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President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and unveiled a $275 billion plan to help some of the 6 million homeowners facing foreclosure in the next three years. Some Republican governors said they would refuse stimulus aid that required their states to expand unemployment insurance. “If Republican governors do not want this money,” said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, “Democratic governors will put it to good use.” LATCNNCNNBloombergCBS via CQ EconomistChicago TribuneThe Washington PostThe New York TimesThe New York TimesThe New York TimesRepublican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced an “off the hook” Republican publicity campaign, targeting “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.” “We need to uptick our image with everyone,” he said, “including one-armed midgets.” Washington TimesCredit-card defaults neared a record high,Bloombergand the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level since 1997. AP via LATWSJBloombergThe federal government eased the rules governing the preferred stock that American taxpayers now own in more than 350 financial institutions, allowing ailing banks to convert that stock to common stock if necessary. BloombergThe Washington PostOn her first Asian trip as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton urged China to keep buying U.S. debt and told the audience of “Awesome,” an Indonesian music show, that her favorite bands were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. She was later asked by Fox News if she preferred the Beatles’ early “hand-clapping” phase or the “drug-fueled existentialism” of their later music. “The hand-clapping mode was what I first was captured by,” she said. “But then, as I went through my angst period and struggled with the challenges of living in the real world, the more existential message struck home.”CSMThe Washington PostFoxBloombergPolitico
Descendants of Geronimo sued a Yale University secret society rumored to have stolen the Apache warrior’s skull and bones,Hartford Courantand leakers close to Dick Cheney said he was angry at George W. Bush for his failure to pardon Scooter Libby for leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. NY Daily NewsA man dressed as a clown in Redwood City, California, was arrested for impersonating a federal agent,SF Chronand eight bald eagles in Enumclaw, Washington, got sick after eating the carcass of a euthanized horse. Seattle P-IA chimpanzee who previously starred in ads for Coca-Cola was stabbed by its owner and then shot to death by police in Stamford, Connecticut, after mauling a guest to its home, MSNBCand thousands of cows died in Argentina, where ranchers have lost an estimated 1.5 million head of cattle so far in the worst drought in 50 years.The New York TimesWorkers digging in a Los Angeles garage found the largest known cache of Ice Age fossils, including 80 percent of a mammoth and bones from a North American lion.LATA raid on J.B. Precious Puppies, a dog-breeding facility in Seneca, Missouri, found 170 abused chihuahuas and other small dogs, and a starving Bengal tiger in a cage full of puppy parts.St. Lewis Post-DispatchWalt Disney took control of the Ice Lantern Festival in Harbin, China, replacing dragons and other Chinese-themed ice scuptures with Disney characters. “This is beautiful,” said Li Jing, a 22-year-old visitor wearing cat ears in imitation of Tigger. “It brings my childhood memories back.”The New York Times
Expanding the CIA-led covert war in Pakistan, the United States launched two missile attacks on training camps linked to Baitullah Mehsud, who is thought to have orchestrated the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto. “These strikes are counterproductive,” said Owais Ahmed Ghani, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province. “All it will do is attract more jihadis.” The New York TimesThe New York TimesA suicide bomber attacked the funeral of an assassinated local Shia leader in the Pakistani village of Dera Ismail Khan, killing 30 people.WPObama announced that 17,000 more troops would be sent to Afghanistan, an increase of 50 percent, partly to help secure the border with Pakistan. General David D. McKiernan said he would like yet another 10,000 troops, adding that it was “very unhealthy” to compare the current war to British and Russian debacles in Afghanistan. “You can’t look like the likely loser of the war,” explained Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations. “No warlord is going to change sides to join the loser.”LATThe New York TimesThe New York TimesThe New York TimesAFP via GoogleThe recently repainted Abu Ghraib prison, decorated with flowers and renamed “Baghdad Central Prison,” was opened to the press. “It was damp,” said Saad Sultan of the Human Rights Ministry as he toured the facility. “You really felt the horror. Now there is more light.” “I hate this place,” said a jailer who requested anonymity. “It is depressing.”IHTDrummer Louie Bellson, whom Duke Ellington called “the world’s greatest musician,” died. Bellson once recalled the advice of tenor-saxophone legend Lester Young, who helped him learn to play bebop: “Lou, just play titty-bop, titty-bop, and don’t drop no bombs.’” LAT
More from Sam Stark:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature