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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest (OND) for Tuesday, January 01, 2013.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Creation and early water-bearing of the OND concept came from our very own Magnifico - proper respect is due.

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This diary is named for its "Hump Point" video: Gumbasia by Art Clokey

News below Aunt Flossie's hairdo . . .

Please feel free to browse and add your own links, content or thoughts in the Comments section.

Any timestamps shown are relative to each publication.

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Top News
Memo to GOP From an Ex-Conservative: The Eighties Are Over

By Jonathan Krohn
After a grueling election cycle from which the GOP emerged with a net loss of eight seats in the House, two seats in the Senate, and no White House, one might expect Republicans to reconsider their view that the electorate has given a solid mandate to conservative hardliners. But no: From the fiscal cliff talks (where only 29 percent of Americans approve of the work GOP leaders have done), to the inflexible stance on guns post-Sandy Hook amid an eight year high in public calls for better gun control, the party seems to be largely in denial about where the policy mandate lies. And that, in turn, highlights a longer-term problem: The right-wing base is less vital than it used to be. The challenge can be seen most evidently in a movement I know from personal experience: the religious right.

. . .

However, let's take a look at another fact: evangelicals have increased primarily in their strategic strongholds. In Iowa and Ohio, the white evangelical voting population went up by 5 percent from 2004. The South is as (if not more) evangelical as ever, most notably in Mississippi, where white evangelicals increased by 2 percent from 2004 to 2012, going to a whopping 50 percent of the entire voting population and Alabama, where white evangelical voters went up by 4 percent.

. . .

What's going on here? Part of the problem is that the New Right coalition relies on the same ideas based on the same people it has relied on since the 1960s and 1980s. The Heritage Foundation and National Review ideology that underlies modern conservative politics starts with Goldwater and ends with Reagan. Leaders of the party regularly kiss the proverbial ring: they make documentaries (a la Newt Gingrich's Citizen's United-produced documentary on Reagan), write books (think Dinesh D'Souza's Reagan book), and even produce radio spots featuring Reagan (e.g. every Heritage ad on talk radio, ever.)

. . .

But it doesn't have to be this way. A more modern conservative coalition would broaden the base and bring in new leaders—exchanging the "intense policy demanders" like the National Rifle Association for those promoting innovative policies on issues where conservatives are losing (gay marriage, gun control, taxing the wealthy). The problem is that given the strength of conservative voters in the primary electorate, most less-extreme candidates don't stand much of a chance. And while some in the old guard have tested the waters with moves such as David Keene's inclusion of the gay Republican group GOProud to the Conservative Political Action Conference, it will be the next generation of Republican leaders who determine whether the party of Reagan is ready to move past the ‘80s and come to terms with a changing America.

Oil ship runs aground in Alaska

By (Reuters via guardian.co.uk)
A large drill ship belonging to the oil company Shell has run aground off Alaska after drifting in stormy weather, company and government officials said.

. . .

There was no known spill and no reports of damage, but the Kulluk had about 155,000 gallons of fuel on board, said coastguard commander Shane Montoya, the leader of the incident command team.

With winds reported as reaching 60 miles an hour and Gulf of Alaska seas of up to 12 metres, responders were unable to keep the ship from grounding, he told a news conference late on Monday night in Anchorage.

. . .

The grounding of the Kulluk, a conical, Arctic-class drill ship weighing nearly 28,000 gross tonnes, is a blow to Shell's $4.5bn (£2.8bn) offshore programme in Alaska. Its plan to convert the area into a major new oil frontier has alarmed environmentalists and many Alaska Natives, but excited industry supporters.

What Is a Hangover?

By (Gizmodo.com)
Yippee! Let's poison ourselves with beverages that will make us violently ill! It was your battle cry last night, and today you're paying the price. But what is that hangover you're experiencing, exactly?

Everyone has a different tolerance (it's usually lower for women than men), but anyone who drinks enough is sure to experience a cornucopia of symptoms which might include headache, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, trembling and a general sense of misery. It gets worse the more you drink, when you drink on an empty stomach, when you haven't slept, or if you imbibe while shakin' that thang on the dance floor (or rock climbing, or jazzercizing).

When alcohol enters your bloodstream, it tells your pituitary gland not to produce vasopressin, which is the hormone that typically keeps your body lubed up with moisture. Without vasopressin, liquids get siphoned straight to your bladder, which is why you really open the floodgates after the first time you pee during a boozy evening. When you're drinking, you lose about four times more liquid than you gain, which also causes the dehydration that leads to that wonderful cotton mouth and headache that come with a hangover. Ever wonder why exactly dehydration causes a headache? It's because your organs are so desperate they steal water from your brain, which causes your brain to shrink. A shrunken brain pulls on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, and that, naturally, hurts like a mother.

