Most job approval polls had President Obama at about 50 percent at the start of 2013, but in a late December Quinnipiac poll, his scores dropped to a record low 38 percent. From his failed effort to tighten federal gun laws after two mass shootings to the disastrous rollout of his signature health care law, last year just wasn’t his year. But will this year be any better?

“It’s never too late to get it right, so the president should finally honor the promise he made to the American people when he said they could keep their health insurance and doctors,” said Dan Holler, communications director for the conservative group Heritage Action for America, referencing Obama’s false claims that led to millions of Americans being outraged when they discovered that despite his promises to the contrary, they could not keep their existing insurance policies. This even earned him PolitiFact’s lie-of-the-year award.

MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews surprisingly even piled on a complaint in a 15-page Republican National Committee release this week that chronicled Obama’s rough 2013. 

“It’s not just a bad year in terms of the rollout. There’s erosion in interest. … It feels like the seventh or eighth year of a presidency. It doesn’t feel like the fifth.”

The release included the IRS scandal that involved agents targeting Tea Party groups, and findings concerning the National Security Agency spying on friendly foreign leaders.

With ObamaCare now in effect, all eyes are looking to see if 7.5 million people truly will sign up for the health care or if one of Obama’s most controversial acts will turn out to be a flop (and things already aren’t looking good, as the HealthCare.gov website continues to malfunction). His 2014 job approval scores will likely depend on those results.

“There’s no spin that will fix things,” said democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Joe Trippi. “It’s now about getting things done. You cannot just say ObamaCare is great. What matters is will 7.5 million people really sign up?”

 Trippi, and countless others, suggest that the president be more transparent about ObamaCare enrollment numbers and release them every two weeks instead of every month “no matter how bad they are.” 

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“Duck Dynasty” is A&E’s biggest hit, but since they suspended Phil Robertson from participation in the show for making comments disparaging homosexuals and questioning whether blacks really had it so bad in the days of segregation and Jim Crow, the network has been receiving a lot of criticism from Robertson’s fans and the status of the show is still up in the air. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren went “On the Record” with entertainment lawyer Steve Olenick to discuss the potential legal battle between A&E and the stars of “Duck Dynasty” and figure out exactly who has the advantage if the matter goes to court.

Fans of Robertson state freedom of speech as a reason he should be allowed to express whatever opinions he’d like, but Olenick believes that the network’s moral contract with the duck-hunting family allows them to fire the stars on the spot if they say or do something A&E doesn’t want to be affiliated with.

“Even though this is a bizarre situation, it’s very simple,” explained Olenick. “A&E’s perspective is, if they have a morals clause that is very broadly drafted — in which it is, because if they want to get rid of him, it’s like an at-will contract, goodbye, Phil, you are fired — versus if there is a reverse morals clause, whereby Phil has a morals clause in his agreement with A&E, that allows him to actually rip up the contract if they do something bad.”

As for the potential threat of whether or not Robertson and his family can just go to another network and continue the show under a different name, Olenick states:

“No, no. [A&E] will hold the intellectual property. Intellectual property will be everything associated with this. So if there is any type of theme, slogan or anything associated with this, they can’t shop it over to someone else and them pick it up. That’s a huge lawsuit waiting to happen.”

As of this morning, an online petition for A&E to reinstate Robertson on the show was just shy of its goal of gathering 250,000 signatures. The #IStandWithPhil petition states that “Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family – a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole.” and asks the network “immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”

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The NCAA was formed as an organization in order to protect players, so it’s not surprising that their recent statement in a wrongful death lawsuit being filed by the family of a former student football player, in which they claim that it’s not their legal duty to physically protect student athletes, is being met with extreme criticism.

The family of former Frostburg State football player Derek Sheely filed a lawsuit two years ago against the NCAA, helmet manufacturer Schutt Sports, and three Frostburg State coaches after Sheely was repeatedly allowed to return to a full-force collision drill between two players, despite bleeding “profusely” from his forehead. Sheely died after suffering a brain injury during practice.

On Wednesday, The Washington TImes, who has been watching the progress of the suit since it was filed, printed the NCAA’s shocking and controversial response to the lawsuit after acquiring the 30-page court document.

“The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes, but affirmatively states that under the NCAA Constitution each member institution is responsible for protecting the health of its student-athletes and that for decades it had provided appropriate information and guidance on concussions to its member institutions.”

The NCAA claims that the institution itself cannot be responsible for injuries on an individual basis, stating that it is up to schools to actually implement the proper precautions and create a safe environment.

What do you think about the NCAA’s statement – are they right to deny responsibility over the safety of student athletes?

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If you’re hoping to get your startup off the ground, the best thing you can do is come up with one great idea. Unfortunately, that’s not quite as easy as it sounds. If you need a little help figuring out how to come up with an idea that will help your business become profitable, just follow these tips!

  • Identify your target customer. Is there a particular customer segment that you already have a relationship with or that you enjoy working with? Start off figuring out which market you’d enjoy working with and selling to, and then come up with an idea that would provide those customers with something they’d value.
  • Find a problem that needs to be solved. People are more likely to buy something they need than something that is simply cool to have. Start out by solving a problem and fulfilling a need that your target customers have.
  • If you need help with that, ask around. Don’t be afraid to go out and ask people what their problems are and what they feel they need to make their lives easier – they may come up with your idea for you! Just pay attention to what people complain about and figure out a way to give them what they’re wanting.
  • Figure out what would make your life easier. Your idea can come from one of your own problems! Figure out what you need in your life; it’ll ensure that you’re addressing a problem you know definitely exists. Think of tasks you find challenging or time consuming and figure out ways to make them easier. Solving your own problem will likely also make you more motivated than solving someone else’s. Just make sure you’re not alone in wanting a particular product.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to come up with some revolutionary new idea… some of the best startups come from a mere improvement on something that already exists, rather than something entirely original. Just find something that people already use, and figure out if you can make it better or cheaper.

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Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners recently set out to find which app US mobile users use most frequently, and their poll of 500 users who activated a mobile phone during the third quarter helped them reach a very resounding answer – Facebook is everyone’s app of choice!

Facebook scored the top spot by a long shot, ranked the top app by 45 percent of the mobile users polled. The second most popular app, Twitter, only came in at 13 percent (just over a fourth of the number one app’s total), followed by Candy Crush at 11 percent.

“Facebook just dominates mobile phones, in terms of most frequent use, not just downloads,” CIRP partner and co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement. “For most other apps, including some well-known ones like YouTube and Pandora, fewer than 10 percent of phone buyers included them among the most frequently used.”

And that’s not all that Facebook has to be proud of – the company also topped the charts as one of the most popular app developers, as the company’s Instagram app landed in fourth place at around 8 percent. Between Facebook and Instagram, the company dominated 54 percent of the “most frequently used” list. Google also fared fairly well overall in the report, with 28 percent of those surveyed citing their properties – YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, and Google Maps – as one of their three most used apps.

 

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