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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann JUMP INTO THE FIRE Obama has 'shocking' lack of empathy for economic struggles

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In a switch, GOP's Michele Bachmann talks of empathy


June 16, 2011
 www.latimes.com
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In her first televised interview since declaring her presidential candidacy, Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of having a “shocking" lack of empathy toward Americans victimized by the struggling economy.

“I talk to people. I care about people,” the Minnesota Republican told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity Wednesday evening. “The president has no understanding of what is happening in real people's lives.”

Coming off a debate performance in New Hampshire earlier this week for which was generally given high marks, Bachmann has edged her way into the  White House conversation. And because of her dual appeal to social and fiscal conservatives, her candidacy, especially in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, is being watched with growing interest.

Bachmann has been highlighting her experience both in the House, as a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and her work as a tax lawyer—perhaps as a means to counter the tendency for many political observers to view her as simply a less bombastic and more disciplined version of Sarah Palin.

But her decision to address Obama’s purported lack of empathy is notable—largely because Bachmann emerged into public notoriety as a vanguard of the slash-and-burn “tea party” movement, which largely took a mistrustful view of government in any context. Moreover, the term “empathy” is one that has long been derided by conservatives.

It’s a sign that she, along with Mitt Romney and her other rivals for the GOP nomination, view the economy, and especially the unemployment rate, as the incumbent’s biggest weakness, and that forging a connection with voters unhappy with the country's direction will be the key to victory.

Toward that end, it's just the beginning of what promises to be a concerted Republican effort to frame Obama in a manner similar to the way George H.W. Bush was brought down by Bill Clinton and Democrats in 1992.

In the interview, Bachmann also called the president “out of touch,” saying “he has no basis of understanding how to deal with the economy.”

Watch the interview here:
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Does This Guy REALLY Scare You: US vows to hunt down, kill new Al-Qaeda leader

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US vows to hunt down, kill new Al-Qaeda leader

 
 June 16, 2011
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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States will seek to hunt down and kill new Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri just as it did his predecessor Osama bin Laden, the top US military officer said Thursday.
"There is not a surprise from my perspective that he's moved into that position," Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told journalists after the Egyptian leader was named the new Al-Qaeda chief.
"He and his organization are still threatening us, and as we did both seek to capture and kill -- and succeed in killing -- bin Laden, we certainly will do the same thing with Zawahiri."


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Internet Daily-Deals Bad Value as Advertising Tool: Study raises red flags over effectiveness

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Study raises red flags about value of daily deal sites

BY DAVID NICKLAUS
post-dispatch.com
June 16, 2011
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Even as Pandora becomes the latest red-hot Internet IPO, investors are looking ahead to an even bigger offering by Groupon. As I mentioned in a recent column, folks are talking about a valuation of $20 billion or more for the big daily-deals website.
Investors might temper their enthusiasm, however, if they read a newstudy by Utpal Dholakia, a professor of management at Rice University. Dholakia, relying on a surveys of nearly 500 businesses that ran daily-deals promotions, says the deals haven't proven their value as an advertising tool. Just 36 percent of customers spent any money beyond the amount of the discounted voucher, and only 20 percent returned to make a full-price purchase at the featured merchant.
By their very nature, daily deal promotions appear to be limited in their abilities to attract free-spending consumers, and to convert deal-users into repeat buyers with the propensity to be relational with, and loyal to, the business afterwards.
Just 48 percent of the businesses said they would run a daily-deal promotion again, which Dholakia reads as a warning sign:
An industry which is able to convert less than half of the customers who try its service into certain second-time buyers is likely to run into trouble finding enough merchants to sustain itself at some point in the not-too-distant future.
He says competition will probably force Groupon and other sites to continue spending heavily on marketing, and may erode the high level of revenue sharing -- up to 50 percent -- that the firms demand from merchants. Dholakia concludes:
Over the next few years, it is likely that daily deal sites will have to settle for lower shares of revenues from businesses compared to their current levels, and it will be harder and more expensive for them to find viable candidates to fill their pipelines of daily deals.
The study looks at promotions run by Groupon, LivingSocial, OpenTable, Travelzoo and BuyWithMe and finds "relatively few points of differentiation" among them. To me, that sounds like reason enough to avoid Groupon's IPO when it comes out at what's likely to be a frothy valuation.