Thousands march against Hong Kong leader CY Leung

By (BBC)
Thousands of people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets on the first day of the new year to call for the city's chief executive to resign.

They say CY Leung is not to be trusted following claims he lied about illegal structures at his home, a politically sensitive issue in the city.

They are also calling for the right to be able to vote for their leader, who is currently selected by a small committee loyal to Beijing.

. . .

Young families pushing children in buggies and the elderly were among those who streamed into Victoria Park in the centre of Hong Kong for one of several anti-government rallies across the territory, the BBC's Jennifer Pak reports.

Indian bus rape: Delhi sees rush for guns

By Jason Burke
Hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences following the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman by six men in a bus in the city last month.

. . .

Indian media are currently reporting incidents of sexual violence that would rarely gain attention previously. In the last 24 hours these have included a teenager fleeing repeated abuse by her brother, who was allegedly assaulted on a bus by a conductor, a 15-year-old held for 15 days by three men in a village in Uttar Pradesh and repeatedly assaulted, an 11-year-old allegedly raped by three teenagers in the north-eastern city of Guwahati and two cases of rape in the city of Amritsar.

. . .

There are estimated to be 40m guns in India, the second highest number in the world after the US. Licences are hard to obtain and most are illegal weapons, many manufactured in backstreet workshops. Official ownership levels remain low – three guns for every 100 people – but in recent years the number of women holding arms has risen. Most are wealthy and worried about theft or assault.

. . .

Elders in Matapa, in the poverty-stricken Indian state of Bihar, banned the use of mobile phones for teenage girls and warned them against wearing "sexy" clothes. They claim the move will check rape cases and restore "social order". Other villages nearby are planning similar bans, locals said.

Happy Emancipation Day

By Tom Levenson
One hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

. . .

The proclamation was limited . . .

It was, however, critical:

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.
. . .

Lincoln faced criticism at the time for the proclamation — from the Confederacy, of course, who threatened all kinds of terrors for any captured black soldiers and their officers, black or white — and also from some of his own supporters, for whom the cautious limitations of the document seemed weak in the face of an obvious moral imperative.  Most famously, in the autumn of 1862, Lincoln himself disavowed overt abolitionism in the most public of possible ways in a letter to Horace Greeley, the great abolitionist publisher and editor of the The New York Tribune. Historian Eugene Berwanger writes:

NASA Disappoints NY Times Square Revelers With "Boring" Message From Mars

By Jason Mick
The Curiosity Rover's official Twitter account, maintained by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, titillated space exploration fans with a Twitter message promising, "Will you be in @TimesSquareNYC for New Year's Eve? Look for a special message from Mars on the giant Toshiba screens."

Fans were hoping for some new images or video from the Rover -- possibly even news of a new discovery.  Instead they were treated to a brief pre-rendered animation, followed by a word art "text" from the Rover commenting "Happy New Year From Mars".

The Verge, whose offices are based in Manhattan, New York, described the build-up and delivery as "groan worthy".  One commenter hints that maybe budget cuts were to blame, commenting, "I think we should double NASA's budget, purely for the reason that they can then go and license decent typefaces."

International
MoD compensation log illustrates human cost of Afghan war

By Ben Quinn
The killing of six members of a family, including a mother and her children, when a rocket overshot a target and hit the compound in which they were living are among the incidents in recent months for which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid out compensation to Afghan civilians.

The cases – contained in a log released by the MoD to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act – paint a picture of the ongoing human cost of the conflict ranging from many frequent payments for crop damage caused by operations through to more serious events involving civilians caught up in the war.

. . .

The amount of compensation payments for 2011 (£510,728) and during the last year up to 19 November (£537,684) are considerably less than in previous years.

The MoD made £1.3m in compensation payments during 2010.

Israeli Jews now number 6 million, Palestinians will exceed Jews by 2020

By (GlobalPost.com)
Israel's Jewish population has reached six million people for the first time.

The six million mark is symbolic for Israelis as that's the amount of Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.

. . .

That means the Israeli population has increased ten-fold since its founding in 1948.

. . .

Other statistics that were released this week by the Palestinian statistics bureau predict that by 2016, Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza will be equal to the number of Jews in Israel.

Teacher morale 'dangerously low' suggests survey

By Judith Burns
Morale among teachers in England and Wales is "dangerously low" and "has declined dramatically in recent months" a survey suggests.

. . .

Some 69% said their morale had declined since the general election in 2010. Almost three-quarters (71%) said they rarely or never felt trusted by the government.

. . .

Some expressed fears that the new qualification encompassed too narrow a range of subjects and that many schools would stop teaching music, art, PE, design technology and religious education.

