Friday, December 03, 2010

Cartoon Characters On Facebook

Cartoon Characters On Facebook - Popular characters from the animated world are invading Facebook.

Like the last celebrity doppelganger craze, members of the massive social networking site are replacing their profile pictures with images from their favorite childhood cartoons.

"Change your profile picture to your favorite cartoon from when you were a kid," it says on the note that is being passed around between friends. "The goal of this game is not to see a human picture on Facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories until Monday. PLAY AND PASS ALONG!"

Based on trending Google searches on Friday, the new practice is picking up ground. Popular search terms include "cartoon characters from the 80s," "Rainbow Brite," "Smurfs," "Ren and Stimpy," "Rugrats, " and "Doug."

According to the note, the new Facebook meme has a charitable purpose.

"From now until December 7, change your profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood. The objective of this is not to see any human faces on Facebook but an invasion of memories for the fight against Violence to Children. Remember we were kids too."

Cartoon Characters On Facebook

Firebreather Animated Movie

Firebreather Animated Movie - For nearly three decades, Peter Chung has been a name in 2D animation, with such titles as “C.O.P.S.” and MTV’s “Aeon Flux” series. Now, he’s joining the 3D ranks, directing Cartoon Network’s first CGI movie, “Firebreather,” which premieres Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/PT. “Firebreather,” based on the comic book series by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn, is the story of a teenager named Duncan whose mother is human and whose father is Belloc, a 120-foot fire-breathing monster king. Hero Complex writer Noelene Clark caught up with Chung for Five Questions.

PC: It’s funny, because it’s where I started. A lot of people know me for my work on “Aeon Flux” and think of my work as being targeted for adults, but I started doing stuff for a younger audience. So for me, it’s not strange for me to be doing something like this at all. In this specific instance, I would say, it’s very satisfying now to sit with an audience and watch the movie and just have them respond very spontaneously and emotionally. And thinking a lot about how to do that, because for a long time, I was really trying to engage the audience on a cerebral level with “Aeon Flux” and with “The Animatrix” and some of the other things like “Tomb Raider,” and be a little more ironic or a little bit more self-referential, whereas this, I think, is just more of a classically told story. … [In "Aeon Flux"] I’d self-imposed all of these restrictions: no family, no personal ties, all the stuff which, to me, makes telling an emotional story a whole lot easier. I didn’t want those easy methods in the case of “Aeon Flux.” In the case of “Firebreather,” I mean the story, [relationships are] so intrinsic to the character, that it was kind of liberating to be able to make use of all of that. … When I was doing “Aeon Flux,” it was like I had this huge handicap that I’d imposed on myself. It’s like you’re training, and you’re running races with a pack of weights on your back, then suddenly you’re able to take them off, and you can run wild, and that’s a little what it felt like working on “Firebreather.”

Firebreather Animated Movie

Phil Jasner Dies Age 68

Phil Jasner Dies Age 68 - Phil Jasner, the premier chronicler of that community, as well as one of its most cherished members, died Friday at age 68.

A Daily News staff reporter since 1972 and the paper's 76ers beat writer since 1981, Jasner distinguished himself by his generosity and his even-handedness and his persistence most of all. He was an old-fashioned reporter who grew to be the most important basketball voice in a basketball city, known for both his fairness and his decency.

"I could tell at the age of 5," said his son, Andy. "He took me to a game with him and people started coming up to him to talk - security guards, everyone. It would go on for years like that, at the old Spectrum, whether it was an usher or Joe Fan in the third row. He was approachable that way. People liked him, and he treated everyone the same. He had time for everybody."

The 12th man on the bench got the same attention to detail and the same courtesy from Phil as the star of the team. It is one of the lessons Andy, also a sports writer, learned from his father. The two of them covered an NBA All-Star Game together for the first time in 1992 in Orlando.

"He was like a kid in a candy store that weekend," Andy said. "He never lost his enthusiasm for the work. I'm convinced he would have done it forever. He loved it.

