Kokesh Calls Off Armed March, Long, Poor Road To Recovery, Playing The Race Card On Obamacare, Get A Job Spying For The NSA: TGIF Afternoon News Links 5-31-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Kokesh Calls Off Armed March On Washington, D.C.; Now Wants July 4th March On State Capitals

Adam Kokesh says his legal troubles mean he can no longer guarantee he’ll even be able to attend the 1,000-person armed march on Washington, D.C. he’d been promoting for July 4th. So he’s calling off the event in favor of a new scheme, asking people to march on the capitol buildings in all 50 States this 4th of July. He’s playing a dangerous game. Read more…


What Recovery? Despite Fed Boasts, Americans Have Only Regained 45 Percent Of Recession Losses

In March, the Federal Reserve chirped that Americans had, as a whole, recouped 91 percent of the aggregate wealth the Nation lost during the economic crisis of 2007-2009. But Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis released a report that adjusts for inflation – and it paints a completely different picture. Read more…

Play the Race Card And Run! Louisiana Senator Shamed By Own Comments; Dodges Press

Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson lashed out at her Legislative peers who oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Monday, declaring from the floor of the Senate chamber that the only reason they’re against Obamacare is because President Barack Obama himself is black. But when a local TV reporter tried to ask her for an explanation, Peterson ran. Read more… 

Need A Job? The NSA’s Utah Spy Center Is Hiring

If you want to work inside the $1.2 billion Data Center the National Security Agency (NSA) is planning to open later this year, it would have helped if you’d already enrolled in a specially-tailored training program at the University of Utah.

But, if being part of one of the largest digital spying schemes ever undertaken by a government still thrills you, send in your admissions application. Read more…

Need A Job? The NSA’s Utah Spy Center Is Hiring

If you want to work inside the $1.2 billion Data Center the National Security Agency (NSA) is planning to open later this year, it would have helped if you’d already enrolled in a specially-tailored training program at the University of Utah.

But, if being part of one of the largest digital spying schemes ever undertaken by a government (not to mention the Federal employee perks and security clearance) still thrills you, send in your admissions application.

The NSA approached the university two years ago, asking Richard Brown, dean of the College of Engineering, to come up with an academic program that, according to Wired, “could teach computer science students all of the networking, electrical engineering, and server cooling skills that they’d need to run one of the world’s largest data centers.”

So Brown did, concocting the Data Center Engineering program, which is set to offer its first courses this fall on separate tracks toward Bachelor’s and Master’s-level certifications.

The NSA’s director of installations and logistics, Harvey Davis, told the Salt Lake City Tribune Thursday the agency is seeking both graduates and interns to work at the center, which is expected to consume 1,210 gallons of water per minute and will employ 150 people.

A recent, two-year bipartisan investigation by the U. S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations demonstrates concern – even among some members of Congress – that data centers (also known as “fusion centers”) represent a major source of government waste.

That report found the Nation’s more than 70 extant fusion centers actually do very little to provide Americans meaningful protection from terrorism, despite supporters’ arguments that data centers are intended to do just that.


Kokesh Calls Off Armed March On Washington, D.C.; Now Wants July 4th March On State Capitals

Adam Kokesh, the libertarian anti-war activist who was bizzarely arrested and subsequently released after attending a Philadelphia rally earlier this month, says his legal troubles mean he can no longer guarantee he’ll even be able to attend the 1,000-person armed march on Washington, D.C., he’d been promoting for July 4.

That event sparked a torrent of polarized response from Personal Liberty Digest™ readers and others around the Internet.

But now, says Kokesh, he’s calling off the event — despite the fact he was well on his way to accruing the 10,000 Facebook RSVP threshold he set for the march to go forward.

In its place, he’s calling on a latent “Revolutionary Army” to march on the capitol buildings of all 50 States:

This revolution has been brewing in the hearts and minds of the people for many years, but this Independence Day, it shall take a new form as the American Revolutionary Army will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property. Should one whole year from this July 4th pass while the crimes of this government are allowed to continue, we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible…

…While there is risk in drastic action, the greater danger lies in allowing this government to continue unchallenged. So if you are content with the status quo, stay home, get fat, watch the fireworks from a safe distance, and allow this Independence Day to pass like any other. But if you see as we see, and feel as we feel, we will see you on the front lines of freedom on July 4th, 2013 for this, The Final American Revolution.

