Froma Harrop: Thankfully, The Egyptians Did It Without Us (Creators Syndicate)
As a rationale for invading Iraq, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said: "The people of the Middle East share the desire for freedom. We have an opportunity - and an obligation - to help them turn this desire into reality." Yes they did, but no we didn't.
David Brooks: The Experience Economy (New York Times)
Tyler Cowen's e-book, "The Great Stagnation," has become the most debated nonfiction book so far this year. Cowen's core point is that up until sometime around 1974, the American economy was able to experience awesome growth by harvesting low-hanging fruit.
Jim Hightower: OBAMA WALKED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
As part of his odd determination to hug up America's avaricious corporate powers, President Obama has now walked across Lafayette Square to enter the imperial gates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Apparently this presidential deference is an effort to woo corporate donors and to show conservative voters how moderate he can be. But, does he really think that that either of those groups is going to give any love back?
JENNIFER CORBETT DOOREN: Fiber-Rich Diet Linked to Longevity (Wall Street Journal)
In a study released on Monday, the National Cancer Institute concluded that "a diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits."
David Joseph: The music industry will survive the digital revolution (Guardian)
He's overhauled the Brit Awards, but can Universal Music's UK boss steer his label through the great unknown? By Adam Sherwin.
J.C. Sciaccotta: "20 Questions: Luke Doucet" (Popmatters)
Luke Doucet is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist. The 'Toronto Star' has described him as "the best young guitarist" in Canada, and in 2006, he was nominated for a Juno Award for his album, 'Broken (And Other Rogue States).' His newest LP, 'Steel City Trawler,' was recently released to critical acclaim.
Will Harris: Another Chat with Henry Rollins (Bullz-eye)
I come from the minimum wage working world. I'm not an artist. I have no art in me. I work for a living, so when opportunity knocks, what, you think I like starving? I've been there, done that, and it sucks. So I take the work.
Reed Johnson: Esperanza Spalding is jazzed up after a big surprise (Los Angeles Times)
She was the least well known and the lowest selling artist in the group. But that didn't stop Esperanza Spalding, a 26-year-old jazz vocalist and bassist who combines old-school cool with an ebullient personality that has energized her genre, from winning the Grammy Award for best new artist, in one of the night's biggest surprises.
Jon Bream: During hard times, feel-good pop music rules (Star Tribune)
Look at Billboard's Hot 100, listen to hit radio or watch the Grammys on Sunday night. Pop rules.
Troy Patterson" Lady Gaga on '60 Minutes' (Slate)
The "master of the art of fame" is a tough egg to crack.
David Bruce has 40 Kindle books on Amazon.com with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $40 you can buy 10,000 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," and "Maximum Cool."
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Michelle in AZ
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Some rain, some wind, some sun, and more rain.
Thousands Protest Anti-Union Bill
Thousands of teachers, students and prison guards descended on the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday to fight a move to strip government workers of union rights in the first state to grant them more than a half-century ago.
The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours. The noise in the rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district - the state's second-largest - had to cancel classes.
The new Republican governor, Scott Walker, is seeking passage of the nation's most aggressive anti-union proposal, which was moving swiftly through the GOP-led Legislature.
If adopted, it would mark a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.
Leading NOLA Parade
Cast Of 'Treme'
The stars of HBO's series "Treme" will lead this year's parade for Orpheus, the Mardi Gras krewe founded by crooner Harry Connick Jr.
Celebrity monarchs for the parade the Monday night before Mardi Gras include actors Jennifer Coolidge, Wendell Pierce and Steve Zahn, as well as the show's executive producers David Simon and Eric Overmyer. Mardi Gras is Tuesday, March 8.
"Treme" is set in New Orleans in fall 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina. The show tracks the lives of a diverse group of residents as they rebuild their lives and the neighborhood that lends the show its name.
Cast Of 'Treme'
Arrive In Colorado
Twenty-five lions, most of them rescued from Bolivian circuses, arrived in Colorado on Wednesday to start their new lives at a wildlife sanctuary.
The 13 males and 12 females landed at Denver International Airport around 4:30 p.m. The jetliner pulled into a maintenance hangar, and police officers armed with assault rifles stood by as a precaution.
The animals were rescued from deplorable conditions after a law was passed last year in Bolivia prohibiting all performances involving animals, Animal Defenders International said. Most of the lions were dehydrated and suffered from eye and foot infections when rescued, the group has said.
Television personality and animal advocate Bob Barker financed the $200,000 airlift. He was on hand to welcome Operation Lion Ark and said he was excited to see the animals headed to a sanctuary where they will have room to roam.
The act with the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart isn't the Beatles, Elvis or Michael Jackson. It's the cast of "Glee."
In just 18 months of appearing on the charts, the Fox TV series has set the record for the most songs on the Billboard chart in the chart's 52-year history.
