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  1. reporter woes Obama Aide 'Yelled' at Woodward AP Photo

    1. Obama Aide 'Yelled' at Woodward

    Presidents should know not to mess with Bob Woodward. The Washington Post journalist got a rude awakening last week when he called an aide to President Obama to warn that an article he was writing would question the president's account of the sequester's origins. Woodward said he was yelled at for over an hour, then received an apology email that said "I think you will regret staking out that claim." The White House denies it was a threat. “They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward says. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people ... I don’t think it’s the way to operate."

    February 27, 2013 9:58 PM

  2. The Supremes Justices Challenge Voting Rights Act MANDEL NGAN / AFP

    2. Justices Challenge Voting Rights Act

    Almost 50 years after it was first enacted, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 could be facing its biggest challenge. Four of the five conservative Supreme Court justices raised questions over the monumental law’s continued usefulness and fairness. The act requires nine states—most from the South—to seek federal permission to change voting procedures in order to prevent the racial exclusion. On Wednesday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the act a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” while Chief Justice John Roberts was skeptical that people in the South are really more racist than their Northern counterparts. At question is the formula, which is based on decades-old data, that determines the jurisdictions governed by the act.

    February 27, 2013 1:28 PM

  3. FINANCIAL TROUBLE Sequester Votes Expected to Fail Mark Wilson/Getty

    3. Sequester Votes Expected to Fail

    With one day to go, the Senate is not expected to get the 60 votes needed to pass a Democrat-backed spending package, meaning cuts will likely go into effect Friday night. GOP leaders have offered a controversial plan to give the White House authority to implement the $85.3 billion in cuts for the fiscal year. It would give President Obama two weeks to bring a plan for the same level of cuts in order to avoid the indiscriminate sequester, but Republican lawmakers haven’t thrown support in for the plan. 

    February 27, 2013 11:05 PM

  4. money man Lew Confirmed as Treasury Sec Charles Dharapak/AP

    4. Lew Confirmed as Treasury Sec

    Our dollar bills are about to get a new, super-loopy signature. The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Jack Lew as the nation's 76th Treasury secretary. The former White House Budget Director under President Clinton and Chief of Staff under President Obama skated through the Senate vote with 71 votes approving and only 26 against. Hope he's ready to jump straight in--the government has a day left to find a compromise for $85 billion in budget cuts set to kick in Friday.

    February 27, 2013 6:26 PM

  5. two years later U.S. Considers Direct Syria Aid Fighting in Aleppo on Saturday. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty)

    5. U.S. Considers Direct Syria Aid

    The Obama administration is making a big move toward proving Syrian rebels with a helping hand as fighting rages with no end in sight. A proposed policy would send humanitarian assistance to Syria's opposition coalition and equipment (but no weapons) to the rebels--the first direct aid offered since civil war broke out two years ago. Secretary of State John Kerry will be discussing the proposal with allies in the Middle East and Europe this week in order to coordinate efforts. On Tuesday, Kerry told students in Germany that America hopes for a "peaceful resolution." but without cooperation from Syrian leaders, "then you need to at least provide some kind of support."

    February 26, 2013 6:30 PM

  6. PROP 8 CA Files Anti–Prop 8 Brief With Supreme Court Harry E. Walker

    6. CA Files Anti–Prop 8 Brief With Supreme Court

    California’s top law-enforcement officer filed a Supreme Court brief to overturn Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, ahead of arguments over the ban that will be heard by justices next month. In the 45-page brief, Attorney General Kamala Harris said she believes the ban violates the 14th Amendment, and has stripped “loving relationships of validation and dignity under law.” Harris also argued that proponents of Prop 8 have no authority to enforce laws. Her brief comes on the heels of a major legal endorsement of gay marriage by 70 Republicans

    February 27, 2013 3:57 PM

  7. depressing Study: Racial Wealth Gap Widening Rogelio V. Solis/AP

    7. Study: Racial Wealth Gap Widening

    Racial inequality is alive and well. According to a new study, the wealth gap between African-American and white families has tripled in the past quarter century. The study, conducted by Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy, found that the gap between white and African-American family wealth increased from $85,070 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009, with African-Americans making less than whites. The biggest culprit of the disparity: homeownership, followed by income. Thanks to racial discrimination in the job market, it's harder for African-Americans to build income, according to the study, and they tend to be more vulnerable to home foreclosure.

