Sarah Kliff: Today in Obamacare: The GOP plan keeps evolving - and looking more like ACA (Vox)
What we know about the newest Republican replacement plan.
T.C. Sottek: JetSmarter tries to extort journalists for positive coverage (The Verge)
We've seen plenty of aggressive requests from companies that want positive coverage, but perhaps none as absurd as what we just got from JetSmarter - a startup that's been called the "Uber for private jets
Daria's Graduation Speech (YouTube)
"Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor is naked. The truth and the lie are not sort of the same thing." - Daria
Megan Koester: "Daria: the 90s cartoon that nailed American feminist teenhood" (The Guardian)
Kids used to call me "Daria" in high school. It was not meant as a term of endearment. With my dry, world-weary demeanor, lack of interest in any after-school activity and propensity for wearing combat boots in the unforgiving Californian heat, I was a dead ringer for the ceaselessly judgmental and cripplingly acerbic cartoon character.
Marc Dion: Democat? Republicat? (Creators Syndicate)
I've been trying to figure out which political party claims the loyalty of our two cats. Don't judge. I'm a 59-year-old reporter who gets very tired after work, so I don't go out much anymore. After work, I go home and the cats and I stare at each other. Once everyone is satisfied that no one is going to [do?] anything cute, we all have a little something to eat and lie down for a while.
Clive James: 'I've been going deaf for years, so wouldn't have been able to hear SS-GB anyway' (The Guardian)
After the first episode, I was wiping the blood from my ears with Kleenex.
What I'm really thinking: the university dropout (The Guardian)
Social media is a constant reminder that other people are managing to do something that made me so ill I was forced to walk away.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
Lumpy, master of insane misdirection
Insane Lumpy blather to try to take heat off Weasel Boy & Lumpy's Russian connections:
Citing No Evidence, Trump Claims Obama Administration Wiretapped Trump Tower; Obama Denies Claim | NBC4 Washington
The Russian Connection personified this time by Weasel Boy (AKA Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions) gives cartoonists lot of fodder. They give me angst and heartburn.
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
"BUZZING AT THE SILL"
HIS LIPS ARE MOVING!
THOSE WILD AND CRAZY COOPERATIONS.
STOP THE POLICE STATE!
THE PERILS OF A PECKERWOOD.
REPUGS GET DESPERATE.
FASCIST CHIEF SCREAMS "McCARTHYISM!"
THE LITTLE BIRD IS TWEETING.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Overcast with more rain on the way.
Opens Bethlehem Hotel
Under an army watchtower and across the street from the concrete wall Israel has built in parts of the occupied West Bank, street artist Banksy has opened a guesthouse in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
In the revered birth town of Jesus, the Walled Off hotel stands three storeys high. Its bedroom walls and hallways are decorated with the mysterious artist's stencil graffiti work --one shows an Israeli soldier and masked Palestinian youth having a pillow fight, and a statue of a chimpanzee bell-boy stands at the entrance, clothes falling out of the suitcase he holds.
The hotel, converted from a pottery workshop, has been styled to resemble "an English gentlemen's club from colonial times", a statement from the artist said, in acknowledgement of the historical role Britain played in the Middle East.
But the decor has been spiced up with statues choking on tear gas, cherubs hanging from the ceiling, their faces covered by oxygen masks and oil paintings of refugee life jackets washed ashore.
Banksy, whose real name is not known, described his guesthouse as having the worst view of any hotel in the world: Every room overlooks the barrier which is a symbol of oppression for the Palestinians.
Pot Fans' Plans Snuffed
A federal prosecutor has snuffed out plans by pot fans to celebrate Nevada's new recreational marijuana law by lighting up on an American Indian reservation near Las Vegas.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden took a hard line in a letter to organizers of a weekend cannabis festival, saying federal law applies and pot smokers could be prosecuted.
Bogden wouldn't comment Friday beyond referring to the Feb. 16 letter he sent to the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
The warning from the top federal prosecutor in Nevada came while several U.S. senators are airing concerns about the possibility of a Trump administration crackdown on marijuana use in states that have legalized pot for recreational or medicinal purposes.
The festival is modeled after a Cannabis Cup event held since 1988 in Amsterdam, which now has offshoots in pot-friendly states including Washington, California, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan.
Ceremonial Start In Anchorage
Dozens of sled-dog teams glided through the frigid streets of Anchorage on Saturday in the ceremonial start to the Iditarod, a nearly 1,000-mile (1,610-km) sled dog race across the Alaskan wilderness and one of the world's most celebrated tests of endurance.
The official start of the event billed as "the Last Great Race" will take place on Monday in Fairbanks, 350 miles (560 km) north of Anchorage, and ends in the coastal town of Nome.
Organizers last month moved the official "restart" line from the town of Willow, an 80-mile (130-km) drive north of Anchorage, to Fairbanks because of insufficient snow along some trails in the Alaskan Range, which made it potentially unsafe to race through the mountains.
It was the third time in the race's history that the start line has been moved. The first was in 2003 and the second in 2015.
This year a field of 72 teams will compete in the event, which inspires pride and fascination among Alaskans and international audiences alike.
Gets A New 'Heart'
Large Hadron Collider
The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of the four main experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - the world's largest particle accelerator, housed underground near the France-Switzerland border near Geneva. The experiment, which consists of a roughly 69 feet long and a 50 feet wide detector located 300 feet below the ground, was crucial in the discovery of the Higgs boson
This week, the experiment was given a major upgrade - one that scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) likened to an "open-heart surgery." On Thursday, engineers at CERN finished the installation of a new "pixel tracker" - a detector that is a key part of CMS' particle tracking system.
