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Consumer News Update

If you shopped at a Target store from Black Friday to around December 15, beware. There's been a massive data breach of customer credit card information (online customers are not affected.)

It's time to stock up on 40 and 60 watt bulbs. They won't be made in the U.S. starting Jan. 1.

I may skip Christmas this year, or at least the shopping. What are your plans?

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Waco Explosion: 5 to 15 Dead

Update: The number of persons killed is now being estimated at 5 to 15. Last nights numbers provided by EMS were incorrect.

Emergency Medical Services in Waco say 60 to 70 have died in the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Waco, TX. Hundreds more have been injured.

The fire started in an anhydrous ammonia tank and spread to the building, authorities said. The resulting explosion spread the fire to the Middle School and to a nearby nursing home.

To check on injured residents admitted to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center call (254) 202-1100. The Red Cross is on its way.

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Evil Koch Bros FGCU v. The Good Florida Gators

So you were tempted to root for Florida Gulf Coast over Florida were you? Nevermind, the 1%er coach, you thought, it is still a heartwarming Cinderella story.

Well think again:

It’s a great story: the virtually unknown, 15th seeded Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), has made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. But there’s something you might not know about FGCU: its economics department is, as a consequence of grants from Randian businessman John Allison and the Charles G. Koch Foundation[.]

Rooting for the Cinderella Eagles is rooting for the Koch Brothers.

Do the right thing, root for the land grant public university established by Abraham Lincoln:

Go Gators!!!

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Companies That Don't Deserve Our Trust

(Also see update at the end.)

At Christmas time, I wrote that I would love to get the new iMac as a gift from readers. Lots of you contributed but not enough to buy one. A few weeks ago, a very generous TalkLeft reader bought one for me. I've been patiently waiting for it to arrive. Today was the day, according to Apple and Fedex, it should have arrived at my office.

I was so excited. But it never came. Around 3 pm, I checked the Fedex tracking system. And there it was: Lie Number 1. Fedex falsely said they tried to deliver it and no one was available to accept it. [More...]

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Disabled Carnival Cruise Ship Arrives in Mobile

A cheerful song for the beleaguered, hungry, cruise passengers about to depart the filthy Carnival cruise ship, which just arrived in Mobile, AL. after five days of conditions from hell and being towed by tugboat for a few hundred miles. Passengers say it was like spending 5 days in a porta-potty.

It will take them hours to get off the ship. Some will then have to spend a more few hours on buses traveling to hotels in other cities. [More...]

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Ronald Dworkin, RIP

One of the great thinkers of our time, Ronald Dworkin, has passed away.

R.I.P.

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East Coast Braces for Blizzard

Sending good thoughts to all in the path of the blizzard about to hit the East Coast.

If you are there, please keep us updated and let us know how you are doing. And don't forget to get candles. To remind you, here's "Light My Candle" from the final performance of "Rent."

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Marvin Miller, RIP

A giant passes.

Marvin Miller, RIP.

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Done Deal: NFL Refs to Return Thursday

Good news for football fans. The lockout has ended. A deal has been struck and the NFL referees will return starting tomorrow night.

According to reports, the pension issue was resolved with the existing defined-benefit plan remaining in place for five years until the officials are rolled over into a 401(k) plan.

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Pandemonium at the NFL

I don't watch football, but my Twitter feed is filled with tweets about a bad call during Monday night football that cost the Green Bay Packers the game against the Seattle Seahawks. Sounds like it might be the final straw, as the bad calls have become routine with this season's use of stand-in referees for the usual ones, who have been locked out in a labor dispute.

Everyone seems to agree the stand-in refs, who come from college and minor league teams are unqualified (I see lots of comparisons being made to substitute teachers).

This recap by an LA Times sports writer seems typical of the post-game ranting going on in MediaLand.

If I understand what happened correctly (and I probably don't, since the articles are all filled with game terms that are so completely foreign to me, I might as well be reading Greek) it boils down to this: It was the end of the game. Someone threw something called a "desperation pass" , which others call a Hail Mary Pass, to the end zone. The pass was caught by two people, one from each team. Many people thought the Packers' guy intercepted the pass, but when the refs came out, one called it a touchdown for Seattle. Another ref saw it differently and called it a "touchback", and there was a review. The review, which took 10 minutes, concluded the ref calling a touchdown for Seattle was right. Both teams were called back so Seattle could kick for the extra point. Seattle won the game. Even haters of Green Bay are saying Green Bay got robbed. [More..]

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The Da Vinci Code Lives!

NYTimes:

A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”

Dan Brown proven effing right! In all seriousness, pretty interesting. Though I had to ignore this admonition:

Dr. King said she wants nothing to do with the Code or its author: “At least, don’t say this proves Dan Brown was right.”

Sorry, I could not resist.

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Neil Armstrong, First Man On Moon, Passes Away

NYTimes:

Neil Armstrong was a quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made “one giant leap for mankind” with a small step on to the moon. The modest man who had people on Earth entranced and awed from almost a quarter million miles away has died. He was 82.

Rest in peace.

Update (TL): Video added, at 2:57 seconds in, you can see Neil Armstrong step on the moon and say, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

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The Games Begin: 2012 Olympics

Opening ceremonies will be replayed on NBC tonight. Here's a recap from Reuters.

Who are you expecting to soar? What are the most anticipated events?

Here's a thread to talk about the Olympics.

Update: Absurd decision by NBC to make the opening portion of its Olympic coverage about security and the problems. Plus too many commercials and too much commentary. I'm already done watching -- 8 minutes.

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Junior Seau Apparently Takes Own Life

Boston Globe:

Junior Seau, a 43-year old 12-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker, was found dead today in his home, the result of a gunshot wound, police confirmed. Police are investigating the shooting at the Oceanside, Calif., residence of the former New England Patriot and San Diego Chargers football star as a suicide. Police confirmed that Seau was found by his girlfriend at his beachfront home with a gunshot wound to his chest.

While the article references the suicide of Dave Duerson, regular readers know that I was a high school teammate of Andre Waters, the former Eagle, who also took his own life. The implications of an NFL career are believed to be related.

Condolences to the Seau family, and some hard thinking about professional football is in order.

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My Nephew Graduates High School

My nephew, who suffers from autism, graduates from high school this year. His determination, and that of his parents and his sister, has filled me with admiration. The University of Missouri newspaper, The Missourian, wrote about it:

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