(And, JIC you thought this earthquake thing wasn't serious:
Electronic Privacy Information Center - The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court that the agency believes it has the legal authority to strip search every air traveler....
The presidential race is barely under way, but already we have had our first Big Thought. I am speaking, of course, of Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that he was driven into serial adultery by hard work and patriotism.
On the heels of their 18-1, Democratic Senator-free vote to roll back collective bargaining rights for thousands of state workers, Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Senate will head to a high-price fundraiser in their honor in DC.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel key players in the Wisconsin GOP will gather at the downtown DC headquarters of lobbying firm BGR Group March 16 for an event that donors "are asked to give at least $1,000 to the state Republican Party's federal account" to attend.
The Wall Street Journal reports that as of February there are 4.4 million people who have been out of work for more than an entire year. We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1930s.
While "peak coffee" may not be the same as peak oil...
And the next time you think about guys playing Wyatt Earp on the city streets (or on your local college campus)...
Concealed Carry on Campus is a national organization of students dedicated to opening up schools to more weaponry. Every spring it holds a national Empty Holster Protest “symbolizing that disarming all law-abiding citizens creates defense-free zones, which are attractive targets for criminals.”
And you thought the youth of America had lost its idealism. Hang your head.
“Police, on average, for every 10 rounds fired, I think, actually strike something once or twice, and they are highly trained,” said Bill Bratton, the former New York City police commissioner.
Jane Briggs-Bunting uses WikiLeaks to support her argument for intervening in Libya.
Rather than ponder, it’s time for action. Gaddafi has murdered his own citizens and is also, if his own officials are to be believed, responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103. Wiki-leaks reports say U.S. and other world diplomats view him as ”mercurial and eccentric” and “volatile.”
OK, here's a quick two-part quiz. Ready?
a) Name one composer, one poet, one actor, and one NBA star who were or are mercurial, eccentric, or volitile.
b) How many of those you named have we bombed?
In testimony to Congress Wednesday, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a startling claim: This year, up to 82 percent of public schools could "fail" the government's "No Child Left Behind" standards.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke...said recently that states could be on the hook for as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension commitments and $600 billion in retiree health benefits.
So is it that they promised to pay these benefits but never really intended to, or that they sorta did intend to but now that it's time to do that they've changed their minds?
“Why did we bother building a stealth bomber” if not to use it to take out Libyan air defenses in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, asks Michael Knights, Lafer fellow in the Military and Security Studies Program at the The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Nice to have that finally explained. And here's one from Michael Singh, former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council under the Dubya administration:
“There are risks with a no-fly zone, and the chance that it could bring the conflict to an earlier close,” says Singh.
“This is why military decisions are hard," he adds. "If they came with a guarantee of military victory, there would be no question about what to do.”
If you know you're going to win you can beat up anybody you want to. That's how a bully thinks.
A drug for high-risk pregnant women has cost about $10 to $20 per injection. Next week, the price shoots up to $1,500 a dose, meaning the total cost during a pregnancy could be as much as $30,000.
The Texas congressman who warned the nation about the danger of "terror babies" hasn't given up on his theory....
According to his theory, pregnant women would come to the U.S. to have babies that are born as American citizens. Then, as an adult, those "terror teenagers" would be able to return to the U.S. with American passports and stage attacks.
A man called 911 to say there was a burglary in progress and he wanted police to come protect him. The caller, however, was the alleged intruder.
Timothy James Chapek, 24, had allegedly broken into a home in Portland, Ore., and was taking a shower in the house when the woman who lived there returned...
The problem is that there is no easy way to quantify how much total energy we consume. Fortunately, there’s a great model already in widespread use: the nutritional information that appears on the back of every food product. Why not create the same sort of system for energy?
WASHINGTON — Establishing a no-fly zone over Libya could ensnare US forces in another long-term engagement, Senator Scott Brown warned yesterday...
We are, however, in accord with Mr. Brown on this. We feel the same way about Libya as we felt about Iraq—getting involved would be very, very dumb. And yes, I know. But still. It would be dumb.
We noticed this little feature piece in this morning's Trib mostly because it involves a place we used to live: St. Joseph, MI. St. Joe does have it's charm, but picturing it as a vacation spot in the month of March requires an active imagination, something we were willing to make allowances for as we read until we came upon this passage...
We arrived just in time for the Magical Ice Carving Festival...
State Street, home to most of the sculptures, is closed to vehicle traffic during the fest, which made for a Dickensian scene of hot chocolate-sipping children, hand-holding couples and the occasional group of tweens chatting in the cool air and darting in and out of the street's delightful mix of shops.
Dickensian? Are you kidding me? Dickens with hot chocolate and "tweens?"
Maybe I'll just go back to bed.
Charlie Sheen outranks Obama and Lady Gaga in social media
Snow and ice, then rain
Reuters - The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that drug companies can pay rivals to delay production of generic drugs without violating federal antitrust laws.
NEW YORK - In a New York courtroom yesterday, oil giant Chevron Corp. won a halt to enforcement of an $18 billion judgment for oil pollution of the Ecuadorian Amazon imposed by a court in Ecuador.
