5 Top Stories In 5 Minutes Or Less: December 15th

Australian Refugee Held 17 Hostage, 3 Dead Afterward

A man took a Sydney, Australia café’s patrons captive for 17 hours. Three people were killed including the attacker. Man Haron Monis (50) is from Iran had a history of violence and mental illness. 

Sydney's Hostage Situation. Free Software Foundation; cc 2.0

Sydney’s Hostage Situation. Free Software Foundation; cc 2.0

Although the police considered that Monis might be part of ISIS, he was apparently working solo. He sent hate mail to the families of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. He also participated in his ex-wife’s murder.

It was a terrible situation. It was not formal terrorism.

Buy A Car Online? 

Volvo. Credit: Volvo V70 D5 (III) 3.0

Volvo. Credit: Volvo V70 D5 (III) 3.0

Want a Swedish car owned by a Chinese company? That would be a Volvo. And now you can find a new one online. These are just the latest to jump onto the car net. Of course the electric Tesla started the trend, and then General Motor, Toyota and AutoNation followed.

I kind of like it. Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Aaron Task thinks Volvo’s marketing in a natural choice.

“That’s how millennials want to shop. And it’s the kind of thing you should be able to buy online.”

President Obama’s Legacy Health Care Program A Success 

Obamacare (ACA). Credit: Pete Souza 2.0

Obamacare (ACA). Credit: Pete Souza 2.0

It seems that Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is working after all. People still aren’t thrilled with the national healthcare program. But they are still enrolling in high numbers.

The Republicans haven’t given up repealing it after 50+ votes. Now that they have won both the House and the Senate, the chances of repeal’s success are more likely. However President Obama’s veto looks certain to save his signature program.

The President’s mother died of cancer, and she spent the last months of her life on the phone fighting the insurance companies. That is a pretty noble reason for President Obama to bring out the special Veto pen.

People who want to stay with their current plan did not have to do anything. They are automatically renewed on Jan. 1.

Online Dictionaries Unveil Words Of The Year

Word Of The Year! Credit: PDPics CC0

Word Of The Year! Credit: PDPics CC0

I am already tired of Merriam-Webster’s 2014 word of the year: culture. When I think of the word, I imagine a petri dish with something fuzzy (and nasty) growing in it. Or I think of a woman wearing the native costume of her country. But now culture is used to describe a country, an employer or a hobby. Over and over and over.

Oxford Dictionaries chose “vape” (to e-cigarette) for their word of the year. And Dictionary.com selected “exposure,” primarily after the Ebola scares.

Merriam-Webster chose the word, “nostalgia,” as its runner-up. Why? There are lots of 50-year anniversaries: the Ford Mustang, the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Civil Rights Act. I can get behind that choice. It makes me nostalgic.


Sandy Hook Families Take Rifle Maker To Court

Weapon Of Destruction. Public Domain

Weapon Of Destruction. Public Domain

This time of the year marks the second anniversary of the Newtown elementary school massacre. And nine families who lost someone have decided to sue makers and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle after one killed their loved one.

Their lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence and claims the gun is too powerful for civilian use. Twenty children and six adults were shot and killed that day with a gun that caused “unparalleled civilian carnage.” Good for them.