Paul Krugman: Planet on the Ballot (NY Times)
We now have a pretty good idea who will be on the ballot in November: Hillary Clinton, almost surely (after the South Carolina blowout, prediction markets give her a 96 percent probability of securing her party's nomination), and Donald Trump, with high likelihood (currently 80 percent probability on the markets). But even if there's a stunning upset in what's left of the primaries, we already know very well what will be at stake - namely, the fate of the planet.
Andrew Tobias: The Scalia Vacancy
A more accurate statement would be that "thanks to 71 consecutive months of private employment growth, the 10% unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Bush Recession Bush has been cut to 4.9%." And would be more robust still if the Republicans hadn't blocked three measures a majority of Americans wanted and economists agreed would add juice to the economy: the American Jobs Act, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure; a higher minimum wage; and the comprehensive immigration reform that Rubio himself voted for but now decries.
Emily Hill: Why I hate Adele's vapid, deathless ballads (Spectator)
Music never dies, but if Adele makes another record, there is going to be a murder. Probably of me, by me, because I can't take it any longer. Right now, there is no escaping her. In 2015, 25 was the fastest-selling album, ever, on both sides of the Atlantic. Her single 'Hello' was downloaded a million times in a week and was the most-streamed song in Spotify's history. Last week, despite her meltdown at the Grammys, she swept up at the Brits. Which is stupendous news, if you, like everyone else, love Adele. But I don't. I can't. I won't. I simply hate her. Or, rather, not her. But it - her music.
Christopher Bray: When Groucho Marx lectured T.S. Eliot (Spectator)
The most vocal of the Marx Brothers disliked his comic persona and preferred reading, writing and the company of poets to showbiz.
Philip Hensher: Sartre, de Beauvoir and Sheffield teenagers; the weird glamour of existentialism (Spectator)
Sarah Bakewell reminds us how popular - and de rigueur - the philosophy once was, even though very few people understood it.
Go Set a Watchman should never have been hyped as a 'landmark new novel', says Philip Hensher (Spectator)
Harper Lee's publishers are much to blame for resurrecting this piece of confused juvenilia. It should have remained where it belongs - in the bottom drawer.
Joy Wilkinson: "Why women need the hairy, witty, subversive 'She Devils' of feminist literature more than ever" (Telegraph)
The Life and Loves of a She Devil starred the extraordinary Julie T Wallace as the even more extraordinary Ruth, who transforms herself from a downtrodden housewife into an unstoppable force of nature, with the power to change other people's lives as well as her own.
Willa Paskin: Chris Rock Couldn't Have Done a Better Job Hosting the Oscars Amid #OscarsSoWhite (Slate)
Going into Sunday night's Academy Awards, the big question was not about who would win what award, but how scathing host Chris Rock would be while presiding over a show mired in#OscarsSoWhite controversy.
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Fairbanks To The Rescue
Sometimes it takes modern transportation to facilitate a tradition celebrating old-time transportation.
A lack of snow in Alaska's biggest city has led to the Alaska Railroad transporting 300 to 350 cubic yards of snow from Fairbanks to downtown Anchorage for use in Saturday's ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Fur Rondy's Running of the Reindeer.
About seven side-dump railroad cars will be filled with snow Tuesday or Wednesday night and delivered by Thursday morning.
The Alaska Railroad is donating the time, labor and equipment to transport the snow, which will be collected from a snow dump on the railroad's property adjacent to Phillips Field Road in Fairbanks.
Authorities are scheduled to formally change the names of some of Yosemite National Park's most iconic attractions unless an 11th hour settlement to a bitter legal dispute is reached by midnight Monday.
The park service announced last year that it would change the names of Curry Village, the Ahwahnee Hotel, Badger Pass Ski Resort and many other attractions after failing to reach agreement with the company that says it owns the trademarks to those attractions.
The company, Delaware North, has served as the park's concessionaire since 1993, running numerous park operations until losing the contract to Aramark, which is scheduled to take over at midnight. Delaware North and the Park Service have been unable to agree on the value of the trademarks and the Buffalo, New York-based company filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit.
The dispute prompted the Park Service to announce the name changes. Starting at midnight, Park Service employees will begin placing temporary signs over road signs directing visitors to the attractions while Aramark will be responsible for changing the names of the attractions.
Park Service spokesman Scott Gediman said temporary signs are being used in the hope that a settlement will be reached with Delaware North.
Asks First Question In Decade
On Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas (R-Missing Fat Tony) broke a years-long habit of silence by asking a question during a hearing on gun rights -- his first in a decade.
