Paul Krugman: Greece on the Brink (NY Times)
Just as a workable economic compromise should be possible, a new government is wary of Europe's intentions.
Andrew Tobias: Marco Rubio, Meet Harry Truman
His [Republican] party's interest in eliminating the estate tax may ultimately help Democrats more than it helps Republicans in the next election.
Froma Harrop: Farming Moves North With the Temperatures (Creators Syndicate)
A multiyear drought made worse by climate change has altered the assumption that California's agricultural empire will always be able to stock the nation's produce shelves. Warmer temperatures, meanwhile, have turned formerly inhospitably cold parts of America into contenders for that market.
Nick McGrath: "Lulu: 'The big pop stars are all lonely'" (Guardian)
The singer, 66, on her challenging start in life, being a member of the 'church of the universe' and why she understands why Zayn Malik quit.
Evan V. Symon, Diem Phu Nu: "No Fat Tourists: 5 Rules of Life as a Prostitute in Vietnam" (Cracked)
#5. Many Families Are Perfectly Fine With Prostitution.
EllaClaire: "Helena Coggan: 'Teenage girls don't look for "role models" in fiction; we look for precedents'" (Guardian)
Published author Helena Coggan wrote the first draft of her fantasy novel The Catalyst aged just 13. Now 15, she took a break from GCSE revision to answer questions from site member EllaClaire and offer her tips for writing to get published.
Jonathan Bernstein: "Joss Whedon: 'Making The Avengers is tough. I may die…'" (Guardian)
The director of Age Of Ultron is getting out of the superhero game. But first he's got to deliver another billion-dollar blockbuster. Will he survive it?
Phil Mongredien: You've sold 17 million albums and you want to pay me nothing? Pat Pope's row with Garbage (Guardian)
When the managers of indie giants Garbage asked photographer Pat Pope to use his pictures for no fee, he made a stand.
Ann Robinson: What can you do to prevent dementia? (Guardian)
It's a condition that could strike any one of us, and there is still no cure. But evidence suggests that changing your lifestyle can help to reduce your risk.
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Pithy Astro Advice For the Next Four Weeks
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 a bit cooler.
White House Correspondents Dinner
Cecily Strong of "Saturday Night Live" will be this year's featured entertainment at the April 25 White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, but the gig may be one of the tougher comic assignments.
"For the past couple of months I was truly terrified, and then it's like, 'Well, now it's public so I can't back out,'" she told Variety. "But now that it's closer I think I'm having less time to be scared because more and more time I have to be working on it."
The room of roughly 2,600 people is full of journalists, media executives, celebrities and powerful D.C. figures - the majority of whom don't shrink from expressing their opinions - and it is broadcast live on C-SPAN and cable news channels. The cavernous ballroom of the Washington Hilton has pretty poor acoustics. And as is tradition, she will be following the president, not coming on before him.
Strong, 31, grew up in Oak Park, Ill. Her father is a former journalist who is now in public relations, and her brother actually ran the confetti cannon at Barack Obama's 2004 victory celebration when he won his Senate seat. Her family will be there, and get a chance to meet Obama. "I think that'll be a fun little moment," she said. She also plans to visit the White House the day before the dinner and, with her father and stepmother, visit Arlington Cemetery, where her grandparents are buried.
Country music star Willie Nelson announced plans Monday to roll out his own brand of marijuana, capitalizing on his association with pot and the unofficial stoner holiday, 4/20.
The move makes the 81-year-old "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" singer the latest celebrity to jump into the marijuana marketplace.
"Willie's Reserve" will be grown and sold in Colorado and Washington, where recreational pot is legal. Nelson said in a statement that he's "looking forward to working with the best growers in Colorado and Washington to make sure our product is the best on the market."
Nelson joins other famous pot personalities, including rapper Snoop Dogg, who endorses vaporizing products; singer Melissa Etheridge, developing marijuana-infused wine; and reality TV star and self-help guru Bethenny Frankel, who is working on a strain of Skinnygirl weed that wouldn't leave users with the munchies.
