SPECIAL REPORT ON
Sunday Night's Interfaith Memorial
President Obama spoke at an interfaith memorial last night (December 16th) in Newtown, Connecticut, for the 26 people killed in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school two days earlier, 20 of whom were children six and seven years old, by 20-year-old Adam Lanza,
who also killed his mother before the rampage and then committed suicide as police closed in at the school. Ahead of the president, local clergy members representing various faiths spoke and prayed, as did First Selectman Patricia Llodra, who represents
enough to keep our children safe and action must be taken, asking, "What choice do we have?" While not saying specifically what he'd push to do, it's assumed part of that will involve taking on the highly contentious issue of gun control. The most poignant and moving part of Obama's speech, however, was at the end, when he read the first names of the children who were killed, while cries and sobs were heard in the in the auditorium at Newtown High
School, where the memorial was held. Obama himself had been visibly emotional
when speaking about the massacre on Friday, the day it happened, which Governor
Malloy said at the memorial last night Obama had told him was the most difficult day of his presidency.
The Victims and Survivors
The 26 victims killed at the school were all shot multiple times with a high-powered
Bushmaster rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16, with ammunition used that's designed to break up inside the body and inflict the maximum amount of damage. All six of the adults were women, and 12 girls and eight boys were killed. Lanza's mother was shot four times in the head, found dead in the home she shared with her son. There were many stories of what District Superintendent Janet Robinson called "incredible acts of heroism" at the school, among both staffers who survived and those who didn't. Principal Dawn Hochsprung was killed as she lunged at Lanza after he shot out a window to get into the school, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach died as she also tried to stop the killer. Teacher Victoria Soto has been hailed as a hero who died while trying to shield her students, and many stories
were told of teachers who locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as they heard the shots.
Those killed and their ages:
Recent VIDEO of victim Ana Marquez-Greene, released by her family:
As for the children who survived the shooting, it's not known when, if ever, Sandy
Hook Elementary will re-open. Still unclear is when they'll return to class, although reports are it might be later this week, but when they do, it will be in the neighboring town of
27,000. Several agencies are already on the ground and offering assistance, and
are accepting donations.
Gunman Adam Lanza
Authorities revealed on Sunday that the massacre could have been much worse than the horror it was, saying that Adam Lanza had been carrying enough ammunition in multiple,
high-capacity clips to kill scores more people. Along with the Bushmaster military-style rifle that he used to kill all his victims, the gunman also had two semi-automatic pistols, one of which he used to fatally shoot himself in the head after his 10-minute shooting spree as police began to arrive at the school. He began his rampage at the home where he lived with his mother, Nancy Lanza, by killing her, shooting her four times in the head, and then took the
weapons that she owned and drove to the school and began the massacre after
getting inside the locked building by shooting out a window.
Investigators have said they believe Lanza attended
police Lieutenant Paul Vance said, quote, "very good evidence," had been found, and the computers have been taken to computer forensic experts in hopes information can be salvaged from the hard drives.
Lanza was described as having been an intelligent, but painfully awkward, student,
who seemed to have no close friends. It was reported that he'd been diagnosed with Asperger's, which is a mild form of autism characterized by social awkwardness. However, there is no evidence of a link between the condition and violent behavior, according to experts. Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, who was divorced from Adam and his brother Ryan's mother Nancy, issued a statement on behalf of his family that said, "No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever
answers we can. We too are asking why."
killings of 77 people in
The American Psychological Association is offering some information on its website
about how to deal with your own anxiety and talk to your children about the
Advice can also be found on the PBS Parents website: http://tinyurl.com/atm5ras and that
of the National Association of School Psychologists: http://www.nasponline.org/.
IN OTHER NEWS:
DEMS CALL FOR COMMISSION, ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN: In the wake of the
at gun laws and loopholes, as well as the nation's mental health system and the
role that violent video games and movies might play in shootings. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken activist for stricter gun laws, called on President Obama to take action, saying, "It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do -- not go to Congress and say, 'What do you guys want to do?'"
