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Friday-funnies...

We really appreciate your visits! Every Friday, our goal is to provide you with a few laughs, some inspiring stories and some food for thought. We look forward to your visiting with us again next Friday! Y'all come on back now... ya hear!






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Merry Christmas to all...

After a businessman noticed an atheist group’s billboard in North Carolina encouraging people to “skip church” this holiday season, he decided to post a very public response.

But rather than attack atheists or take a negative tone, David Johnson - owner of Johnson Nursery in Willard, North Carolina - erected a billboard aimed at reminding people about what Christmas is really all about, WECT-TV reported.

The billboard features a silhouette version of the nativity, with the words “Merry Christmas” boldly displayed; “Christ” is underlined to place emphasis on the religious nature of the holiday.

“We hear holiday this and season that, but rarely Christmas,” Johnson told WECT-TV of his motivation for posting the giant placard.

Johnson said that staffers at his company were so bothered by a billboard funded by American Atheists, a New Jersey-based activist group, that they collected money and each pitched in to pay for the “Merry Christmas” message.

The simple and clear fact is that Christ and God exist… and are present in the world about us, and in their people. Let all decide for themselves to accept or reject this, and if they decide to reject it, then leave the rest of us alone.

It still amazes me the amount of money and time atheists put into something they think is nonexistent??

Merry Christmas to all…




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Christmas is not a generic holiday

Christmas was a holiday... long before the formation of this country. Christmas is a national holiday: Federal employees get Christmas Day off, and no one claims this to be an establishment of religion. (Not yet.) 

Every year, Christmas comes under more intense attack by politically correct troublemakers. 

There seems to be no objection (from the left) to Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Ramadan, or the pagan celebration of the winter solstice, but the leftists say Christmas has got to go.

Political correctness demands that we keep from offending those who don't celebrate Christmas. In some cases this might mean recent immigrants, but it usually means people of other religions, or no religion. 

It is a tiny minority of selfish liberal troublemakers, maybe one person out of a thousand, who wants all references to religion removed from public property, but unfortunately these are the people who are sought out by the liberal media.

The people who insist that Christians are not tolerant and inclusive... are the same people who cannot tolerate Christmas and want it excluded from our society. 

Christmas is here to stay, so get used to it. If Christmas offends you, leave the country.

Atheists and liberals will never be “Happy” ... until everyone is as “Miserable” as them.



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Science reveals the most persuasive word to use if you want to get your way

Since you were young, you’ve probably been taught to say the magic word. But what if the word you thought was “magic” all these years really isn’t so special?

That’s the idea behind a new book by Tim David called “Magic Words: The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words That Motivate, Engage and Influence.”

Although a former magician, David uses psychological research to determine the words that are the most likely to convince.

It turns out reason is almost everything: One is more likely to persuade others by giving them a reason as to why they want to or need to do the certain thing.

The alternative magic word “because” was discovered by Harvard University researcher Ellen Langer in 1971 to be the most effective at trying to get someone else to let you cut ahead in line.

In that study, Langer tried to cut ahead in the photocopier line by using three very similar – but inherently distinguishable – questions. The first example: 

”Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” resulted in 60 percent of the people letting her move in front of them.

Notice how Langer did not give a reason as to why she needed to make photocopies. But check out what happens when she used the word, “because.”



But in Langer’s second attempt she found that giving a reason as to why she needed to use the Xerox machine was much more effective: 

”Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”

In this instance, she found that 94 percent of people would let her go ahead – up 34 percent from her previous attempt.

In her third and final try, Langer opted to state the more obvious, which resulted in a nearly stagnant percentage of people as her second go-around: 

”Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”

In his book, David makes the point that using such a simple tactic usually only works when a person isn’t requesting much. The more important the request, the greater likelihood there is that one extra word won’t cut it.

However, you know the old phrase, “It’s the little things in life that make all the difference.”

Apparently, those little things come much more easily with one little word.

What’s the harm in trying it?



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The two greatest motivators are Love and Fear

The Bible is replete with examples of both. If one considers also that ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks’ and ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’, it becomes relatively easy to discern what motivates many people.




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In case you haven't heard, or you are oblivious to the news of the day... America's 'Debt Limit' is now again the latest fabricated crisis in Washington.

Today is December 19th... and your taxes are still going up... and our country is virtually bankrupt... and going $4 billion dollars deeper in the hole - each and every day. Yet Obama pretends all is well. Here's Obama's latest propaganda...

Here's Obama's "bull crap" for the week... 12/19/2014...



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This is the liberal indoctrination crap... that liberal professors are teaching in colleges all across America

A psychology professor at South Texas College in Weslaco, Texas, was seemingly caught on video last month comparing the tea party to the Nazis of the 1930s in Germany.

He then told his students not to “tell anybody” about his remarks - but one of his students had already started filming after he allegedly called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a “bastard” for using the name “Cruz” to win his election.

“In 1931, which was really interesting, the Nazis - people were kind of tired of them. They’ve been around since 1920, 11 years now. They’ve won seats - they’re like the tea party! ...

That’s such a good example,” the professor said. “Don’t tell anybody I said that though.”

He continued: “But in the sense of how they politically came to power, there’s a good analogy there...

That eventually people realized, ‘Oh, these Nazis are a bunch of nuts,’ ‘These tea party people are a bunch of nuts.’ I mean, the analogy really is a good analogy.”