"So many people in the business are so cynical. 'Sports writer' and 'cynical' go hand-in-hand sometimes, but he never was. In fact, he hated that. It made him crazy when people were like that."

His personal life was both painful and joyous. He supported his wife Susie, who died in 2006, through a decades-long battle with lupus. But late in his life, before his cancer diagnosis, he met Marcia Levinson, whom he grew to love and described as his life partner. Throughout, though, there was Andy and later, Andy's family: wife Taryn and granddaughters Jordana and Shira.

Phil Jasner Dies Age 68

Twilight Eclipse On DVD

Twilight Eclipse On DVD - Edward, Bella and Jacob are back and coming directly into your home.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse hits stores on Blu-ray and DVD Friday night (12/3) at midnight and that makes us think of three words: Twilight Eclipse Party.

There will be midnight DVD screening parties happening all over the country with rabid fans just like you. You want in, right? Good.

Use this ZIP CODE FINDER to find a midnight DVD release party near you! Tweet any cool events you find @Twilight, and tag them with #EclipseDVDParty

Check with the store to pre-order the DVD or find out what time they're handing out bracelets for buying the DVD. Then get your guest list and party preparations under way. Make your guest list, and keep track of who's Team Edward and who's Team Jacob. Dress up like a character or wear all your Eclipse gear. It's your party, your way.

While your at it, make it a double or triple feature with other Twilight films or some other great vampire and werewolf movies like The Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, Wolfman, and Underworld.

Twilight Eclipse On DVD

China High Speed Rail

China High Speed Rail - In five years, China built the world’s largest high-speed rail system. They now have 4,000 miles of line between all their crowded cities, and it still isn’t enough to put a dent in traffic…because most people can’t afford the tickets.

Megan McArdle writing for the Atlantic argues that politicians, geography, and democracy stand in the way of any meaningful high-speed rail system in the United States. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

For one, the longest distance between the ten most populous cities in China isn’t much longer than a trip from Washington D.C. to Chicago. Our biggest cities are just a lot farther apart, crossing many more states and through a lot more backyards. McArdle argues that lawsuits, politicians, and the Not-In-My-Back-Yard gang would impede progress of a useful high-speed network. She’s probably right. My home state of Connecticut has been battling about a proposed high-speed bus between Hartford and New Britain for years despite the obvious need for an alternative to the constantly-congested I-84.

China High Speed Rail

Looney Tunes Cartoon Characters

Looney Tunes Cartoon Characters - Large numbers of Facebook users, especially children replace their profile photos with the images of old cartoon characters. The trend seems to have gone viral as a step to prevent child abuse, through hiding real photos and thus the identity.

Many a Facebook members are resetting their profiles now. As per statuses message of Facebook members, it looks that they switch from real photos to cartoon images primarily to save themselves from child abuse and to recall their old cartoon memories.

Interestingly most of Facebook users place images and graphics of old cartoon characters instead of their photos. It shows that Facebook users largely pick their profile images up from the characters of old cartoon series like Doug, Recess, Rugrats, Animaniacs, Ren and Stimpy, Aaahh!, Real Monsters, Angry Beavers, Rocko’s Modern Life and Strawberry Shortcake.

A user suggests his friends to change their profile images on his Facebook status until December 7. “From now until December 7, change your profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood. The objective of this is not to see any human faces on Facebook but an invasion of memories for the fight against Violence to Children. Remember we were kids too: D,” said a Facebook enthusiast.

Looney Tunes Cartoon Characters

Iliza Shlesinger Comedian

Iliza Shlesinger Comedian - The sexy yet also hilarious comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

Iliza Shlesinger is an American comedian from Dallas, Texas who is born February 22nd, 1983. She was one of the most popular members of the “Whiteboy Comedy” group of stand-up comedians in Los Angeles which then brought her career to the stage at the Improv in Hollywood.

Iliza Shlesinger is also the first female to win Last Comic Standing and was selected twice by other comedians to compete in the head-to-head eliminations which she won it both times. She is also the host of The Weakly News on TheStream.tv.

Well, it seems that her life is just getting better and better isn’t it?