Kokesh announced his new scheme on the radio show of Pete Santilli, the very same liberal tool who publicly fantasized about shooting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the vagina.

Looks like Kokesh’s message and his methods are beginning to conflict. He got the Feds’ attention, but now he’s playing a dangerous game — both with the government, and with the hearts and minds of those who’ve followed him this far.

Bacteria In Gut Can Affect Brain Function

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — Bacteria ingested in food such as probiotics in yogurt can affect brain function in humans, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, an associate professor of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles, said the small study involved 36 women ages 18-55.

The researchers divided the women into three groups: one group ate a specific yogurt containing a mix of several probiotics — bacteria thought to have a positive effect on the intestines — twice a day for four weeks; another group consumed a dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics; and a third group ate no product at all.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans conducted both before and after the four-week study period looked at the women’s brains in a state of rest and in response to an emotion-recognition task in which they viewed a series of pictures of people with angry or frightened faces and matched them to other faces showing the same emotions.

This task, designed to measure the engagement of affective and cognitive brain regions in response to a visual stimulus, was chosen because previous research in animals had linked changes in gut flora to changes in affective behaviors.

The study, to be published in the journal Gastroenterology, said signals were sent from the intestine to the brain. That they could be modulated by a dietary change might lead to an expansion of research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders, the study said.

If Women Got An Extra Hour: 6 Percent Would Have Sex, 24 Percent Would Sleep

MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) — If U.S. women had an hour added to their day, 6 percent would have sex, 12 percent would spend it with their partner, and 24 percent would sleep, a survey says.

Ginger Consulting, a branding and custom research firm, said its fifth annual “What Women Want” survey also found if women had an additional hour a day, 14 percent would exercise, 6 percent would spend it with their kids, and 2 percent would spend it with friends.

Women like a celebrity lifestyle, but not the pampering of spa days, designer wardrobes, or perfect hair — but 48 percent of women said they wanted a great home, 46 percent said they wanted frequent vacations, and 28 percent wanted personal chefs and nutritionists.

“Men, take note. Simple things, like planning a vacation for the woman in your life or taking her out for a delicious meal, can make a big difference in her overall satisfaction,” Beth Perro-Jarvis, principal of Ginger Consulting, said in a statement. “Also, if you really want to make her day, get rid of your piles of clutter.”

Women are responsible for or influence $7 trillion in annual U.S. consumer and business purchases, Perro-Jarvis said. They also influence more than 85 percent of all products and services purchased.

Ginger’s Alpha Panel Survey was conducted March 25-April 2 among 400 nationally representative female consumers ages 21-60. No margin of error was provided.

Soup Kitchen Meals Often Low On Nutrients, High In Fat, Salt

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — Soup kitchen meals lack nutritional value — they are often low in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamins A and E, but high in fat and salt, U.S. researchers say.

Courtney R. Lyles of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed the nutritional contents of meals served at six San Francisco-based soup kitchens — each site served approximately 600 to 18,000 meals per week. They found the meals served were lacking in fiber and but had higher than recommended amounts of fat.

The study also reported the meals were below target levels for potassium, calcium and vitamins A and E, but cholesterol levels were at appropriate levels.

“Soup kitchens, which serve prepared, generally warm meals and a setting in which to eat, often serve as the primary food source for homeless and marginally housed people — maximizing the nutritional value of meals is often secondary to the soup kitchen’s mission of providing calories, especially given limited financial resources,” the researchers wrote in the study. “The nutritional content of soup kitchen menus have been infrequently examined, but the few existing studies suggest that soup kitchens are inconsistently able to provide nutritionally balanced and healthful meals.”

The researchers said they recognized soup kitchens often rely on community funding and food donations when preparing their meals, but they said their study might help spur the development of nutrition content standards for free meals served at soup kitchens.

The findings were published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Play The Race Card And Run! Louisiana Senator Shamed By Own Comments; Dodges Press

Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson lashed out at her Legislative peers who oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Monday, declaring from the floor of the Senate chamber that the only reason they’re against Obamacare is because President Barack Obama himself is black.

