Dan Abrams’ Websites Today

From Mediaite: The fiscal cliff conversation rages on, and today MSNBC’s Morning Joe weighed in, reports Mediaite, the show “took a baffled look at the progress in fiscal cliff negotiations — or lack thereof. Everyone’s ‘offended’ their base and made some concessions, so why, the roundtable asked, can’t they just get this done? ‘I’m at a loss,’ Joe Scarborough said. Everyone’s ‘sacrificed,’ everyone’s ‘offended their base. So why can’t they get this deal done?’ On that point, Andrea Mitchell agreed, questioning why House Speaker John Boehner is asking his base to vote for something that goes against Republican principles ‘when they know it is a nonstarter’ and won’t pass in the Senate.” Read the full story here.


From Gossip Cop: Last night was the 2012 Miss Universe pageant, and Gossip Cop is reporting on what happened: “Miss USA Olivia Culpo was crowned the 2012 Miss Universe on Wednesday. The 20-year-old beauty queen beat out 88 other contestants, including first runner-up Janine Tugononof the Philippines, to win the highly-coveted title. Culpo takes over the honor from last year’s winner,Leila Lopes of Angola. This year’s judges included such famous faces asScott Disick, Cee Lo Green, reality star and stylistBrad Goreski, Rock of Ages star Diego Boneta, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh and former “America’s Next Top Model” panelist Nigel Barker. The competition, which was held this year at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, was hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic.” Read all the details here.


From Geekosystem: Why do humans have the hands we have? Geekosystem answers, “As humans, one of the things that sets us apart from almost all other species on the planet is our sweet hand design, complete with opposable thumb that lets us do everything from input the Konami code to conduct a symphony. We’re rightly proud of all the classy, technologically savvy things our hand allow us to do, so it’s tempting  to think that they evolved the way they did to allow us access to these higher pursuits. A new study in the Journal of Experimental Biology, though,  suggests that while our hands may have noble ambitions — like playing a violin concerto, throwing a prefect spiral, or looking up cat videos on a tablet computer — the evolution of the appendage was largely shaped by one of its most unpleasant, if historically common, uses — making a fist and using it to whoop the ever-loving hell out of something.” Read more about it here.


From Styleite: Details of London Fashion Week are starting to emerge, and Styleite is reporting two recent impressive additions to the line-up: “For Fall 2013, the once-peripheral destination is adding two big designers to its official schedule: Tom Ford and L’Wren Scott. Now, Ford isn’t exactly a newbie to the city, having shown in London every season since launching his signature line in 2010. But, as WWD reports, this is the first time he has deemed the official calendar worthy of bearing his oh-so-exclusive name. In seasons past, he has invited only a small coterie of buyers and editors to view the collection and enforced a strict ban on photos and social media (which didn’t work as planned), but come February, he will stage his first real runway show… As for Scott, she threw small presentations in New York City for five years before moving the operation to Paris for spring.” Read the whole article here.


From SportsGrid: What’s happening in the NBA? Winning streaks all over the place, says SportsGrid: “The Thunder’s streak, for one. The defending Western Conference champs beat the Hawks last night, 100-92, in Atlanta for their 12th straight win. The biggest reason for that win? Hint: he doubles as the biggest reason the Thunder are now 21-4 on the season, and triples as the biggest reason the team ever developed into a title contender in the first place. That’s right: Kevin Durant. Durant produced one of the best games of what has so far been an MVP-level season last night, with 41 points (18 in the fourth quarter) and 13 rebounds. It’s the 10th time in Durant’s career he’s pulled off a 40/10 double-double.” Read more about what happened last night here.


From The Mary Sue: There’s more news about the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV project, and it’s especially exciting for the geek girl world: “A few weeks back we here at The Mary Sue office were discussing S.H.I.E.L.D.—you know, like you do. “Wait,” the collective Mary Sue hivemind was thinking. ‘It’s supposed to start shooting in January, right? And there are five main characters. But haven’t they only cast four? Aren’t they kind of coming up against a deadline here?’ But lo, now the fifth person has been cast. Nashville‘s Chloe Bennet will be playing Skye, ‘a confident woman who is slightly obsessed with superhero culture and the shadow organizations that exist within it. She’s edgy and can out-talk anyone with her unflappable nature.’Ooooh. Whedon-y.” Read more about the news here.


From The Jane Dough: As 2012 comes to a close, the lists of the year are starting to be made. The Jane Dough’s Meredith Lepore writes on one, “It’s been about a week since Forbes put out a list ranking rich and/or smart people so it was about time they did another one. Yesterday the highly anticipated second annual ’30 Under 30′ list came out. That’s right. These people are not only smart, powerful and possibly very rich but some of them haven’t even hit their late 20′s yet… Women dominated the Art & Style categories (the Olsen twins have taken up permanent residence there with The Row), Hollywood (Lena, Greta, Maude Apatow) and music (Adele, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Kesha) but we also held our own in the finance and law & policy groups. And, according to my calculations, after only seeing two women on the technology pioneers list last year, there are now six! Vast improvement!” Read more about it here.


From The Braiser: Are you a celeb chef wannabe? Are you considering culinary school? The Braiser offers some words of wisdom: “We’re all intimately familiar with that asinine ‘is a college degree really worth the money in today’s economy’ debate… Now formally entering the debate: Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, with her two cents on the value of culinary school versus the expense. She makes the point that for her shy and delicate sensibilities, learning in an environment where she wasn’t getting yelled at, and finding a school where she wouldn’t be required to touch the icky meats was paramount. If you can learn on the job, though, go for it, because you certainly won’t ever earn enough money to pay back your loans from Le Cordon Bleu.” Read more of what she had to say here.