Ottawa Will Issue Passport
A Canadian journalist facing widely-denounced terror charges in Egypt expressed jubilation Monday after the federal government announced it will issue him a passport - reversing an earlier decision that angered many of his supporters.
"It's a victory," Mohamed Fahmy told The Canadian Press from Cairo. "You have no idea how safe you feel when you have your passport in the back pocket of your jeans.'
His original passport was seized upon his arrest in December 2013 while he was working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.
Despite filling out the necessary paperwork, the Canadian government had refused to issue him a new passport, citing his bail conditions.
Recovered from the Bottom of the Sea
Every wine connoisseur knows the value of an aged wine, but few get the opportunity to sample 170-year-old Champagne from the bottom of the sea.
In 2010, divers found 168 bottles of bubbly while exploring a shipwreck off the Finnish Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea. When they tasted the wine, they realized it was likely more than a century old.
In the study, led by Philippe Jeandet, a professor of food biochemistry at the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne in France, researchers analyzed the chemical composition of the wine from the shipwreck and compared it to that of modern Champagne.
A chemical analysis of the wine revealed that it contained a lot more sugar than modern Champagnes. The 170-year-old beverage had a sugar content of about 20 ounces per gallon (150 grams per liter), whereas today's Champagnes have only about 0.8 ounces to 1 oz/gal (6 to 8 g/L).
AC/DC Drummer Pleads Guilty
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court Tuesday to a charge of threatening to kill a man who used to work for him. He also pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine and marijuana.
Rudd faces up to seven years in prison on the threatening to kill charge, although his lawyer Craig Tuck said the prosecution case boils down to an angry phone call, and he is seeking a remedy that would involve no legal consequences for Rudd.
Rudd acknowledged in a court summary of facts that he'd offered large amounts of cash, vehicles and a house to an associate after asking him to have the victim "taken out" and that he'd also directly said to the victim he was going to kill him.
The 60-year-old drummer was released on bail pending a June sentencing hearing.
Vatican Doubles Down
The Vatican is mounting a campaign to defend an 18th century Franciscan missionary who will be canonized by Pope Francis in the U.S. against protests from Native Americans who have compared his conversion of natives to genocide.
The Vatican is teaming up with the archdiocese of Los Angeles and the main U.S. seminary in Rome to host a daylong celebration May 2 at the North American College to honor the Rev. Junipero Serra, who introduced Christianity to much of California as he marched north with Spanish conquistadors. Francis will celebrate Mass in his honor.
For the church, Serra was a great evangelizer and a model for today's Hispanics. Many Native Americans, though, say Serra helped wipe out native populations, enslaved converts and spread disease as he brutally imposed Christianity on them. They have staged protests in California and there is a move to remove his statue from the U.S. Capitol.
Vatican officials on Monday defended Serra's record, saying it shows he worked in defense of Native Americans, often intervening to spare them from the more brutal colonial officials. (Insert eye-roll here.)
Zainab Begum Alvi and her band of young helpers hunch over baskets filled with tobacco flakes and dried leaves, trying to roll a thousand dirt-cheap cigarettes a day at the behest of India's powerful bidi barons.
"I have to do it, no matter what, even if I'm not well. I have no other choice," says Alvi, who earns 70 rupees a day, a little over a dollar, for her 12 hours of toil hand-rolling the bidis.
Around 70 million Indians smoke the hand-rolled bidis, which are nimbly bound together by workers such as Alvi and her young relatives with khaki-coloured tendu leaves and cotton thread.
The bidis outsell their filtered, paper-bound rivals by eight to one, giving the industry's bosses a financial and political clout that critics say accounts for the recent shelving of plans for larger health warnings on packets.
New Roadkill Map
Northern California's car-clogged freeways run through thousands of acres of protected wetlands, creating a "ring of death" east of San Francisco, according to an ongoing study.
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have plotted some 29,000 reports of roadkill to identify the most hazardous roadways for the state's wildlife. The volunteer reports, collected over the past five years, cover more than 40 percent of California's highways and roads.
