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'Twelve Days of Christmas' for TSA screeners as they confiscate two machetes, six grenades, and 23 loaded guns in last week of holiday travel

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© TSA
TSA baggage screeners found the grenades while X-raying a woman's checked luggage

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© blog.tsa.gov
Shoe bomb: A 6th inert grenade was found stuffed in a sock and then stuffed in shoe at the Greenville South Carolina airport
Five grenades were discovered inside a Newark Liberty Airport passenger's bag Saturday but that was just the start of the security administration's surprising list.

The grenades were found to be 'inert,' by the Transportation Security Administration, carried by a Belgium-bound woman who surrendered her items, according to TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein to the Associated Press.

A sixth grenade, found bundled in a sock that was stuffed in a shoe, was also discovered in a South Carolina airport and was mutually inert, according to a report by TSA Social Media Analyst Bob Burns.

Briefcase

US, New Jersey: Disarmed Grenades Found in Woman's Luggage at Newark Airport

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© TSA
TSA baggage screeners found the grenades while X-raying a woman's checked luggage
Authorities at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey discovered five disarmed grenades in the luggage of a woman seeking to board a flight to Belgium, the Transportation Security Administration said on Monday.

The TSA said baggage screeners had found the grenades while X-raying the woman's checked luggage on Saturday.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the woman, who has not been named, surrendered the items to authorities without incident and was then allowed to board the flight. Farbstein did not say why the woman was carrying the grenades.

Port Authority Police has law enforcement authority over the airport and said on Monday they were not called in for the incident.

Gift

US: Woman Accused Of Leaving Dead Friend's Body Under Christmas Presents

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© York County Police
Mug shot of Patty White.
Police say a York County woman admitted to killing a 67-year-old family friend in Florida and leaving the woman's body underneath a pile of Christmas presents in her own home.

Patty White, 40, has been arrested for allegedly killing 67-year-old Michele O'Dowd in her Jacksonville home Friday. Jacksonville police indicated to CBS Charlotte that while no charges have been filed to this point, the case against White will be a homicide case.

Jacksonville police said White stole two of O'Dowd's charge cards following her death, attempting to take money out of her account from at least two area ATMs. Police added that O'Dowd let White, a family friend, stay with her when she fell on difficult times.

Che Guevara

Thousands protests against Putin after Russia vote

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© Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
A participant shouts during an opposition protest in central Moscow December 5, 2011.
Several thousand people protested in central Moscow on Monday against what they said was a fraudulent parliamentary election, shouting "Revolution!" and calling for an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule.

The protest, a day after an election in which Russians sharply reduced the parliamentary majority held by Putin's United Russia party, appeared to be one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in Russia in years.

Potesters initially gathered in the rain on a tree-lined boulevard where they had permission for a rally. They denounced the vote as shameful and shouted "Russia without Putin!"

Mail

US: Postal Service Confirms Cuts That Will Slow Mail Down


If you still mail a check to pay your bills, it's going to take longer for them to get where they're going starting in January.

As CBS 2's Susanna Song reports, the U.S. Postal Service on Monday morning announced major budget and service cuts.

As a result of the $3 billion in cuts, first-class mail that used to take just one day to deliver will now take two to three days. Stamps will also rise in cost by 1 cent to 45 cents, starting next month.

Laptop

US, Virginia: Family horrified by dead mother's emails


The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy. But in Stafford County, one family is suffering through tears, anger and pain. They've been hammered by a barrage emails from their dead mother's account.

They cannot make it stop. Every other day another email from the hacker hit's them. "Male enhancement!" "Work at home!" "Cheap Viagra!" -- all from their dead mother's account -- and each a reminder of the pain of losing her.

The emails started about two months ago, almost two years to the day after Cassie Woods' mom died of nearly untreatable scleroderma. Woods' heard a beep on her phone in September and looked down and saw it was from her mom's email account. "My mom was my best friend," she says through tears.