The student responsible for recording the comments, who asked to remain anonymous, identified the professor as Dr. Blake Armstrong. The video was recorded during a Nov. 17 class and uploaded on YouTube the same day.



The student told us he recorded his professor because he feels strongly that “it’s wrong for him to use his position as a soap box for his beliefs, especially with young, impressionable students.”

“This semester, Dr. Armstrong insulted Republicans about three times before this video was recorded,” he added.

On this day, he called Sen. Ted Cruz a bastard for using the last name Cruz to win his election. I didn’t know exactly what he meant, but I decided to start recording.”

While the student said Armstrong’s Nazi-tea party reference is the most “severe” rhetoric he’s heard in the class so far, he argued “it’s very easy to see that he has a vendetta against Republicans and religion with an emphasis on Christianity.”

The professor should lose his job for mis-using his position to poison the minds of the students. This guy either wanted to get exposed or is just an idiot. I go for the latter.

The Democrats today have more in common with Stalin or Hitler - than they do with American style politics.

And they need to be called out on their Anti-American, Anti-White, Anti-capitalism and Anti-Christianity ideology.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PX-U3jj39_I




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Obama the self-proclaimed "Führer"

- Nazis believed in uber power to the state. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in disarming people. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in
class and social warfare. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in government corporatism. So do liberals.

- Nazis believed in militarized police. So do liberals.
- Nazis indoctrinated youth in schools. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in state control of resources. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in wars for resources. So do liberals.

- Nazis used propaganda for war. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in eugenics/abortion/euthanasia. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in party allegiance in judiciary. So do liberals.
- Nazis believed in ending faith in God. So do liberals.

Liberals have actually studied Hitler's destructive propaganda and tactics for gaining power and manipulating the people.

From subtle false propaganda... to dividing the people against each other. From controlling all mass media news... to brainwashing our school children. From pretending to be inept... to massive abuse of power.

Only a moron or a liberal... would miss the parallels between Nazis and Democrats.



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Cool Photos


Arkansas's Michael Qualls, top, tumbles into Clemson's Sidy Djitte (50) while shooting a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Dec. 7, in Clemson, S.C.




Servicemen of "Kiev 12" military defense battalion react as they take part in a welcoming ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 6. The battalion's servicemen returned to Kiev after taking part in fighting in eastern Ukraine.




Deadly twin twisters slammed their way through Pilger, Neb., splintering trees, flattening houses and ripping their way across farmland on June 16. More than three-quarters of Pilger was damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes, which also killed two people and injured at least 19.




Huang Xiaohui of China competes in the Women's Platform Final during the FINA Diving World Cup at the Oriental Sports Center on July 18 in Shanghai, China.




Newborn giant panda triplets rest in an incubator at the Chimelong Safari Park in China’s Guangzhou province on Aug. 9.

According to local media, this is the fourth set of giant panda triplets born with the help of artificial insemination procedures in China, and the birth was seen as a miracle due to the low reproduction rate of giant pandas.




An ISIS militant remains standing following an airstrike on Tilsehir hill near the Syrian town of Kobani on Oct. 23, as seen from Yumurtalik, a village on the Turkish side of the border.




A Russian Space Training Center employee hangs space suits out to dry belonging to Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA's Kathleen Rubins, and Japan's Takuya Onishi...

After training for a mission to the International Space Station in Noginsk, Russia, on July 2. The training was intended to simulate a capsule landing in water.




A wildfire burns next to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Calif. on Sept. 7. About 120 firefighters and 11 aircraft fought the blaze, which may have erupted from embers of a fire sparked by lightning several weeks earlier, officials said.


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Friday-funnies...

“It is more honorable to admit a mistake... than to cover it.” -- Dr T.P.Chia

 I don't understand why people cheat on their mates. If you're not happy, just leave.

 Making money can give you a sense of achievement. But only making a difference will give you a sense of fulfillment.

 "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx

 All religions are like the tributaries of a river, they ultimately flow into the ocean, similarly truth comes under different names... but the end result is always the same.



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 U.S. NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 17 Dec 2014 at 12:00:41 AM GMT is:


The estimated population of the United States is 319,618,881
so each citizen's share of this debt is $56,408.19.



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 Fast Food Breakfast


Trying to claim as much of the $57 billion fast food breakfast market as they can, the fast food giants are drumming up increasingly cheesy, steak-y, fried chicken-y breakfast dishes...

That tap into flavor combinations that have proven successful for lunch and dinner items.

How would you like to meet your daily sodium and saturated fat allowance, as well as nearly half of your daily calorie needs, in one quick breakfast eaten on the road?

It’s becoming progressively easy these day as food technicians, chefs and market researchers, holed away in corporate fast food “studios,” are busy developing monstrous new breakfast items.

It’s no longer eggs and English muffins for fast food breakfast… breakfast burger anyone?



Carl’s Jr Breakfast Burger

You ever get the feeling Carl's Jr. is messing with you? Their breakfast line up is basically a big dare.

You always show up at fast food places at 11 in the morning right at the switch-over from breakfast to lunch. Don't think CJ hasn't noticed.

You are valuable and now you have your own sammie. It's called the Breakfast Burger. Eat it slow. It's two meals. And try not to be so indecisive in the future. 

Yes, I’m afraid you read that right, “breakfast” and “burger” in the same menu item. How do you turn a regular burger into a breakfast burger?