When you gaze your eyes upon her, you will be amazed that she is definitely not as innocent as you thought she might be. In fact, she will definitely make you laugh.

Just don’t you dare for a second to underestimate this one hot chick capability because she is one sexy and slightly neurotic funny girl, she is Iliza Shlesinger.

Iliza Shlesinger Comedian

Unemployment Benefits Expire For Thousands

Unemployment Benefits Expire For Thousands - Idaho's unemployment rate took a relatively large jump, rising three-tenths of a percentage point in November.

The unemployment rate is now 9.4 percent. It's just a tenth below the recession high of 9.5 percent in February. Nationally, unemployment rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.8 percent, the highest rate since the year began.

The increase in Idaho's jobless rate comes just as many unemployed workers are seeing their benefits expire.

On Sunday, extended unemployment benefits will end for 1,200 jobless Idahoans, and 14,000 more will see their benefits end in the next few weeks. It's all because of the expiration of federal laws financing the extended benefit program. People who have been relying on that money, will have to find another way to get by.

The Extended Benefit Program began in spring of 2008, providing as many as 73 additional weeks of benefits on top of the 10 to 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits.

But all that is ending this week. Ending for families like Cris Odom's.

"It's a joyful time, and how can you be joyful when you know that there's no income," said Odom, whose husband is unemployed. "We're going to have to readjust, sit down and reevaluate what our priorities are."

Her husband used to be a construction worker, but has been unemployed and looking for a new job for 99 weeks.

"Ninety-nine weeks... it sounds like it's an eternity," said Odom. "But you cut back on small things. You don't get to run to the store when you run out of something, you have to make due without."

Unemployment Benefits Expire For Thousands

Bernie Sanders vs The Federal Reserve

Bernie Sanders vs The Federal Reserve - So now we know, thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders, some of the sordid details of the Federal Reserve Board’s “come and get it” policy. The Fed opened its vaults—our vaults—to the tune of $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term low-interest loans to some of the world’s biggest banks. These included giant foreign banks, as well as Citigroup and Bank of America and other large domestic financial institutions.

Morgan Stanley got nearly $2 trillion. Citigroup got $1.8 trillion. Goldman Sachs got $600 billion.

Not only that, the Fed threw money at some of the biggest corporations in the land, including Caterpillar, General Electric, McDonald’s and Verizon.

These were loans with no interest, or almost no interest, at a time when American consumers and small businesses couldn’t find loans to save their lives.

Sen. Sanders wrote the law that required the Fed, against its wishes, to disclose who got all this money.

Sanders said the revelations are “astounding,” and he’s right.

He said, “The Fed failed to require loan recipients to invest in rebuilding our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans,” and he’s right again.

Even though the U.S. banks that got the easy loans held most of the country’s mortgages and credit cards, the Fed never insisted that they reduce the principal on their mortgages or the interest rates on the credit cards.

Bernie Sanders vs The Federal Reserve

Real Estate Investors Defend Themselves

Real Estate Investors Defend Themselves - They have surpassed lawyers and repo-men as the most vilified professionals on the planet.

Thanks to the unprecedented real estate crash, "investors" are now the bad guys. During the housing boom, they canoodled with lenders to lever themselves to the hilt, and consequently fueled home prices to levels so unsustainable that the market came crashing down.

Never does the President, the Treasury secretary, or the HUD secretary announce a new element to the Administration's multi-billion dollar housing bailout, without making clear that investors need not apply.

Get over it. That's all I, and plenty of qualified real estate investors, have to say. That was then; this is now, and real estate investors may be our only ticket out of the housing crisis.

"If you want to stabilize the housing market, you have to encourage investors," says hedge fund manager Aaron Edelheit. "The quicker you can end the foreclosures and the short sales, the quicker you're going to have a turnaround in the economy and the housing market."

Edelheit has invested over $10 million in foreclosed homes. He's not looking to flip them for a profit; he's in this for the long-term gain. He doesn't buy up bulk condos, as many institutional investors are now doing, and which he admits is much easier. He buys single family homes with the sole intention of renting them out to families. No, he's not a do-gooder. He's making around an 8 percent profit after expenses.

Think of it this way. At the height of the housing boom, the home ownership rate was at 69 percent. It's now down to 66.9 percent and dropping. Historically it's around 62-64 percent.

Real Estate Investors Defend Themselves

Walter Energy To Buy Western Coal

Walter Energy To Buy Western Coal - Walter Energy Inc., a southern Appalachia producer of steelmaking coal, is the “best match” for Canada’s Western Coal Corp., according to Julian Treger, managing partner of Audley Capital Advisors LLP. Treger spoke in a phone interview from London.

“There were several interested parties; some were coal, some were steel producers. They were very close and very keen to make a bid. They didn’t publicly make a competitive bid. Walter is the best match because there were a lot of synergies, geographically in terms of customers and management.

“It’s likely the other shareholders will follow in accepting Walter’s offer in due course. In the absence of another alternative, I don’t see why they wouldn’t approve.

“It will be very accretive to Walter earnings and its shares will reflect that. And Western shareholders can capture benefits by owning Walter shares. I expect every Western shareholder, including us, will opt for the Walter shares because the shares will be worth about C$12, more than the cash offer of C$11.50. But Walter offers only about 30 percent of the transaction as shares and the rest as cash, so we’ll likely end up with no more than 30 percent of our share.”

“The timetable for the whole deal to be completed is about three months.”

Walter Energy To Buy Western Coal

Many Injured In Vermont Bus Crash

Many Injured In Vermont Bus Crash - A tour bus full of university students went out of control and rolled over on a Vermont highway Friday, injuring at least 30 passengers, officials said.

Three people were listed in critical condition, said state police spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro.

The bus was one of three bringing college students from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to Quebec City in Canada for a ski trip, according to Tour World Inc. spokeswoman Liz Brown.

"At this point, we are gathering information about this event," university spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those people who were injured in the crash."

Emergency workers treated victims at the scene, transporting passengers to at least two hospitals, said Brattleboro Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Barbara Gentry.

The bus was traveling on Interstate 91 near Brattleboro in southern Vermont when it crashed, closing the highway's southbound lanes, police said.

Eight students with minor injuries were treated and released, Gentry said.

Another eight passengers were treated for minor injuries at Springfield Hospital, said Janet Sherer, chief of patient care services.

Many Injured In Vermont Bus Crash

Fire In Israel Continues

Fire In Israel Continues - Israel went up in flames yesterday as a ferocious forest fire ripped through 10,000 acres of parkland, killing more than 41 people.

Desperate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to make a rare plea for foreign help when 15,000 householders had to flee the inferno.

In just 24 hours the country’s meagre firefighting crews have been overwhelmed by the rampant blaze, which killed 40 guards when their bus was torched on their way to evacuate a jail.

Two British rescue helicopters yesterday joined a 20-strong global deployment of aircraft dropping water and chemicals over Haifa, north Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said: “This is a disaster of unprecedented proportions.”

Fire In Israel Continues

Elaine Kaufman Dies Aged 81

Elaine Kaufman Dies Aged 81 - Elaine Kaufman, the brassy, legendary Upper East Side saloon-keeper whose eponymous watering hole became an eclectic meeting place for top New York authors, journalists, cops and celebrities, died today. She was 81.

The proprietress of Elaine's, who had been in failing health, died at 12:20 p.m. at Lenox Hill Hospital, said Cindy Carway, a spokeswoman for the Second Avenue restaurant.

“Elaine was a New York institution," said Mayor Bloomberg.

Kaufman died from complications stemming from emphysema.

"Writers have never come to my place to talk about literature," Elaine told Vanity Fair magazine last year in an article about her and her bar, which became memorialized in print and in Billy Joel's hit "Big Shot."

"They come to escape writing."

A memorial service was expected to take place sometime next year, although no date has been set.

Writer Gay Talese, a regular at the restaurant since 1964, a year after she opened it, said, "What she did that stood out was -- she stood out. She was there in italics."

He said her generosity to writers was unique.