Tracking roadside carcasses may sound odd, but the endeavor can reduce deaths for both drivers and wildlife, the scientists said. For instance, the study found many hotspots where animals are repeatedly killed by cars and trucks. Adding crossings at these hotspots, such as underpasses or land bridges, could improve safety. "Larger animals can cause fatal collisions and people will sometimes swerve to avoid smaller animals," said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, which coordinates the study.
In Southern California, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans to build five new wildlife crossings along state Route 94 in San Diego County, where the study identified roadkill hotspots, Shilling said.
In the San Francisco Bay area, the map of carcasses resembles a "ring of death" because of the round shape of the Bay and its roads, Shilling said. Protected marshes and undeveloped land line the shoreline, and these refuges are adjacent to, or crossed by, highways and roads. "We've created a situation where there's no barrier between highway and habitat," Shilling said. "If we have busy highways adjacent to where we attract birds, then we are setting up conflicts."
Shows Off Submerged Shipwrecks
The clear blue, post-winter waters of northern Lake Michigan have disclosed some of their hidden history to a U.S. Coast Guard crew, which took a series of photographs of shipwrecks lying on the lake bottom in the waters off the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that the Traverse City-based helicopter was a on a routine patrol when the crew spotted the wrecks and got pictures of them.
The shallow waters of the lake off the Leelanau Peninsula near Leland are the site of many 19th and early 20th century shipwrecks. The area is known as the Manitou Passage, between the mainland of the northwestern Lower Peninsula and North and South Manitou Islands.
The Coast Guard crew posted six photos of the shipwrecks on its Facebook page. They were taken on Friday.
Betty Willis, credited with designing the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, died in her Overton, Nevada, home on Sunday, according to an obituary on the Virgin Valley & Moapa Valley Mortuaries' website.
The 91-year-old artist's often-copied sign sits in a median in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard south of the Strip.
In 2009, the sign was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Willis, born in 1923 in the small town of Overton northeast of Las Vegas, worked as a commercial artist in Los Angeles before returning to Las Vegas, where she worked for sign companies and designed the famous diamond-shaped beacon of flashing lights.
The sign has become such a popular photo backdrop that a parking lot for cars and tour buses in the middle of the street was expanded in 2012.
Willis also designed neon signs for the Moulin Rouge casino and Blue Angel motel in Las Vegas.
U.S. writer Frederic Morton, who became internationally recognized in part through books on the Austrian homeland that he was forced to flee because of the Holocaust, has died, his Austrian publishers said Monday. He was 90.
The Deuticke publishing house said Morton died in his Vienna hotel room overnight on the eve of a public reading of some of his works in the Austrian capital. The Austria Press Agency said that event will now be turned into a memorial for the Vienna-born author.
Morton wrote 12 books, including "The Rothschilds" and "A Nervous Splendor," both of them National Book Award finalists. "The Rothschilds" was made into a Tony Award-winning musical, while "A Nervous Splendor," chronicling 1888 to 1889 in Vienna, focused on the major Austrian personalities and events of that year - among them the birth of Adolf Hitler, whose rise to power led to Morton's self-exile 40 years later.
Decades later, Morton would describe his uprooting as the common theme running through all of his works, and not only those dealing with Austria.
Born Fritz Mandelbaum on Oct. 5, 1924, Morton grew up as the son of a well-to-do Jewish family of industrialists who fled first to London a year after Hitler's 1938 annexation of Austria and then to New York.
Morton's interest in writing grew while studying literature at Columbia University and attending classes at the New School for Social Research. He began writing short stories and publishing in magazines in 1947, making his breakthrough with his biography of the Rothschilds in 1962. His work was later anthologized in "The Best American Short Stories" 1965, and "The Best American Essays" 2003.
Morton began visiting the city of his birth even before Austria slowly began coming to terms with its Nazi past in the 1980s. Among other distinctions, he was awarded Vienna's "Golden Medal of Honor" in 1986 and the "Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art" in 2003.