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Missouri Hooters Girl of the Year 2011, Morgan Meyer VIDEO Will Compete in International Swimsuit Competition

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Local Hooters Girl in international swimsuit competition

BY DEB PETERSON
post-dispatch.com
June 16, 2011
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HOOTERS: Hooters Girl of the Year Morgan Meyer of the Maryland Heights restaurant will be among 100 contestants from around the world competing in the 15th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant.
Meyer, 26, will compete for $150,000 in cash and prizes along with the title on June 25 at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami. Meyer is the Hooters Girl of the Year for 2011.
Alexis Aleshire, a spokeswoman for Hooters, said in an e-mail today that Meyer has been a Hooters Girl for more than six years. She started work in Kansas and has been in Maryland Heights for about a year and a half.
The Hooters Girl of the Year award "is given to the top Hooters Girl who is the quintessential Hooters Girl inside and out," Aleshire said. She added that swimsuit pageant contestants advanced to the finals after either winning local and regional contests, or being selected as the top Hooters Girls to represent their city.
The competition will be broadcast on TV at all Hooters around the country — locally at 8 p.m. — the night of the pageant. It will also be on Fuel TV and on SPIKETV on July 22.
Meyer is also featured in the current issue of Hooters Magazine and is in the 2011 Hooters Calendar.
According to Aleshire, Meyer says she also has a "geeky" side and is an avid Star Wars fan who would love to work for NASA as an astronaut. She also volunteers with the Red Cross and the Women's Shelter and Help Center.
Online voting for the Hooters Viewer's Choice winner begins tomorrow at Facebook.com/Hooters.


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High Ridge Mo. Child Killer Charged After Allegedly Trying to Entice Child on Facebook

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BY KIM BELL
post-dispatch.com
June 16, 2011
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HIGH RIDGE • A man convicted of killing a child in the 1970s and later released despite a 150-year prison sentence was charged Thursday with attempted enticement of a child, police said.
Searl Lee Dunn, 65, of the 4900 block of Diamond Drive in High Ridge, was arrested Wednesday by Jefferson County sheriff's officers and St. Louis County police, whose Internet crimes against children investigators are handling the case. Authorities and the child's family say Dunn tried to lure an 11-year-old girl through Facebook messages to meet with him.
Dunn was being held on $250,000 bail.
Officers responded to a home in south St. Louis County on Monday after receiving a complaint that Dunn was sending inappropriate messages to a child using Facebook. Dunn was described as a "trusted family friend" of the child's mother.
In 1978, Dunn was sentenced to 150 years in prison for burning and beating to death 2-year-old Johnnie Bruegge, the son of his girlfriend. Dunn was released from prison in 2005 after serving less than 20 percent of his original sentence.
Dunn's case was profiled in a 2006 Post-Dispatch story about long sentences — and why they don't always mean long prison terms.
Not long after his release from prison, Dunn was charged with two counts of child molestation and one count of sexual misconduct involving a child for allegedly fondling an 11-year-old girl, then exposing himself and rubbing his genitals.
The charges were dropped, but Dunn's parole was revoked — the Missouri Department of Corrections claims it can't say why — and he returned to prison in March 2006. He was paroled again on March 10 of this year.
None of his convictions required him to register as a sex offender, a corrections spokeswoman said.
'UNCLE SEARL'
This time, the charge revolves around Dunn's messages on Facebook to a girl related to a friend.
Kim Moore, 46, is the girl's grandmother. Moore, who works as a registered nurse, explained to the Post-Dispatch how the family teamed up with police to snare Dunn.
Moore's home in Lemay, which she shares with several family members, has three computers. But the children are allowed to only use the computer that is on a foldup table in the kitchen, out in the open. That way, adults can monitor their computer conversations.
"I'm sorry, I'm old school," Moore explains. "I make sure that the computer is right in plain view. There should never be privacy with children and the computer. I tell the kids, 'You only have the rights we give you.' In today's world, you have to be concerned about everything."
Moore knows that Facebook won't let anyone under the age of 13 register for an account. But she said that Facebook has great games and her 11-year-old granddaughter had an account anyway. It's also a way for the girl to keep up with her cousins in West Plains, Mo.
The granddaughter's list of Facebook friends included Dunn and Dunn's wife. The girl had added them to her friends list because the wife is Moore's longtime friend who married Dunn while Dunn was in prison.
Moore said the grandkids called Dunn "Uncle Searl" even though they had only met him briefly twice.
On Monday night, Dunn apparently saw that the girl was online and started sending her instant messages, Moore said. The girl's father walked into the kitchen and saw Dunn was sending messages.
At first, the talk was innocent, Moore said. Dunn asked, "Did you do good in school? I'm glad you did good."
The next thing he asked sent up red flags for the girl's father. Dunn was asking the girl, "Do you have your own computer?"
She said yes — she considers the bulky kitchen computer hers. Moore said the next question from Dunn: "Do people see what you write?"
That's when the girl's father called police. With officers in the house, the girl's mother pretended to be the 11-year-old girl while corresponding back and forth with Dunn.
Moore said Dunn asked the girl's age, what she had done with boys, and if she had ever kissed a boy. He also asked if the girl could keep a secret.
The girl had been moved away from the computer by now, and she didn't see the rest of the conversation, Moore says.
"He got overly perverted and graphic," Moore said. Or, as court documents put it, "the defendant engaged in graphic description of sexual situations an desires."
The police in the house suggested that the girl's mother keep it up.
"They kinda suggested, don't hang up. The more you write, the more evidence we have," Moore said.
Later, police used a computer back at the detective bureau to chat back and forth with Dunn, Moore said. That's when Dunn allegedly tried to get the girl to meet with him, according to court documents.
"He tried to lure her by saying, 'Have your mom drop you off at the Y and we can be alone," Moore said.
Dunn suggested that he would pose as her grandfather and they would go into the family restroom together at the YMCA.
When Dunn asked which YMCA the girl went to, the detectives had to call the family to get the right answer, Moore said. But the detectives typed the street name incorrectly, just as an 11-year-old might.
Police said the family's vigilance made the case possible.
"This was made possible through the fact that the parent took the prudent action of immediately contacting our department and not the suspect," St. Louis County police Chief Tim Fitch said in a statement.
Moore said she told police that they'd better make sure Dunn is punished.
"I told police, 'I've already called Walmart and I can get 550 rounds for a rifle for $18.96. Guess what? If you don't take care of this, I'm going to go buy this,'" Moore said. "I meant that. This man is a vile predator and I would be a hero in some mothers' eyes."
Moore says she feels "kind of dumb" that she never questioned her longtime friend more closely about Dunn's background. The friend, who married Dunn while he was in prison, "minimized the seriousness" of the crime that put him there, Moore said.
"If I had any clue to research him before, I would have done that," Moore says.
Police asked anyone with information about the case, or who has information about any other sexual crime, to call 314-889-2341.
Robert Patrick of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.