"No sane restaurant in New York is friendly to writers because they don;t have money or if they do they don't spend it on restaurants," he said. "She cultivated writers because she was the only restaurant owner in New York who finished (reading) a book."

Dominic Chianese said long before he became famous in the cast of the HBO hit "The Sopranos," Kaufman "was like an older sister to me, someone I could confide in."

Elaine Kaufman Dies Aged 81

Feminizing Uranium

Feminizing Uranium - The term comes from Gov. Ventura’s groundbreaking TruTV investigation into the “Worldwide Water Conspiracy”. The show airs tonight FRIDAY, DEC. 3 AT 10 PM EST / 9 PM CST.

“Behind an apparent agenda to pacify and control the population, dangerous toxic substances including uranium, fluoride and lithium have been found in public water supplies, or are being proposed. Mass medication through water is a violation of human rights, as are the privatization schemes to capitalize on the globe’s ‘blue gold.’ ”

Be sure to tune in tonight to catch this exciting conspiracy theory documentary!

Feminizing Uranium

Parade Of Lights Denver 2010

Parade Of Lights Denver 2010 - The 9NEWS Parade of Lights Denver 2010 is presented by the American Furniture and Warehouse and GO Automotive Groups and will kick-off the start of the Holiday Season in downtown Denver and perhaps in all of Denver. The parade will start at the fully lighted Denver City & Country Building at 14th & Bannock Street. There are alloated seating for those who want to be there early. The parade will be done twice, the first one is being held today 8pm onwards and the next will be tomorrow, December 4 at 6pm.

Streets which will form part of the route of the Parade of Lights Denver 2010 as well as Light Rail Transit operation will be closed during the duration of the parade.

We advice private vehicle and other commuters to be advised of the following road closures provided to us by the official website of the Denver Lights Parade 2010. THe following streets will be closed from 7:30 – 10 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2010 and from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2010.

* Colfax Avenue from Speer Blvd. to Broadway
* 17th Street from Lawrence Street to Broadway
* 15th Street from Court Place to Lawrence Street
* 14th Street from Champa Street to Colfax Avenue
* 12th and 13th Streets from Welton Street to Colfax Avenue
* Arapahoe/Curtis/Champa Streets from 14th Street to 18th Street
* Stout Street from Speer Blvd. to 18th Street
* California Street from 18th Street to 14th Street
* Welton and Glenarm Streets from Colfax Avenue to 18th Street
* Tremont Place from Broadway to Colfax Avenue
* Court Place from Colfax Avenue to 15th Street
* Galapago/Fox Streets from Speer Blvd. to Colfax Avenue

Parade Of Lights Denver 2010

Hottest Chili Naga Viper

Hottest Chili Naga Viper - The hottest chili pepper on Earth is the Naga Viper, a pepper grown in a greenhouse flanked by snow and freezing weather, and beats out the likes of peppers that are grown in India and Mexico, according to Fox News.

A chili farmer from northwest England was able to cross three of the hottest varieties of pepper to create the Naga Viper, according to the report, which cited Guinness World Records.

"It's painful to eat. It numbs your tongue, then burns all the way down. It can last an hour, and you just don't want to talk to anyone or do anything. But it makes you feel great," Gerald Fowler told Fox News.

The pepper hit 1,359,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures the chili's level of capsaicin, the chemical that is responsible for the numbing, burning sensation in peppers. By comparison, the next hottest pepper—the Bhut jolokia—peaks at around 300,000 and police-grade pepper spray ranks around 5,000,000 on the scale.

Jalapenos rank between 2,500 and 3,000 on the scale.

Ironically, the new Naga Viper grows in cold weather and is "hot enough to strip paint," he told the Metro.

“Our Naga Viper has been tested as the hottest chilli in the world, although we are still in the process of ensuring that what we have will be consistently the hottest,” Fowler said on his website http://www.chileseeds.co.uk/chilli_sauces.htm. “Warwick HRI, who have an established name in the testing of chilli heat levels, say that it is the hottest chilli they have ever tested, using the World Standard dried chilli testing protocol.”

Hottest Chili Naga Viper

Military Take Control Of Spain Airports

Military Take Control Of Spain Airports - Spain's military took control of the nation's airspace Friday night after air traffic controllers staged a massive sickout that stranded hundreds of thousands of travelers on the eve of a long holiday weekend, forcing the government to shut down Madrid's big international hub and seven other airports.

About six hours after the sickout started, causing total travel chaos, Deputy Prime Minister Perez Rubalcaba announced that the Defense Ministry had "taken control of air traffic in all the national territory." He said the Army's chief of staff would make all decisions relating to the organization, planning, supervision and control of air traffic.

It was not immediately clear when airports would start operating again or whether military controllers would actually guide planes in and out of airports or oversee those controllers who did not take part in the sickout. Spanish flagship carrier Iberia SA said all of its flights in and out of Madrid were suspended until at least 11 a.m. Saturday.

The controllers abandoned their posts amid a lengthy dispute over working conditions and just hours after the administration of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero approved a package of austerity measures including a move to partially privatize airports and hand over management of Madrid and Barcelona airports to the private sector.

Military Take Control Of Spain Airports

Massey Energy CEO To Retire

Massey Energy CEO To Retire - Don Blankenship, head of Massey Energy (MEE.N) and one of the most powerful U.S. coal industry leaders, said on Friday he would retire at the end of December, eight months after 29 miners died at one of Massey's mines.

"After almost three decades at Massey it is time for me to move on," Blankenship said at the end of a week in which Massey shut down a Kentucky mine for safety violations and a judge ruled that Blankenship must face two lawsuits holding him personally responsible for the blast at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia,

Massey, based in Richmond, Virginia, has been under increasing scrutiny by federal mine safety regulators since the April 5 explosion, the deadliest U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years.

The company's financial results have suffered since April, and Massey has said it was weighing strategic options, sparking market speculation that one of its peers may look to buy it.

Blankenship, an outspoken advocate for coal, has attracted the ire of environmentalists for Massey's surface, or mountain-top, mining in Appalachia, Virginia, which they blame for water pollution.

He has also been criticized by trade unions because of Massey's use of nonunion labor.

Massey Energy CEO To Retire

Oil Prices Continue To Rise

Oil Prices Continue To Rise - An unexpected increase in the unemployment rate wasn't enough to stall oil's rally Friday as prices edged higher for a third day.

Many traders appeared to view the discouraging jobless report as a possible blip after two days in which stronger economic data from the United States and China created hope that the global economy was improving.

Benchmark oil for January delivery added 18 cents to $88.18 a barrel in early trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Many analysts expect the price to top $90 a barrel before the end of the year.

Oil's increase already has appeared at the pump, where prices are approaching the high for the year. The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $2.90 on Friday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's 3.7 cents higher than a week ago and nearly 27 cents more than a year ago.

The year's high of $2.92 a gallon occurred in early May. Analysts expect the price to continue to climb over the next week, perhaps coming close to $3 a gallon. Motorists along the West Coast, in Hawaii and parts of the Northeast already are paying from $3.014 a gallon to $3.517 a gallon. The lowest prices are in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and much of the Midwest.

The Labor Department said Friday that the nation's unemployment rate climbed to seven-month high of 9.8 percent in November, as hiring slowed. Employers added a net total of only 39,000 jobs last month as retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs.

Oil Prices Continue To Rise

Korea Free trade Agreement

Korea Free trade Agreement - White House announced Friday night that the United States and South Korea have reached agreement on a comprehensive free trade pact that is a major objective of American business but could meet significant opposition from liberal Democrats in Congress.

The way was cleared for the deal after negotiators for the two nations reached a deal on cars, the last major obstacle to completing the agreement and sending it to Congress next year.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama said the “landmark” deal is expected to increase annual exports of American goods by up to $11 billion and support at least 70,000 American jobs. He said he looks forward to “working with Congress and leaders in both parties to get this done.”