This week, "Glee" debuts six songs on the chart, giving them 113 songs in total - five more than the now second-place Elvis Presley, who had 108.
Lady Gaga also makes history on the chart this week; her new song, "Born This Way," becomes its 1,000th No. 1 song.
Like many a star attending the Academy Awards, Oscar's winners' envelope is getting a makeover.
For 70 years, the envelope - as in "the envelope, please" - was nothing more than a plain, white paper envelope, the kind available at any office supply store.
This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is glamming up the way it unveils the names of those winning the industry's highest honor: It's replacing the plain white envelope with a custom-designed keepsake envelope and announcement card that looks great on TV.
The new envelope, designed by Marc Friedland, is made of iridescent gold paper watermarked with little images of Oscar. It's lined with shiny red paper embossed with gold Oscars. The winner's name appears on a heavy piece of lacquered red paper inside, with the category listed on the back. The envelope will be sealed with a shiny red sticker adorned with two strips of red ribbon.
Cancels Oprah Appearance
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will not be appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" after all.
A show spokesman said Wednesday representatives of the NFL star called late Tuesday to cancel his appearance for personal reasons. The daytime talk show host's interview with Vick was set to air Thursday, Feb. 24.
The interview was to cover Vick's time in prison, his work with the Humane Society and his return to the NFL.
Quits After Logan Tweets
A journalist resigned from his New York University fellowship Wednesday, one day after he posted derogatory comments on Twitter about CBS reporter Lara Logan as the news of her assault in Egypt was breaking.
"Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger," Nir Rosen wrote on Twitter. He later added, "Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women."
Rosen resigned from NYU's Center on Law and Security. He also took to Twitter to apologize.
Rosen is the author of books about Iraq including "In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq" and "Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World."
The 5 Browns
The father of the prominent Utah family musical group The 5 Browns has been charged with sexual abuse of children in the 1990s, court records show.
Keith Brown was charged on Feb. 10 with one first-degree felony count of sodomy on a child and two second-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of a child, according to Fourth District Court records obtained Wednesday.
Kimball Thomson, a spokesman for The 5 Browns, said the charges involve Brown's daughters and group members Desirae, Deondra and Melody, who are now adults. He declined to release further information on the women.
A court hearing had been scheduled for Brown, 55, on Thursday, but it was postponed after he and Lisa Brown, 54, the mother of the group members, were in a car crash late Monday. A Porsche driven by Keith Brown plunged into a Utah canyon outside Salt Lake City, authorities said.
The couple had dined at Snowbird ski resort prior to the accident, said Unified Fire Authority Battalion Chief Mike Ulibarri. The Browns were initially knocked unconscious, but Keith Brown woke and was able to call 911 from a cell phone.
The 5 Browns
Bruno Mars plead guilty to cocaine possession Wednesday, three days after winning his first Grammy award, in a deal that avoids prison and could erase his felony conviction next year.
"Guilty, your honor," the 25-year-old singer-songwriter said softly, standing in court in a dark suit with his hands at his sides.
Clark County District Judge Jessie Walsh sentenced Mars, whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez, to probation, a $2,000 fine, 200 hours of community service at a nonprofit organization and eight hours with a drug counselor in Los Angeles.
Mars, who performed Sunday at the Grammys and took home the award for best male pop vocal performance for his hit, "Just the Way You Are," declined to comment in the court hallway.
Pleads No Contest
Former teen idol David Cassidy will serve a year of probation and have his driving privileges suspended for six months after pleading no contest to driving under the influence on Florida's Turnpike.
The attorney for the 60-year-old "Partridge Family" star entered the plea at a hearing Wednesday. Cassidy did not have to appear in court because the charge was a misdemeanor and he has no prior record.
Cassidy was arrested on Nov. 3 after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper saw his car weaving near Fort Pierce.
The highway patrol report says Cassidy failed a field sobriety test. Breath tests at the St. Lucie County jail showed his blood-alcohol content at 0.139 and 0.141, levels that are higher than Florida's legal limit of 0.08.
Lindsay Lohan's father on Wednesday claimed he was the mystery "friend" behind a planned appearance on David Letterman's TV talk show that involved the troubled actress.
Producers of "The Late Show with David Letterman" said on Wednesday that Lohan, 24, would not be appearing, as announced, because a mistake had been made. Initially, it seemed the talk show had been hoaxed by a prankster, but the actress' father Michael Lohan later claimed responsibility.
By midday on Wednesday, Michael Lohan had told celebrity website TMZ.com that he made the Letterman booking after getting the green light from his daughter.
Michael Lohan, who recently repaired a strained relationship with his daughter, told TMZ that Lindsay "knew full well" about the booking. He said everything was going well until representatives for the actress got wind of the appearance and shut it down.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi
An Iraqi man whose testimony the United States used as a key evidence to build a case for war in Iraq says he is proud that he lied about his country developing mobile biological warfare labs.