    February 27, 2013 4:35 PM

  8. CAPITOL DRAMA Boehner: Senate Can Get ‘Off Their Ass’ Speaker Boehner on Tuesday. (Win McNamee/Getty)

    8. Boehner: Senate Can Get ‘Off Their Ass’

    If the level of crisis is measured by the severity of John Boehner’s language, then the sequester still hasn’t reached the level of the fiscal cliff, when the House Speaker told Harry Reid, “Go f--k yourself.” Boehner said in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that the House will not be taking up the looming budget cuts known as the sequester for the third time before the “Senate gets off their ass and passes it once.” Boehner knocked Senate Democrats and President Obama for not having a plan to avoid the sequester, while Obama shifted blame back to Boehner and congressional Republicans for refusing to increase taxes. If no deal is reached before March 1, some $85 billion worth of automatic spending cuts will kick in, hitting nearly every government program.

    February 27, 2013 7:05 AM

  9. Social network 2.0 Snapchat Sued by Stanford Grad snapchat.com

    9. Snapchat Sued by Stanford Grad

    Hope Aaron Sorkin is ready to write a sequel to The Social Network. A Stanford graduate is suing the two founders of the photo-sharing app Snapchat, claiming he originally came up with the idea. A lawyer for Frank Reginald Brown IV (could he sound more like a Winklevoss-type character?) says his client originated the idea and logo and then spent a summer working on the app with the Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who later changed the passwords to the servers and cut him out. "We are aware of the allegations, believe them to be utterly devoid of merit, and will vigorously defend ourselves against this frivolous suit," a spokesperson for Snapchat told TechCrunch.

    February 27, 2013 5:55 PM

  10. ANIMATORS FOR HIRE Katzenberg Begins DreamWorks Layoffs Michael Buckner / Getty Images

    10. Katzenberg Begins DreamWorks Layoffs

    Not even Shrek can save the day now. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the first layoffs in the company’s history have begun. Citing the poor performance of the recent animated release Rise of the Guardians and the postponing of the planned flick Me and My Shadow, Katzenberg says the studio—previously behind such megahits as Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda—will have to let 350 of its 2,200 employees go by the end of the year. “These things are very, very difficult to do,” Katzenberg says. “I would say it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do since we started DreamWorks.”

    February 27, 2013 6:14 PM

  11. GOOD VIBRATIONS Inspiration Mars Ship Looks Like Sex Toy Inspiration Mars/AP

    11. Inspiration Mars Ship Looks Like Sex Toy

    This is what happens when you don't have enough women in the sciences. The Inspiration Mars Foundation is proposing a plan to send a manned mission to fly past Mars in the year 2018. Which is great, except that it seems someone neglected to tell the foundation that the model for their spaceship looks like a giant vibrator. The Hitachi Magic Wand, to be exact. The trip would take roughly two years, and the plan is reportedly to choose a middle-aged couple to man it, since they would be used to sharing confined space for long periods of time. Well, at least now we have an idea about how they can stay entertained. 

    February 27, 2013 8:09 PM

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  13. Bull! Dow Crosses 14,000 Spencer Platt/Getty

    12. Dow Closes at Five-Year High

    The U.S. stock market soared to a new five-year high Thursday, as the Dow Jones industrial average rose 175 points, decisively crashing through the 14,000 barrier. Despite threats from home (the sequester) and abroad (Italy-inspired Euro turmoil), investors seem to be convinced that U.S. economic growth is solid and companies will continue to prosper.