By adding not only an egg – but an egg, bacon, American cheese and
hash brown nuggets too!

Calories: 780; Fat Calories: 370; Total Fat: 51 grams; Sat Fat: 15 grams; Sodium: 1460



Taco Bell Waffle Taco

Another Yum Brands company stays fairly active and innovative. In recent years we've seen the Fourth Meal promotion, Doritos Locos Tacos and the Cantina Bell line.

This year, breakfast happened coast to coast, so welcome Waffle Taco and A.M. Crunchwrap.

Stores want those visitors at the drive-thru on the way to work, and here's Taco Bell as an option alongside the top names.

In the third quarter, Yum named breakfast specifically as a factor in Taco Bell's 3% growth in U.S. same-store sales.

If consumers buy into breakfast at the Bell beyond this year's initial mania (especially millennials), it should be a great platform far into the future.



Sonic's Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito and Sandwich

Sonic’s Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito is a breakfast burrito featuring a flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, tots, onions, melted cheddar and American cheeses, a new salsa verde, and Wholly 100% Hass avocado.

I’ve always appreciated the fact that Sonic-Drive In serves breakfast at any time of day. The only fast food place I can think of that does this is Jack in the Box and Carl's Jr. At McDonald’s I would be shunned away as soon as the clock strikes 10:30 am.

The Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito had a pretty decent flavor going on thanks to the salsa verde, and Wholly avocado.

Sure, the winning combination of eggs, bacon, and melted cheeses was there, but the key ingredients are obviously what sets this apart from the standard breakfast burrito.




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 New billboard for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party… minus the "Christmas?”

A stunned Pastor noticed something very important missing from this Disney billboard.

Pastor Eddie DelValle of With Love Ministries... told One News Now that he was surprised to see the word “Christmas” removed from Disney billboards in Orlando, Florida. 

He also said that a Disney guest services staffer told him that the marketing decision was intentionally made so “they wouldn’t offend people.” 

Do you feel the word CHRISTMAS would have been unreadable on that billboard? Plenty of room, so why not include it? The decision to leave it off was intentional for the exact reason stated by the Pastor. 

After reviewing advertising being distributed on various channels, we can confirm that the vast majority of messaging does, to varying degrees, include the word Christmas...

Including radio and TV ads, as well as the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party website. 



The latest marketing controversy comes just months after Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who wrote the songs for the popular animated film “Frozen,” ... said that Disney doesn’t welcome God and religious themes into its movies. 

It also comes one year after Disney’s removal of “One Solitary Life,” a powerful essay about Jesus’ life, from its annual “Candlelight Processional” Christmas show at both Epcot and Disneyland. 

Disney responded to that latter controversy as well, claiming that the removal was made in an effort to shorten the show. 

Inch by inch they “progress” toward removing Christmas. A little here, a little there… A removed and renamed parade or event…

Just enough of a move for them to have some lame excuse if people get upset… and if they don’t, then progress the next inch…



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 Shogyo Mujo

by Dan Cowles, Adobe Inspire

Shogyo Mujo was conceived as a temporary installation for Burning Man (the name is a Japanese Buddhist term that means “nothing is permanent”) -

But the massive 3D light-projection sculpture lives on in images, in lessons learned by its creators, and in future installations. 

The idea of impermanence is central to Burning Man, the annual festival on the alkali flats of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert -

Where a village of more than 60,000 people and a playa’s worth of art are created and then removed in the course of several days, famously “leaving no trace” behind.

And impermanence is nothing new in the world of event projection art, where projects can take months to go from conception to completion, often for a single use.

Then, 90 seconds into the keynote presentation, the piece has come and gone, never to be seen again.

That’s probably why the 30-foot Shogyo Mujo sculpture felt like such a good fit for the transient desert festival -

The skull a blank canvas by day and a rich and evolving projected-light experience at night, scaled for the playa and built to burn at the festival’s end.



Working Together, But Apart

The Shogyo Mujo collaboration began when Bart Kresa and Joshua Harker’s mutual friend Veronique Pittman saw Joshua’s eight-foot Crania Geodesica: Illuminati ...

A
s part of a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at the La Calaca Festival in Mexico.

She put Harker in touch with Kresa (a master projection artist), and a remote collaboration was born.

Harker and Kresa’s team, including art director Vincent Rogozyk and designer Dylan Roscover, worked together but apart -

Harker in Chicago, Kresa and his team in Los Angeles - for a year, not meeting until just a couple of weeks before they left for the festival.

Harker worked on the structure, while Kresa, Rogozyk, and Roscover built the technology platform, developed the design and projection workflow, and created the art.

They also worked with an extended team of artists and built templates that took advantage of some of Photoshop’s new 3D capabilities; this allowed their team of traditionally 2D designers and illustrators to create 3D art for the project.



Trouble in Playa

As anyone familiar with Burning Man knows, at the end of the fest, everything must burn, so building materials need to be both flammable and minimally toxic.

These requirements influenced the choice of materials for the skull fabrication, which in turn influenced the project’s degree of difficulty.

Harker based his design on a geometric model that would be solid and strong once complete, but it was fragile while under construction.

Factor in 60-mile-per-hour winds, blinding sandstorms, and bad luck, and there were plenty of construction challenges.

Four times the skull was nearly structurally complete, and four times misfortune befell the crew.

Working around the clock and trying everything they could think of, the team got close to success, but they were never quite able to get the complete 30-foot skull put together.