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Missouri River Outlook: Manageable but High all Summer, Barring Torrents of Rain within Show Me State

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Missouri River to be high but manageable all summer, barring torrents of rain

BY TIM O'NEIL
post-dispatch.com
June 16, 2011

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ST. LOUIS • The rush of water coming down the Missouri River from swollen reservoirs in the Great Plains will keep the river slightly above flood stage here all summer.
Normally, no big deal. But widespread heavy rainfall is likely to top some of the smaller agricultural levees along the river in eastern Missouri.
That was the picture offered today by the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers during a press conference downtown. It was called in part to calm doomsday fears inspired by television footage of levees breaking in Iowa and northwestern Missouri.
But spokesmen also warned of major flooding if the wide Missouri River basin, or even large areas of the state of Missouri, get heavy rainfall this summer.
On Tuesday, the corps opened the spillways at the Gavins Point Dam, near Yankton, S.D., to five times normal flow because the massive flood-control reservoirs on the upper Missouri are at brimful, compliments of heavy snow melt and record rains across Montana and the Dakotas. Gavins Point is the last of five reservoirs on the river.
The first of that water is expected to reach the St. Charles area late next week. That flow will be enough to keep the river about three feet over flood stage there through the summer.
Normally, it takes about 10 days for water spilling from the Gavins Point Dam to reach the St. Louis area.
"Because of that flow coming down the river, we will be close to flood stage all summer. That's then new normal," said Wes Browning, chief of the local Weather Service office in Weldon Spring. "But if we get much above normal rainfall, or big bursts of rain, there's likely to be trouble."
Browning's "new normal" of three feet over flood stage at St. Charles is considered minor flooding, but is nine to 14 feet above the normal summertime levels on the lower Missouri.
Browning and Col. Tom O'Hara, commander of the corps' St. Louis district, showed reporters maps of the potential flooding on the lower Missouri and Mississippi, depending upon rain-induced flow from the Missouri's many tributaries. The summer forecast suggests a range from three feet over flood at St. Charles to 12 feet over flood stage there.
That higher amount would be only three feet below the crest during the Great Flood of 1993 and would break through most of the agricultural levees from Washington, Mo., downstream. That higher level still would spare Chesterfield Valley, Maryland Heights, Earth City and other major suburban bottomlands protected by high levees.
"With normal, even rainfall, we do not anticipate river elevations that will cause overtoppings of any levees," O'Hara said. "The water from the reservoirs have not produced, and will not produce, overtoppings in the St. Louis area. The driving force for that would be concentrated additional rainfall.
"If we get that much rainfall, we could have issues with some of the levees," O'Hara said.
He said the high water on the Missouri that has broken some levees in Iowa won't have the same effect here because the lower Missouri "has more capacity to absorb that flow."
Browning said the five-day forecast calls for heavy rain in the upper Missouri and upper Mississippi river basins.
"The good news is that we don't have strong signals for abnormal rain this summer in the (Missouri) basin," he said.

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