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The Senate passed an $827 billion stimulus package with the help of three Republicans who forced Democrats to cut billions of dollars that would have provided aid to states and education programs. Economists said the cuts were “outrageous” and “disastrous.” “The point is to keep lots of extra Americans from being unemployed for the next two years and have them, instead, do useful things for the country,” said Berkeley economist J. Bradford DeLong. “[Senators Ben] Nelson and [Susan] Collins, well, it’s not clear what their objective is.” The House and the Senate were negotiating differences in their packages in the hopes of presenting President Barack Obama with a final bill by Friday. “If this is a harbinger of the future, God save us,” said Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute and former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “Here we are shoveling out the goodies and we can’t agree on that. What happens when you have to shift the car in reverse, or deal with something like health reform or energy policy?”MSNBCAlternetRegulators overseeing the previous administration’s $700 billion Wall Street bailout said the Treasury overpaid banks, spending $78 billion more than was necessary on Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) investments. “There may be good policy reasons for overpaying,” said regulator Elizabeth Warren. “But without a clearly delineated reason, we canâ??t know.”New York TimesThe U.S. Labor Department announced that 598,000 people lost their jobs in January. The unemployment rate rose 0.5 percent to 7.6 percent, and employed women were expected to soon outnumber employed men.New York TimesNew York TimesThe makers of Botox planned to lay off 5 percent of their global workforce. “If someone was getting four injections and now they are getting two,” said one analyst, “right there, that is down 50 percent.”New York TimesFormer Attorney General Alberto Gonzales blamed his difficulty in finding a new job on the faltering economy. “I can understand that in a very tough economy,” he said, “some employers are gonna be hesitant about bringing someone like me on when you have ongoing investigations.”TPM Muckraker
Tax problems forced Tom Daschle to withdraw his candidacy for secretary of health and human services and Nancy Killefer to withdraw as nominee for performance czar; the confirmation of Hilda Solis as labor secretary was postponed after it was revealed that her husband had $6,400 worth of tax liens that had been outstanding for sixteen years. “I made a mistake,” explained President Obama. “I don’t want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards, one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying taxes.”New York TimesNew York TimesWashington PostWashington PostIran denied visas to a group of U.S. female badminton players after inviting the women to participate in a competition it is hosting, and announced that it had used its own rocket to launch a satellite into orbit, a feat only eight other nations have accomplished. “In the face of world opposition and sanctions,” said missile expert Geoffrey Forden, “Iran has joined a very exclusive club.” Washington PostNew York TimesFurlough Fridays began at California state-government departments, forcing more than 200,000 employees to remain at home without pay. Ski resorts were offering Friday discounts to California state workers with valid identification.BreitbartA woman sued a Florida doctor and his clinic for botching her abortion, alleging that, after she unexpectedly delivered a live baby girl at the clinic, the baby was put in a plastic biohazard bag with her placenta and afterbirth and thrown away. Buffalo NewsSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer.New York Times
Saying that “there is no reason only poor people should be infected” with malaria, Bill Gates opened a jar full of mosquitoes in front of a crowd of wealthy, influential attendees at the invitation-only Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in California. Gates later admitted that the mosquitoes were free of the disease.Fox NewsMoments after replacing his cell phone’s battery, a Chinese man was killed when the phone exploded, bursting an artery in his neck. The Shin Min Daily News, which first reported the story, suggested that the best way to avoid being hurt by exploding cell phones was to “avoid long telephone conversations.”The TelegraphOne hundred thirty-four fishermen were rescued after getting stranded on an ice floe that broke away from the Lake Erie shoreline,New York Timesand a Detroit mother of five was arrested after her four-year-old daughter told police, “Mom cooks me like a turkey in the oven.” Detroit NewsScientists found that babies born in late summer or early autumn grow to be taller and stronger than their peers, that women with prominent chins are more likely to cheat, and that woman are better than men at faking interest in the opposite sex.BBCTelegraphNBCHans Beck, 79, creator of toy figures for Playmobil (his motto: “No horror, no superficial violence, no short-lived trends”) died, as did Cramps lead singer Lux Interior, 62. “Rock â??nâ?? roll has absolutely nothing to do with music,” Interior once said. “You canâ??t call The Cramps music. Itâ??s noise, rockinâ?? noise.”The New York TimesWashington Post
More from Claire Gutierrez:
Freddie Grayâ€™s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the cityâ€™s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť