AP: Unemployment Claims Drop Sharply!

From a joyous Associated Press:

Unemployment benefit applications drop sharply

December 30, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest point in nearly two and a half years, a sign that the job market is slowly improving.

Applications dropped by 34,000 to 388,000, the fewest since July 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of applications has either fallen or remained unchanged in five of the past six weeks.

Fewer than 425,000 people seeking unemployment benefits signals modest job growth. But economists say applications need to fall consistently to 375,000 or below to bring down the unemployment rate. Applications for unemployment benefits peaked during the recession at 651,000 in March 2009.

The latest report, which covers the week with the Christmas holiday, is considered by some economists to be less reliable than most.



‘Snowfalls Are Now A Thing Of The Past’

From the archives of the UK’s Independent:

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians [sic]
Monday, 20 March 2000

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days.



Selected News For The Week Dec 25 – Dec 31

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that expose the rampant distortions and biases of our media watchdogs.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please use the format described here


  • Only post ‘hard news’ from establishment media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials and ‘thought pieces’ unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Eschew major news items that most people will likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread should be posted as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.

Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.



Merry Christmas To All Our S&L Family!

From the editors:

Santa Claus Larry Durian is screened by TSA agents before entering a secure area of the Akron Canton Airport Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 in Green, Ohio.

Merry Christmas To All!

Thank you for reading this site. And thank you for your comments, news tips and very generous donations.

You really make Sweetness & Light what it is.

Best wishes to all, and have the happiest of holidays!



Santa Clauses Around The World – Photos

Some Santas a work and play, via the wire services:

A man dressed as Santa Claus walks through the Press Briefing room at the White House in Washington, December 1, 2010.

A diver dressed as Santa Claus gestures to visitors as part of upcoming Christmas celebrations at Aquaria KLCC underwater park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.

A man dressed as Santa Claus and a child touch an Evenki reindeer at the Christmas food fair in central Krasnoyarsk, December 18, 2010.

A bungee jumper dressed as Santa Claus leaps from a platform above a beach in in Kuta, Bali.

A worker dressed as Santa Claus pumps fuel into a car at a gasoline station in Indonesia city of Tangerang, ahead of Christmas December 23, 2010.


1 Comment »

Haitians Lynch 45 People ‘Over Cholera’

From an unfazed Agence France-Presse:

45 people lynched amid Haiti cholera fears: officials

December 22, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Angry Haitian mobs have lynched at least 45 people in recent weeks, accusing them of spreading a cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,500 people across the country, officials said Wednesday.

We thought lynching was racist?

The number included at least 14 suspected sorcerers previously known to have been lynched in the far southwestern region of Grand’Anse as local people feared they were spreading cholera with a magical substance. The area has been largely spared by the outbreak.

"We have counted 40 people dead in Grand’Anse department alone, where people are attacking natural healers they accuse of cholera-linked witchcraft," said communications ministry official Moise Fritz Evens.



Obama Hails A New ‘Season Of Progress’

From the never relenting burnishers of his image at the Associated Press:

Obama hails bipartisanship after arms pact passes

By Ben Feller, AP White House Correspondent
December 22, 2010

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama celebrated a bipartisan "season of progress" on Wednesday at a year-end news conference marking an up-and-down second year in office that blended a thrashing at the polls, slow progress on the economy and late victories in Congress

What a glorious thing. And now the Republicans will get the blame when this fails – as it will.

Obama opened the news conference with a reference to the nuclear arms control treaty with Russia that the Senate ratified earlier in the day on a bipartisan vote. In addition to cutting nuclear weapons and launchers, he said the pact will allow U.S.



Shocker: Nancy Pelosi Feels No Regrets

Ms. Pelosi channels her inner Edith Piaf, via the Politico:

Nancy Pelosi: No regrets

By: David Rogers
December 21, 201

Every minute is a new minute to me,” says Nancy Pelosi, and, with boxes packed in the hall outside, the soon-to-be-former speaker has already jumped ahead to her vision of the “humming, whirling entity” House Democrats can still be in the coming Congress.

This seems to be true. Ms. Pelosi does not seem to have any short term memory. Perhaps it was destroyed by all the Botox injections.

“I’m obviously devastated by the loss we had,” she will admit, but expect no tears, no retreat on health care reform. Pelosi mourns the Democratic talent lost but not her gavel

“I’m a professional” was a recurring theme in her half-hour interview with POLITICO.



