fiance-jennifer-elia-call-it-quits/

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Cover that cough (Offthekuff)

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics – Top Stories News, News Feeds and News via Feedzilla.

Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/176488736?client_source=feed&format=rss

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Jimmy Fallon SNL Recap With Video Clips

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

If you missed Saturday Night Live last night then you missed one heck of a show full of big surprises and guest stars. Never fear though I have some video clips that will make you feel like you watched it live. The holiday episode of SNL was freaking awesome. Not only was Jimmy Fallon back but also so were a slew of other alum including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. Just wait until you see what this group of hysterical comedians did. Kicking off the show was the sketch called Sully and Denise Cold Open. Let me just say it involves booze, fake ID?s and trip back to high school. Amy Poehelr makes an appearance too so get ready to laugh out loud. I told you it was awesome. Next up I have for you the video clip of the Today Show featuring Kathie Lee, Hoda and surprise visit by Regis Philbin that turns this normal morning into well something completely different. This next sketch is one of the reasons why I love Jimmy Fallon so much. He has face-to-face chat with himself before the show goes live. I could go on but seriously [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RightCelebrity/~3/3sPG9L_K9QM/

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House GOP out to reshape Senate’s payroll tax cut

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

(AP) ? Congress is edging closer to yet another down-to-the wire showdown as House Republicans shun a bipartisan payroll tax cut bill approved by the Senate and prepare to write a package to please rank-and-file GOP lawmakers clamoring for a more conservative version.

The House was returning to work Monday, two days after the Senate easily approved a compromise solidly supported by both parties and left town for a month. The House scheduled a vote late Monday, with leaders saying they would either formally request talks with the Senate on a new bill or make changes in the Senate measure that were uncertain late Sunday.

Without congressional action, the payroll tax would rise 2 percentage points on Jan. 1 ? a boost that Democrats eagerly said would be the GOP’s fault. The brinksmanship is a familiar pattern this year between the two parties, who have narrowly averted a federal default and several government shutdowns in past fights.

Extending the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits have been a keystone of President Barack Obama’s and congressional Democrats’ effort to spur a revival of the flaccid economy. Congressional Republican leaders also say they support the idea, but some of their rank-and-file remain unconvinced, saying the unemployment coverage is too generous and that cutting the payroll tax does not create jobs.

The Senate bill would cut the payroll tax, extend jobless benefits and avoid cuts in Medicare payments to doctors through February. Both sides say they want to renew all three for a full year, but bargainers have so far failed to agree on how to pay for a package that size, which could cost roughly $200 billion.

“If House Republicans refuse to pass this bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut, there will be a significant tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans in 13 days that would damage the economy and job growth,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said Sunday.

“It is a make-or-break moment for John Boehner’s speakership,” said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democratic leader. “You cannot let a small group at the extreme resort to brinksmanship every time there is a major national issue and try to dictate every move this nation makes.”

After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., struck a deal on their two-month bill Friday night, McConnell expressed optimism that Congress would approve it and lawmakers would revisit the battle in February.

But Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday he opposed the Senate bill and wanted a yearlong version and other changes, a stance echoed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

They expressed their views a day after House GOP lawmakers on a conference call voiced vehement opposition to the Senate bill, saying it lacked serious spending cuts. They also said they were tired of their leaders striking compromises and not battling harder for their positions, according to several participants.

“We can find common ground,” Boehner said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. Of the Senate bill, he said, “It’s just the usual, let’s just punt, kick the can down the road” approach.

Boehner did not specify the changes he would like in the bill, but touted “reasonable reductions in spending” and language blocking some Obama administration anti-pollution rules in a yearlong payroll tax bill the House approved last week. That bill covered its costs ? more than $180 billion ? by carving savings from federal workers, higher-income Medicare recipients, fees paid to insure mortgages and elsewhere.

Reid and Schumer said Sunday that Boehner had asked McConnell and Reid to negotiate a compromise, seemingly suggesting that Boehner had walked away from a deal. Republicans said that is untrue and said the House GOP played no role in last week’s bargaining between the Senate leaders.

McConnell offered support for Boehner Sunday. His spokesman, Donald Stewart, said the best way to “provide certainty for job creators, employees and the long-term unemployed is through regular order” ? a term used to describe the normal process of negotiations between the House and Senate.

The Senate bill also includes a provision dear to Republicans that would force Obama to approve a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline within 60 days unless he declares the project would damage the national interest.