Ultimately, they settled for getting just the face of the skull up. The team had mixed feelings, with the joy of seeing the 20-foot face lit up in the desert sky tempered by the knowledge of what could have been.



Still, many people came and enjoyed it, and even in its incomplete form, Shogyo Mujo was a crowd favorite.

In a time when you can buy “burner kits” of glow sticks and steampunk goggles on the side of the Nevada highway, and when wealthy attendees hire “sherpas” to build and provision their camps...

Genuine risk and grand ambition are becoming something of a rarity at Burning Man.

And with real risk come both the possibility of doing something special and the possibility of failure.

Here, the scale of the piece and the drive to make something really beautiful met the realities of the elements and circumstance, resulting in only partial success -

Nonetheless, it was a partial success that hinted at a truly glorious and amazing potential.



Shogyo Mujo Reborn - And Living On

Now that the playa dust has settled, Shogyo Mujo may not be all that impermanent after all.

While the physical structure is gone, the digital assets remain, as does the knowledge gained, and the team has continued to develop both the designs and the technology platform.

They have locked down their workflow, are able to fine-tune their projection maps, and can add new art. They’ve also added more interactivity to the platform.

They recently successfully projected in 360 degrees on a 12-foot version of the skull - this time made of foam - at a party at Adobe MAX in Los Angeles, to a very enthusiastic crowd.

The project was only a partial success at Burning Man, but in a sense, Burning Man was the field test - really only the beginning of this project - and it will be fun to see where it plays next.

Imagine, for example, a 50-foot skull: next year, in the middle of the playa, between the man and the temple. It could be amazing. They’d better get started on it now.




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 Mary, Did You Know? ... by Pentatonix

20,483,352 views of this video... really something special! A beautiful song dedicated to the birth of Christ, our Lord and Savior.

You five are just amazing. All of you are so graceful... such beautiful talent. I can see the emotion that all of you portray while doing this song and it is just breath taking.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us and the world. Merry Christmas to you all.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE



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 The Man Who Fights the Bull
by Domingo Ortega

“Bullfight critics, ranked in rows
Crowd the enormous Plaza full;
But only one is there who knows --
And he’s the man who fights the bull.”





JFK used to carry this Spanish poem in his wallet…

The meaning of any poetry is, of course, subjective. But here’s my takeaway…

The critics will always be there. Their job, 97.25% of the time (approximately), is to doubt you. And they’ll do so until you die.

No matter how fast or far you run, they’ll be there. And even if you run into a cave and live out the rest of your days as a hermit, they’ll find you in the only place you can’t run from: your head.

No matter what you’re doing… no matter where you’re at… you must have conviction in your path. And the audacity to take risks.

The moment you start to think that someone out there knows what you’re doing - better than you yourself… that’s when you get a nice big horn up your backside.




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 U.S. Navy tests futuristic laser weapon system... that displays near instantaneous lethality

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday released footage showing the military branch test a laser weapon system in the Arabian Gulf.

In a press release, the Office of Naval Research described the laser system as a “cutting-edge weapon that brings significant new capabilities to America’s Sailors and Marines.”

Testing was conducted from September to November and hailed as “historic” by officials for its ability to operate seamlessly with existing defense systems.

“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research.

“We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”



According to the Navy, the advanced weaponry is controlled using a video-game like controller and may be particularly helpful in addressing “asymmetric threats,” such as attacks from small boats.

The Navy added that the laser weapon system is cost effective. “At less than a dollar per shot, there’s no question about the value LaWS provides,” Klunder said.

“With affordability a serious concern for our defense budgets, this will more effectively manage resources to ensure our Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight.”

Look a little closer, they are showing the accuracy by having small target on each boat and hitting that target without much destruction to the rest of boat.

They have been playing around with them for a while and can control the light density at various distances so it doesn’t endanger objects behind the target.



This is pretty cool… but…

Mirrors anyone? Fog anyone?

LASER light is reflected by mirrors. Polished aircraft fuselages will reflect the energy and the Chinese will place their cheap mirrors off the side of their ships. Did anyone in the US Navy ever think about mirrors. How about Fog?

In some ways, the biggest problem with this system is also it’s best asset. What is not shown is the massive power supply which is below deck. You need a ship’s generator to run the thing.

Because of this, it’s not the type of thing you’ll see mounted to a pickup truck or on the back of a flat bed. It has to be on a large ship.

Since the U.S. has a lot of large ships, and most of the peon terrorists don’t (or is that all), it would be hard for them to use. Now, at $1 a shot, lets get that thing popping.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=D0DbgNju2wE




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Evil vs Good... atheist Liberal class warfare... agitate and divide the citizens

 Dallas pastor's explanation of why America is seemingly so "Filled with rage"


Glenn Beck spoke with Watermark Community Church Pastor Todd Wagner of Dallas on Thursday about the issues of the day, saying America is “so full of rage and anger right now - everything that is anti-Christ.”

“I think we’re filled with rage … because of the leaders that we’re choosing,” Wagner said. “We’re not choosing leaders that are helping us focus on the thing that ultimately sets us free.”

Wagner said America’s “Judeo-Christian ethic, which said let’s pursue righteousness, peace, love and forgiveness” has been replaced by a more “culturally Marxist” philosophy.

“Now what does that mean? Marxists always want to push you into classes,” Wagner said.

