1. Tolerance does not mean acceptance or participation. It means allowing people to make their own choices about what they choose to do, and to respect the ability of their fellow citizens to do the same as long as it does no injury to them. What this contretemps shows is that America is getting a lot more intolerant the more “tolerant” we become.
     

  2. This was a rough week for John McCain. On Thursday, the Arizona senator and former GOP presidential nominee missed a classified briefing on the Benghazi consulate attack because he was busy holding a press conference about the lack of information about that very consulate attack. Pressed to comment on the mix-up by a CNN reporter, McCain snapped. "I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media," he told CNN's Ted Barrett. “I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?” 

    Of course, McCain has a long history of losing his cool in public. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and reflect on four of the Maverick’s sassiest moments

     


  3. Arizona’s severe new abortion law is set to go into effect this week, thanks to a federal judge who ruled it constitutional. The law, signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer earlier this year, forbids doctors from aborting fetuses with a gestational age of 20 weeks or older, which is before the 23- to 24-week milestone when a doctor can confirm that a pregnancy will likely not result in a miscarriage, a stillborn, or an infant who will die soon after being born. That means some women could have to give birth to stillborn babies.

    The law has been assailed by abortion-rights advocates and civil-rights groups, who say it violates Supreme Court precedent and will cause wanton emotional damage to mothers.

    Here, a guide to what has been described as the "most extreme" abortion ban in America

     


  4. 1. ASSAD TAKES IDLIB ON ANNIVERSARY OF SYRIA UPRISING
    Thursday marks the first anniversary of the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. National media report that Assad’s forces have cleared rebels from the northwest city of Idlib, but the opposition continues to fight throughout the country. Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian claims to have accessed Assads’ private emails. They show the leader seeking counsel from Iran on how to handle the uprising, while continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. According to United Nations estimates, more than 8,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died in the violence, and nearly 230,000 have been displaced from their homes. 
    [Reuters]
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    2. AFGHAN ATTACKER DIES AFTER PANETTA ATTEMPT
    An Afghan man has died after stealing a truck on Wednesday and attempting to run over a group of U.S. Marines waiting on a runway for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s plane. The man, an interpreter at Camp Bastion where the attack took place, was badly burned when the vehicle burst into flames. He died while being treated for his wounds. Panetta has said that he doesn’t think he was the target of the attack. [Washington Post]
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    3. JURY AWARDS VA. TECH FAMILIES $4 MILLION EACH
    A Virginia jury on Wednesday awarded two families of the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre $4 million each. The families sued the state for wrongful death saying the university failed to inform students early enough that a gunman was on the loose. It is likely the state will appeal the verdict. [CNN]
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    4. ARIZONA BIRTH CONTROL BILL ADVANCES
    Legislators in Arizona have advanced a controversial bill that would make women seeking health insurance coverage for their contraception provide evidence to their employers that they need contraception to treat medical conditions, not merely to prevent pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Unions says the law could make it legal for employers to fire a woman if it was found she was taking birth control to prevent pregnancy. [Huffington Post]
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    5. WHITE HOUSE HOLDS GLAM DINNER FOR CAMERON
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, at a star-studded state dinner. Guests included George Clooney, Warren Buffet, Apple’s Jonathan Ive, Harvey Weinstein, and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. John Legend and Mumford & Sons performed. [CBS News]
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    More news you need to know

     


  5. Off-year elections are often quickly forgotten in the build-up to a coming presidential contest. Still, despite the usual low turnout and lack of national contests, Tuesday’s balloting provided important insights into the political parties’ strengths and weaknesses heading into the 2012 campaign. What lessons should politicians take to heart? 

    • Voters are angry about “Republican overreach”
      Ohio voters rebuffed Republican Gov. John Kasich’s “signature anti-union legislation” by a 2-to-1 margin. Even more “surprising,” conservative Mississippi said “no” to a hardline anti-abortion amendment that was expected to pass. And the recall of Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, the architect of the state’s harsh crackdown on illegal immigrants, was “a stunning blow to the Tea Party,” says Jeff Biggers at The Huffington Post. “This election shows that such extremist behavior will not be rewarded,” says Randy Parraz, a leader of the recall drive.

    More lessons here

     


  6. The people who blithely assert that we could always get Americans to do this job by paying a higher way are wildly underestimating what’s involved in becoming a skilled picker. It is not something you learn to do of an afternoon. If we shut out the immigrants, we will see a lot more ruined crops.
    — 

    Megan McArdle, The Atlantic

    Georgia’s tough new immigration laws may have worked too well. After no undocumented migrant workers showed up for the harvest, Georgia farmers left millions of dollars worth of fruits and vegetables rotting in the fields.

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  7. As the Wallow wildfire charbroils more than 500,000 acres of Arizona, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is blaming illegal immigrants.”There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally,” McCain said Saturday, while declining to offer any such evidence.

    Photo: CC BY NASA Goddard Photo and Video

     


  8. Inspired by Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Alabama’s legislature has passed a hard-hitting bill that would make it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant. The bill would require cops to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they think might be in the U.S. illegally, with the person jailed until their status is verified. It would also penalize anyone who hires, shelters, rents to, or gives a ride to illegal immigrants, and bars illegal immigrants from public universities.

    Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is expected to sign the bill.

     


  9. As far as Gabby’s progress, you can quote me as saying, ‘Yippee!’
    — 

    Gabrielle Giffords’ mother

    A lovely story in the New York Times today about Ms. Giffords’ recovery. She is communicating verbally, walking around, sitting up with impeccable posture, and beating her nurses at tic-tac-toe!

     

  10. Yesterday, news broke that Gabrielle Giffords is speaking and eating. “Gabby’s appetite is back,” her husband, Mark Kelly, writes in a post on the congresswoman’s Facebook page, adding that “even though it’s hospital food – she’s enjoying three meals a day.”

    We’ve compiled a chronological timeline of Gabby’s recovery, from the day of the shooting (when, despite her injuries, she was able squeeze her doctor’s hand) to yesterday, when she asked for toast for breakfast.

     


  11. Best. News. Ever.

    "U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head January 8, is regaining part of her ability to speak, her spokesman said Wednesday. C.J. Karamargin would not divulge what Giffords has said, other than saying she asked for toast.”

     


  12. just weeks after Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the with a similar weapon.

    The measure to honor the semiautomatic M1911 handgun was passed by the state House this week, where its sponsor called the gun “an implement of freedom that has defended America for 100 years.”

     


  13. Recognize her family
    Breathe on her own
    Stand up
    Take a few steps
    See shapes and colors
    Move both hands
    Scroll through an iPad
    See the mountains from the hospital she was staying at (because her husband took her to the roof to try and lift her spirits)

    But there’s also a list of things she can’t do, and doctors worry about her ability to speak. Today, Giffords was being flown to an intensive rehab center in Houston where she will be close to her husband while he trains for the final space shuttle flight in April. Doctors will be using MRI machines to appraise the damage to her brain, and will work on training other parts of her brain to take over for any damaged neurons.