Obama had previously said he would make no decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until 2013, allowing him to wait until after next November’s elections to choose between two Democratic constituencies: unions favoring the project’s thousands of jobs and environmentalists opposed to its potential pollution and massive energy use. Obama initially threatened to kill the payroll tax bill if it included the pipeline language but eventually retreated.

One potential hindrance to quick approval of a new payroll tax bill is the Senate’s adjournment. It would take approval from all 100 senators to let the Senate hold any votes before the chamber’s late January return.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2011-12-19-Congress%20Rdp/id-3feffb7733944677b7bccbf02b79cf36

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Rapper Mario Hamilton AKA Slim Dunkin Shot Dead In Georgia (VIDEO)

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

Rapper Mario Hamilton AKA Slim Dunkin Shot Dead In Georgia (VIDEO)

Slim Dunkin, whose real name is Mario Hamilton, was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday after being gunned down at [...]

Rapper Mario Hamilton AKA Slim Dunkin Shot Dead In Georgia (VIDEO) Stupid Celebrities Gossip

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Source: http://stupidcelebrities.net/2011/12/18/rapper-mario-hamilton-aka-slim-dunkin-shot-dead-in-georgia-video/

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2011 Science News of the Year: Atom & Cosmos

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

Not so fast, neutrinos

News of particles zipping along faster than light (SN: 10/22/11, p. 18) was met with universal skepticism ? including from the physicists in Italy who reported the results. But the Gran Sasso National Laboratory?s OPERA team hasn?t found any source of error that could explain how the neutrinos appeared to shave 60 nanoseconds off of light-speed travel time while covering the 730 kilometers from the CERN physics laboratory near Geneva to Gran Sasso.

Einstein?s special theory of relativity says such speeds shouldn?t be attainable. And even if they were, the neutrinos would have shed observable energy during flight, report physicists at Boston University (SN: 11/5/11, p. 10). Critics suggest that at the different locales gravity may have pulled on the clocks with different strengths, causing the timekeepers to tick at different rates. Or some of the particles in the neutrino bunches could have started the trip earlier than thought.

Faced with these criticisms, the OPERA team has used shorter, sharper pulses of particles to check the results. The researchers say the findings still stand, but other large neutrino projects plan to repeat the experiment. ? Devin Powell

Still shining? Some of the universe?s first stars may still be shining in the Milky Way, 13.4 billion years after forming, disputing the prevailing view that early stars died out quickly (SN: 2/26/11, p. 18).

Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory

Boom, then?zoom Telescopes capture a white dwarf star going supernova just 21 million light-years away (SN: 9/24/11, p. 5).

Rocks of life? Life-related chemicals are found in nearly a dozen meteorites, the strongest evidence yet that space rocks contain the building blocks of DNA and could have delivered them to Earth (SN Online: 8/10/11).

Superhot solution? NASA?s Solar Dynamics Observatory spots fountainlike jets of hot gas that shoot into the sun?s outer atmosphere, possibly explaining why it is millions of degrees hotter than the solar surface (SN: 1/29/11, p. 12).

Good-bye shuttle? Three decades after the first launch, the space shuttle program ends its run (SN: 6/18/11, p. 20). NASA also announces its pick of designs for a heavy-lift rocket to take next-gen astronauts into space.

Solar doldrums? Scientists predict that the sunspot cycle that began in early 2008 will be the weakest in 200 years (SN: 3/26/11, p. 5). Studies also suggest that a period of reduced solar activity could help cool the climate (SN: 7/16/11, p. 12).

Exoplanet bonanza A bevy of exoplanets are added to the growing list, including the first confirmed rocky planet beyond the solar system (SN: 2/12/11, p. 12) and a planet with a radius 2.4 times larger than Earth?s parked firmly within its star?s life-friendly zone (SN: 12/31/11, p. 11).

Last words The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory?s Tevatron shuts down after a quarter century (SN: 9/24/11, p. 22). Before the closing, scientists discover the Xi-sub-b particle, predicted by the standard model of particle physics (SN: 8/27/11, p. 14).

Lurking lakes? Europa?s chaotic surface features signal the presence of large pockets of liquid water tucked into the Jupiter moon?s rock-hard ice, scientists report (SN: 12/17/11, p. 5).

Fluid situation? Analyses of mineral data hint that Mars? ancient surface may have been cold and frigid, with fluids appearing only beneath the planet?s ruddy sands (SN: 12/3/11, p. 5).

