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  • Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is The aristocratic old grandpa state:
    Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - The aristocratic old grandpa state
  • Registering to vote just got easier. With this little widget, you can fill out a registration form, print it off and mail it in ... or, if you're lucky enough to be in a state where you can register online, it will take you directly to your Secretary of State's website. Do it now! And share it with family and friends. Remember, as Rep. John Lewis said, voting is "the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union."

  • Oil company chief says Arctic drilling not such a good idea: When the head of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council says it, well, what did you expect? But when the head guy at Total SA, the world's sixth largest oil company, says it, you can see raised eyebrows everywhere

    Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie told the Financial Times Wednesday:

    The newspaper described de Margerie's comments as the first time a major oil company has publicly criticised offshore exploration in the Arctic.

    The risk of an oil spill in such an environmentally sensitive area was simply too high, according to de Margerie.

    "Oil on Greenland would be a disaster. A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company," he said.

  • If the Republicans had no candidate in the race, Barack Obama would be losing. That, at least, is the view of columnist Ross Douhat.
  • Poll of the Year Award goes to the Round Rock Leader, a Texas newspaper, which, avoiding the subjunctive, asked the Question of the Week on its website:

    If the election was today, would you vote for Obama or Romney?
    Two alternative choices were offered:
    Yes (clicked by 29 voters) and No (clicked by 37 voters).

    Think they will be surprised at the actual ballot?

  • Singer Andy Williams is dead at 84: One of the songs he made famous nearly half a century ago was "Can't Get Used to Losin' You," written by Jerome "Doc" Pomus and Mort Shuman:
    Guess there's no use in hangin' 'round
    Guess I'll get dressed and do the town
    I'll find some crowded avenue
    Though it will be empty without you

    Can't get used to losin' you no matter what I try to do
    Gonna live my whole life thorough-loving you

  • Can this proposed law be extended to scab grocery clerks and teachers, too?:
    A top New Jersey lawmaker is proposing a ban on using replacement referees in professional sports, citing risks to player safety. State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat (and Green Bay Packers fan), said in a press release Tuesday he would introduce legislation prohibiting fill-in officials — which, if enacted, would impact the New York Jets and the New York Giants, both of whom play in at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
  • A Bold Plan for Sustainable California Communities has lessons for the whole nation:
    Over the past year, Southern California, Sacramento, and San Diego have become the first three regions in America to adopt transportation plans specifically designed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.These regions are doing their part to implement California's landmark Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Law (Senate Bill 375), passed in 2008. [... This study] tells the story of how Southern California and Sacramento have tackled implementation of this new law, and provides a brief update on the San Diego plan.
  • Finally, a real explanation of teenagers. Brain Parts Can Evolve Independently, according to a study of mice:
    An evolutionary biologist at The University of Manchester, working with scientists in the United States, has found compelling evidence that parts of the brain can evolve independently from each other. It's hoped the findings will significantly advance our understanding of the brain.
  • In poll, most Americans reject view that the West and Islam are in a fundamental clash. But two-thirds of Republicans say they are:
    Opinion was reasonably evenly split on both sides of the Atlantic, and indeed somewhat more tolerant in the United States. Overall, Americans rejected the view of a fundamental clash of cultures that can only have one winner. Only 39% adopted this view, against 47% who believe that "it is possible for the west and Muslims to coexist in peace". In Britain, by contrast, the respective figures were 43% and 41%, suggesting that British opinion towards Islam is somewhat more hostile overall.

    But American opinion is beset by a sharp partisan divide. By a near three-to-one margin, of 64% to 23%, Republicans perceive a fundamental conflict. The overall picture of American tolerance emerges only because Democratic identifiers incline even more emphatically towards the hope of peaceful co-existence, by a 68%-18% margin. The partisan gap in support for the "conflict" view is therefore 46 percentage points. Among independents, the split is right down the middle—with 45% believing peace should be possible, and 44% ruling it out.

  • That's gotta sting:
    The University of California will pay damages of $30,000 to each of the 21 UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, the university system announced Wednesday.

    The agreement, which must still be approved in federal court, also calls for UC to pay a total of $250,000 to the plaintiffs’ attorneys and set aside a maximum of $100,000 to pay up to $20,000 to any other individuals who join the class-action lawsuit by proving they were either arrested or directly pepper-sprayed, a university statement said.

  • Man dresses as car seat in attempt to move to Spain without the usual red tape.

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