The Guardian newspaper published an interview Wednesday with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who has been identified as the informer called "Curveball," whose claims about weapon labs formed part of then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council in 2003, shortly before the war began.
The Guardian quoted al-Janabi as saying: "I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that."
The Guardian interviewed al-Janabi in Karlsruhe, Germany in a mixture of Arabic and German. The U.S. Senate panel's report said Curveball spoke in English and Arabic when he was interrogated by intelligence officers.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi
A former northeastern Pennsylvania judge admitted Tuesday that he was deep in debt and living beyond his means when he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the builder of two privately owned juvenile detention centers, but he insisted the payments were legal "finder's fees" and not bribes as the federal government has alleged.
Ex-Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella took the witness stand at his federal racketeering trial and tried to stem the damage from a week of testimony that he took more than $2 million in illegal kickbacks from the builder of the juvenile lockups and extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner - a scandal known as "kids for cash" that resulted in the dismissal of thousands of juvenile convictions.
Ciavarella, 61, admitted that he filed false tax returns related to the payments. He also admitted that he plotted with former Judge Michael Conahan to defraud the federal government of the taxes they owed - and that he took steps to conceal the payments because he knew they would look bad to the public.
Prosecutors allege the judges shut down the decrepit county-run juvenile detention center in 2002 and arranged for the construction of the PA Child Care facility outside Wilkes-Barre. Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, stocked the private jail with young offenders whose crimes were often minor. Many of the teens had never been in trouble before, and some were locked up even after probation officers recommended against it.
Ciavarella, who has denied any link between the payments he received and the youths he sent to the facility, said he viewed the money as legitimate.
Rankings for the top 15 programs on cable networks as compiled by the Nielsen Co. for the week of Feb. 7-13. Day and start time (EST) are in parentheses:
1. "Jersey Shore" (Thursday, 10 p.m.), MTV, 5.7 million homes, 7.85 million viewers.
2. "Pawn Stars" (Monday, 10:30 p.m.), History, 4.85 million homes, 6.59 million viewers.
3. "Pawn Stars" (Monday, 10 p.m.), History, 4.63 million homes, 6.23 million viewers.
4. "Jersey Shore After Show" (Thursday, 11 p.m.), MTV, 4.1 million homes, 5.44 million viewers.
5. "American Pickers" (Monday, 9 p.m.), History, 3.91 million homes, 5.43 million viewers.
6. Movie: "Toy Story 2" (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), Disney, 3.57 million homes, 5.49 million viewers.
7. "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Saturday, 9:30 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.53 million homes, 5 million viewers.
8. NBA Basketball: L.A. Lakers vs. Boston (Thursday, 8:16 p.m.), TNT, 3.41 million homes, 4.71 million viewers.
9. "WWE Raw" (Monday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.33 million homes, 4.96 million viewers.
10. "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Sunday, 9:30 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.3 million homes, 4.47 million viewers.
11. "WWE Raw" (Monday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.28 million homes, 4.89 million viewers.
12. "ICarly" (Saturday, 8 p.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.24 million homes, 4.91 million viewers.
13. "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Sunday, 9 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.14 million homes, 4.38 million viewers.
14. "NCIS" (Wednesday, 8 p.m.), USA, 3.09 million homes, 4.03 million viewers.
15. "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Saturday, 9 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.07 million homes, 4.19 million viewers.
Patty Bogle, the matriarch of a wine dynasty in the Sacramento delta region, has died after a battle with leukemia.
Bogle and late husband, Chris, founded Bogle Vineyards in 1979, starting with 18 acres of grapes and building their business into a regional wine powerhouse. The vineyard is the 14th largest winery in the country, shipping 1.2 million cases a year.
Patty Bogle's son, Warren Bogle Jr., told The Associated Press that his mother died Friday. She was 59.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Bogles started the winery with modest goals, but the business soon took off. Patty Bogle said in a 2009 interview that "it grew as demand grew."
She championed petite sirah, a grape that produces rich, red wine and grows well in Clarksburg, 20 miles south of the state capital.
Len Lesser, the veteran character actor best known for his scene-stealing role as Uncle Leo on "Seinfeld," has died. He was 88.
Lesser's family said in a statement that he died Wednesday in Burbank, Calif., from cancer-related pneumonia.
Lesser's lengthy list of television credits included parts on "Get Smart," "That Girl," "The Munsters," "The Monkees," "The Rockford Files," "thirtysomething," "ER," and "Everybody Loves Raymond," which featured Lesser in a recurring role as the arm-shaking Garvin. His film credits included "Outlaw Josey Wales," "Kelly's Heroes," "Birdman of Alcatraz" and "Death Hunt." He most recently appeared on the TV drama "Castle."
He is survived by his daughter, Michele; son, David; daughter-in-law, Julie; and grandchildren, Jonathan, Kayla, and Mayah.