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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Abercrombie to announce Senate appointee at 2:00 pm HST.

That's in an hour...

TMZ: 'MEET THE PRESS' Got Green Light For Magazine Demo

An official from the D.C. police told a member of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that David Gregory COULD display a high capacity magazine on "Meet the Press" Sunday ... TMZ has learned.

Well-placed law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... a staffer from "Meet the Press" called ATF before the show aired to inquire about the legality of David holding the empty magazine during a segment on gun control. We're told the ATF person contacted the D.C. police to find out if the District of Columbia -- the place where the show is broadcast -- had a law prohibiting such a display.

Our sources say the D.C. police official informed ATF David could legally show the magazine, provided it was empty. An ATF official then called the staffer from "Meet the Press" to inform them they could use the magazine.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2012/12/26/meet-the-press-david-gregory-dc-police-atf-gun-magazine/#ixzz2GCKAsUC3

On edit: D.C. Police: Illegal for David Gregory to show empty gun magazine on television

A Washington Metropolitan Police Department spokesman tells POLITICO that it was illegal for NBC's David Gregory to show an empty gun magazine on television last Sunday, even if it was empty.

The spokesman also said he could not confirm a report by TMZ, the Hollywood gossip site, alleging that a D.C. police official told a member of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives just the opposite, leading Gregory and his team at NBC's "Meet the Press" to believe he could legally show an empty magazine on television.

"I don't know where they got their information. I can't confirm what they said," Officer Paul Metcalf told POLITICO. "All I can say for now is that the matter is still under investigation."

Asked whether it would be legal to show a magazine without bullets, Metcalf replied: "It'd still be illegal."


U.S. will reach debt ceiling on Dec. 31: Geithner

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The United States will reach the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling at the end of December, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday. In a letter to Senate and House leaders, Geithner wrote that the Treasury will soon undertake accounting maneuvers to create $200 billion in "headroom" that will delay a violation. It was unclear how long this headroom would last, he said, because tax and spending policies for 2013 are still under negotiation as part of talks to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Such maneuvers would usually run for about two months, but if a deal on the fiscal cliff is not reached, the extraordinary measures could last longer, according to Geithner. "Treasury will provide more guidance regarding the expected duration of these measures when the policy outlook becomes clearer," he added. Congress must act to raise the debt limit. Republicans have said they want to use the debt-ceiling approval to win concessions on spending from the White House.


Police: NBC asked for high-capacity clip

NBC News asked D.C. police for a high-capacity ammunition clip to use as a prop on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” show, a request District authorities said Wednesday they denied.

But host David Gregory appears to have obtained one anyway — and then displayed it on national television. Now D.C. police say they’re investigating whether the District’s gun laws were violated in the incident.

“MPD has received numerous e-mails informing us of the segment,” the e-mail continued. “NBC contacted MPD inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment. NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazines is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated. Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.”

Authorities declined to say who at NBC asked for the ammunition clip, citing an ongoing investigation. A police spokesman, Officer Araz Alali, said the e-mail would stand as the department’s statement on the matter while the investigation was ongoing.

A police official said the case has been assigned to detectives in the gun unit. Investigators will first determine whether the segment was taped in the District and then whether the clip Gregory held up on air was real and contained bullets.


Federal workers feel unease over potential layoffs, furloughs unleashed by ‘fiscal cliff’

As the year-end deadline approaches, federal employees have been told very little by their bosses about how their agencies are preparing to carry out huge spending reductions.

Then came an e-mailed memo on Thursday from agency heads to employees. The cuts would be “significant and harmful to our collective mission.” Furloughs “or other personnel actions” — layoffs — remain a real possibility.

Even if there is no last-minute agreement, Jan. 2 would not be doomsday because some cuts could be put off until later in the fiscal year. Most agencies would continue spending, but with caution, eliminating travel and training programs and slowing or halting hiring. Overtime would be phased out, as would temporary help. Managers may have to decide whom to furlough and for how long.

The Budget and Control Act of 2011 gives agencies 30 days to figure out exactly how they would juggle their finances, down to specific contracts and programs that would be eliminated. Union officials say they would demand bargaining over furloughs and possible layoffs. Unions would also want to bargain over the use of contractors to ensure they’re cut before federal employees.


