2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
    Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist

    Oscar-winning actress, comedienne and talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg sang the praises of marijuana inhaled through a pocket vaporizer on Thursday as she made her debut as an online pot columnist. In fact, her name is Sippy." wrote Goldberg, 58, about her pocket vaporizer on "The Cannabist," a pot-friendly website run by the Denver Post newspaper in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain state was the second in the United States, after Washington in the Pacific Northwest, to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But in a country where, at the federal level, marijuana is classified as an illegal drug on a par with heroin, Goldberg said Sippy's compact proportions helps maintain discretion.

  • In '1971,' an analog precursor to NSA, Snowden
    In '1971,' an analog precursor to NSA, Snowden

    NEW YORK (AP) — A trove of government documents reveals widespread domestic surveillance of Americans. Leaked revelations hit the front pages of newspapers. A powerful governmental agency is brought under scrutiny.

  • Social Security to resume benefits statement mailings

    By Mark Miller CHICAGO (Reuters) - Paper Social Security benefits statements, which used to be mailed out every year and then fell victim to budget cuts, are going to make a partial comeback. Starting this September, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will resume mailings at five-year intervals to workers who have not signed up to view their statements online, an agency spokesman told Reuters. The statements will be sent to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60, he said, adding the agency would continue to promote use of the online statements. The SSA stopped mailing most paper statements in 2011 in response to budget pressures, and saved the SSA $70 million annually - about 50 cents per mailed statement.

  • Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher
    Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher

    The Nevada rancher’s escalating standoff with the feds raises a worrisome question: Can Americans’ relationship with their government—and each other—be saved?

  • Student fought bureaucrats for Holocaust justice
    Student fought bureaucrats for Holocaust justice

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Charlotte van den Berg was a 20-year-old college student working part-time in Amsterdam's city archives when she and other interns came across a shocking find: letters from Jewish Holocaust survivors complaining that the city was forcing them to pay back taxes and late payment fines on property seized after they were deported to Nazi death camps.

  • 5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus
    5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus

    As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that the Star of Bethlehem (a celestial event long associated with Jesus' birth) may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter occurred in October of 7 B.C. Still others have claimed that Jesus was born in the spring, based on stories about shepherds watching over their flocks in fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.

  • Kroger manager fired after he slams a knife-wielding shoplifter to the ground
    Kroger manager fired after he slams a knife-wielding shoplifter to the ground

    The incident was caught on cellphone video by a customer in the parking lot.

  • California farmers to get more water
    California farmers to get more water

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Drought-stricken California farmers and cities are set to get more water as state and federal officials ease cutbacks due to recent rain and snow, officials announced on Friday.

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