The heart of the CMS experiment is the pixel detector, the innermost instrument in the very heart of the CMS apparatus, the very point where new particles, such as the Higgs boson, are produced by the energy of the proton proton collisions of the LHC accelerator," CERN explained in a press release
The upgrade would allow the detector to record over 120 million pixels at 40 million frames per second. This, in turn, would allow CMS to create superimposed pictures of 50 to 60 proton collisions - much higher than the 25 to 30 superimposed pictures the previous 66 megapixel detector was capable of creating.
Large Hadron Collider
Vows 'Bold' Restructuring
New Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke plans to review Obama-era measures that limited energy development on some federal land and undertake a "bold" reorganization of his 70,000-employee agency, he said on Friday.
The former U.S. congressman addressed employees at the Department of Interior's headquarters on his second full day on the job, assuring them he would not sell off federal lands, as some had feared, but also promising change.
The department manages about a fifth of the country's surface, including national parks, forests and tribal territories, from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico.
Zinke said he wanted to change the structure of the department, which includes the National Parks Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to give more authority to rangers and land managers outside the District of Columbia.
The last time the Department of Interior has been reorganized was about 100 years ago, so the reorganization is going to be bold," he said.
U.S. Suspends Fast Processing
High-Tech Visa Applications
Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech U.S. companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Friday that starting April 3 it will suspend "premium processing" for up to six months. Under this expedited procedure, applicants can be eligible for visa approvals within 15 days, instead of a regular review period that can last for up to a few months.
The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows U.S. companies to employ graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.
USCIS said that during the suspension period, individuals still can request expedited consideration, but must meet certain criteria, such as humanitarian reasons, an emergency situation or the prospect of severe financial loss to a company or individual.
The United States currently caps H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 allowed for those who have earned advanced college degrees in the United States.
High-Tech Visa Applications
India To Host
Indian federal government representatives will meet the Dalai Lama when he visits a sensitive border region controlled by India but claimed by China, officials said, despite a warning from Beijing that it would damage ties.
India says the Tibetan spiritual leader will make a religious trip to Arunachal Pradesh next month, and as a secular democracy it would not stop him from traveling to any part of the country.
China claims the state in the eastern Himalayas as "South Tibet", and has denounced foreign and even Indian leaders' visits to the region as attempts to bolster New Delhi's territorial claims.
A trip by the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as a dangerous separatist, would ratchet up tensions at a time when New Delhi is at odds with China on strategic and security issues and unnerved by Beijing's growing ties with arch-rival Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration is raising its public engagement with the Tibetan leader, a change from earlier governments' reluctance to anger Beijing by sharing a public platform with him.
High-Speed Rail Ready To Lay Track
After years of prep work, Gov. Jerry Brown's finance department decided Friday that California's $64 billion high-speed rail project is ready to lay some track.
The administration approved the rail authority's request to spend $2.6 billion on work in the Central Valley. The decision lets the authority ask the state treasurer's office to sell a portion of the nearly $10 billion in bonds voters approved in 2008 for a bullet train.
However, the first 29-mile segment of track isn't expected to be completed until at least August 2019.
The bullet train's long-term prospects remain clouded because of uncertainty over funding and several pending lawsuits. Significant federal help is required, and the Republican-controlled Congress does not support the project. Private money also is needed but none has been secured yet.
The treasurer previously issued $1.15 billion of the bonds that went for administration and on work to connect the new system to existing tracks, leaving the bulk of the money unspent.
Warming Affects Birds Breeding
More shrubs moving onto Arctic tundra because of climate change will have minimal effect on many of the bird species that breed there, but birds likely will seek other habitat when the shrubs grow tall, according to a new federal study.
A study by the U.S. Geological Survey concludes that the size of the shrubs was more critical than the density in determining whether birds would continue in the habitat.
"Height came out to be the most indicative of bird habitat selection," said Sarah Thompson, a USGS research wildlife biologist based in Anchorage and the lead author of the study.
Multiple studies have shown that tundra areas are getting more shrubs, Thompson said. Climate warming also is having effects in the form of longer growing seasons, thawing permafrost and more frequent and intense wildfires, the authors said.
The researchers over three summers studied 17 bird species on the Seward Peninsula, which juts 200 miles into the Bering Sea in western Alaska and includes the city of Nome. The peninsula, Thompson said, is ideal for study because it includes coastal habitat and inland settings at a variety of elevations. It's also along the transition between boreal forest and tundra, Thompson said.
Tommy Page, a former pop star whose song "I'll Be Your Everything" went to No. 1 in 1990 and who later became a record company executive, publisher of Billboard magazine and a vice president at Pandora, has died. He was 46.
Billboard.com Editorial Director, Denise Warner said Page was found dead Friday in New York of an apparent suicide. Page started at the magazine in 2011 as associate publisher and was promoted to publisher a year later.
Page, at one time, was a senior vice president at Cumulus Media Inc. He previously led artist partnerships, branded content and events at Internet radio company Pandora. He also had been an executive at Warner Bros. Records, where he helped shape the careers of Michael Buble, Alanis Morissette, Josh Groban and Green Day.
Page, a graduate of New York University's Stern School of Business, started his music career as an artist at Sire Records and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "I'll Be Your Everything" in April 1990. He co-wrote the song with Jordan Knight and Danny Wood, of Page's tourmates New Kids on the Block. Page recorded nine studio albums.
He is survived by his husband, Charlie, and their three children