Police investigating David Gregory for displaying illegal gun clip on-air

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department is investigating “Meet the Press” host David Gregory for a potential violation of the District of Columbia’s gun laws, a spokesman for the department confirmed to The Hill.

While interviewing National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre on Sunday, Gregory held up what appeared to be a 30-round magazine to ask if it should be banned. The cartridge is illegal in Washington, D.C., where “Meet the Press” is filmed.


Can Robots Bring Manufacturing Jobs Back to the U.S.?


Baxter is designed to help manufacturers automate tasks inside their factories so that human workers are free to do more complicated jobs. And at a price of $22,000, Baxter is much cheaper than traditional manufacturing robots and could even be cost effective for small manufacturers. Brooks told Bloomberg Businessweek:

“We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars doing this kind of work in China. We want companies to spend that here, in a way that lets American workers be way more productive.”

Indeed, the problem of U.S. manufacturing isn’t that the manufacturing sector is hurting. It’s actually thriving. Manufacturing output – the total worth of goods manufactured in the U.S. – has increased steadily over the last several decades, except for intermittent dips during recessions. The problem with manufacturing is that it used to be a place where lower-skilled workers could go to make a decent living. Having even more work done by robots will make the global economy more efficient. More goods will be produced with less. But the fundamental problem of our age is figuring out how we distribute the gains of this efficiency in a way that everyone can get a decent piece of the pie. Baxter won’t solve that.

Income inequality is a growing problem in America and in much of the developed world, and one of the main factors promoting it is the lack of good paying jobs for lower-skilled workers. The rise and fall of both agricultural and manufacturing employment show how a modern capitalist economy, through technology, can make production more efficient, freeing up workers for more productive and sometimes more rarified tasks. Aristotle once said, “When the looms can operate themselves, all men will be free.” A heartwarming thought, but is it realistic? The truly troubling question of the coming age of robotics is how will the men who don’t own the machines provide for themselves?

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm.

The physical connection between mother and fetus is provided by the placenta, an organ, built of cells from both the mother and fetus, which serves as a conduit for the exchange of nutrients, gasses, and wastes. Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders.

It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals. As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.


NYPD Exploring Ways To Search Online For ‘Deranged’ Gunmen


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - In the wake of the Newtown massacre, the NYPD is examining ways to search the internet for potential “deranged” gunmen

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that their searches would be similar to those being used to spot terrorist chatter online.

“And what we’re talking about is publicly available websites, chatrooms, that sort of thing,” Kelly said, adding that algorithms could be used. That will enable us to use, perhaps, commonly used terms that are used by people engaged in this sort of activity,” he said.

“The techniques would include cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,” Kelly said.

Kelly said intelligence is most helpful in these cases since shooters can cause multiple deaths in seconds regardless of how deft the police response.

Peter Orszag: State Medicaid growth crowding out college

What does health care have to do with any of this? Research I’ve done with Tom Kane of Harvard and the Gates Foundation finds a surprisingly strong connection: over recent decades, as state governments have devoted a larger share of resources to rising costs of Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, they have cut support for higher education.

Governments’ general support for higher education 25 years ago was nearly 50 percent greater than state spending on Medicaid. That relationship has now flipped: Medicaid spending is about 50 percent greater than support for higher education. If higher education’s share of state budgets had remained constant instead of being crowded out by rising Medicaid costs, it would be getting some $30 billion more than it receives today, or more than $2,000 per student.

These Medicaid cost increases have closely tracked cost increases in the rest of the health care system over the past three decades. So the problem is not Medicaid per se; the fundamental problem is rising health care costs as a whole.

Our research suggests that states tend to rob education to pay for Medicaid during economic downturns. And when the economy recovers, the money for education usually doesn’t get restored. Today, as in other business cycles, states are cutting back. Georgia reduced higher education financing by 7 percent for fiscal 2011; Washington reduced spending for the University of Washington by 26 percent over this year and next. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, since 2008 at least 43 states have made cuts to financing for public colleges and universities or have increased tuition.

Tuitions have risen significantly and now account for 37 percent of total public higher education budgets, up from 25 percent in 1985. Yet this has not been enough to offset state government cutbacks. That’s because, just 30 years ago, state appropriations generally accounted for about four times the revenue of tuition — so offsetting a 20 percent reduction in state support would require raising tuition by 80 percent. This is simply not politically feasible.

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