Paul Krugman: Money Makes Crazy (NY Times)
Monetary policy madness is pervasive in today's Republican Party.
Things Everybody Does But Doesn't Talk About, Featuring President Obama (BuzzFeed)
How did we get Obama to use a selfie stick? Oh, because he wants you to go to https://www.healthcare.gov.
Get Healthcare coverage for 2015
Evan Hurst: Aaron Schock Spending Tax Moneys On Hot Male Personal Photographer. Totally Normal (Wonkette)
My goodness, America's Top Heterosexual Congresscritter is in the news so much lately! We've gone from Not Gay Downton Abbey office to gayest ethics complaint ever to racist spokesgoon having to resign for being racist spokesgoon, all in the space of a week, and apparently Aaron is not done Shaking It Off, because here comes more!
Jeremy Gerard: "Alfred Hitchcock's Shelved Holocaust Documentary Cannot Be Denied: Review" (Deadline)
In April 1945, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force ordered that footage shot by combat and newsreel cameramen during the liberation of Occupied Europe be aggregated into a documentary film that would be shown to the German prisoners of war as irrefutable proof of what had occurred under the Nazi regime.
Zachary Frey: 5 Tiny Acts of Incompetence That Caused Massive Disasters (Cracked)
You screwed up at work. That's OK: Some lady got the wrong latte, or a form was misfiled, or maybe you masturbated the wrong horse to completion. It's not a big deal. It's not like your little workplace faux pas is a major disaster. You didn't have an off day on the job and cause a financial collapse or commit a war crime or something. Not like these people ...
Diana Cook: 4 Insane Pop Culture Obsessions People Turned Into Cool Jobs (Cracked)
"Do what you love, love what you do." According to the Pollyannas parroting that bit of tripe, it is just that easy. However, if success was just a matter of doing what you love, we'd have an overabundance of professional doughnut-tasters and mattress-testers.
Katherine Trandacosta: Why Are All The Best [Fictional] Spies British? (io9)
Kingsman: The Secret Service comes out this week, the latest in a long line of spy fiction featuring British secret agents. And that brings to mind the question of why so many of our most famous fictional spies are British.
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Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and set another record high - third day running.
Al Jazeera Journalists Released On Bail
On his first day out of a Cairo prison, Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy returned Friday to the site of his arrest.
Fahmy's release on bail after more than a year behind bars wasn't expected until Saturday, but in an unexpected move authorities chose to let the 40-year-old walk out of a local police station in the early hours of Friday morning, his family said.
Hours later, Fahmy tweeted a photo of himself and his fiancee, saying they were sitting on a patio at the Cairo Marriott Hotel, where he and two colleagues were arrested in December 2013 while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.
Fahmy's Egyptian co-worker, Baher Mohamed, was also freed on bail. His wife said Mohamed arrived home around 7 a.m. local time.
Auctioning 'American Pie' Manuscript
Christie's announced Friday that singer-songwriter Don McLean is selling his manuscript and notes to "American Pie," the wistful anthem that asked, "Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?"
The auction house says McLean is selling 16 pages that include the original working manuscript and typed drafts of the song.
Christie's is estimating that "American Pie" will sell for $1 million to $1.5 million when it is auctioned April 7 in New York.
The eight-minute-long "American Pie" was released in 1971. It was a No. 1 U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972.
Israel freed on Friday a 14-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl, whose jailing six weeks ago for planning to attack Israelis became a focus for anger over the arrest of children in the occupied territories.
An AFP photographer in the West Bank town of Tulkarem said Malak al-Khatib was released there and greeted by her parents, relatives and the mayor, before being taken home to Beitin village, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) away.
Malak was arrested on her way home from school on December 31, and a military court subsequently jailed her for two months.
According to the indictment she had "picked up a stone" to throw at cars on a road used by Israeli settlers near the village and was also in possession of a knife for stabbing security personnel if she were arrested.
Israel arrests about 1,000 children every year in the West Bank, often on charges of stone-throwing, according to rights group Defence for Children International Palestine.
A "perfect" 100-carat diamond in a classic emerald-cut is going on the auction block where it could fetch between $19 million to $25 million.