“They're going to say, ‘Let’s separate these people by class, by gender, by race, by sexual preference. And then let’s take you, the persecuted minority... and I will be your advocate.

I’m going to get my power by appealing to your plight and I, frankly, am going to maintain my power by keeping your plight the issue.’



And what it does... is it pits us all against one another, and it makes us concerned about our own little small area... and it keeps us from working together toward the one thing we all need: righteousness, truth, peace, love.”

But Wagner also said “we can’t get mad at Washington.”

“We are responsible for Washington,” he said. “This is a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Wagner suggested America stop electing politicians and start electing “statesmen, people that are concerned for the state, not for keeping themselves in office.”

Beck has praised Wagner for not shying away from discussing current events, and Wagner said he just tries to apply biblical principles to the issues.

As he sees it, people come to church for eternal guidance, but many are also looking for answers on how to live their lives.



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 Thunder and Lightning


When there was loud thunder and lightning, little Joey was rudely woken out of his slumber and he ran to his parents' bedroom.

His father tried to comfort him by saying, "There's no need to be scared of thunder & lightning. It's just some sound & flash that God makes, when he is displeased with someone telling a lie."

Little Joey asked,"But why is God making those sounds at this hour? It's past midnight and everyone is fast asleep."

His father said, "Yes that's right, my son. But this is the time when newspapers get printed!"







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 Today is the busiest package transporting day of the entire holiday season. UPS today will handle 585 million packages. They don't deliver them, they just handle them. -- David Letterman

 By the way, if you don't mail your package today, it will not be destroyed by Christmas. -- David Letterman

 Over the weekend the co-chair of Sony Entertainment broke her silence about the recent hacking scandal to apologize for some offensive emails she sent about President Obama. In response, Obama said, “Don't worry. I secretly read those emails months ago."

 The world's largest travel guide publisher has declared Queens, New York, the best place in the U.S. to visit next year. And if you don't believe it, neither does anyone who lives in Queens.

 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently installed a fence around Gracie Mansion for privacy and security concerns. De Blasio wants to make sure the wrong person doesn't get into the mayor's mansion — while New Yorkers said, “Too late.”





 Reindeer populations are falling fast, according to a study. We are three years away from Santa using Uber. -- Conan O'Brien

 Today in Washington, D.C., several government buildings were left without power. Of course, the White House will be without power for two more years. -- Conan O'Brien

 There's a holiday gift giving trend that's supposedly on the rise this year called self-gifting. I don't know why everything has to have a term. Didn't that used to be called shopping? -- Jimmy Kimmel

 For lunch today, I gifted myself a roast beef sandwich. -- Jimmy Kimmel

 Nothing costs exactly the amount on the gift card. If it's less, you wind up with a credit for like $3, which you'll never use. If it's more, then you're partly buying your own gift. -- Jimmy Kimmel




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 There are many alternatives to the high cost of U.S. healthcare


"The aging of America isn't a temporary event," Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns write in The Coming Generational Storm. "We are well into a change that is permanent, irreversible, and very long term."

According to Pew Research, about ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day. This will continue until 2030. By then, demographers predict that nearly 81 million Americans will be 65 and over.

The mainstream media… politicos… and even the blogerati all seem to agree: This is cause for alarm. What most Malthusians fail to recognize is the vast reach of human innovation and our ability to adapt to the times.

Yes. This trend will change the face of America. One of the more obvious affected industries is health care.

It was a video we came across this morning that stopped us in our tracks…



Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqLdFFKvhH4

We knew the healthcare system was really expensive. But this knocked us back into the reality of how bad.

"As another example," Josh Sundquist goes on in the video, "an investigation by The New York Times found that hospitals were charging patients as much as $546 for saline solution…

"Also known as salt-water."

Compare this to the average price of saline solution in Paris… $4.73.

What can we do about this?

One man we know (whom you've met briefly in our digital pages) caught onto this trend in 2002 after a near-death experience.

And he decided to find a solution.



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 Medical tourism is big... take a vacation and get medical care, for less than it costs in the U.S.

"It was Dec. 31, 2002… and I thought I was going to die," Jud Anglin, our in-house medical tourism expert, writes.

"My wife and I were in Bangkok, Thailand, visiting her family. Like a fool, I drank the water, and got a bacterial infection that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.

"After vomiting to the point of complete dehydration, I was rushed to the ER. Not knowing what to expect (it was Thailand, after all) I was scared beyond belief.

"But what happened next shocked me…

"The hospital was state-of-the-art. From what I could tell lying on my back, I could have been in Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General, or the Mayo Clinic.

"After just a 10-minute wait, I was admitted to a private room. The doctor on call spent almost 30 minutes with me.

"He administered an IV pump to replenish fluids, and medication to ease the pain… and there I lay for four hours.

"The experience was as good as, if not better than, anything I'd ever seen here in the states. And here's the most shocking thing… The bill amounted to just $16!

"On my way back home, I had a hare-brained idea - I'd start a business showing Americans how to receive quality health care at the world's lowest costs.

"So I did."



That business is called MedRetreat. And it was, and still is, a fantastic success story.

Medical tourism was an idea whose time had come for the U.S. And Jud was one of the first to bring it into the light.

Since Jud started MedRetreat, he's shown more than 10,000 Americans how to get "world-class surgical procedures for approximately 15-20% of what it would normally cost Americans," he told us.

Hard to believe?

