- Today's comic is Mittylympics by Mark Fiore:
- President Obama orders flags flown at half-mast until July 25.
- Gun violence is down; mass murder is up:
Single-victim gun killings have dropped more than 40 percent since 1980, according to 2010 FBI crime data. But the total number of people dying in attacks that claimed four or more victims has climbed from an average of 161 a year in the 1980s to 163 between 2006 and 2008, according to FBI statistics.
Shooting massacres do not mirror the more volatile statistical curve of individual gun violence. Recent incidents -- such as the shooting at a Toronto shopping mall in June -- make it seem as if rampages are on the rise, but they have been a fact of life for a long time and will remain that way, said Jack Levin, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and author of "Extreme Killing."
- It was a tough morning to go on with the show at Daily Kos Radio. We did turn our attention away from the tragedy in Colorado, with DemFromCT bringing us back to ground as usual. Romney's woes continued to dominate the non-breaking news headlines, and we revisited the great discussion with where4art from Wednesday's show, and expanded on it by looking at today's Boston Globe piece, and discussed some new angles on how private equity firms structure themselves such that Romney's story might make some sense after all. Look for more of that, and maybe a guest or two on the subject, next week.
- You can rent Barack Obama's old apartment. The Upper West Side two-bedroom apartment is going for $2,400 a month:
The description of the place on the CitiHabitats website notes that it is "fully renovated with lots of charm," realtor jargon for "pretty average but horrifically small." [...] The President lived there during his junior year at Columbia University.
- In case you don't already know where you stand, you can take a quiz to determine which presidential candidate comes closest to a match for you:
The site allows you to share your results with your friends or to comment via Facebook, and it shows you the states where candidates best match up with the quiz takers.
This last feature leads to some interesting results. No surprise, President Obama has the highest percentage of quiz takers agreeing with him in California, Illinois and New York.
But here's a twist: Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico governor, has the highest percentage of quiz takers agreeing with him in a number of states that are likely to go for Mitt Romney come Election Day, including Texas and Georgia.
- Great (monkey) minds apparently don't think alike:
By decoding brain activity, scientists were able to "see" that two monkeys were planning to approach the same reaching task differently -- even before they moved a muscle. [...]
By chance, the two monkeys chosen for the study had completely different cognitive styles. One, the scientists said, was a hyperactive type, who kept jumping the gun, and the other was a smooth operator, who waited for the entire setup to be revealed before planning his next move. The difference is clearly visible in their decoded brain activity.
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor calls for tolerance on gays and Muslims:
“I’ve always said we need to be a party of inclusion not exclusion,” Cantor said. “We need to be promoting tolerance and, you know, as someone who is a religious minority, I sort of grew up with having that mindset, knowing full well that I am in a very distinct way from a religious background, separate and apart from the mainstream of this country.”
- Old records now out-selling new ones for first time:
In the two decades since Nielsen Soundscan started to keep track of U.S. album sales in 1991, the company has seen the industry fold in half, digital sales catch up to physical, and vinyl mount a resurgence. But until last week, they'd never seen old records outsell new ones.
The first six months of the year saw sales of 76.6 million catalog records -- industry-speak for albums released more than 18 months ago -- compared to 73.9 million current albums.[...]
The top-selling catalog records of the year so far include Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits and four records by Whitney Houston, whose canon got a boost after her death in February. Bakula says the biggest reason catalog has been so strong is that record labels and retailers continue to drop the price of older albums, often to as low as $5.99 or $7.99. Those prices, sometimes half of what they once were, are bringing in new customers. "I really, truly do believe that there probably is a consumer that is buying music here that wasn't buying music in the past," he says.
- U.S. servicemembers will be allowed to wear uniforms at LGBT pride march:
The Pentagon has announced it will allow U.S. servicemembers to wear their uniforms at a gay pride march for the first time. The permission was granted for Saturday’s Pride parade in San Diego, California. The Pentagon says the move does not mark a permanent shift in policy and will only apply in this one case.:
- Kids of same-sex partners who are federal workers now covered by their parents' insurance.
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