OBAMA TALKS DEBT LIMIT, GUNS IN FINAL FIRST-TERM NEWS CONFERENCE:
President Obama held the final news conference of his first term on Monday (January 14th), one week before he'll be inaugurated for his second. A major topic of conversation with
the looming standoff over raising the debt ceiling, which House Republicans have threatened to refuse to do unless Obama gives them the spending cuts they want. Obama warned against allowing the U.S. to default, saying as he declared, "we are not a deadbeat nation," that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed as just one of the major consequences if Congress doesn't increase the government's borrowing authority. Obama said that while he was willing to negotiate deficit reduction, those talks had to be separate from the debt ceiling decisions, saying, "What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people."
Obama also spoke about gun regulation, which has become a main focus in the wake of
mentioning any group by name, that some gun rights groups have, quote, "a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government's about to take all your guns away."
PARENTS OF NEWTOWN VICTIMS HELP LAUNCH ANTI-VIOLENCE INITIATIVE: The parents of some of the children killed in the Newtown school massacre helped launch an anti-violence initiative yesterday (January 14th), the one month anniversary of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, with the goal of preventing a similar tragedy from
happening again. Members of the newly-formed Sandy Hook Promise group held
pictures of their murdered children and spoke emotionally at a
involved. The group says it wants to have open-minded discussions about a range of issues, including guns, mental health and safety in schools and other public places, with several speakers saying they didn't believe there was a single solution.
RECORD HIGH NUMBER OF MILITARY SUICIDES IN 2012: The number of military suicides hit a record of 349 among active-duty troops last year, according to the Associated
Press, up from 301 in 2011, defying the Pentagon's continuing efforts to stem what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called an epidemic. The previous record was 310 in 2009, and the 349 figure also surpasses the 295 Americans who were killed in
Marine husband killed himself in 2005 between deployments, told AP, "Now
that we're decreasing troops and they're coming back home, that's when they're
really in the danger zone, when they're transitioning back to their families,
back to their communities and really finding a sense of purpose for
than seven weeks after he was admitted for treatment of bronchitis. The 88-year-old Bush was moved to intensive care at one point after coming down with a persistent fever and other complications, but was moved back to a regular room after his condition improved. The former president expressed his gratitude to the doctors and nurses who took care of him, and said in a statement, "Let me add just how touched we were by the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans. Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you known, and as I head home, my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words."
REPUTED MAFIA UNDERBOSS GIVES JIMMY HOFFA TIP: There have been many tips over the years about what happened to Jimmy Hoffa since the head of the Teamsters union disappeared in 1975, all of which led to dead ends. But the latest one may have more credibility than most, since it comes from a man who the FBI believes was one of the key figures in
of Hoffa's disappearance, but told Santia, "The master plan . . . that I understood was that they were going to put him in a shallow grave here. Then they were going to take him from here to
author of The Hoffa Wars, told
STUDY: COUGHS LAST LONGER
JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS BREAKS SILENCE, SPEAKS IN COURT: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas yesterday (January 14th) broke his nearly seven-year silence during oral arguments before the high court, although no-one's sure of exactly what he said. Thomas' brief remark came during an exchange over whether attorneys assigned to a defendant in a death-penalty case were qualified for the job, with questions asked about their Harvard and Yale degrees. The transcript has Thomas saying, "Well -- he did not -- " followed by laughter, and the attorney before the court then saying, "I would refute that, Justice Thomas." The well-respected SCOTUSblog believes Thomas was making a joke about his alma mater,
incompetent, not competent, capital trial counsel." The last time Thomas spoke during oral arguments was in February 2006. The New York Times wrote in 2011 that Thomas is self-conscious about his
AP: ARMSTRONG ADMITTED DOPING TO OPRAH: Lance Armstrong admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday (January 14th) to doping during his cycling career, the Associated Press reports, citing a person familiar with the situation. The interview will air on Winfrey's OWN network on Thursday. Oprah tweeted afterward, "Just wrapped with
@lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!" The admission interview came hours after Armstrong gave an emotional apology to some 100 staffers at the Livestrong cancer charity that he founded as a cancer survivor. Armstrong choked up as he expressed regret at Livestrong for the controversy, but stopped short of admitting that he used performance-enhancing substances. Armstrong's Oprah confession comes after years of strenuous denials and attacks on his critics and accusers, and arrives in the wake of him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a
damning report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.
SERENA WILLIAMS, AZARENKA
6-1, 6-4. On the men's side, Andy Murray and Roger Federer were among those winning their first matches.
BELCHER WAS DRUNK AT TIME OF MURDER, SUICIDE: Autopsy results released Monday (January 14th) showed that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was drunk when he shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then took his own life in
front of his coach and general manager. The Jackson County, Missouri, medical examiner's report said that the 25-year-old Belcher had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17, more than twice the legal limit for
LZZY HALE ‘HUMBLED’ TO SING FOR NEW DAVID DRAIMAN PROJECT: Halestorm singer Lzzy Hale is one of many guests appearing on the self-titled debut album from Device, the new industrial rock act led by Disturbed frontman David Draiman. Hale,
who reportedly duets with Draiman on a cover of the Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford
song "Close My Eyes Forever," told Pulse of Radio how she felt about being asked to sing: "I'm humbled. My brother (Halestorm drummer Arejay Hale) was freaking out because my brother and I have been huge Disturbed fans since (their 2000 debut) The Sickness came out, you know. So this is a huge moment for him and I, like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe this
is actually happening.' Got a little fangirl for a second."
VINNIE PAUL ON ‘PAWN STARS’: Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul revealed in a post on Facebook that he'll be appearing on an upcoming episode of the History Channel series Pawn Stars, in which he'll attempt to sell his RV to the show's Harrison family at their World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. The series is currently airing new episodes on Monday nights at , but an official airdate for the episode featuring Vinnie has yet to be confirmed.
DISNEY UNVEILS RELEASE DATES FOR NEW FILMS: Disney has released a schedule of release dates for some of their most buzzed about upcoming films. Pirates of the
LANCE ARMSTRONG APOLOGIZES TO LIVESTRONG STAFF: Lance Armstrong
has reportedly issued an apology to staff members at his Livestrong organization in
JESSICA ALBA WORE A $5.8 MILLION NECKLACE TO THE GLOBES: Jessica
Alba wore a Harry Winston diamond necklace reportedly worth $5.8 million to Sunday's (January 13th) Golden Globes. She and Kiefer Sutherland presented the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film.
HOGAN SUING LASER SPINE INSTITUTE OF
has filed a lawsuit against the Laser Spine Institute of Florida for duping him
into undergoing multiple bogus procedures. His suit claims the surgeries were
completely useless and they actually damaged his career.
"intravenous hydration therapy, which is proven highly effective at treating and preventing a multitude of conditions associated with dehydration." One visit costs $99 and that includes any medications, vitamins or antioxidants the physician recommends. The clinic boasts a peaceful and quiet environment that includes private and semi-private areas including a
conference room for those who want to work. Amenities like blankets, eye covers, noise-cancelling headphones and cold beverages are available as well. The website states: "The therapies provided at revive are time-tested and proven; delivered by fully accredited, licensed, and experienced registered nurses, and overseen by board-certified physicians." (FoodBeast.com via Fark)
PIZZA HUT'S PIZZA WITHIN A PIZZA (Available in
more harm than good. Stephen Grosz, author of The Examined Life, says saying something to your child like, "you're so clever" might cause to be unhappy because they feel they cannot meet the false expectation. He recommends bestowing compliments less frequently and using phrases that acknowledge the child for "trying really hard." In the study, psychologists from