An arch-conservative who was ideologically aligned to his friend on the court, the late -- and voluble -- Justice Antonin Scalia, Thomas has become known as the only justice never to open his mouth during oral arguments.
But when Federal government lawyer Ilana Eisenstein had wrapped up arguments in a case over a law banning those convicted for domestic violence from owning firearms, Thomas spoke up.
"Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?" he asked.
Heads turned in disbelief.
Judge Sets Trial
A judge on Monday scheduled a trial to determine whether Sumner Redstone has the mental capacity to make his own health care decisions after expressing concerns about who is in charge of the ailing media mogul's care.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan rejected an effort by Redstone's attorneys to dismiss a filing by the mogul's longtime companion, Manuela Herzer. She contends that the 92-year-old lacks the mental capacity to make his own decisions and she should regain control of his health care.
Cowan's ruling does not address whether Redstone, whose holding company owns 80 percent of the shares in CBS and Viacom, is mentally incapacitated or who should be in charge of his care. The judge set a May trial to try to resolve the case, which has pitted Redstone's ex-girlfriend against his daughter and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
The judge's ruling came after months of fighting between lawyers for Herzer and Redstone.
"What is more apparent is that nobody is sufficiently in charge of the ongoing care Redstone needs," Cowan wrote in a 21-page ruling.
Loses Custody of Kids in Unanimous Court Ruling
Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly (R-Family Values) will lose residential custody of his children following a New York appeals court ruling last week.
The The Nassau County Supreme Court ruling upheld a lower-court decision that the kids, ages 13 and 17, should live with the Fox News Channel host's ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy, according to court documents.
O'Reilly and McPhilmy divorced in 2011 and have been battling for custody ever since. The lengthy ruling was finally rendered on Feb. 24.
"There is a sound and substantial basis for the Supreme Court's determination that it is in the best interests of the children for the mother to be awarded primary residential custody," the ruling says.
Arrested In Georgia
Comedian Katt Williams was arrested Monday on a battery charge in Georgia after a store employee told police that Williams punched him during an argument.
Gainesville police officers responded to an assault call at a pool supply store around 11:30 a.m. and found Williams outside "lying on the ground with his hands behind his back as though he was ready to go to jail," Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.
A store employee told officers Williams, who was in the store with two women, began arguing with the employee and threw a pair of goggles at him, Holbrook said. Williams then went behind the counter and punched the employee at least once, Holbrook said.
The cause of the argument wasn't immediately clear. When officers tried to question Williams, he told them to ask the store employee what happened, Holbrook said.
Hall County sheriff's Deputy Nicole Bailes said in an email that Williams faces a misdemeanor battery charge and was being held on $5,000 bond. Online jail records show Williams was booked into jail at 1:34 p.m.
Church 'Mucked Up'
Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell admitted on Monday the Catholic Church "mucked up" in dealing with paedophile priests and vowed he would not "defend the indefensible" before an Australian inquiry.
Giving evidence from a hotel in Rome via video-link to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney rather than appear in person as he has a heart condition.
The inquiry is currently focused on the Victorian state town of Ballarat, where Pell grew up and worked, and how the church dealt with complaints, many dating back to the 1970s, against the Catholic clergy.
Pell, who rose to be the top Catholic official in Australia, said the church historically made grave errors in not properly addressing the issue and was now working to remedy them.
"Let me just say this, as an initial clarification, and that is I'm not here to defend the indefensible," he said after swearing on the Bible to tell the truth.
Sect Leader Jailed Until Trial
A U.S. magistrate judge ordered the alleged South Dakota leader of Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect to remain behind bars because there is a serious risk he would flee before a trial over what prosecutors say was a multi-million-dollar food stamp fraud scheme and money laundering.
Seth Jeffs was one of 11 sect members indicted last week on allegations that leaders diverted at least $12 million worth of federal benefits by telling hundreds of members to buy things and give them to a church warehouse or by using the food stamps in sect-owned stores without actually getting anything in return.
Jeffs, 42, had a detention hearing Monday, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann ordered him held in custody because she determined he is a serious flight risk. U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch in Utah said Jeffs, who is being transported to Utah, could appeal the decision to the trial judge.
A trial date has not been set.
Retweets Mussolini: 'It's A Very Good Quote'
Donald Trump (R-Pendejo) doesn't want to be associated with a known fascist - unless it helps with his Twitter following.
The Republican frontrunner defended his retweet of a famous quote by Benito Mussolini on Sunday, saying he knew it was from the late Italian dictator and leader of the National Fascist Party but thought it was an "interesting quote."