"It really isn't that difficult when you consider the soaring prices of surgery in the U.S.," Jud explains...

"I've seen the cost of knee replacements go from $35,000 to $50,000. Heart surgeries that used to cost $80,000 in 2003 have skyrocketed to $120,000 today."

I'm going to Thailand for dental work through MedRetreat. It'll cost me about 60% less (even with the plane ticket and accommodations) and I'll get to check out a corner of the world I've never been.

Thailand isn't the only country that has world-class hospitals. All over the world, you'll find hospitals with care that is just as good - if not better - than the U.S.

And, in comparison to some Southeast Asian countries, the gap in prices is extreme…



Speaking of out of control costs…

"The second Obamacare open enrollment period for 2015 began on Nov. 15," Jud writes in our most recent issue, "and will remain open through Feb. 15, 2015.

"This means that if you don't have health insurance, you are mandated by the Feds to go online and purchase an approved plan.

"Failure to do so," Jud warns, "will result in a tax/penalty from the IRS.

"However, if you are concerned about not meeting the insurance requirements, consider the following:

The first deadline of the individual mandate for tax year 2014 is April 15, 2015.

According to healthcare.gov, if you fail to show that you had health coverage in 2014, you will be assessed a penalty in the amount of $95. Then next year, 2016, the penalty increases to $325 per adult.

However, if you fail to meet the UN-Affordable Care Act's (ACA) mandated insurance requirement, you will not have to write a $95 check to the IRS.



According to Mark Luscombe, principal analyst at CCH Tax & Accounting North America, the way the penalty will be imposed is through withholding your refund by the amount of the penalty.

If you don't get a refund next year, "the IRS could carry over the sum due and apply it against any refunds in future years." But that's it.

Since the ACA was first launched, there have been a multitude of exemptions from the mandate penalty. One such category of exemptions are "hardship exemptions."

Under this category, you are exempted if you experienced the death of a close family member. The operative word here is "close," which isn't defined.

Take a look at the other exemptions. Most likely, you'll find an exemption that covers your noncompliance. There are plenty to choose from.

"Hopefully, you can see that the "penalty" is not so scary after all."



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 9 secrets to cut airline baggage fees

The airlines rake in more loot from checking one bag than many people do in an hour of hard work. But there are some ways to skirt - or at least lessen - those baggage fees.

Last year, U.S. airlines collected a combined total of $3.35 billion in baggage fee revenue alone - with Delta taking the No. 1 slot ($833 million), followed by United and US Airways.

Nowadays checked baggage fees of $25 are commonplace and overweight baggage fees on many carriers routinely hit $75 and up. “Baggage fees are creeping up,” says George Hobica, the founder of AirfareWatchdog.com.

If this all makes you angry - after all, how are you supposed to travel without baggage, especially during the holidays? ...

Here are some ways to skirt those baggage fees (other than having to pack with an eye toward wearing the same outfit for a week)...



Let your bags fly the friendly skies - without you

Sometimes it’s simply cheaper (saving you 50% or more, in fact) and safer to ship your bags using a services like UPS and FedEx than it is to check them on your flight.

Get an airline credit card

Many airline-branded credit cards (which may make sense for consumers who are very loyal to one airline and fly a lot) give you free checked bags.

Join your airline’s loyalty program

You don’t need an airline credit card to reap the benefits of free checked bags — members of an airline’s loyalty program (sign up on each airline’s website; the more you fly, the more perks you’ll get) get these too.



Compress your bags

If you’ve packed as lightly as you can but you still have extra stuff that may require another bag (and thus, a fee), you may want to consider one of a number of items that compress your stuff. One item is the Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Weigh your bag before you leave home

Hobica points out that airline baggage scales can be off, so you may want to weigh your bags before leaving home — particularly if they are near the 50 pound mark, which is when many airlines start charging overweight fees.

Don’t assume the fees quoted to you are correct

Airline baggage fee schedules are confusing (particularly on overseas flights on regional carriers, where fee tiers are complicated and sometimes outrageously expensive) and the gate agents sometimes charge consumers the wrong amount for their bags, says Saglie.



Wear the extra items

Some companies are trying to help consumers avoid baggage fees by selling items you can wear on the plane (so you don’t have to check an extra bag) that also carry a bunch of stuff. Consider the Scottevest coat that are “clothing substitutes for a carry-on bag” and tend to range from $20 to $400.

Fly the right airlines

These days, passengers who know they’re going to check bags (or even, in some cases, carry on bags) have to factor baggage fees into the total price of their ticket.

Get packing tips from the experts

Sure, you try to pack light to avoid as many baggage fees as you can, but do you know all the secrets to doing it really well? Maybe not. Hobica recommends travelers check out the site OneBag.com for tons of packing tips about what to pack and how to do it, as well as what to pack in.




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 Macadamia sales surge in South Korea... after 'Nut Rage' serving reaction on Korean Air flight

Nut rage imploded the career of a Korean Air Lines executive and embarrassed her family and country. Now South Korean retailers are experiencing the unexpected upside: a boom in sales of macadamias.

The flavorful macadamia nut was unfamiliar to many South Koreans until Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean Air's chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight from New York City after she was served them in a bag, instead of on a plate.

The incident made Macadamias a household name in South Korea and with curiosity about their taste piqued, sales are booming.

Auction, a South Korean unit of eBay and South Korea's second-largest e-commerce website, said Monday that sales of macadamias surged nearly 12-fold during the previous five days without any promotions.

