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13 Freaky Facts About Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th
© Anneka | Shutterstock
Are you superstitious? Plan to stay in tonight?
Does Friday the 13th freak you out? If so, hold on to your rabbit's foot extra tight, because there are three of these supposedly unlucky dates in 2012, though perhaps luckily, this Friday (July 13) is the last of them. Though, there's always some fear to be had next year, 2013.

Read on for 13 strange facts about this day of superstition.

1. This year is a special one for Friday the 13ths: There are three of them: Jan. 13, April 13 and July 13. The freaky thing? The dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart. That hasn't happened since 1984.

2. If that scares you, you may have paraskavedekatriaphobia (also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia). Those are the scientific terms for fear of Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

3. It's not clear when or why Friday the 13th became associated with bad luck. The association may be biblical, given that the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus. His crucifixion was the next day, apparently a Friday. Or maybe 13 suffers from coming after the more-pleasing number 12, which gets to number the months, the days of Christmas and even the eggs in a dozen. (There are also 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Jesus.)

4. Whatever the reason, fear of 13 has spread far and wide: Hotels and hospitals often skip the 13th floor, and even airports quietly omit gate 13 sometimes.

5. The next year in which we'll have three Friday the 13ths is 2015. They'll fall in February, March and November.

Propaganda

Mainstream media in decline as they lose Americans trust

When it comes to Americans having trust in the mainstream media, the numbers don't lie. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 21 percent of Americans have confidence in television News. The decrease in viewership has become an alarming trend.


Bomb

Detroit-Windsor Tunnel reopens after bomb threat

Image
© Paul Sancya/AP
Authorities meet during a investigation of a bomb threat at the Detroit Windsor Tunnel Thursday, July 12, 2012.
An international commuter tunnel connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, was closed for nearly four hours Thursday after a bomb threat was phoned in on the Canadian side. No explosives were found.

The Detroit Windsor Tunnel, a busy border crossing beneath the Detroit River, was shut down after a duty free shop employee on the tunnel's Canadian plaza reported receiving a call about a bomb threat shortly after 12:30 p.m.

The tunnel was eventually closed and traffic on both sides of the river was directed to the nearby Ambassador Bridge, which spans the river, tunnel executive vice president Carolyn Brown said.

Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Detroit police and other agencies flooded the plaza and entrance on the tunnel's American side.

Bomb-sniffing dogs from a number of federal and local agencies were called in, said Donald E. Johnson, head of Homeland Security for Detroit police.

Hourglass

More U.S. Cities Going Bankrupt Indicate Nation's Future

Stockton City Hall
© Getty Images
Washington can print money to forestall national collapse. States can leech off that currency stream. But for some cities, that have no such rabbits in their hats, the collapse is happening now.

When selecting a setting for his nbc sitcom The Office, Executive Producer Greg Daniels decided on Scranton, Pennsylvania, in part because the city is typical. The Emmy-winning show wanted to ridicule American corporate life, and needed a typical American city to let the mockery happen in. Scranton embraced The Office, and has enjoyed nationwide recognition as a result of the hit show's setting. But now, the former coal town is making headlines for a very different reason.

Last Friday, the city of Scranton sent out paychecks to its employees, as it does every two weeks. But these checks were for amounts significantly smaller than usual because Mayor Chris Doherty reduced all city employees' pay - including his own - to the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

After sending out Friday's checks, Scranton had only $5,000 left in the bank and still owed its 400 employees almost $1 million.

Arrow Down

Confidence in organized religion hits all-time low

Image
© gallup.com

Americans' confidence in religious institutions has hit an all-time low, with only 44 percent expressing a "great deal" of confidence in organized religion, according to a new Gallup survey.

This follows a downward trend since the 1970s, when 68 percent of Americans had a high degree of confidence.

Gallup cites two big blows to confidence in organized religion: 1980s scandals involving televangelists like Jim Bakker and the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the 2000s.

Perhaps as an outgrowth of the abuse scandal, Catholics lag far behind Protestants in their confidence in the church, by a margin of 10 percentage points.

Cowboy Hat

Jesus Supports the Second Amendment?

bible gun
American Family Association Executive Director and radio host Bryan Fischer was discussing the NRA's latest conspiracy theory, yesterday, about how the United Nations is supposedly plotting to take away guns and destroy American's Second Amendment rights though the Arms Trade Treaty.

During the discussion, Fischer claimed that Jesus preached the right to self-defense and therefore his teaching is "virtually the foundation of the Second Amendment."

