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The U.S. Senate voted 60?39 to bring the $848 billion health-care plan, with a diminished public option, to the floor for debate, but only after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to concessions for centrist Democrats, such as providing as much as $300 million in extra Medicare funding to Senator Mary Landrieu’s state of Louisiana. No Republicans voted for the measure. A poll found that only 38 percent of Americans support the plan, an all-time low; another poll found that 52 percent of Republicans believe community organization umbrella group ACORN stole the 2008 election for President Barack Obama, with an additional 21 percent undecided.USA TodayExaminer.comTalking Points MemoThe number of home sales was up nearly 24 percent from last year’s level, with buyers spurred by a soon-expiring federal tax credit, and economists warned that hundreds of billions of dollars in commercial real estate loans were about to come due; the developments constructed with those loans, often tenantless, are known as “zombie buildings.”APThe Huffington PostA group of congressional Democrats put forth the Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010, calling for an increase in the income tax to fund the war in Afghanistan, now in its ninth year, and four men died trying to defuse a bomb left over from the Vietnam War.AP via Raw StoryAFP via GoogleDetainees in Iraq were taunting their guards about Brett Favre. “The Packers have got to really feel bad about that one,” they said. “He’s so good for the Vikings.”620 WTMJ
The Velvet Revolution turned 20,BBC Newsand Israel approved the construction of 900 more settler homes in East Jerusalem.Telegraph.co.ukChristo vowed to continue wrapping after Jeanne-Claude died.Christo and Jeanne-ClaudeBelgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, who once suggested that allowing Turkey to join the EU would dilute the continent’s Christian vigor, was named president of the European Union.SpiegelNearly half of the Turkish migrants in Germany were planning to leave.SpiegelA collection of emails from leading climatologists was stolen by hackers and released online; climate-change skeptics said the emails demonstrated that global-warming science is a fraud, while the scientists said that that’s just what science looks like.The GuardianAntarctica was now losing 190,000,000,000 tons of ice per year, and the Captain Khlebnikov, an icebreaker, was frozen in off Antarctica with 100 tourists aboard.The GuardianAP via GoogleThe world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, was unveiled in Florida; it carries 6,000 passengers, and features 24 restaurants and a tree-lined park larger than an acre.The IndependentA radiation leak at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania was under observation,CNNCERN’s Large Hadron Collider circulated a beam without incident,CERNand two fingers and a tooth of Galileo’s, stolen by admirers in 1737, were recovered and will be put on display in Italy.MSNBCThe Vatican said the recently released Twilight movie, New Moon, was a “moral vacuum with a deviant message,”National Postand conservationists on Catalina Island in California were dosing bison with contraceptives. “This means romance without responsibilities,” explained an official.The Los Angeles TimesAlbert Crewe, who captured the first image of an individual atom, died at 82.The New York Times
Utah state senator and gay marriage opponent Chris Buttars said he would support some housing rights for gays but that he did not approve of gay and lesbian activism. “I don’t want them stuffing it down my throat all the time,” he said. “Certainly not in my kid’s face.”WonketteMartin Amis promised that his new novel would anger feminists,The Guardianand the English town of Cockermouth was recovering from huge floods.The GuardianA study found that 13 million American women go online each month to watch porn.WWLP.comA Nigerian man killed his two-year-old son for being an evil wizard, and was caught carrying the child’s corpse in a woven plastic “Ghana must go” bag;AllAfrica.coma wallaby brutalized a two-year-old girl in Australia;The Daily Mailand a Detroit-area man, on learning that his 15-year-old son molested his three-year-old daughter, stripped the boy naked and took him outside; there, the boy fell to his knees, yelling “No, Daddy! No!” before his father shot him in the head.Mail on Sundayfreep.comIt was revealed that the two smiling children shown in ads for Richard Dawkins’s pro-atheist organization are the son and daughter of an evangelical Christian. “Obviously,” said their father, “they were searching for images of children that looked happy and free.”Times OnlineScientists increasingly believe that religion is an evolved behavior,The New York Timesand the FBI said that hate crimes against religious groups were on the rise.USA TodayGoogle released the source code to its new operating system, and Microsoft denied that it stole ideas from Apple to create Windows 7; it also denied that it had colluded with the National Security Agency to place a secret back door into the OS.PC MagazinePC MagazineTech RadarIBM created an artificial cortex with roughly the same processing power as a cat’s, albeit up to 1,000 times slower, and Intel was working on brain implants for 2020.The RegisterPopular ScienceA Belgian man, Rom Houben, injured in a car accident in the 1980s and thought to have been in a vegetative state ever since, was discovered via brain-scan to have been conscious, and totally paralyzed, the entire time. “I screamed,” he tapped out, “but there was nothing to hear.”Mail OnlineThe Guardian
More from Paul Ford:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Clausâ€™s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from â€śTwelve Days of Christmasâ€ť went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."