On a day when it was announced that the unemployment rate unexpectedly shot up from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent in November, Obama said the Korea agreement "is an integral part of my Administration’s efforts to open foreign markets to U.S. goods and services, create jobs for American workers, farmers and businesses, and achieve our goal of doubling of U.S. exports over five years."

Obama promised in June to improve on a 2007 trade pact with South Korea negotiated by the Bush administration, and he appears to have delivered for U.S. auto makers seeking protection from competition with Korean companies such as Hyundai, according to Washington representative for a U.S. car manufacturer.

Korea Free trade Agreement

Continuing Resolution Approved

Continuing Resolution Approved - Congress decided to keep the government open for business.

On Thursday, the day before a temporary federal budget was set to expire, the Senate passed another Band-Aid measure that will fund federal operations for another 15 days.

The House approved the so-called continuing resolution by a vote of 239 to 178 on Wednesday.

The measure moved to President Obama, who was expected to sign it.

The extension is the latest in a series of continuing resolutions approved by lawmakers after Congress failed to pass a new budget at the start of the fiscal year.

Without a formal budget, Congress typically ends up passing continuing resolutions for a month or two at a time. That essentially prevents Washington from shutting down, while lawmakers work on finalizing the new budget.

The fallout of not passing a continuing resolution would be no small matter, and would likely lead to furloughs of federal employees and sharply reduced governmental activities, which could have an impact on the larger economy.

The measure was able to pass the Senate without too much trouble, garnering rare support from both sides of the aisle.

Continuing Resolution Approved

Forever Lazy The New Snuggie

Forever Lazy The New Snuggie - I have a very fear real that, when we're all long gone, archeologists will unearth a treasure trove of informercials and use them as the basis with which they reconstruct our culture. What if one day all of our great works of art and literature are gone and all that remains are long, eerily cheery ads for products like the Snuggie?

On lazy days when it's chilly, turning up the heat costs money, and wrestling with blankets is silly. This one's too big, that one's too small, and a blanket can't cover it all?

Is this the poetry of the 21st century poetry?

It's the opening line to a two minute ad for a new product called "Forever Lazy." Consider it something of a Snuggie alternative. It's an adult onsie. It was created by two Wisconsin dudes in their mid-20s attempting to nab a little piece of that sweet, sweet "As Seen on TV" cash.

It's the self-proclaimed "one piece, lie around, lounge around, full body lazy wear."

You can pick one up now from the Order Forever Lazy site for the low, low price of $19.95 (plus $9.95 postage and handling). Act now and they'll throw in a neck pillow and matching footies.

Remember, only 22 shopping days 'til Christmas. Snuggie-like ad after the jump.

Forever Lazy The New Snuggie

Wilson Phillips

Wilson Phillips - Wilson Phillips burst upon the music scene in 1990 with their self-titled debut album. Not only did it reach number two on the United States album charts, it also produced five top twelve singles, three of which reached number one.

They certainly had the right pedigree for stardom. Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of Brian Wilson and Chyna is the daughter of Michelle and John Phillips.

Wilson Phillips has split and reunited a couple of times and have not been prolific in the studio. Their latest release is only their fourth studio album as a trio in the last twenty years.

Wendy and Carnie Wilson released their own holiday album in 1993. Now the three members of Wilson Phillips have entered the studio together and produced a new Christmas album.

Christmas In Harmony is a Christmas release that works. They combine several original compositions, with a group of lighter secular tunes, and a few traditional hymns to create a nice mix. Their famous harmonies are still present to provide the foundation for their music. They wisely brought back producer Glen Ballad, who had worked with them during their most popular period.

“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”and “Sleigh Ride” are reminiscent of the best of the sixties girls groups. They even manage to pull off the over recorded “Little Drummer Boy” and “Silent Night.”

Wilson Phillips

Aretha Franklin Surgery

Aretha Franklin Surgery - Aretha Franklin has said that her recent surgery has been a success.

The legendary singer underwent the operation in Detroit on Thursday but the reason for the surgery has not been made public.

However, according to People magazine, the 68-year-old released a statement praising the doctors
.

She said, 'The surgery was highly successful. God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country. God bless you all for your prayers.'