It's an internally flawless D color stone, which the auctioneer said is considered "perfect."
The stone is the only classic emerald-cut white diamond of the highest color and clarity and over 100 carats to come to auction, according to Sotheby's.
Only five "perfect" diamonds over 100 carats have sold at auction in the last 25 years, with a 118-carat oval-cut stone fetching $30.6 million at Sotheby's in 2013. It set a record for a white diamond.
Winnings Must Be Returned(!)
Gamblers who won $1.5 million at a casino after realizing the cards hadn't been shuffled have been ordered to return the money.
State Superior Court Judge Donna Taylor has sided with the Golden Nugget casino in its long-running dispute with 14 gamblers who say the fault wasn't theirs and they should be allowed to keep their winnings.
At issue were games of mini-baccarat played in April 2012 using decks of cards the casino had paid a manufacturer to pre-shuffle but that hadn't been shuffled. Once players realized the pattern in which the cards were emerging they drastically upped their bets from $10 a hand to $5,000 and won 41 straight hands.
In the ruling, issued Monday and publicized by the casino on Thursday, the judge determined the games were illegal under state law because they didn't conform to gambling regulations specifying the way each game must be played.
She ruled that the gamblers must return any cash paid to them by the casino and any outstanding chips in their possession. The casino in turn must refund the gamblers the money they first put up to play.
Long-lasting mega-droughts could occur with increasing frequency in the western United States later this century if no action is taken to rein in climate change by curbing fossil fuel use, researchers said.
Mega-drought is defined as any drought as bad as the worst already seen in the 20th century, but lasting much longer, for 35 years or more.
The study is the first to predict that the coming intense dry spells could exceed the decades-long mega-droughts that occurred centuries ago and are blamed for the demise of certain civilizations in the late 13th century.
Currently the western United States has been experiencing a drought for about 11 of the past 14 years.
Stranded On New Zealand Beach
Almost 200 pilot whales stranded themselves Friday on a New Zealand beach renowned as a deathtrap for the marine mammals, conservation officials said.
At least 24 whales from the pod of 198 that beached themselves at Farewell Spit had died and rescue workers were trying to refloat the survivors, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said.
Farewell Spit beach, at the northern tip of the South Island, has been the scene of many mass pilot whale strandings over the years.
There have been at least eight in the past decade, including two within the space of a week in January last year, although the latest stranding is one of the largest.
The youngest to die was a 4-day-old girl, the oldest a 92-year-old man.
They were among at least 844 Palestinians killed as a result of airstrikes on Gaza homes during Israel's summer war with the Islamic militant group, Hamas.
Under the rules of war, homes are protected civilian sites unless used for military purposes. Israel says it attacked only legitimate targets, alleging militants used the houses to hide weapons, fighters and command centers. Palestinians say Israel's warplanes often struck without regard for civilians.
The Associated Press examined 247 airstrikes, interviewing witnesses, visiting attack sites and compiling a detailed casualty count.
The review found that 508 of the dead - just over 60 percent - were children, women and older men, all presumed to be civilians. Hamas says it did not use women as fighters in the war, and an Israel-based research group, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which tracks militants among the war dead, said it has no evidence women participated in combat.
Benny The Rat
For someone once bestowed with the luxury of infallibility, former Pope Benedict XVI is having a unique retirement. Two years after his unprecedented withdrawal from the papacy-well, unprecedented for the last 600 years at least-the erstwhile Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's resignation remains the subject of speculation.
Two years ago this week, Benedict's announcement that he was stepping down for health reasons shocked the Catholic Church and much of the world. It also loosed conspiracy theorists who believe Benedict was forced to resign. On Wednesday, one of the former pope's top lieutenants defended the 87-year-old's choice.
The statement, when read closely, could be meaningful for two reasons. That a surrogate of Benedict is still out protecting the pope emeritus in the press might speak to an inherent defensiveness (though a reporter's questions could easily have prompted it). Then, there is the theory of his "forced resignation," which would invalidate the election of Pope Francis. "Church law says a pope's resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others," Reuters noted last year.
Benny The Rat
Showing Signs Of Decay
The iconic Texas battle site, the Alamo, is decaying.