Mercury close-up? NASA?s MESSENGER spacecraft returns the first images ever taken by a probe orbiting Mercury, showing parts of the south and north polar terrains (SN Online: 3/30/11).

Dark check? Astronomers looking at distortions of microwaves left over from the Big Bang independently confirm the existence of dark energy (SN: 8/13/11, p. 18).

Crabby flares? The Crab Nebula hurls gamma-ray flares more energetic and five times brighter than any previously recorded, challenging theories about how the heavens accelerate charged particles (SN: 6/4/11, p. 10).

Crash course? The Genesis probe finds that, compared with the sun, the Earth is enriched in two types of oxygen and one of nitrogen (SN: 7/16/11, p. 5).

Superdupernova? A new class of supernovas emit much of their light at ultraviolet wavelengths and show no traces of hydrogen (SN: 7/2/11, p. 10).

Probe payoff? Gravity Probe?B confirms that the Earth drags spacetime as it rotates, an effect known as ?frame dragging? that is predicted by Einstein?s general theory of relativity (SN: 5/21/11, p. 5).

Hints of the Higgs Two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider find hints of the elusive Higgs boson, the last missing piece in particle physics? standard model (SN: 12/31/11, p. 10).

Source: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/336994/title/2011_Science_News_of_the_Year_Atom_+_Cosmos

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What will happen after sun vaporizes Earth? Scorched planets hold clues.

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

Scientists say they’ve found two planets that survived being swallowed by a red-giant star. Earth won’t be so fortunate when our sun becomes a red giant in 5 billion years, but the find shows what can happen to solar systems after such dramatic events.

Forget this season’s final episode of “Survivor.” The ultimate survivors appear to be two small planet-candidates engulfed for a billion years inside the searing envelope of a red-giant star. And they emerged to tell the tale.

Skip to next paragraph

The planets are a glimpse at what can happen to a solar system when a star begins its death throes, becoming bloated and red as it consumes the last of the hydrogen fuel in its core. The same fate awaits our sun in about 5 billion years.

The two planet-candidates announced Tuesday are among the tiniest yet revealed by data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft. And they hold the potential to shed light not only on how planets could survive such a torching, but also how they might affect the evolution of red-giant stars themselves.

“On many levels, it’s very cool,” says Elizabeth Green, a researcher with the University of Arizona’s Stewart Observatory and a member of the team reporting its observations in the Dec. 22 issue of the journal Nature.

A red giant originates as a star roughly like our sun ? between 0.5 and 8 times the sun?s mass. As the star exhausts its hydrogen fuel, its core collapses. The heat of that event causes remaining hydrogen in the outer shell to begin fusion, and the star?s outer layer, or photosphere, expands.

By the time the red-giant phase of our sun ends, the Earth, Venus, and Mercury are likely to be vaporized. But scientists have examples of other objects ? planets and brown-dwarf stars ? that survived being enveloped by red-giant stars they orbited.

None of them, however, is like the ones reported Tuesday. All the previous examples were bigger objects that orbited farther from their parent stars to begin with. For that reason, they didn’t spiral as deeply into their stars? photospheres. When these stars? red-giant phase ended ? and the stars shrank back to become helium-burning so-called subdwarf B stars ? the planets survived.

By contrast, the objects reported Tuesday appear to have traveled far deeper into the red-giant’s photosphere and survived only as tiny remnants.

Indeed, the planet-candidates orbit so close to their subdwarf B star, named KIC 05807616, that their years are 5.8 hours and 8.2 hours long, respectively. With one side constantly facing the star, the planets? sun-side faces would roast at between 14,000 and 16,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

So how did the planet-candidates survive such a blistering? The team suggests that the objects may represent the rocky cores of stripped-down gas-giant planets that once orbited farther away.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/science/~3/zpSrSnovdzU/What-will-happen-after-sun-vaporizes-Earth-Scorched-planets-hold-clues

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Comparison of House, Senate payroll tax cut bills (AP)

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

WASHINGTON ? Highlights of legislation renewing payroll tax cuts, jobless benefits approved by the House and Senate:

House bill, approved last Tuesday:

_Price tag over $180 billion.

_Keeps this year’s 4.2 percent Social Security payroll tax rate paid by 160 million workers through the end of 2012, instead of rising to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.