. . .

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "This survey paints a very sorry picture and is a damning indictment of coalition government policies."

She said the education secretary Michael Gove had "been allowed to rush through reforms based on little or no evidence".

USA Politics, Economy, Major Events
First Colo. marijuana shop opens, closes

By (UPI)
The first marijuana club to open in Colorado was forced to close Tuesday when the landlord canceled the lease, the operator said.

Paul Lovato, proprietor of the White Horse Inn in Del Norte, a small town in southern Colorado, said he opened the business Monday, The Denver Post reported. The owner of the building shut him down because his lease did not begin until Jan. 1, Tuesday.

. . .

Colorado voters approved a referendum in November legalizing recreational marijuana use. Selling pot for non-medical purposes remains illegal until next year but giving it away is now legal.

Backlash prompts Newtown survivor's attorney to pull lawsuit, for now

By (CNN Staff)
Outcry over a request for permission to sue the state of Connecticut for millions of dollars in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting prompted a New Haven attorney to at least temporarily withdraw his client's petition, the attorney said Tuesday.

"I was getting hundreds of (Facebook) comments" about the potential lawsuit. "So I figured I'd take (the request) off the table for now," said Irving Pinsky, who represents the parents of a 6-year-old survivor of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

. . .

The girl, identified only as Jill Doe, was at the school and apparently heard everything from gunfire to screaming over the intercom, Pinsky wrote in his Thursday letter to the state claims commissioner.

. . .

His client had been seeking $100 million in damages.

Works that would be in the public domain today -- if America hadn't extended copyright terms in 1976

By Cory Doctorow
In 1976, the US Congress decided to extend the copyright on works that had been created with the understanding that they would enter the public domain after about 56 years (depending on whether the copyright was renewed after 26 years). This decision set the stage for a series of subsequent copyright extensions, each one coinciding, roughly, with the imminent entry to the public domain of the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons. Effectively, the public domain has ended

. . .

 Before 1976, US copyright law was primarily about incentives: "We'll give you X years of copyright, and that will serve as incentive for you to create." But extending the copyrights on works that had already been created can't provide any sort of incentive: "We'll give you more copyright on works you've already made, and you will travel backwards in time and make more works, knowing that the term-extension is a-comin'." Extending copyright terms on works that haven't yet been created might arguably provide the incentive copyright was meant to provide ("if you'll write three books with 56 years of copyright, would you write four if I gave you life-plus-seventy years?") but giving existing works more years of exclusive monopoly can't possibly incentivize anything, unless you're a time-traveller (In which case you don't need incentives because you inhabit a non-causal universe where effects don't need to have causes).

So what the 1976 Act did was officially shift the American copyright system from one of incentives to one of deserved rewards. "You slaved so hard over this work, it isn't just that you should receive only 56 years of copyright to it -- here, have another 20 years! Well done!" . . .

Welcome to the "Hump Point" of this OND.

News can be sobering and engrossing - at this point in the diary, an offering of brief escapism:

Random notes related to this video:
“Well, I was tutoring Sam Engel’s son in English. I was teaching at the time at the Harvard Military Academy which is now the Harvard School in Studio City in Los Angeles, and my wife and I were invited to 20th Century Fox. Sam Engel was a producer, and he was president of the Motion Picture Producers Association. He was at the time producing a film with Sophia Loren and some other famous actors.”

“Sam was very appreciative of what I was doing for his son. He invited us over to the studio to see some previews of the new films of competitors, and at one time he said ‘Why don’t you bring your little art film. I would like to see it.’ I mentioned it to him one time. So when I brought it over, he showed it in the big Daryl Zanuck projection room. . . . It was only 3-1/2 minutes long, like a music video. Clay moving to jazz music. After the first screening of Gumbasia, Sam got up and paced back in forth in front of the screen while they were rewinding it to show it again. He said ‘Art, that is the most exciting film I have ever seen in my life,’ . . .

“When Tom Sarnoff gave us a contract for seven years to produce a Gumby series and put on a Gumby show, Sam Engel just said, ‘You take it Art I don’t want anything from this. I just want to see something good for children put on TV,’ and he achieved that. . ."

Back to what's happening:
Environment and Greening
China's taste for pork serves up a pollution problem

By Nicola Davison
. . .

Pork is China's favourite meat: last year the country produced 50m tonnes – more than half the world's total – and as the disposable incomes of China's 1.3 billion people rise, their appetite is growing. "Pork is wrapped up in ideas of progress and modernity," said Mindi Schneider, a sociologist at Cornell University. Until the 1990s typical families only ate meat at Chinese new year.

. . .