It was announced last month that the star has cancelled all performances until May 2011.

Aretha Franklin Surgery

X 37b Mini Shuttle

X 37b Mini Shuttle - The X-37B mini space shuttle made a stealth landing during the early morning hours, landing at Vandenberg Air Force base at 1:16 a.m. PDT (0916 GMT) today (Friday, Dec. 3.) The US Air Force’s first unmanned space plane successfully glided to a landing after nearly 225 days in space.

X-37B program manager Lt Col Troy Giese stated moments after landing, “We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission.”

The space plane’s exact mission was not divulged, and the Air Force did not immediately report anything about the performance of the spacecraft or if any issues arose.

The X-37B’s mission is to “demonstrate a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the United States Air Force,” according to a fact sheet put out by the military. “Objectives of the OTV program include space experimentation, risk reduction and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.”

X 37b Mini Shuttle

Time Warner Internet Outage

Time Warner Internet Outage - Time Warner Cable said Thursday evening that customers across much of California had been left without Internet service.

In an online chat session with The Times, a company support analyst said shortly after 7 p.m. that the outage had lasted about two hours. He said the outages were reported from Northern California to San Diego.

He said the problem appeared to be with Time Warner's central Internet connection. There was no estimate on when service would be restored, the analyst said.

The loss of Internet service sparked a wave of complaints by customers on Twitter. "My Internet has been down for 2 hours," one person said shortly after 7 p.m. "I wish I had better choices," said another person.

Time Warner Internet Outage

US Unemployment Figures December

US Unemployment Figures December - Employers added fewer jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased, underscoring the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump more money into the economy to spur growth.

Payrolls increased 39,000, less than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after a revised 172,000 increase the prior month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent, the highest since April, while hours worked and earnings stagnated.

Stocks declined and Treasury securities jumped as the report showed payrolls aren’t growing fast enough to reduce the jobless rate, one reason why Fed policy makers announced a new round of monetary stimulus. More jobs are needed to sustain the holiday-season gains in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, into the new year.

“The labor market is not turning around, and that’s key to the overall recovery,” said David Semmens, a U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. “Anyone who feels that the Fed perhaps acted too prematurely is definitely going to have to eat their words.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring this month dropped 0.7 percent to 1,214.02 at 8:50 a.m. in New York. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose, pushing down the yield to 2.93 percent from 2.99 percent late yesterday.

US Unemployment Figures December

Facebook Cartoon Profile Pic

Facebook Cartoon Profile Pic - There's an ongoing campaign in the popular social network Facebook where all Facebook users are encouraged to change their profile images with images of their favorite childhood cartoons/animes. This campaign is to support the awareness on violence against children.

The typical posts from the campaign reads: "Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, December 6, there should be no human faces on facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is for a campaign against violence on children. "

This campaign will last until December 6 as some indicated. Incidentally it's also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada; an anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre, where 14 women were murdered because of their gender.

The United Nations is also spearheading a 16-day campaign to fight violence against women and children, which started last November 25 and ends in December 10.

Facebook Cartoon Profile Pic

Ron Santo Dies Aged 70

Ron Santo Dies Aged 70 - Legendary Cubs player and broadcaster Ron Santo died Thursday night at the age of 70.

Family spokesman John McDonough confirmed to WGN in Chicago that Santo - widely regarded as one of the best players not in the Hall of Fame - died in an Arizona hospital.

WGN says the former All-Star third baseman had bladder cancer. Santo had called Cubs games on WGN since 1990.

Santo battled diabetes as a player and a broadcaster but always had a positive outlook. "What else am I going to do?" Santo told WGN this past season about working despite physical ailments. "Doing the Cubs games is like therapy for me."

Santo was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 18 and battled a myriad of medical problems after retiring as a player. He lost both legs to diabetes.

Santo, who teamed with Cubs radio voice Pat Hughes in the Wrigley Field booth, made no apologies for his homerism regarding the Cubs as their fans lived their frustrations through the former All-Star.

Ron Santo Dies Aged 70