Fischer said: "The Second Amendment is very important to us. Jesus, his teaching [is] virtually the foundation of the Second Amendment because, remember, one time he told his disciples 'look, the time is going to come when you're going to need a sword, if you don't have a sword, sell everything you've got and buy one, you're going to need one for your own protection.' So Jesus [was] legitimizing the use of the right of self-defense, endorsing the right of self-defense, and that's what is enshrined in the Second Amendment."

Heart - Black

Psychopaths in Action: Report says Joe Paterno and other Penn State leaders 'repeatedly concealed critical facts' and showed 'total disregard' to Sandusky's sex abuse victims

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© AP
From beyond the grave: Joe Paterno died in January and a letter that he wrote about the role of the sex abuse scandal is has been circulated among former players and students in recent days
Penn State's internal investigation into the Jerry Sandusky scandal found that top University officials including the long-beloved football coach Joe Paterno 'repeatedly concealed critical facts' about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys.

A team of investigators, led by former federal judge and FBI director Louis Freeh, interviewed hundreds of people to learn how the university responded to warning signs that its once revered former defensive coordinator - a man who helped Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno win two national titles while touting 'success with honor' - was a serial child molester.

Mr Freeh said that the men showed 'total disregard' for Sandusky's victims, and treated them in a 'callous' way.

'The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest,' Mr Freeh said in a statement as the report was released.

Newspaper

Some lose homes over as little as $400

Washington (AP) - The elderly and other vulnerable homeowners are losing their homes because they owe as little as a few hundred dollars in back taxes, according to a report from a consumer group.

Outdated state laws allow big banks and other investors to reap windfall profits by buying the houses for a pittance and reselling them, the National Consumer Law Center said in a report being released Tuesday.

Local governments can seize and sell a home if the owner falls behind on property taxes and fees. The process helps governments make ends meet at a time when low property values and the weak economy are squeezing tax revenue.

Briefcase

Socialite dumps US passport and most taxes too

Image
© Danny Moloshok / Reuters
Songwriter Denise Rich.
Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich, has given up her U.S. citizenship - and, with it, much of her U.S. tax bill.

Rich, 68, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and glossy figure in Democratic and European royalty circles, renounced her American passport in November, according to her lawyer.

Her maiden name, Denise Eisenberg, appeared in the Federal Register on April 30 in a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. citizenship and permanent residents who handed in their green cards.

By dumping her U.S. passport, Rich likely will save tens of millions of dollars or more in U.S. taxes over the long haul, tax lawyers say.

Rich, who wrote songs recorded by Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and Jessica Simpson, is the latest bold-faced name to join a wave of wealthy people renouncing their American citizenship. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin gave up his U.S. passport to become a citizen of Singapore, an offshore tax haven, before the company's initial public offering in May.

Nearly 1,800 citizens and permanent residents, a record since data was first compiled in 1998, expatriated last year, according to government figures.

Rich, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, has Austrian citizenship through her deceased father, said Michael Heidt, a lawyer in Hollywood, Florida, who represented her in a recent lawsuit.

He said Rich had dumped her U.S. passport "so that she can be closer to her family and to Peter Cervinka, her long-time partner." Rich's two daughters live in London; Cervinka, a wealthy property developer, is an Austrian national. Rich plans to make London her main residence and does not intend to acquire other passports, Heidt said.

Arrow Down

Man Holds on to Car Bonnet for 2km in Road Attack


A family endured a terrifying road rage ordeal after a man jumped on to the bonnet of their car and hung on for 2km.

The man abandoned his white ute and clung on to a family's red Kia SUV after allegedly being cut off.

As he grabbed on to the car he yelled at the driver: "Do what you want, you black person."

The family caught the dramatic footage on their iPhone on Saturday around 12.40pm in Dandenong.

The SUV driver, Krish Kalli, 34, said he thought his life was in danger.

"He asked me to come out from my car door, so when I get out what's going to happen," Mr Kalli told Nine News.

The family drove their car to Dandenong police station with the Beaconsfield man clinging on.

The terrified family is heard on the phone to 000 saying: "He's on the front of my bullbar now...he doesn't want to get away".

Mr Kalli said that he feared for his family.

"I can't get out after him, he will attack me. No guarantee for my life," he said.

"Who is going to look after my family? No one."

The incident happened at the intersection of Webster St and Princes Highway.

A police spokeswoman said both parties were interviewed and that no one was injured.