    February 27, 2013 5:08 PM

  14. STRONGER THAN STEEL Spider-Man’s Web Could Stop Subway Car

    13. Spider-Man’s Web Could Stop Subway Car

    Spider-Man may be fictional, but apparently some of his superpowers exist in the real world. Three young physicists in the U.K. have determined that Spidey’s seemingly iron web—the one that stopped a runaway subway train in Spider-Man 2would be “proportional to that of real spiders.” Eager to myth-bust a scene from the second Spider-Man movie, the team calculated that the silk webs of Darwin’s Bark spider, which has the strongest-known web, would in fact be able to stop four New York subway cars carrying 984 people. Meanwhile, across the pond, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago is developing a “SpiderSense” suit.

    February 27, 2013 1:29 PM

  15. VALETE Pope: I’m ‘Not Coming Down From the Cross’ Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square with his last audience, February 27. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty)

    14. Pope: I’m ‘Not Coming Down From the Cross’

    Pope Benedict XVI told an estimated 150,000 worshipers packed into St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican for his final Mass on Wednesday that he is “not coming down from the cross.” Benedict, the first pope in almost 600 years to retire, recalled the “joy” of the papacy, but also insisted that “to love the church means to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself.” Meanwhile, most of the church’s most powerful cardinals are already in the Vatican to pick Benedict’s successor, and Benedict will meet with them for the final time on Thursday morning. Oddsmakers have Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson at 11–4 odds of being the next pope, and Italy’s Archbishop Angelo Scola with 3–1 odds.

    February 27, 2013 6:30 AM

  16. CULTURAL ICON Famed Pianist Van Cliburn Dies Van Cliburn in 1959. (AP)

    15. Famed Pianist Van Cliburn Dies

    American pianist Van Cliburn has passed away at the age of 78. Cliburn won the top prize at the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow at the age of 23. It was a victory for the U.S. over the Soviets during the Cold War, catapulting the young man into a celebrity. He was even welcomed back to New York City with a ticker-tape parade and 100,000 people. A pianist as popular as Justin Bieber? That doesn’t happen anymore. He had been suffering from bone cancer.

    February 27, 2013 2:21 PM

  17. REAL TALK Sarah Palin to D.C.: Cut the Drama Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

    16. Sarah Palin to D.C.: Cut the Drama

    Just when you thought you’d heard the last of her, Sarah Palin comes back with a vengeance. The former Alaska governor is calling on Congress to “grow up, get to work, and live within its means.” In a letter on her Facebook page, which has received over 3 million likes in the 20 hours since it was posted, Palin writes, “Americans are sick and tired of yet another ginned-up crisis. The real economic Armageddon looming before us,” she argues, “is our runaway debt, not the sequester.” She insists that President Obama is actually to blame for the coming budget cuts “and is running around denouncing [them] now because he never had any genuine intention of reining in his reckless spending.”

    February 27, 2013 11:36 AM

  18. Good Luck With That Titanic II Sets Sail in 2016 Blue Star Line/AP

    17. Titanic II Sets Sail in 2016

    We all know what happened the last time someone tried this, right? A "sequel" to the doomed 1912 ship, the Titanic, was announced on Tuesday, with its designer claiming that the Titanic II will be the "most safe cruise ship in the world." That apparently translates into having "more than enough" lifeboats (whereas the original Titanic had only 16) and a hull made from steel composite. Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who masterminded the project, wisely refused to call it "unsinkable," however. The new ship will take pains to recreate details from the original ship, including splitting passengers into three classes and barring them from moving between classes. Passengers will also be provided with early 20th century-style clothes and undergarments. See video from the New York launch event (which, appropriately, kicked off with a rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On") below.