"Look, Mussolini was Mussolini," Trump said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. "It's a very good quote, it's a very interesting quote, and I know it. I saw it. And I know who said it. But what difference does it make whether it's Mussolini or somebody else? It's certainly a very interesting quote. That's probably why I have between Facebook and Twitter 14 million people when other people don't."
"Do you want to be associated with a fascist?" NBC's Chuck Todd (R-Fox Lite) asked the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination.
"No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes," Trump replied. "And people, you know, I have almost 14 million people between Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all of that. And we do interesting things. And I sent it out. And certainly, hey, it got your attention, didn't it?"
George Kennedy, the hulking, tough-guy character actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic "Cool Hand Luke," has died.
His grandson Cory Schenkel says Kennedy died on Sunday morning of old age in Boise, Idaho. He was 91.
His biggest acting achievement came in "Cool Hand Luke," a 1967 film about a rebellious war hero played by Paul Newman who is bent on bucking the system as a prisoner on a Southern chain gang. Its theme of rebelling against authority and the establishment helped make it one of the most important films of the tumultuous 1960s.
Kennedy played the role of Dragline, the chain-gang boss who goes from Luke's No. 1 nemesis to his biggest disciple as Newman's character takes on folk hero status among fellow inmates. The movie garnered four Academy Award nominations, and Kennedy was named best supporting actor.
After the critical and commercial success of "Cool Hand Luke," Kennedy carved out a niche as one of Hollywood's most recognizable supporting actors. He had parts in several action flicks in the 1970s, played Leslie Nielsen's sidekick in the "Naked Gun" spoofs and was J.R. Ewing's business rival in the final seasons of "Dallas."
One of his strongest supporting roles was in the hit 1970 film "Airport," which spurred the run of 1970s disaster pictures. Kennedy played Joe Patroni, a no-nonsense, cigar-chomping troubleshooter who stubbornly guides a jetliner stuck on a snow-clogged runway out of harm's way.
His film career began to take flight in the early 1960s. He starred in 1963's "Charade," a whodunit that features Kennedy, Cary Grant, James Coburn and Walter Matthau seeking out the $250,000 they suspect was left behind by Audrey Hepburn's dead husband. His other acting credits in the 1960s included "The Dirty Dozen" and "Guns of the Magnificent Seven."
Kennedy became regular face in action movies in the 1970s after the success of "Airport," including "Earthquake" and "Death on the Nile." He made several film and television appearances in the early and mid-1980s, but few were successful.
He turned to comedic roles in the 1980s and 1990s, the most memorable being the three "Naked Gun" films.
Among his later credits was a small role in Wim Wenders' 2005 film, "Don't Come Knocking." Kennedy's last on-screen role was in the 2014 remake of "The Gambler," which starred Mark Wahlberg.
Kennedy was born in New York in 1925. He started acting at the age of 2 when he joined a touring company production of "Bringing up Father." Five years later, he became a disc jockey with a kids radio show.
He enlisted in the Army at 17 and served in World War II, opening the first Army Information Office that provided technical assistance to films and TV shows. Kennedy spent 16 years in the Army and left as a captain.
After his Army stint, Kennedy made his television debut in "The Phil Silvers Show" in 1955 and had a variety of guest appearances in the Westerns "Have Gun, Will Travel," ''Cheyenne" and "Gunsmoke."
In later years, Kennedy became an advocate for adopted children. He had four adopted children, including his granddaughter Taylor, whose mother, also adopted by Kennedy, had become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Charlie Tuna, the DJ and media personality whose voice was known to generations of radio listeners in Los Angeles and further afield, has died at the age of 71.
Tuna was the morning drive-time radio personality for numerous formats and stations across a four decade career and his voice set the tone for KROQ-FM as the influential station tweaked its format for a rock audience. He was part of the KHJ Boss Jock line-up and served as program director and morning host for KIIS AM and FM.
Tuna was presented with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990 and a string of accolades followed, including recognition from his home state Nebraska Broadcasters Association with entry into the Hall of Fame in 1999. He was voted as a Top 10 radio personalities in L.A. on several occasions and in 2008 was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Tuna was also announcer for various TV shows ranging including America's Top 10 with Casey Kasem and he hosted the internationally syndicated Cinema, Cinema, Cinema for 30 years.
Tuna "passed away peacefully in his sleep" on Feb. 19, according to a statement published on his website. "His was a life well-lived," the statement continues, "and he will always be remembered for the joy, laughter and love of music he brought to many throughout the world with his presence on the radio. All who knew him will sadly miss him.''