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Bill Nye explains evolution using emoji

Consumers raking in $125 billion windfall from cheap gas

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) —Tumbling gas prices will translate to a “consumer windfall” of up to $125 billion, expanding economic growth, according to new analysis from Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research.

The drop for gas prices can be considered a “middle class tax cut,” as these households devote a greater share of their total spending to gasoline than other families, according to Goldman. Still, American families across the income spectrum should see fatter wallets.

“Households at all income levels devote a sizable share of their budget to gasoline each year,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote.

Cheap energy’s boost to consumer spending, which is the backbone of the U.S. economy, may last for some time. Goldman Sachs estimated that more consumer spending could lift real gross domestic growth by up to half of a percentage point in 2015.

Scott Walker, lost in translation

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), the son of a Baptist preacher, frequently talks about his Christian faith. But his familiarity with other religions, especially in a state in which minority faiths represent a tiny percentage of the population, appears to be rather limited.

In an undated letter unearthed by the liberal group One Wisconsin Now during the August release of documents from the first of two John Doe investigations related to the governor, Walker responded to a letter from Milwaukee attorney and chairman of the Wisconsin Center District Franklyn Gimbel.

Walker told Gimbel his office would be happy to display a menorah celebrating “The Eight Days of Chanukah” at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, and asked Gimbel to have a representative from Lubavitch of Wisconsin contact Walker’s secretary, Dorothy Moore, to set it up.

The letter is signed, “Thank you again and Molotov.”

In all likelihood, Walker intended to write, “Mazel tov,” which is a Jewish phrase used to congratulate someone or wish them well.

“Molotov,” on the other hand, is a word more commonly associated with “a variety of bottle-based improvised incendiary weapons.”

The President Might Have Just Saved the Internet

The short summary for anyone who has been following the debate over Net Neutrality: THIS IS HUGE.

The president's statement is worth quoting at length:
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

'Net Neutrality' has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation -- but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today I am asking the Federal Communications Commission to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect Net Neutrality.

To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information -- whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act -- while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone -- not just one or two companies.

Meet the Secret Service Dogs Who Took Down White House Fence Jumper

The Secret Service dogs that tussled with a White House fence jumper, including one dog that was violently kicked by the suspect, are recovering today, officials said.

The canines, named Hurricane and Jordan, were taken to a veterinarian after the attack and treated for minor bruising. Both were cleared to return to duty.

Hurricane, a black Belgian Malinois, is 6 years old and "enjoys playing with his Kong toy," the Secret Service said on Twitter today.

Jordan is black and tan and also a Belgian Malinois. The 5-year-old "enjoys walks around the White House," the service said.

Epidemic kills 30,000 Americans

Palin and family involved in brawl

Police are investigating a brawl that took place in South Anchorage over the weekend involving around 20 people. A witness said it happened during a joint birthday party thrown in part for Todd Palin.
Coyne cites anonymous sources who described a shirtless Track Palin, Bristol Palin throwing punches and former Gov. Sarah Palin screaming during the melee.

Neighbor Charles Fryer attended the party, which he described as a joint birthday party for four people, including Todd Palin. He said Sarah Palin was at the party.

Fryer said the party was “basically peaceable” until the fight occurred around 11 p.m. He heard commotion in front of the house and stepped outside to check it out.

He described the fight as a dog pile “just like you see in a football game.”

The Link Between Guns and Suicide

Here is a statistic that surprises many people. Most gun deaths in the country, 19,990 - more than 60%, are suicides. These tragedies rarely make the news, get candlelight vigils, or prompt statements from our political leaders. There is little in the current national discourse which will impact these deaths.

If we want to dramatically reduce deaths caused by guns, we need to put as much focus on the preventing gun suicides as we do on gun homicides. And we can start at home. Three years ago, we launched our Suicide-Proof Your Home initiative based on the sobering fact that eight out of ten children and teens who kill themselves do so with a gun from a family member - usually a parent.

When our babies start to be able to move around, everyone from your pediatrician to your mother-in-law warns you it’s time to childproof. We cover sockets, put locks on cabinets, etc. You don’t think twice, it’s what all responsible parents do – better safe than sorry.

As our kids age, we think differently; they’re more responsible, smarter, can handle temptation better but access to guns is something that we can’t risk. Anyone who has parented an adolescent knows impulsivity can be an issue. One out of every four people who attempt suicide will spend just five minutes – around the same amount of time you’ll spend reading this blog – contemplating killing themselves before they make an attempt, 70% decide in less than an hour. Because suicide can often be an impulsive decision, limiting access to guns allows time for the suicidal impulse to pass or lessen in intensity.

9 year old girl said Uzi was too much for her

PHOENIX (AP) -- A 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed a shooting range instructor with an Uzi in northern Arizona had said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday.

Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over.

The girl's father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After the father fired shots, Vacca showed the girl how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance and helped her fire off a few rounds.

Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.

County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren't criminally culpable.

Christian broadcaster: Ebola could cleanse US of atheists, gay people, and sluts

A Christian radio host who enthusiastically looks for signs the world will end welcomed the Ebola virus as a cleansing force.
“This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague,” said broadcaster Rick Wiles on his “Trunews” program.

“It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming,” Wiles continued. “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.”

Wiles was enthusiastic Tuesday about the arrival of Ebola, but Right Wing Watch reported that he warned the previous day that President Barack Obama may intentionally spread the deadly virus through a mandatory and mysterious vaccine. That would somehow then allow Obama to declare martial law and force Americans into FEMA camps, the religious right broadcaster theorized.
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