Researchers at Texas A&M University have determined that the base of one of the decorative columns on the front of the San Antonio building, site of the famous 1836 Battle of the Alamo, has deteriorated by 2 to 2 1/2 inches (5 to 7 cm) since 1960.
"Some might say that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but over time, it adds up to a significant amount, especially if that rate increases in the future," said Robert Warden, director of Texas A&M's Center for Heritage Conservation, which conducted the research in conjunction with the School of Architecture at the German-Jordanian University in Amman, Jordan.
It was most famously the site of a battle between Texas revolutionaries and the government of Mexico that left about 180 defenders - the entire Texan garrison - dead.
Scientists Debate Signals
Astronomers have their own version of the single person's dilemma: Do you wait by the phone for a call from that certain someone? Or do you make the call yourself and risk getting shot down?
Instead of love, of course, astronomers are looking for alien life, and for decades, they have sat by their telescopes, waiting to hear from E.T. It didn't happen, and so now some of them want to beam messages out into the void and invite the closest few thousand worlds to chat or even visit.
Others scientists, including Stephen Hawking, think that's crazy, warning that instead of sweet and gentle E.T., we may get something like the planet-conquering aliens from "Independence Day." The consequences, they say, could be catastrophic.
But calling out there ourselves may be the only way to find out if we are not alone, and humanity may benefit from alien intelligence, said Douglas A. Vakoch, whose title - for real - is director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and until now it's been mostly a listening-type thing.
This dispute - which mixes astronomy, science fiction, philosophy, the law, mathematics and a touch of silliness - broke out Thursday and Friday at a convention in San Jose of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The man behind the smooth baritone best known for announcing "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" has died. Gary Owens was 80 years old.
Owens' family said Friday that the veteran voiceover star died Thursday at his Los Angeles-area home.
Owens hosted thousands of radio programs over his seven-decade career. He appeared in more than a dozen movies and on scores of TV shows, including Lucille Ball and Bob Hope specials. He also voiced hundreds of animated characters, recorded a comedy album and wrote two books.
Owens is survived by his wife of 57 years, Arleta, and their sons, Scott and Chris. Owens suffered from diabetes and the family asks that donations be made to the Children's Diabetes Foundation in lieu of flowers.
Los Angeles television news pioneer Stan Chambers, who had a front-row seat to earthquakes, fires and the life of the city since the 1940s, died Friday, according to KTLA-TV, the station where he was a reporter for more than six decades. He was 91.
Chambers' lengthy 1949 reporting about the effort to rescue 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus, who fell down an abandoned well and died, is recognized as the first live TV coverage of a breaking news story.
As a part of KTLA since shortly after its 1947 birth as the first commercial television station in the West, Chambers saw TV unshackled from the early days of primitive technology to emerge as a dominant medium.
In his first two years at the station, Chambers was a utility player, from salesman to news anchor. Then, on an April evening in 1949, he was dispatched to San Marino, 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
Station manager Klaus Landsberg and reporter Bill Welsh already were in place with two TV transmission trucks. Fiscus was trapped deep in a narrow well; crews were drilling to reach her.
As the rescue effort dragged on, it was carried internationally by radio, newspapers and, eventually, by newsreels. But Los Angeles watched the story unfold for 27 hours on live TV, minute by minute, ending when the child was found dead.
"Nothing like that had ever happened and, certainly, I had never been through anything like that," Chambers recalled in 1998. "When it was over, we had no idea of the impact. The reaction was overwhelming. To this day, I still bump into people who say 'Oh, I remember the Kathy Fiscus telecast so well.'"
For Chambers, it was the real start of a career that would put him on the air for every major story to hit the Los Angeles area in the latter half of the 20th century.
Defining stories included the Watts riot and Robert F. Kennedy's assassination in the '60s, and the Rodney King police beating case that led to the 1992 Los Angeles riot.
Chambers, who retired in 2010, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Associated Press Television-Radio Association renamed its Extraordinary Achievement award for Chambers following his retirement from KTLA. The annual award honours lifetime achievement by broadcast journalists in the Western U.S.
Chambers is survived by his wife Gigi, 11 children, 38 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.