It said macadamias previously made up 5 percent of its nut sales but were now accounting for almost half. South Korea's largest online shopping retailer, Gmarket, also owned by eBay, said Macadamia nut sales jumped 20 times during the six days to Sunday compared with the previous week.

The website of e-commerce firm Coupang showed Mauna Loa macadamia nuts had sold out, with about 100 users asking on the comments section for the product to be quickly restocked.




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 An all-woman theater group in Spain... has found a very clever workaround for avoiding taxes

Two years ago, the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy raised the sales tax on theater tickets from 8% to 21%.

No surprise what happened next. The number of people going to the theater fell -- from 13.1 million to 9.3 million.

So one theater group put on their thinking caps and came up with an ingenious solution… They'd sell porn. Specifically, porn magazines.

Because you see, XXX-rated material is taxed at only 4% in Spain. (seems like Spain's political class have their priorities in order.)

According to the New York Daily News, the women producing the play "obtained 300 back issues of a discontinued erotic glossy," which they then started selling for $20 each…

It just so happens these porn mags also came with a free ticket to their play The Prodigious Magician.

So far, their scheme has been successful, making it a very "smut" decision!



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 Fast Food Folk Song

Yes! the guy's reaction is totally authentic. He had no idea we were coming, and he really got the order right (almost right).

We couldn't believe it either, so we understand the questions....

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uwY3sjqYX0&feature=player_embedded




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Thought for the day...


A Nutrition Pioneer

I got a great magazine in the mail last week. It’s a TIME special edition about all my heroes in science. Sir Isaac Newton, Einstein, Pasteur…

I read a little further and I was happy to see Linus Pauling. I thought, “Great! They recognized what a pioneer he was...”

I was excited because Pauling is someone who’s close to home for me. He was a scientist who then became a nutritionist, and he was a contrarian. Someone who said to mainstream doctors, “You guys have missed the boat.”

But TIME didn’t say that about him. Instead, they chose to portray him as someone who went off the deep end.

They wrote, “To many people, alas, the towering scientist who transformed chemistry is simply the guy who oversold vitamin C.”

And they say his claims for vitamin C never proved out?

I can’t just let this pass, because they’re dead wrong. And Pauling was right on.



Let’s look at the facts:

1. People try to discredit Pauling’s claims that vitamin C is anti-aging because he died. But Pauling never claimed that vitamin C could keep you alive forever. And he lived to the age of 93. That’s a pretty good accomplishment.

2. Almost everything he claimed about vitamin C was right. Vitamin C does help to protect against viral infection. It does protect against heart disease. And it does prevent cancer.

In 1976, Pauling did a study where he took 100 people with cancer whom mainstream medicine had given up on as terminal and “untreatable.”

He gave them 10 grams of vitamin C each day, and they lived on for nearly a year with no other treatment. Some were still alive almost four years after being diagnosed as terminal.

Pauling compared his 100 ... with 1,000 other terminally ill patients. Those people who got no vitamin C averaged living for only 38 days.



3. Vitamin C does more than Linus Pauling knew. Vitamin C works by disarming molecules called free radicals, which attack healthy cells. But what we now know is that the protective caps on the ends of your DNA, called telomeres, are very sensitive to these attacks.

The shorter your telomeres, the older your cells act and the more susceptible they are to becoming cancerous. Vitamin C is very effective at stopping the shortening of your telomeres, which protects you from heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, too.

A Japanese study tested vitamin C’s effect on telomeres. Raising the level of vitamin C in the cells could slow down the shortening of telomeres up to 62%.

Another study found that skin cells treated with vitamin C kept their young firm shape because it slowed shortening of the cell DNA’s telomeres. The telomeres also suffered less damage in the presence of vitamin C.



This is one of the reasons why I have been talking to you so much about nutrients lately, and why I felt the need to introduce my nutrition pyramid.

We need a lot of the nutrients that make up the base of the pyramid, Primal Nutrition, to avoid modern diseases like cancer.

Recently I told you about oranges and their primal nutritional value, including vitamin C. Today I want to tell you about some other ways to boost your vitamin C to a healthy, primal level.

Here are four ways to get all the vitamin C you need, to restore your primal nutrition:

1. The primal king of vitamin C: Dark, leafy vegetables, bell peppers, black currants, papaya, red and green chili peppers and guava all have a good amount of vitamin C. Strawberries and oranges have a it, too, and these are all good for primal nutrition in general.

But if you need extra vitamin C, the king of all fruits is the acerola cherry. Every 100 grams has 1,678 mg... over 20 times the vitamin C of strawberries!



2. Tea to the rescue: A little-known source of vitamin C is peppermint leaves. You can make peppermint tea – just make sure to cover the mug while brewing to keep in the oils.

3. A good supplement: Dr. Pauling himself took between 12,000 and 18,000 mg a day, and lived to the ripe old age of 93. But you should get 1,500 mg, twice a day, to bring yourself up to your basic primal requirements.

4. A bigger boost: If you’ve been lacking vitamin C, or in times of stress or sickness, you might want to consider IV vitamin C therapy.

You can safely get much more vitamin C through an IV than you can taking supplements. You can infuse vitamin C at 100 times the concentration of oral supplements completely safely.

Remember, no matter how high the dose, vitamin C does not harm healthy cells.




