This Week in the Mercury


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Nothing official yet, everybody, but the US is considering perhaps not monitoring the phone activity of foreign leaders we call friends. Germany's still incensed over revelations we kept tabs on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. "The administration will reserve the right to continue collecting intelligence in friendly countries that pertains to criminal activity, potential terrorist threats and the proliferation of unconventional weapons, according to several officials," says the New York Times. "It also appeared to be leaving itself room in the case of a foreign leader of an ally who turned hostile or whose actions posed a threat to the United States."

Marilyn B. Tavenner, who, you'd think, must have suspected being tapped as the person responsible for rolling out the Obamacare website might be a bit troublesome, is taking her lumps before a Congressional committee this morning. The problem with the still-malfunctioning healthcare.gov, according to Tavenner? Damned unaccountable private contractors.

Remember, you don't necessarily care about the hiccups at the federal site if you're trying to price the Affordable Care Act's subsidized insurance plans. Instead, expend your rage reserves on the still-not-functioning coveroregon.com.

Police Chief Mike Reese—trying to stave off new, stronger oversight from the civilian Independent Police Review Division—told city council last week the current system is "working very well." Nope, says City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade.

The luckiest woman in McMinnville was sitting in her home yesterday when a plane crashed through the wall, coming to rest just three feet away. The pilot of that small, single-engined craft was not so lucky.

The driver of a Jeep plowed into dozens of pedestrians near Beijing's Tiananmen Square yesterday, killing five and crashing explosively. If you can believe it, the Chinese government's playing this one pretty close to the vest.

I never watched the "Kony 2012" video, and I stand behind that decision. But this Washington Post story about American troops trying to track the infamous warlord is interesting.

Texas' strict new abortion law was handed a major setback Monday, when a federal judge blocked two of its chief provisions.

Victims of former Penn State assistant football coach and convicted pederast Jerry Sandusky will receive almost $60 million from the school.

Syria's latest challenge: An outbreak of Polio.

So Saturday, then. Joy ends Saturday.

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Which cartoon film will you waste your working hours on today? The Water Babies! It's only half a cartoon, really. Very British. Lots of chimney sweeps, if memory serves.

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