Gun rights activists have largely remained silent since the massacre, with the
hosts of the NBC and CBS morning shows saying all the pro-gun senators they
invited to appear on their Sunday shows declined. The only one who did speak
out was Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of
weapons and said on Fox News Sunday that the principal at
have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him out,
takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids."
SCHOOLS ACROSS NATION INCREASING SECURITY: Schools across the country are increasing security as a result of the
increase patrols and sending messages to parents outlining safety plans that they assured them are regularly reviewed and rehearsed. Schools will also have guidance counselors available as students return to classes today (September 17th) for the first time since the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, and many will also be holding a moment of silence today will fly flags at half-staff.
MOVEMENT SEEN ON FISCAL CLIFF: There has finally been some movement in the fiscal cliff talks, with House Speaker John Boehner on Friday (December 14th) reportedly offering $1 trillion in higher tax revenue over 10 years and an increase in the top tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year to the Clinton-era rate. He's also offering a large enough raise in the debt ceiling to fund the government for one year before the issue must be revisited. All this, however, is on the condition that President Obama agree to $1 trillion in spending cuts from benefit programs like Medicare. There is a lot of work still to be done, as this won't be what the final deal will look like, but the White House and congressional aides were said to have worked through the weekend after Boehner made his proposal.
FIRST ROUND OF VOTING HELD IN
REPORTS: OBAMA TO NOMINATE KERRY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE: CNN and
nominate Senator John Kerry of
replacing Hillary Clinton, who's expected to step down soon.
could be made public as early as this week. Kerry is the chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee and was the losing 2004 Democratic presidential
candidate. His expected nomination comes after his main competition for the
job, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, withdrew her name from consideration amid ongoing opposition to her getting the position among some Republican senators. The senators, led by John McCain of Arizona, said they were concerned about her saying on the Sunday news shows just days after the Benghazi, Libya, attack on our consulate that it was believed to have started spontaneously as the result of a demonstration against
an anti-Islam video. It's now believed instead that it was the planned work of al-Qaida-affiliated militants. Rice was delivering the best assessment of the intelligence community at the time.
POLL: MORE SCIENCE DOUBTERS NOW BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING: A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that a growing number of Americans now believe global warming is real, will become a serious problem and the
percent three years earlier; 80 percent said climate change will be a problem for the U.S. if nothing is done, up from 73 percent; and 57 percent said the federal government should do a great deal or quite a bit about it, up from 52 percent. But while the numbers are up, global warming belief has fluctuated over the years, between about 70 and 85 percent, with the highest percentage believing in the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. What is different this year, however, is that a significant change was seen among people who don't trust
scientists much, but still believe climate change is happening. Within that group, 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years, up from 47 percent in 2009.
which is known for hiding visual messages in its search when certain keywords are used, has a Festivus surprise for users of its search engine. Mashable.com reports that people who do a search on "Festivus" -- the made-up holiday from TV's Seinfeld -- will see a surprise on their screen. (Psst -- it's a Festivus pole on the left-hand side of the page.) Festivus was
created by Seinfeld character George Costanza's father. It falls on December 23rd, and is celebrated with an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree, and with traditions including an "airing of grievances," and "feats of strength," which involves wrestling.
MOMENTS OF SILENCE AT NFL GAMES FOR
NFL SCORES -- WEEK 15: Here are the results of this weekend's National Football League Games (Home teams are listed in italics):
Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN:
JACK HITE DROPS OUT OF SCORING ‘THE LONE RANGER’: Jack White has dropped out of writing the score for he Lone Ranger, the Disney big-screen version of the classic Western
tale starring Armie Hammer in he title role and Johnny Depp s Tonto. White has been replaced by Hans Zmmer, whose recent work includes scores for Inception and The ark Knight Rises. Disney issued a statement saying, "Oscar winner Hans Zimmer . . . has signed on to compose the score for The Lone Ranger. Jack White, who had originally been contemplated to score and has contributed several pieces of music to the production, was logistically unavailable due to scheduling conflicts that arose when the film's release moved to July of 2013."