_Extends expiring benefits for the long-term jobless through 2012, but at a maximum of 79 weeks coverage, less in some cases, well below this year’s 99-week limit. Revamps program to require beneficiaries without high school diplomas to seek an equivalent degree; lets states test applicants for illegal drug use.

_Prevents 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for 2012.

_Blocks Obama administration rule curbing pollution from industrial boilers; extends tax break for businesses buying equipment for 2012.

_Requires President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days unless he declares the project would not serve the national interest.

_Paid for by extending current pay freeze on civilian federal workers another year through 2013 and requires them to contribute more toward their pensions; raises fee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge for insuring mortgages; raises Medicare premiums paid by higher-income elderly; cuts some health care overhaul law programs; sells part of broadcast spectrum; prevents illegal immigrant parents from collecting child tax credit refund checks; bars food stamps, unemployment benefits for the wealthy.

Senate bill, approved Saturday:

_Price tag $33 billion.

_Extends 2-percentage-point cut in Social Security payroll tax through Feb. 29.

_Renews benefits for the long-term unemployed at current levels through Feb. 29, no other changes in program.

_Prevents 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors; extends other health care fees through Feb. 29.

_Same provision on Keystone as House.

_Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/economy/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111218/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_rdp_bill_comparison

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Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

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Police find 10 bodies in Mexico clandestine graves (AP)

Posted by aifkod on December 31, 2011

MEXICO CITY ? Prosecutors announced Monday they have found another clandestine grave holding 10 bodies in the northern Mexico state of Durango, bringing to 14 the number of such burial sites found in the state this year.

Soldiers found the 10 bodies last week in a field on the outskirts of the state capital, also called Durango, said Raymundo Enriquez, the spokesman for the Durango state prosecutors’ office.

The total number of bodies believed related to drug gang violence found so far this year in clandestine graves in Durango now stands at 287, including the most recent discovery.

The sheer number of bodies overwhelmed the Durango forensic examiner’s storage facilities, forcing authorities to rent a refrigerated truck. Authorities have so far been able to identify only about two dozen of the bodies; most have been buried again in common graves, after no relatives claimed them.

Police in the city of Durango have offered no motives in the killings, but officials have said the killings are the result of an internal power struggle within the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico’s most powerful gang.

Also Monday, the Mexican army released five-year totals of the number of attacks and shootouts, soldiers killed and wounded since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in December 2006.

Army spokesman Col. Ricardo Trevilla told local media that there have been 1,948 attacks, ambushes or shootouts with gunmen since December 2006. In those confrontations, 126 army personnel were killed, but 2,268 gunmen died, a ratio of 1 soldier killed for every 18 gunmen.

Over the five-year period, the army also detained 2,180 suspected gunmen and wounded 348; a total of 744 soldiers have been wounded.

The totals do not cover exactly five years, but rather were calculated from Dec. 1, 2006, to Dec. 19, 2011; Calderon announced the first dispatch of troops to fight the cartels on Dec. 11 2006.

The army also acknowledged that 5,962 complaints had been filed with civilian authorities alleging human rights violations by soldiers, but only 92 cases resulted in nonbinding recommendations by the governmental Human Rights Commission, the strongest action that commission can take. The recommendations usually ask that the army investigate abuses, punish those responsible and take steps to ensure the abuses ? sometimes involving shootings of civilians at army checkpoints, or illegal searches or detentions ? do not occur again. It was not clear whether the other complaints were dismissed, dropped or whether some are still under investigation.

Also Monday, prosecutors say two mutilated bodies were found scattered in the plaza of a central Mexican town while a boy was killed around the same time in what police say may have been a related crime.

The Morelos state Attorney General’s Office said a young man’s torso was found early Monday on a basketball court in the town of Pueblo Viejo south of Mexico City. The rest of his body and the other victim’s remains were found Monday in the town’s plaza.

Authorities said they found a knife-carved message on the torso but didn’t reveal the content. Drug gangs often use grisly displays of violence to intimidate rival groups.

A news statement said the attack may be related to the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy also found early Monday morning.

Mexico’s tax service, which controls customs operations, also announced Monday that authorities had found 480 drums containing almost 100 metric tons of precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamines at the Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas, in western Michoacan state.

The service said in a statement the chemical, methylamine, had arrived in a shipment from Shanghai. Its final destination, according to shipping documents, was the Guatemalan port of Puerto Quetzal.

The port is located in the home territory of the Knights Templar drug cartel, but the Sinaloa and Zetas cartels have been more active in Central America.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mexico/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111220/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico

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