    February 26, 2013 5:52 PM

  19. ‘GIRL MEAT’ Cannibal Cop: I’d BBQ Friend Valle in federal court on Monday. (Elizabeth Williams/AP)

    18. Cannibal Cop: I’d BBQ Friend

    Accused “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle allegedly planned to barbecue a friend, according to testimony on Tuesday. Valle, charged with conspiracy to kill and eat up to 100 women, shared a YouTube video of college acquaintance Kimberly Sauer, and posted in an online chat that Sauer “was going to be delicious,” FBI Agent Corey Walsh said. Valle’s attorneys have claimed that all of the online conversations were just fantasy and he never acted on any of the grisly things he described. Walsh also testified that Valle had written frequently about “cannibalism, foot fetishes, asphyxiation fetishes, different things of that nature” and also that he had rejected offers of black women, allegedly saying “white girls seem the most appetizing to me.” Valle’s trial will resume Wednesday.

    February 27, 2013 7:35 AM

  20. CATATONIC NEWS NETWORK CNN Ratings Drop Kevin C. Cox/Getty

    19. CNN Ratings Drop

    There just weren’t enough cruise crises to save CNN this month. CNN’s ratings slid in February, falling 5 percent in the daytime and 1 percent at night in the first full month since the high-profile arrival of new network chief Jeff Zucker at the beginning of the month. Fox News Network won the month with more than 1 million daily viewers, more than MSNBC and CNN combined. In February 2012, CNN came in second and MSNBC third—and, in even worse news for CNN, the network has seen a 10 percent decline in total daytime viewers and a whopping 18 percent drop in nighttime viewers from one year ago. The much-mocked all-day-long cruise coverage in the middle of month was the only bright spot, with viewership up on February 14.

    February 27, 2013 10:15 AM

  21. Blerg! Tina Fey as Oscar Host? ‘No Way.’ Jason Kempin / Getty Images

    20. Tina Fey as Oscar Host? ‘No Way.’

    With critics ready to pounce on every errant cough from the Oscar host, there are few jobs more thankless in Hollywood. So when asked whether she’d emcee next year’s Academy Awards—as so many people have wishing upon a star for her to do—Tina Fey told the Huffington Post, unequivocally, not a chance. “I just feel like that gig is so hard,” Fey said. “Especially for, like, a woman—the amount of months that would be spent trying on dresses alone … no way.” But c’mon … is there even the slightest chance she’d change her mind? “I wish I could tell you there was,” she said. Blerg!  

    February 27, 2013 12:09 PM

  22. FAREWELL CROWN

    21. Miss Delaware Teen USA Resigns

    Another pageant queen lost to porn. Miss Delaware Teen USA Melissa King resigned on Tuesday after porn images of her surfaced on the Internet. The 18-year-old reportedly denies that it was her in the hardcore sex tape, which was made four months before she was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA. A rep for the pageant said they have already reached out to the first runner-up to take over for King.

    February 27, 2013 7:25 AM

  23. CLEVER House GOP to Sneakily Allow VAWA Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

    22. House GOP to Sneakily Allow VAWA

    Isn’t this kind of like when instead of studying you write a crib sheet—and then learn the material anyway? House Republicans are reportedly going to allow the Violence Against Women Act to pass without actually forcing their members to vote for it, sources told Talking Points Memo Tuesday. Confused? Here’s the plan: the Rules Commission added a caveat in the House bill that if it isn’t passed, the Democrat- and moderate Republican–approved Senate bill will go to an up or down vote in the House—which it is likely to get. More-conservative House Republicans have taken issue with the Senate bill’s protections for gays, Native Americans, and undocumented workers, but the Senate has refused to budge. If the Senate bill passes, everyone wins—especially women.

    February 27, 2013 8:57 AM

  24. THREATS Iran Develops Nuclear ‘Plan B’ Portion of Arak nuclear facility photographed in Jan. 2011. (Mehdi Marizad/Fars News Agency, via AP)

    23. Iran Develops Nuclear ‘Plan B’

    Who knew Iran followed the motto of “try, try again” so well? The country is apparently developing a Plan B for a nuclear bomb, with satellite images taken earlier this month showing Iran has activated a plant that could have nuclear capabilities. The images, published in Britain’s Telegraph on Wednesday, show signs of the production of heavy water, which is needed to produce a nuclear reactor. The heavily guarded facility has not been visited by the Atomic Energy Agency since August 2011, and Iran has refused to give requested information about the site. Iran insists the nuclear production is for peacetime use.

