This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 9:29 AM

"The bloodiest day in modern Ukrainian history." Not all that far from the bravura camaraderie of the Sochi Olympics, the weeks of protests and clashes with cops in Ukraine reached a deadly crescendo. Government snipers shot and killed dozens of demonstrators in what became an all-out battle after crowds of protesters pushed past riot cops into Kiev's symbolic central square. Other reports say several dozen police officers have been captured and taken to the city's occupied city hall. A truce was only hours old. The latest melees in the fight over Ukraine's loyalties (Russia vs. the West) and an accompanying authoritarian crackdown is deepening geopolitical schisms.

Offering $19 billion in cash and stock, its largest deal yet, Facebook has agreed to purchase a five-year-old mobile messaging service that's most popular outside the United States, in parts of the world where Facebook is hoping to make social media inroads. Maybe it overpaid? Maybe?

Republicans think they have a good chance at reclaiming the US Senate. But they have a better chance of nominating jerk candidates who say dumb things about women, minorities, and LGBTQ folks, so...

The American military is still one of the least LGBTQ-friendly in the world, according to a recently released scorecard measuring inclusion. Mostly because people who identify as transgender still aren't allowed to serve their country.

Feel awful about yourself. A 3-year-old in Arizona taught herself Spanish on an iPad, reads at a higher level than the average Hillbilly-American, and just got accepted into Mensa. She's got an IQ higher than 160.

Scott Walker, Wisconsin's anti-labor Republican governor, unsurprisingly employed aides who traded sexist and racist jokes, according to thousands of emails released in the wake of a government investigation.

Walmart laughed itself off the couch and onto the dirty shag carpeting in front of its TV after someone suggested it might be down for backing pay increases for its legions of government-subsidized workers.

It's nice to see a caring, hardworking dictator spending some time and money on himself for a change Kim Jong Un peeled through more than $700 million last year, according a United Nations report that raises hints of ivory and alcohol smuggling and details profligate spending on cars and luxury items. His people, meanwhile, are so hungry they comb through rat shit for undigested corn kernels.

The Portland teachers strike that wasn't was called off Tuesday, but without any hint of the compromises that let everyone feel good enough about stepping back from the brink. The O has some of those negotiated details: Portland Public Schools will hire more teachers and keep caps on student-teacher ratios. But the district won't pay teachers as much as expected.

ALSO, I GUESS. THE OLYMPICS. THOSE ARE STILL MAKING SPORTS HAPPEN.

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