Feeding a fifth of the world's population on less than 10% of its arable land is a critical issue for the government. Industrial livestock farming, the argument goes, will stabilise China's erratic pork prices through its efficiency and predictable output.

. . .

The growth of industrial pig farming in China has implications for the rest of the planet: the livestock industry accounts for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions – more than is produced by cars, planes, ships and trains combined, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Last year China imported 60% of the world's soya beans, which were fed to pigs exclusively. Shipping soya beans and, increasingly, corn to China affects global food prices, entails hefty greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to the razing of millions of hectares of forest, savannah and pasture in Latin America and diverts grain that could feed the world's hungry.

Science and Health
Best to Be Overweight, but Not Obese? Higher Levels of Obesity Associated With Increased Risk of Death

By (ScienceDaily)
In an analysis of nearly 100 studies that included approximately 3 million adults, relative to normal weight, overall obesity (combining all grades) and higher levels of obesity were both associated with a significantly higher all-cause risk of death, while overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality, according to a study in the January 2 issue of JAMA.

. . .

The researchers add that their findings are consistent with observations of lower mortality among overweight and moderately obese patients. "Possible explanations have included earlier presentation of heavier patients, greater likelihood of receiving optimal medical treatment, cardioprotective metabolic effects of increased body fat, and benefits of higher metabolic reserves."

. . .

"The presence of a wasting disease, heart disease, diabetes, renal dialysis, or older age are all associated with an inverse relationship between BMI and mortality rate, an observation termed the obesity paradox or reverse epidemiology. The optimal BMI linked with lowest mortality in patients with chronic disease may be within the overweight and obesity range. Even in the absence of chronic disease, small excess amounts of adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic illnesses, have beneficial mechanical effects with some types of traumatic injuries, and convey other salutary effects that need to be investigated in light of the studies by Flegal et al and others."

Fructose Has Different Effect Than Glucose On Brain Regions That Regulate Appetite

By (ScienceDaily)
In a study examining possible factors regarding the associations between fructose consumption and weight gain, brain magnetic resonance imaging of study participants indicated that ingestion of glucose but not fructose reduced cerebral blood flow and activity in brain regions that regulate appetite, and ingestion of glucose but not fructose produced increased ratings of satiety and fullness, according to a preliminary study published in the January 2 issue of JAMA.

"Increases in fructose consumption have paralleled the increasing prevalence of obesity, and high-fructose diets are thought to promote weight gain and insulin resistance. Fructose ingestion produces smaller increases in circulating satiety hormones compared with glucose ingestion, and central administration of fructose provokes feeding in rodents, whereas centrally administered glucose promotes satiety," according to background information in the article. "Thus, fructose possibly increases food-seeking behavior and increases food intake." How brain regions associated with fructose- and glucose-mediated changes in animal feeding behaviors translates to humans is not completely understood.

. . .

The researchers found that there was a significantly greater reduction in hypothalamic CBF after glucose vs. fructose ingestion. "Glucose but not fructose ingestion reduced the activation of the hypothalamus, insula, and striatum -- brain regions that regulate appetite, motivation, and reward processing; glucose ingestion also increased functional connections between the hypothalamic-striatal network and increased satiety."

Real-World Patient Survival With Defibrillators Matches Trial Expectations

By (ScienceDaily)
Patients who received an implantable heart defibrillator in everyday practice had survival benefits on par with those who received the same devices in carefully controlled clinical trials, according to a new study that highlights the value of defibrillators in typical medical settings.

. . .

Because clinical trial participants tend to receive more meticulous care while also being healthier than patients seen in clinical practice, the actual benefits of new drugs and medical devices can be less positive than initially reported. Not so for the defibrillators, at least when comparing patients with similar characteristics in both the clinical trials and real-world practice.

. . .

"We know from previous studies that many patients in real-world clinical settings don't receive the follow-up care that is recommended after the device is implanted," Al-Khatib said. She said doctors who participate in clinical trials also tend to be highly skilled specialists who do hundreds of the implantation surgeries, while physicians in ordinary practice may be less proficient. Studies have shown that patients have more complications when their doctors have less experience with a procedure.

Quitting smoking 'reduces anxiety'

By (BBC)
Smokers who successfully quit feel less anxious afterwards - despite the belief that smoking relieves stress, researchers say.

. . .

The effect was greater among those who had mood and anxiety disorders than those that smoked for pleasure.

The researchers - drawn from several universities including Cambridge, Oxford and Kings's College in London - said the findings should be used to reassure smokers attempting to quit that concerns about increased anxiety levels were unfounded.

Bacteria fossils found in Australia's Pilbara region are planet's oldest, scientists say

By Freya Petersen
They're being called the planet's oldest fossils — traces of bacteria that lived a record-breaking 3.49 billion years ago found in Australia's remote Pilbara region.

According to the Washington Post, the find may not only move scientists a step closer to understanding early life on Earth, but also aid in the search for life on other planets.

. . .

The ancient Pilbara region, in the state of Western Australia — now an iron ore mining hub, populated by such major companies as Rio Tinto — was once shoreline and rocks made from sediment piled up billions of years ago are now exposed and available for examination.

Technology
PlaceRaider: The Military Smartphone Malware Designed to Steal Your Life

By Th Physics arXiv blog
. . .

Today Robert Templeman at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana, and a few pals at Indiana University reveal an entirely new class of ‘visual malware’ capable of recording and reconstructing a user’s environment in 3D. This then allows the  theft of virtual objects such as financial information, data on computer screens and identity-related information.

. . .

PlaceRaider then runs in the background taking photos at random while recording the time, location and orientation of the phone. (The malware mutes the phone as the photos are taken to hide the shutter sound, which would otherwise alert the user.)

The malware then performs some simple image filtering to get rid of blurred or dark images taken inside a pocket for example, and sends the rest to a central server. Here they are reconstructed into a 3D model of the user’s space, using additional details such as the orientation and location of the camera.

. . .

That’s an impressive piece of work that reveals some of the vulnerabilities of these powerful devices.And although the current version of the malware runs only on the Android platform, there is no reason why it couldn’t be adapted for other systems. “We implemented on Android for practical reasons, but we expect such malware to generalize to other platforms such as iOS and Windows Phone,” say Templeman and co.

What's the real problem with Google Now?

By Andrew Brown
. . .

Google Now is a feature of modern Android phones that supplies you with personalised information based on all the things you have already told Google through your mail accounts, your calendar, your address book, your present location, and all the other personal information that most of us trust the company with.

. . .

And the question arises, which? Is Google bad because it relies on individual action to solve properly corporate problems, or is it bad because it renders individuals irrelevant in a great corporate clockwork? I don't want to be snarky, because this is an important question, and Morozov is one of the very few people to think about it seriously and consistently. But he does seem confused here.

. . .

But in that case, the problem with Google Now, and more generally with Google's vision of humanity, is not just that it assumes we're incapable of deliberation about our action or of self-control, but that this assumption makes it more difficult for us to exercise the limited amount of self-control we can in fact cultivate.

. . .

Google can figure out how to give me what I want. But there is no possible technological fix to the underlying problem: how can I learn to want what I ought to want? How can I even find out what that should be?

Employers in California, Illinois Can No Longer Request Facebook Passwords

By Tiffany Kaiser
If you were worried about an employer seeing those pictures from the big New Year's party on your Facebook last night, don't fret -- a new law that's taking place this year will prevent employers from requesting Facebook passwords.

The law took effect at 12:01 a.m. today in both California and Illinois. It states that employers can't request social networking passwords or non-public account information from current or potential employees.

Michigan is another state that passed a similar law last month.

However, something that citizens in these states need to keep in mind is that employers can still see any public posts, tweets or photos on the social networks. So unless you set your information to private, it's fair game.

Cultural
Coney Island Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day Swim Raises Funds For Superstorm Sandy Relief

By (AP via HuffPo)
Hundreds of hardy swimmers rang in 2013 with a plunge into the icy sea off Brooklyn's Coney Island, an area struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

Members of the Ice Breakers and the Coney Island Polar Bear clubs and other brave bathers stripped down to their trunks or dressed in costumes for the annual New Year's Day splash.

. . .

This year, Polar Bear club members and others were raising money for Sandy relief efforts. The area was badly flooded by the late October storm.

A year in women: notable female achievements of 2012, from Malala to Hillary

By Faine Greenwood
Women made major steps forward in politics and in business. But horrific acts of violence against an Indian medical student and an outspoken Pakistani preteen proved how far there still is to go for women's rights.

. . .

1. Women clean up in the November US elections, and will hold 20 Senate seats in January

. . .

2. Malala Yousafzai brings the attention of the world to Pakistan and the plight of women there

. . .

3. First-ever female presidents elected in South Korea and Malawi

. . .

4. Women take the lead in Southeast Asia

. . .

6. India gang rape horror—and the astonishing reaction

. . .

7. Hillary Clinton Has a Pretty Good Year

. . .

8. Women control the massive economies of Brazil and Germany—and a woman helms the IMF.

. . .

9. Women become increasingly visible in international business

. . .

10. Every country sends a woman to the 2012 Olympic Games in London

. . .

Egypt cracks down on satirists and media

By (Al Jazeera)
An Egyptian satirist who has made fun of President Mohamed Morsi on television will be investigated by prosecutors following an accusation that he undermined the leader's standing, a judicial source has said.

Bassem Youssef's case will likely increase concerns over freedom of speech in the post-Hosni Mubarak era, especially when the country's new constitution includes provisions criticised by rights activists for, among other things, said the source on Tuesday, forbidding insults.

In a separate case, one of Egypt's leading independent newspapers said it was being investigated by the prosecutor following a complaint from the presidency, which accused it of publishing false news.

. . .

Rivals accuse Morsi, who won Egypt's first freely contested leadership election in June, of polarising society by foisting a divisive, Islamist-leaning constitution on the country.

ond_wordcloud_2013-01-01
Meteor Blades is known to offer an enlightening Evening Open Diary - you might consider checking that out tonight if you haven't already.

Originally posted to wader on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Overnight News Digest.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I resolve to publish ONDs on time in 2013 (24+ / 0-)

    Oops.

    Greetings, all.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:59:04 PM PST

  •  Skyrocketing College Tuition Still Skyrocketing (12+ / 0-)

    Although, according to the Wall Street Journal (via Gawker), the increases have slowed just a little bit.

    In the past, I've written about the ridiculous & disgusting textbook industry, which the education system has aided & abetted in screwing over students at the college bookstore. However, tuition pricing is almost, if not as bad.

    Which is not to say the prices are going down. That's crazy. Not at all. But they are not going up quite so fast.
    Average tuition this past year rose by the smallest percentage in at least 40 years among the 960 private schools that belong to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which collectively enroll 90% of the students in private colleges. It climbed 3.9% to $29,305.
    Perhaps $29,999.99 is as high as the American college student is prepared to go. No matter—it's already too late.
    As some of you may already know & have read about, student debt is a bit of an issue. While it would be unlikely to ripple through the economy with the same impact as the mortgage industry collapse, Education Department data shows that payments are being made on just 38 percent of the balance of federal student loans. The outstanding balances in student loans are now larger than credit card debt.
    Kelsey Griffith graduates on Sunday from Ohio Northern University. To start paying off her $120,000 in student debt, she is already working two restaurant jobs and will soon give up her apartment here to live with her parents. Her mother, who co-signed on the loans, is taking out a life insurance policy on her daughter.

    “If anything ever happened, God forbid, that is my debt also,” said Ms. Griffith’s mother, Marlene Griffith... “As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”

    Carrying that much debt is hard enough moving forward with a bachelor degree, but what about the people who spend 3 years in school taking out loans & don't graduate?

    About 2 weeks ago while I was away, the New York Times ran a story about the gap between poor & affluent kids in college. Education is usually believed to be the great equalizer, where if someone can achieve in high-school & make it into a good school they have their foot in the door towards climbing the ladder of the American Dream.

    However, the Times article points out something that shouldn't be all that shocking. Poor kids have to work in order to support themselves, where children of the affluent have more options & leeway to their studies.

    Four years later, their story seems less like a tribute to upward mobility than a study of obstacles in an age of soaring economic inequality. Not one of them has a four-year degree. Only one is still studying full time, and two have crushing debts. Angelica, who left Emory owing more than $60,000, is a clerk in a Galveston furniture store.

    Each showed the ability to do college work, even excel at it. But the need to earn money brought one set of strains, campus alienation brought others, and ties to boyfriends not in school added complications. With little guidance from family or school officials, college became a leap that they braved without a safety net.

    The story of their lost footing is also the story of something larger — the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. Poor students have long trailed affluent peers in school performance, but from grade-school tests to college completion, the gaps are growing. With school success and earning prospects ever more entwined, the consequences carry far: education, a force meant to erode class barriers, appears to be fortifying them.

    For example, anyone attempting to enter medical school, not only has to achieve academically, they also have to perform extraciriculars in order to be competitive. So usually biology & chemistry majors also have to do volunteer hours in the community and research hours in a research lab.

    So a poor student who has to work a part-time or even a full-time job to support themselves while in school has to somehow make all the schedules work with each other (i.e. work, school, volunteer, and research lab), while also finding the time to keep their grades up in some of the most unforgiving classes. (e.g. Organic Chemistry, Biochem, etc.)

  •  oh great (10+ / 0-)

    Lawmaker hopes to fund public preschool with private dollars

    Early childhood education advocates recognize it could be tough to get Utah lawmakers to agree to pay for a proposed preschool program for at risk-students, given limited dollars and historical resistance to state-funded preschool.

    That’s why they’re taking a different tack this year: Get private investors to pay for the program, with the promise that the state will eventually pay them back if it succeeds in improving education.

    It’s a proposal Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, plans to make to fellow lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session. His ultimate goal, he said, is to expand and beef up preschool programs for at-risk tots in Utah to improve education and save the state money.