    February 27, 2013 6:35 AM

  25. ACCUSED Mexican Union Leader Arrested Teachers' union leader Elba Esther Gordillo in 2006. (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

    24. Mexican Union Leader Arrested

    Mexico union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, who has been called the country’s “most powerful woman,” was arrested on Wednesday on allegations that she embezzled $156 million from union funds. Gordillo is the head of the 1.5 million-member Mexican teachers’ union, SNTE, and has been dogged by rumors of fraud for years, although this is the first time charges have been brought against her. Gordillo is being accused of “systematic embezzlement” of union accounts between 2008 and 2012, and of using the money for property, trips to the U.S., and plastic surgery. Gordillo’s wealthy union has led the fight against Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s education reforms, which SNTE has claimed will lead to massive layoffs and the privatization of education.

    February 27, 2013 6:55 AM

  26. WATCH YOUR TWEETS Anti-McConnell Group Apologizes Senator McConnell on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    25. Anti-McConnell Group Apologizes

    A liberal Kentucky super PAC apologized on Tuesday for tweeting jokes linking Sen. Mitch McConnell’s wife, former Labor secretary Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, to outsourced jobs. Earlier this month, Progress Kentucky tweeted that “this woman has the ear @McConnellPress—she’s his wife. May explain why your job moved to China!” The tweet then linked to a webpage that accused Chao of discriminating against U.S. workers while she worked in the Bush administration. McConnell accused the group of using “blatant race-baiting for political gain,” and Republicans and Democrats alike denounced the comment. Progress Kentucky has since deleted the tweet and called the comment “unnecessary.”

    February 27, 2013 7:15 AM

  27. IT’S OVER! Senate Finally Confirms Chuck Hagel Hagel during confirmation hearing on Jan. 31. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    26. Senate Finally Confirms Hagel

    Senate has voted 58-41 in favor of confirming Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of Defense, ending a long, drawn-out battle between members of Congress and the White House. The Senate ended its filibuster of the Hagel nomination earlier on Tuesday, allowing the vote to go on. A number of key Republicans who had been blocking Hagel’s nomination, including John McCain, Tom Coburn, and Kelly Ayotte, voted to end the filibuster. It's likely Hagel will be confirmed by the end of the day.

    February 26, 2013 12:43 PM

  28. KING OF BEERS Budweiser Sued for Watering Down Beer Joe Raedle/Getty

    27. Budweiser Sued for Watering Down Beer

    What would the Budweiser frog say? U.S. consumers filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court against AB InBev for allegedly watering down Budweiser. The company, which makes not only Budweiser but also Stella Artois, controls 39 percent of the U.S. beer market and is currently looking to expand with a bid to buy Modelo, a Mexican brewing company that currently controls 7 percent of the American market. The complaint alleges AB InBev mislabels the amount of alcohol in Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Black Crowne, Bud Light Lime, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, Natural Ice, and Michelob Ultra. An AB InBev spokesman called the complaints “completely false” and insisted “our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws.”

    February 27, 2013 7:20 AM

  29. DEVELOPING

    28. Several Killed in Swiss Shooting

    Several people have been killed in a shooting Wednesday at a Swiss factory near Lucerne, authorities said, and at least four were critically injured. Police said the shooting took place at 9 a.m. at the wood factory plant called Kronospan in the town of Menznau. The factory employs 410 people, according to local media. No motive has been reported. There is no national gun registry in Switzerland, but it is estimated that up to one in three of the country’s 8 million residents own guns.

    February 27, 2013 7:00 AM