Days ago, reports revealed that Ron Paul is in a dead heat in the Iowa caucus with Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Since then, Paul has also gained support in New Hampshire, where he is now in second place in the polls. A Bloomberg News New Hampshire poll reveals that Paul currently sits at 17 percent in New Hampshire, surpassing the new GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, who garnered 11 percent of the vote, and Herman Cain, who received just 7 percent. The only candidate ahead of Paul is Mitt Romney, who sits comfortably at 40 percent.  
When it comes to the requisite familiarity with crucial issues of domestic and global importance, some are suggesting that the current GOP presidential front-runner might be “faking it.” Particularly in the areas of foreign affairs and domestic security, there are those making compelling arguments that perhaps the former Governor of Massachusetts is out of his league.    
Imagine a world in which Americans weren’t remotely as susceptible to media manipulation as they currently are. Let’s call it “America 2.” In such a world, Americans would be more disposed to “think for themselves,” as we say, to think just a bit critically about the images and sound bites to which they are bombarded daily. The measured skepticism with which they would treat the media, especially its coverage of politics, would cultivate within them intellectual and moral virtues that, in reality, are sorely lacking among a good portion of the electorate. In this possible world, Americans would be far more fortified against intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy than are their counterparts in the real world.  
It has been all the talk on Wisconsin political blogs, talk shows, and editorial pages for the past several months. Now it is official: on November 15 virulent opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially launched a recall drive against him, in what can only be described as a vindictive attempt at political payback for his success at reining in collective bargaining for state employees. But just who Democrats will choose to run against the popular conservative state leader — should they garner the half a million or so needed recall petition signatures — is still up in the air.  
Almost a year ago exactly, yet another drunk-driving illegal alien killed another American citizen. This time, it was Sarasota, Fla., and the vehicular killer will spend 13 years behind bars.  It’s a small price to pay for 26-year-old Daniel Garcia, the blotto border jumper who will be 12 years younger when he emerges from jail than Pamila Yoder, the 51-year-old wife and mother he killed without a moment’s thought of what might happen if he got behind the wheel.  
The first hearing on Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) bill HR 3261, known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), was held Wednesday in Washington by the House Judiciary Committee, which Smith chairs.  The bill was offered back in October by Smith along with 12 cosponsors, including Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) who stated: Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws. This legislation will update the laws to ensure that the economic incentives our Framers enshrined in the Constitution over 220 years ago — to encourage new writings, research, products and services — remain effective in the 21st Century’s global marketplace, which will create more American jobs. The bill will also protect consumers from dangerous counterfeit products, such as fake drugs, automobile parts and infant formula. The bill represents a modification of the Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act, which was reported out of committee last spring but hasn’t yet reached the floor of the Senate for debate.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million between 1999 and 2007 in "consulting" fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Bloomberg News reported November 16, even as Gingrich acknowledged for the first time that he had a larger consulting role than as a staff historian. The figure was more than five times the previously reported amount. Gingrich, asked how he earned some $300,000 in consulting fees with Freddie Mac in a November 9 presidential debate, said his role was to offer advice as an "historian." Moreover, Gingrich denied acting as a lobbyist and claimed to advise the mortgage giant to end their practice of guaranteeing sub-prime mortgages. Freddie Mac and its sister organization, chartered by Congress, fueled the housing bubble in the last decade. "My advice," Gingrich said in that debate, "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible." The Bloomberg report countered Gingrich's debate claims about his dissent from Freddie Mac's policies. "None of the former Freddie Mac officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Gingrich raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Mac’s business model." Gingrich told Bloomberg that he "offered them [Freddie Mac] advice on precisely what they didn’t do," but it's unclear during which stint as a counselor Gingrich offered this advice, if he offered the advice at all. Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac as a consultant from 1999-2002 and 2006-07 and his consulting firm, The Gingrich Group, earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees.
A report published in the New York Times suggests that the Syrian opposition forces are “buoyed” by increasing “international pressure” on the government of President Bashar al Assad to follow in the footsteps of other former middle eastern rulers and step down.  As the story goes, the Arab League, Russia, and Turkey are all being wooed by forces seeking to oust Assad and end his “bloody crackdown” on political protestors.  
Trilateral Commission member Lucas Papademos, an unelected career central banker with decades of experience, is taking over the Greek government after being sworn in as Prime Minister last week. His main priority will be to keep Greece in the crumbling euro-zone he helped erect by raking in more bailout money from European taxpayers.  “Our membership in the euro is a guarantee of monetary stability and creates the right conditions for sustainable growth,” Papademos claimed after rising to power. “Our membership of the euro is the only choice.” Other reforms at the top of his agenda include chipping away at what little remains of national sovereignty in Europe and instituting better Brussels “oversight” of member states. He also hopes to expand the emerging bailout regime — which critics have referred to as a “dictatorship” — by giving it more “firepower.” "Dealing with Greece's problems will be more difficult if Greece is not a member of the euro-zone," Papademos alleged in parliament on November 16. "We must take more radical measures to deal with the crisis which include ... boosting the resources and the flexibility of the [European Financial Stability Facility bailout machine] and creating a stronger framework of economic governance in the euro-zone."
This weekend, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, will premiere at a theater near you.  The quirky fictional romance about an ordinary teenager named Bella Swan, who moves to Forks, Washington and falls for a vampire named Edward Cullen (who looks seventeen but was born in 1901), also features Jacob Black, a shape-shifting teen who can transform himself into a wolf and who loves Bella.  
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