Harvard Puts Lie To Kagan’s DADT Claims

From CNN:

Harvard, Yale open up to ROTC plans after ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ vote

December 21, 2010

(CNN) — The presidents of Harvard and Yale universities have expressed interest in ROTC programs after Congress voted to repeal the military’s controversial "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy that has banned openly gay and lesbian service members.

The universities’ statements come five months after Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, then a Supreme Court nominee, came under criticism by Republican senators who complained that she actively tried to block military recruiters from Harvard Law School when she was dean because of the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

Kagan and the White House have strongly defended her actions, saying that while she opposed the military’s policy, Kagan never kept recruiters off the university.



NYT: Politicians Lag Public On Gay Rights

From the militant homosexuals of the New York Times:

After Fall of ‘Don’t Ask,’ Pushing for ‘I Do’

December 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — … [W]hile public opinion has changed in favor of gay rights over the past two decades, those attitudes are often not reflected in public policy, because the views of lawmakers, polls suggest, lag behind the public, and not just among social conservatives who have long opposed elements of the gay rights agenda on moral grounds.

Polls show the public is broadly supportive of equal rights for gay men and lesbians on several issues — with the exception of the right to marry. The vast majority of Americans, nearly 90 percent, favor equality of opportunity in the workplace.



‘Lame Duck’ Congress 2006 [Flashback]

An opportunity to compare and contrast, via the archives of the Washington Post:

Lame-Duck Congress May Run Out the Clock

GOP Leaders Plan Quiet 1-Week Session

By Jonathan Weisman
Sunday, December 3, 2006

Congress will convene on Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of legislative activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work. They have even decided to punt decisions on annual government spending measures to the Democrats next year.

"There is a lot of battle fatigue among members, probably on both sides of the aisle," said Rep.


1 Comment »

Shocker: Assange Turns Against Everyone

From Australia’s News.Com:

WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange turns on everyone

December 21, 2010

JULIAN Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, today launched a wide ranging series of attacks on both his enemies and allies as he defended his public and private conduct.

In his first UK newspaper interview since releasing hundreds of secret diplomatic cables last month, Mr Assange told The Times he predicts the US will face reprisals if it attempts to extradite him on conspiracy charges.

Which sounds remarkably like a threat. In fact, it is not unlike what every day run of the mill terrorists say.

He accused his media partners at The Guardian newspaper, which worked with him to make the embarrassing leaks public, of unfairly tarnishing him by revealing damaging details of the sex assault allegations he faces in Sweden.



Obama Is Poised To Control The Internet

From a crowing New York Times:

F.C.C. Poised to Pass Net Neutrality Order

December 20, 2010

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission appears to have the votes he needs to pass new rules for net neutrality.

Net neutrality — which broadly speaking is an effort to ensure open access to Web sites and online services — is on the agenda of an F.C.C. meeting Tuesday in Washington.

The F.C.C.’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, outlined a framework for net neutrality earlier this month, touching off a debate about the role of the government in regulating Internet access.

Mr. Genachowski outlined this framework at the Huffington Post, which should tell you all you need to know about him.

As it stands now, the order would prohibit the blocking of any Web sites, applications or devices by fixed-line broadband Internet providers like Comcast and EarthLink, essentially forbidding the providers from picking winners and losers on behalf of consumers, F.C.C.



Chavez Defends Plan For Internet Control

From his love-struck fans at the Associated Press:

Chavez defends plan for Internet regulations

Sunday, December 19, 2010

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defended plans for a law that would impose broadcast-type regulations on the Internet, saying Sunday that his government should protect citizens against online crimes.

Chavez’s congressional allies are considering extending the "Social Responsibility Law" for broadcast media to the Internet, banning messages that "disrespect public authorities," "incite or promote hatred" or crimes, or are aimed at creating "anxiety" in the population.

In other words, he wants to stop all those dangerous trouble-makers who disagree with him. Luckily, we don’t have anyone in our country who would consider such a thing.

Government opponents and press freedom groups have been critical of the plan, saying it is one of several measures being considered that could restrict freedoms in Venezuela.



Dems Insist On Ramming Through START

From a cheering Associated Press:

Senate Dems push ahead on arms control treaty

By Donna Cassata, Associated Press
December 20, 2010

WASHINGTON – A top Democrat predicted Monday that the Senate will approve a new arms control treaty with Russia, but conceded that it will take "house by house combat" to collect enough votes from recalcitrant Republicans to prevail.

Which begs the question, exactly whose side are the Democrats on?

The comments by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., came a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would oppose the accord, complicating President Barack Obama’s prospects for achieving his top foreign policy priority.

This is such a top priority nothing was done about it in the months since it was ratified back in April up until the very last minutes of a lame duck Congress.



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