    He said earlier help for some kids could, in the long run, reduce the amount of money the state spends on special education. Osmond said a number of students now wind up in special education because they started school behind their peers and never caught up — not because they’re developmentally delayed.

    and why can't the state pay for preschool?  because the utah legislature is a bunch of ninnies.

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:30:17 PM PST

  •  Thank you! (14+ / 0-)

    Best wishes to all here!

    I remembered to put 2013 on the first check I wrote this year so that is good.  :)

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:30:24 PM PST

  •  thanks for the clues, wader (11+ / 0-)

    i was out most of the day.  

    going to knit now . . .

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:30:50 PM PST

  •  Thanks wader and I hope (12+ / 0-)

    2013 treats you and those you love well.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:35:56 PM PST

  •  Happy New Year, wader! (11+ / 0-)

    Tonight, I am thinking of our friends, the Arctic animals . . .

    May we do all we can in 2013 to make sure their habitat remains.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:49:56 PM PST

  •  I've never associated pork (11+ / 0-)

    with ideas of "progress and modernity." How interesting to see it from the perspective of the Chinese. I guess when you are used to eating meat only once a year, a pork chop would make you feel rich.
    The prospect of industrial farming in China does not bring me thoughts of progress, however. Pollution is only one negative consequence. How are they going to get even more soybeans to feed all of those hogs? They're at 60% of the world's supply now. That's one hell of a lot of soybeans.
    Nice news collection, Wader! Many thought provoking stories to choose from.

    "Better to die standing, than to live on your knees." Che Guevara

    by Interceptor7 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:54:08 PM PST

  •  Happy New Year, OND pals! (9+ / 0-)

    Glad to be sharing the first day of the New Year with you.
    Seems like a good place to start!

    "Better to die standing, than to live on your knees." Che Guevara

    by Interceptor7 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:54:49 PM PST

  •  News from Reuters (6+ / 0-)

    International News

    After setbacks, Russia boosts space spending
    * Russia has lost several satellites in past year
    * Critics blame lack of sufficient spending
    * Russia was space pioneer half a century ago

    Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:41pm EST

    MOSCOW, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The country that oversaw the launch of the world's first artificial satellite hopes to regain some of its former glory with a big boost in space spending announced by Russia on Thursday after a series of failures.

    Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a plan to spend 2.1 trillion roubles ($68.71 billion) on developing Russia's space industry from 2013 to 2020, state-run RIA news agency reported.

    "The programme will enable our country to effectively participate in forward-looking projects, such as the International Space Station (ISS), the study of the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies in the solar system," Medvedev was quoted as saying.

    North Korean leader, in rare address, seeks end to confrontation with South
    By Jack Kim
    SEOUL | Tue Jan 1, 2013 3:04pm EST

    (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an end to confrontation between the two Koreas, technically still at war in the absence of a peace treaty to end their 1950-53 conflict, in a surprise New Year's broadcast on state media.

    The address by Kim, who took power in the reclusive state after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, appeared to take the place of the policy-setting New Year's editorial published annually in the past in leading state newspapers.

    But North Korea has offered olive branches before and Kim's speech does not necessarily signify a change in tack from a country which vilifies the United States and U.S. ally South Korea at every chance.

    India rape victim's ashes scattered, more attacks stoke debate
    By Sharat Pradhan
    LUCKNOW, India | Tue Jan 1, 2013 12:10pm EST

    (Reuters) - The ashes of an Indian student who died after being gang-raped were scattered in the Ganges river on Tuesday as reports of more attacks stoked a growing national debate on violence against women.

    The death of the 23-year-old woman, who has not been named, prompted street protests across India, international outrage and promises from the government of tougher punishments for offenders.

    Police on Tuesday confirmed they would push for the death penalty for her attackers - the force can recommend prosecutors pursue particular punishments in Indian trials.

    At least 61 crushed to death in Ivory Coast stampede
    ABIDJAN | Tue Jan 1, 2013 4:10pm EST

    (Reuters) - At least 61 people were crushed to death in a stampede after a New Year's Eve fireworks display at a stadium in Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan early on Tuesday, officials said.

    Witnesses said police had tried to control crowds around the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium following the celebrations, triggering a panic in which scores were trampled.

    "The estimate we can give right now is 49 people hospitalized ... and 61 people dead," said the chief of staff of Abidjan's fire department Issa Sacko.

    U.S News

    Insight: How Colombian drug traffickers used HSBC to launder money
    By Carrick Mollenkamp and Brett Wolf
    Tue Jan 1, 2013 1:06am EST

    (Reuters) - When several Colombian men were indicted in January 2010 on money-laundering charges, the case in Brooklyn federal court drew little attention.

