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Stories for December 20, 2012

House GOP Puts Off Vote On Boehner's 'Plan B'

Dec. 20
Associated Press
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Unable to round up enough support, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.

San Diego Kaiser Hospital Fined For Removing Wrong Kidney

Dec. 20
City News Service
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A San Diego hospital was among 10 medical centers across the state that were assessed administrative penalties today for actions that caused, or could have caused, serious injury or death to patients.

Customers Won't Pay SDG&E Wildfire Losses -- For Now

Dec. 20
By Amita Sharma
1 Comment
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State regulators left the door open for the utility to try yet again to recoup those expenses from ratepayers.

Navy SEAL Team 6 Hosts Saturday Night Live (Not Really)

Dec. 20
By Beth Ford Roth
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Trusted news source "The Onion" reported today that when Navy SEAL Team 6 hosted Saturday Night Live, it prompted some of the highest ratings in the show's history.

Immigration Reform Before Border Control, Experts Say

Dec. 20
Ted Robbins / NPR
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Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size -- growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents.

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Dec. 20
Lauren Sommer / NPR
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The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

Did Marine Standing Guard At Elementary School Lie About His Service?

Dec. 20
By Beth Ford Roth
1 Comment
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Turns out the Marine "sergeant" who decided to stand guard out front of a California elementary school hyped his credentials. Craig Pusley claimed to have been a combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan and a Marine reservist, but Pusley served just eight months in the Corps, never left MCRD San Diego, and was never deployed.

Memorial Honors Indian Sitar Virtuoso Ravi Shankar

Dec. 20
City News Service
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A public memorial service was held this morning in Encinitas for Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar virtuoso who died in San Diego last week at the age of 92.

NOVA: Doomsday Volcanoes

Dec. 20
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NOVA: Doomsday Volcanoes Tease photo

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 turned much of the northern hemisphere into an ash-strewn no-fly zone. But Eyjafjallajökull was just the start. Katla, an Icelandic volcano 10 times bigger, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences will be global. Meet scientists trying to understand those consequences — for air travel and for the global food supply and Earth’s climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the coming disaster?

Cory Booker Eyes (Chris Christie-Free) Path To His Political Future

Dec. 20
Frank James / NPR
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Here was the choice facing Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Run next year against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity would have made the Republican exceedingly difficult to beat, or fix his gaze on the Senate seat now occupied by 88-year old fellow Democrat, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who (according to certainpolls) is seen by many voters as too old for re-election in 2014.

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

Dec. 20
NPR
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"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

Why Are San Diego State Researchers Counting Bicyclists?

Dec. 20
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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San Diego is banking on bikes to help us cut our carbon footprint -- but we don't really know how many people ride bikes where. That's all about to change.

Guns For Gift Cards Exchange Enters Its Fifth Year

Dec. 20
By Katie Orr
3 Comments
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Community leaders in Southeast San Diego are hoping free gift cards will entice people to turn in their guns. The guns for gift cards exchange takes place tomorrow.

Weekend Preview: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Dec. 20
Midday Edition
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It's never too early to start planning for New Year's Eve ... and there are plenty of parties and events to choose from throughout San Diego.

At Benghazi Hearing, Sen. Kerry Urges More Diplomatic Resources

Dec. 20
Greg Myre / NPR
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Sen. John Kerry is considered the leading candidate to become the next secretary of state, and that gave added weight to his remarks Thursday as he oversaw testimony on the most volatile foreign policy issue in recent months: the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.

San Diego Cooks: Orange Stuffing

Dec. 20
By Deanna Mackey
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I didn’t know stuffing was “supposed” to be brown until I was 8-or 9 years-old and realized the bready, lumpy dish on my paternal grandmother’s Christmas table was ALSO stuffing. I say “also” because until that point, to me, stuffing had only been one color…an earthy shade of orange.

ESPN Helps U.S. Military Analyze Drone Video

Dec. 20
By Beth Ford Roth
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If you're anything like me, when you hear the letters "ESPN" you think bad puns, frat-boy humor, and athlete glorification. But military helper-outer? No way, right? Yes way.

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

Dec. 20
Mark Memmott / NPR
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The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

Former Marine: I Burned Ohio Mosque To Avenge US Troops

Dec. 20
John Seewer - The Associated Press
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A former Marine from Indiana admitted Wednesday that he broke into a mosque in Ohio and set fire to a prayer rug because he wanted revenge for the killings of American troops overseas. Randy Linn pleaded guilty to hate crime charges, saying he'd become enraged after seeing images of wounded soldiers in the news.

Maya Expert: The 'End Of Times' Is Our Idea, Not The Ancients'

Dec. 20
Bill Chappell, NPR
1 Comment
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"The Maya never, ever, said anything about the world ending at any time — much less, this year," says an archaeologist who helped translate the ancient culture's hieroglyphs. Still, David Stuart says, he often gets emails from people who want more details about the end of days.

For Boat Captain, Rescuing Maritime Smugglers Is Part Of The Job

Dec. 20
By Jill Replogle
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In recent years, authorities in Southern California have been confronting a rise in maritime smuggling of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico. In December, the stakes were suddenly raised when a U.S. Coast Guard member was killed during a confrontation with suspected smugglers. But law enforcement agents aren't the only ones at risk.

San Diego County's Evolving Water Supply

Dec. 20
By Erik Anderson
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Geologists and San Diego water managers are hoping to tap into an ancient underground river that might run under the ecologically delicate San Elijo Lagoon.

Key State Commissioner Reverses Himself, Urges Customers Pay For SDG&E's '07 Fire Costs

Dec. 20
By Amita Sharma
7 Comments
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In an about-face, a state regulator recommended late yesterday that customers pick up the tab for San Diego Gas & Electric's uninsured costs for the 2007 wildfires.