Granting Chevron's request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in Manhattan that Chevron faced "imminent" and "irreparable" harm to its reputation and business relationships.
...no, you will never get a deal like this for yourself.
President Obama signed an executive order Monday that will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who continue to pose a significant threat to national security. The administration also said it will start new military commission trials for detainees there.
Romney is facing a conundrum: What should he do about RomneyCare? Here's what he came up with.
"Our experiment wasn't perfect – some things worked, some didn't, and some things I'd change," Romney acknowledged in speaking to conservative activists at the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner in Bartlett, N.H.
“Our approach was a state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts,” he said. “What we did there as Republicans and Democrats was what the Constitution intended for states to do – we were one of the laboratories of democracy.”
House Speaker John Boehner routinely offers this diagnosis of the U.S.’s fiscal condition: “We’re broke; Broke going on bankrupt,” he said in a Feb. 28 speech in Nashville.
...It is a widely shared view with just one flaw: It’s wrong.
“The U.S. government is not broke,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. “There’s no evidence that the market is treating the U.S. government like it’s broke.”
Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi....
[Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas is very unlikely to be prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned for the simple reason that, in the United States in 2011, we have a two-tiered system of laws. As Glenn Greenwald explains in his forthcoming book With Liberty and Justice for Some, despite living in a country with an unusually harsh criminal code that has created by far the biggest prison population in the world, our political and financial elites operate with something approaching complete impunity, safe in the knowledge that demands they be subjected to the same laws as everybody else will be ignored.
An unattributed anecdote forwarded by a certain M:
During a recent password audit by Microsoft & Google, it was found that a blonde was using the following password:
When asked why she had such a long password, she said she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital.And that, people, is a very good password!
Mike Huckabee wants you to know that he wasn’t criticizing actress and single person Natalie Portman when he suggested in a media interview that her pregnancy was glamorizing the idea of having children outside of marriage.
This bus tour of Walker supporters driving around rallying people to cheer for screwing over their friends and neighbors is turning into the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.
First pro-union ralliers turned out in that notorious bastion of vegan dinners and group sex known as ... Sheboygan.
Thinking of Sheboygan in the same sentence as—or even the same century as—vegan dinners cracks me up. Group sex maybe, but vegan dinners in the bratwurst capital of the entire planet? I think not.
... it is watching Mitt Romney try to squirm out of Romneycare.
BARTLETT, N.H.—Mitt Romney repeatedly called for the repeal of “Obamacare” in a Saturday night speech to New Hampshire Republicans, even as the former Massachusetts governor admitted his own state’s health care program “wasn’t perfect.”
“Some things worked, some things didn’t, and some things I’d change,” he said of the Massachusetts plan he authored, without offering specifics.
Maybe this is just what happens when you get too much sun (and we are in no danger of it happening here today)
Arizona’s Republican/Tea Party Senate is a semi-functioning real-life parody of Bloodsoaked Idiot America. This is the legislative body that responded to the awful gun slaughter of state politicians and citizens in Tucson by creating an Official Handgun of the State of Arizona. And now the same group of hate-filled dingbats has passed a bill legalizing loaded guns at all public events. Now every day can be a Safeway slaughter like the one that killed six people and wounded another thirteen for simply taking going grocery shopping and stopping for a moment to say hello to their congressional representative.
Just over one month ago, the Senate largely abandoned a plan to ambitiously reform the Senate rules after the GOP agreed to a “handshake deal” which would curb the unprecedented spike in filibusters since the GOP lost control of the Senate. Rather than uphold their side of the bargain, eight Republican senators have now promised to take their obstructionism to unprecedented heights.
The Providence school board just eviscerated the union contract so they can fire the most experienced (and most expensive) teachers at the end of the school year — instead of laying them off....
On the one hand the D's (or at least the Obama) saying we need better education for the kiddies if we want to keep up with the rest of the world, and on the other hand the R's saying we need to fire all the teachers and get fewer, cheaper ones. Many of these R's, by the way, are the exact same R's who only a couple of years ago were insisting the only way to get good people on Wall Street was to pay them more money, not less, but never mind. We don't expect the R's to make sense any more.
We don't have very high standards for D's either, but that's another thing. The D's are at least mostly about building things. The R's are mostly about tearing things apart, which is easier.
With the economy tanking, upscale hotels are taking advantage of the daytime hours by offering tourists a place to rest, wait, prepare or snuggle.
Snuggle? What? They don't have cabs in Manhattan any more? Baby, if you've never snuggled in the back seat of a cab you've never snuggled at all. Also while you're snuggling you can get somewhere.
Judges, lawmakers, lawyers and housing experts are raising piercing questions about MERS, which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, whose private mortgage registry has all but replaced the nation’s public land ownership records. Most questions boil down to this:
How can MERS claim title to those mortgages, and foreclose on homeowners, when it has not invested a dollar in a single loan?
And, more fundamentally: Given the evidence that many banks have cut corners and made colossal foreclosure mistakes, does anyone know who owns what or owes what to whom anymore?