    It looked like a bust of another nexus of drug traffickers and money launderers, with mainly small-time operatives paying the price for their crimes.

    One of the men was Julio Chaparro, a 48-year-old father of four who owned three factories that made children's clothing in Colombia.

    But to U.S. authorities the case was anything but ordinary.

    New York county denies request for names of gun permit holders
    By Noreen O'Donnell
    NEW YORK | Tue Jan 1, 2013 10:36pm EST

    (Reuters) - Authorities in a suburban county north of New York City said on Tuesday they would refuse to release names of local gun permit holders to a newspaper that has been publishing the identities of thousands of license-holding residents.

    Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant said he would defy a request for information about pistol permit holders from the White Plains, New York-based Journal News, which has come under criticism for publishing thousands of such identities already.

    "There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong and the Journal News is clearly wrong," Sant said in a statement. "I could not live with myself if one Putnam pistol permit holder was put in harm's way, for the sole purpose of selling newspapers."

    Pennsylvania governor to sue NCAA over Penn State sanctions
    By Dave Warner
    PHILADELPHIA | Tue Jan 1, 2013 7:38pm EST

    (Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said on Tuesday he will file a federal lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions it levied against Pennsylvania State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

    Corbett is scheduled to hold a news conference early on Wednesday at the Nittany Lion Inn on the Penn State campus to reveal the details of the lawsuit against the governing body of U.S. collegiate sports, his office said.

    In July, the NCAA fined Penn State University $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons in an unprecedented rebuke for the school's failure to stop assistant coach Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.

    Business

    Asia stocks at five-month high as U.S. fiscal cliff crisis ends
    By Vikram Subhedar
    HONG KONG | Wed Jan 2, 2013 12:57am EST

    (Reuters) - Asian stocks hit a five-month high and the dollar fell as a last-minute deal ended the U.S. "fiscal cliff" crisis that threatened a U.S. recession and roiled world financial markets.
    ...
    The temporary reprieve that the deal offers the U.S. economy also sets up Wall Street for a strong start to trading which resumes later in the day.

    Asian stock markets cheered the developments as a major risk for investors, namely a slump in global growth, appeared to have receded for now.

    Analysis: U.S. arms sales to Asia set to boom on Pacific "pivot"
    By Jim Wolf
    WASHINGTON | Tue Jan 1, 2013 10:17am EST

    (Reuters) - U.S. sales of warplanes, anti-missile systems and other costly weapons to China's and North Korea's neighbors appear set for significant growth amid regional security jitters.

    Strengthening treaty allies and other security partners is central to the White House's "pivot" toward a Pacific region jolted by maritime territorial disputes in China's case, and missile and nuclear programs, in North Korea's.

    The pivot "will result in growing opportunities for our industry to help equip our friends," said Fred Downey, vice president for national security at the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that includes top U.S. arms makers.

    Demand for big-ticket U.S. weapons is expected to stay strong for at least the next few years, the trade group said in a 2012 year-end review and forecast released in December.

    Best Buy loses two board directors
    By Greg Roumeliotis
    Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:32pm EST

    (Reuters) - Best Buy Co Inc said on Monday that two of its board directors had resigned, including one of its former chief executives, almost seven months after its founder, who is now mounting a bid for the struggling retailer, left the board.

    The departures will leave Best Buy with four vacancies on its 11-member board.

    The company's fortunes have faltered as consumers increasingly use its big box stores as showrooms for products they end up buying online at Amazon.com Inc and other websites.

    On the Lighter Side

    NHL, players return to talks but deal remains elusive
    Tue Jan 1, 2013 11:32pm EST

    (Reuters) - The National Hockey League (NHL) and locked out players returned to the negotiating table on Tuesday but failed to produce a new labor deal with the deadline to salvage a shortened season fast approaching.

    NHL officials, who spent New Year's Eve poring over the NHL Players Association's (NHLPA) counter proposal, were still digesting the offer on Tuesday, pushing back the start of a full bargaining session until 9 pm EST.

    When the two sides did finally come together the meeting lasted less than an hour, wrapping up shortly after the league presented the union with a response to their previous proposal.

    NFL: Playoffs offer clash of generations
    By Steve Keating
    Tue Jan 1, 2013 5:12pm EST

    (Reuters) - With Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson set to make playoff debuts, the year of the rookie continues in the National Football League (NFL).

    But defense and experience win championships and few know the road to the Super Bowl better than longtime quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

    The wild-card weekend kicks off on Saturday with the Cincinnati Bengals visiting the Houston Texans, followed by NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings renewing hostilities on Lambeau Field's famous frozen tundra.


    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:45:38 PM PST

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