SLASH CONFIRMS PARTICIPATION IN VIDEO GAME: Slash has confirmed his participation in the upcoming "Band Fuse: Rock Legends" video game. He confirmed the video game on Twitter. The new game is reportedly like Rock Band and Guitar Hero however, the problem with those games was that according to actual Rock and Roll legends, they did
not properly exemplify the real experience of playing in a rock band. Reportedly, Band Fuse: Rock Legends is set to break that mold.
Reportedly, between one and four players can take part at the same time and play along to
the music as it would typically be read by musicians as they learned themselves. Slash said, "Hands down, best guitar game."
STUDIO VERSION OF NIRVANA/ PAUL MccARTNEY SONG RELEASED: The
studio version of "Cut Me Some Slack," the song debuted by Paul McCartney and the surviving
members of Nirvana last Wednesday night (December 12th) at the
CHECK IT OUT: Listen to the studio version of "Cut Me Some Slack" at http://tinyurl.com
MARILYN MANSON’S SURGERY: Marilyn Manson underwent a medical procedure at a hospital in
however, the victor but had to have 24 stitches to keep my ear from becoming
Van Goth." The shock-rocker posted a photo of the ear, covered in medical
tape, which can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/c33ja6e
RANDY BLYTHE’S TRIAL: A court in
JASON NEWSTED’S NEW PROJECT: Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted has announced that his new band, called Newsted, will release a four-song EP titled Metal exclusively through iTunes on
DANE COOK SIGNS NBC DEAL: NBC has inked a deal with Dane Cook to develop a new starring vehicle for him on the network. His previous show, Next Caller, was not picked up the network for midseason.
HUGH GRANT AGREES WITH 'DAILY SHOW'
SALLY STRUTHERS PLEADS NOT GUILTY: Sally Struthers has pleaded not guilty for her DUI arrest in September. The 65-year-old actress will appear in court on February 13th for a bench trial.
SIMON COWELL WANTS
recruit Rihanna to join the show. Simon is allegedly spending the holidays trying to persuade the superstar and is letting her choose if she wants to work on the American or
JANICE DICKINSON IS ENGAGED: Self-proclaimed supermodel Janice Dickinson is reportedly ready to marry for the fourth time. She has been spotted wearing a large diamond ring on her left hand while posing with her psychologist beau, Dr. Robert Gerner.
TRUCK DRIVER CITED FOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: A man in
organization, OneSpark -- a group with the aim of feeding and clothing the
homeless. Hill said of the ticketing officer, "I'm not saying he was right
or wrong. The bottom line is there's so many people in this town right now that
are hurting. And literally, there's been thousands of people that have taken
pictures with that truck and it's brought a smile to their face." Hill
plans to leave the lights on the truck in the hopes that people will become
aware of OneSpark's charitable efforts. Local police said the lights are an
issue of safety, explaining, "You're going to get the rubberneckers who
are going to be staring at the vehicle. They're going to have a collision or
rear end somebody because they're too busy looking at this car that's driving
down the road." (UPI)
in the boxing and was not really thinking about what I was doing. Suddenly the phone rang and I mucked things up: instead of grabbing the receiver I picked up the iron and put it to my ear." Paczkowski said next time he'll leave the TV off while ironing. (Breitbart.com)
WILL TWINKIES MAKE A COMEBACK? Hostess Brands has reportedly received around two dozen bids from several companies interested in buying the maker of Twinkies. According to an anonymous source, Wal-Mart is one of those bidders, along with Alpha Baking Company and Grupo Bimbo
THE SURPISING FACTS ABOUT WOMEN'S
PEOPLE PREFER LEADERS WITH DEEP VOICES: In a study published in PLoS
They found that men preferred lower voices in both male and female candidates
and women preferred other women with lower voices, but showed no preference
among the men. Study authors speculate that women may not care about the pitch
of the male voices because for stereotypically female jobs, women may actually
value men with feminine qualities like a higher voice. (BuzzFeed)
32 AWESOME LAST-MINUTE GIFT IDEAS: http://tinyurl.com/cltlpls