Take 2

US: Ron Paul Runs Edgy New Ad in Iowa and New Hampshire

Des Moines, Iowa - Ron Paul's presidential campaign released a comparatively edgy new ad Monday that will air on local and cable networks across Iowa and New Hampshire. The spot touts Paul's call to cut a trillion dollars from federal budget in his first year in office.

Played over a rock track, a man's voice in the 30-second spot asks, "What's up with these sorry politicians? Lots of bark, but when it's showtime, whimpering like little Shih Tzu's. You want big cuts? Ron Paul's been screaming it for years. Budget crisis? No problem. Cut a trillion bucks year one."

It's a far cry from the other campaigns' ads, which have taken more careful, traditional approaches in the early states.

Paul placed second in the latest Des Moines Register poll of likely Republican Iowa caucus goers, and could be poised for a strong showing in the state's Jan. 3 caucus vote.


Comment: This is NOT a campaign endorsement.


Die

When an Adult Took Standardized Tests Forced on Kids

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© Unknown
A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state's high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he'd make his scores public.

By any reasonable measure, my friend is a success. His now-grown kids are well-educated. He has a big house in a good part of town. Paid-for condo in the Caribbean. Influential friends. Lots of frequent flyer miles. Enough time of his own to give serious attention to his school board responsibilities. The margins of his electoral wins and his good relationships with administrators and teachers testify to his openness to dialogue and willingness to listen.

He called me the morning he took the test to say he was sure he hadn't done well, but had to wait for the results. A couple of days ago, realizing that local school board members don't seem to be playing much of a role in the current "reform" brouhaha, I asked him what he now thought about the tests he'd taken.

"I won't beat around the bush," he wrote in an email. "The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that's a "D", and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.

Wine

US: FAA head Randy Babbitt placed on leave after drunk driving arrest in Fairfax

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© Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Jerome Randolph “Randy” Babbitt
The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is on administrative leave after being charged with drunk driving Saturday night by Fairfax City police, according to the Department of Transportation.

FAA Administrator, 65, was arrested after being spotted driving on the wrong side of Old Lee Highway, according to the arresting officer.

Babbitt requested the leave and DOT officials are in discussions with legal counsel about Babbitt's employment status, according to an agency statement. Neither the White House nor the Department of Transportation learned of Babbitt's arrest until Monday afternoon, administration officials said.

Police pulled him over in the 3900 block of Old Lee Highway, about nine miles from his home in Reston at about 10:30 p.m. He was driving alone and cooperated with police, authorities said. Babbitt, 65, was taken to the adult detention center, where he was charged before being released on his own recognizance.

Bacon

US: Dine-and-Dashers Now Targeting Free Hotel Breakfasts

Buffet
© Minyanville
Complimentary, shomplimentary!

In what may be described as the least inspired act of urban foraging or a depressing manifestation of our country's current economic crisis, hungry people are heading to the hotel buffet -- not from their guest rooms, but from off the street. It's happening so often at a Hampton Inn location in Miami, Florida that the front desk staff is being forced patrol the breakfast bar, looking for freeloaders sidling up for bagels and cream cheese alongside paying customers.

While there isn't a written rule for how this particular hotel franchise takes a bite out of the crime, front desk clerk Alfonso Tobenas opts to let the riff raff slide on the first offense. It's not until they go back for seconds and thirds that the suspects are asked for their room number.

"It is what it is, bro, times are tough and they're hungry," Tobenas says. "They're just trying to beat the system and save a buck. The first time you're going to get away with it, the second and third time I'm going to ask you to leave."

Continental hotel breakfast thievery may be much less bang for your proverbial buck than crashing, say, a wedding. But on the plus side, it also saves you the tuxedo rental fee.

However, it's precisely the freeloaders' casual manner of dress -- along with their local accents -- that's giving them away. The way New Yorkers can spot tourists a mile away, so apparently can Tobenas suss out the locals from his vacationing clientele. He even begins to recognize many as regulars on rotation from other area hotel buffets.

So, who are these gastronomical guerillas and why do they do it?