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America's prosperity and middle-class financial backbone over the past 100 years...

Has always been good, well-paying manufacturing jobs. Not any more?

What are the first word or words that come to mind, when you explain the primary source of middle-class prosperity in America, over the past century?

Manufacturing Jobs

Did you say, "good manufacturing jobs"? Or maybe "well-paying manufacturing jobs"?

Even if you didn't, the words make intuitive sense, right?

Because we can all agree... manufacturing jobs go hand in hand with economic progress and middle-class prosperity, right?



We are trading away the middle-class in America

The big number conjured by the BLS wonks was crazy-good -- 321,000 new jobs in November.

That's the most since January 2012. The year 2014 is on track to be the best year for new jobs since 1999.

So much for the good news. The unemployment rate? That held steady at 5.8%, because 69,000 people departed the labor force for good - many simply giving up looking for work.

The two numbers the statisticians can't fudge are also unchanged:

The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio remain mired near lows last seen more than 30 years ago.

Wages, you ask? Average hourly earnings are up 2.1% so far this year. That's actually higher than the official government inflation figures.

But if you've been with us for any length of time, you know those figures are bogus.

Meanwhile, there's the real-world unemployment rate as reckoned by John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics...

That includes the official 5.8% figure... plus part-timers who'd like to work full-time... plus people who gave up looking for work, no matter how long ago.



That real unemployment number in America is 23.0%.

Back to the manufacturing wage study: It comes from the National Employment Law Project.

It acknowledges the manufacturing sector has been coming back in recent years - growing 4.3% between 2010-12.

Thanks to the so-called onshoring phenomenon, "there is a core of manufacturing work (including auto and computers) that is bouncing back and is likely to remain in the United States."

Unfortunately, "the jobs that are returning are not the ones that were lost:

Wages are lower, the jobs are increasingly temporary and the promised benefits have yet to be realized."

No matter the pay grade, inflation-adjusted wages have lost ground between 2003-14:

Even before the economy started falling apart in 2007, the typical factory worker was making 17 cents an hour less than the average wage among all private-sector workers.

By 2013, that gap had grown to 85 cents.



Some examples from the study, which we cite verbatim...

• "General Electric is producing electric water heaters in Louisville, Kentucky, where workers are making $13 an hour

• "Remington Outdoor Co. -- the gun manufacturer -- is hiring production workers for its new Alabama manufacturing facility at $11.50 an hour. The project is eventually expected to employ 2,000 people.

• "Texas Power Systems, which supplies engines to the Caterpillar plant in Seguin, Texas, hires workers through a staffing agency for $10.50 an hour.

Workers get a raise to $10.75 if they are hired on as direct employees.

• "A Vaughan-Bassett Furniture plant in Galax, Virginia, pays its recent hires $9 an hour."





This Week's Government Goofs & Goofballs
An Independent & unbiased accounting of our government 
& political mischief

Government intrusion into our lives makes us angry... but most people do nothing but whine about it

While we work hard and strive to provide a better life for our family, the governments take an increasing percentage to give to those who do not work.

We are told that because of the color of our skin, we are inherently racist?

Our children are forced to deal with sexuality before it is appropriate, yet religion is taboo?

We are told what light bulbs to buy, how much water our shower heads can flow, our toilets can flush and the power company passes on a surcharge for using too much electricity?

The government mandates little cars that don’t fit 2 rear-facing seats and an average adult male driver (6', 190 lbs)?



While we save for our future and retirement, the government is overspending and borrowing against our future, rendering our savings meaningless?

We can’t have a nativity or cross in the public square, but can have open homosexuality on TV?

I’m required to show ID for a can of BBQ grille paint, but a non-English speaking migrant can nullify my vote with a illegible signature and a utility bill?

We are not allowed to collect rainwater to water the grass, or utilize tap water, but are fined for dead grass if we don’t?

Under this Obama administration... energy prices have gone up... food prices have gone up... number people not participating in the work force has gone up... and the cost of healthcare has gone up.

We are angry... because a small portion of our society - liberal extremists - are working in earnest to destroy our way of life.



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$200,000 dollars of taxpayer money, is chump change to the politicians in Washington...

Now multiply that amount times 200,000 wasteful expenditures... there's the problem!


In the big scheme of a $3.9 trillion federal budget, a $200,000 expenditure doesn't raise an eyebrow.

Unless it's the Treasury Department contracting out for "survival kits."

From the conservative Washington Free Beacon site:

"The emergency supplies would be for every employee at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which conducts onsite reviews of banks throughout the country.

The survival kit includes everything from water purification tablets to solar blankets."

Hmmm... As of last year, the OCC had 3,848 employees. So Treasury figures to spend about $52 per kit.

Looking at the emergency kits sold by "prepper" websites, that seems reasonable... although you'd think Treasury could swing a volume discount?

No bank auditor should go into the field without one... 



The story waits until the next-to-last paragraph to address the most glaring question:

"It is not clear why the Treasury Department is ordering the kits... The OCC did not return request for comment before publication of this story."

The most benign explanation we can think of is this:

The kit would be handy in case an OCC auditor is accidentally locked in a vault after-hours... and no one else realizes it until the automatic locks disengage the following morning.

The most malignant explanation we can think of makes no sense:

A survival kit is no good without a shotgun in the event mobs of taxpayers descend on a bank, angered they were put on the hook for the bank's derivatives trades gone bad.




 
 

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