Local TV station WBRZ tried to catch up with her Wednesday to get her to elaborate, but she did this (the running starts at the :43 mark):



Peterson, who chairs the Louisiana Democratic Party, told her colleagues: “It’s not about how many Federal dollars we can receive — it’s not about that. You ready? It’s about race. No, nobody wants to talk about that. It’s about the race of this African-American President.”

Clearly, Peterson herself didn’t want to talk about that in the aftermath.

Peterson’s not the only minority representing the State in Baton Rouge. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Republican Governor, is the son of first-generation immigrants into the U.S. from India. Black lawmakers also comprise 20 percent of the Louisiana State Legislature; 32 percent of the State’s population is black.

Average U.S. Family Pays $3,600 Out-Of-Pocket For Healthcare Annually

SEATTLE (UPI) — Of the $22,030 annual healthcare cost for a U.S. family of four, the employer pays $12,886 and the employee pays $9,144, an actuarial and consulting firm says.

The 2013 Milliman Medical Index, calculated by Milliman, found the average employee’s share for coverage under an employer-sponsored preferred provider plan is paid through a combination of $5,544 in payroll deductions and $3,600 in out-of-pocket costs.

For employees, this represents a cost increase of 6.5 percent compared with last year’s total employee cost of $8,584, Milliman said.

“We expect that the emerging reforms required by the Affordable Care Act would have little impact on the cost of care for our family of four in 2013 because this family tends to be insured through a large group health plan,” Milliman officials said in a statement.

Most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act deals with those currently uninsured and those who currently buy individual health insurance coverage out of their own pocket.

U.S. After-School Programs May Help Reduce Obesity Rates

OAKLAND, Calif. (UPI) — Opening U.S. schools to the public for after-hours physical activity and play may help reduced obesity rates, researchers say.

Mariah Lafleur, Liz Schwarte and Rajni Banthia, all of Samuels & Associates in Oakland, Calif., said for this study, joint-use agreements were implemented in seven Los Angeles County school districts.

All seven districts had excessively high adult and child obesity rates, and all had executed a joint-use agreement between schools and community or government entities from January 2010 to December 2012.

The researchers observed 68 percent of the community members using the school facilities were participating in moderate or vigorous physical activity.

Observers recorded information for a total of 1,669 community members; nearly half were adults and almost all were non-white.

Researchers said they hoped the joint-use agreement would be adopted in multiple under-resourced communities where open space is limited and low incomes may prohibit people from being active.

The findings were published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Gasoline Prices In U.S. Down After Holiday

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline declined for the week after the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, the U.S. Energy Department said.

The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said the national average retail price for a gallon of gasoline was down 3 cents to $3.65 as of Monday. The largest decrease came was in the Midwest, which saw a 9 cent average decline to $3.78 per gallon.

The week before the holiday, the EIA said low inventories and refinery work put the Midwest in the gasoline price spike that started in mid April.

The EIA said consumers in Minnesota were hardest hit, with gasoline prices as of May 20 at $4.29, more than 60 cents higher than the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded. Motor group AAA reported that Minnesota consumers paid about $3.93 for a gallon of gasoline Friday.

AAA reports that consumers paid, on average, $3.61 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Friday. That’s down 4 cents compared to before the Memorial Day holiday weekend but about the same as this time last year.

The EIA reports that U.S. consumers should pay about $3.53 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline this summer, down from last year’s average.

Scientists Suggest Cosmic ‘Billiards’ To Protect Earth From Asteroids

MOSCOW (UPI) — One way to protect earth from the risk of asteroid collisions would be to use tame asteroids in a serious game of cosmic billiards, Russian scientists suggest.

Several near-Earth asteroids could be towed closer to Earth to serve as a cache of celestial projectiles against incoming space threats, Natan Eismont of the Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences said.

The orbiting captured asteroids could be “lined up” so that one passes 50,000 to 100,000 miles from Earth every few weeks or months, ready to be used as projectiles to target non-catalogued and hazardous asteroids, research by the Space Research Institute and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow suggested.

“I was skeptical about it myself, until we actually tried to do computer modeling of the situation,” Eismont, one of the project’s authors, told RIA Novosti.

It is currently possible to send an unmanned Proton rocket — a staple of the Russian space program — to land on an asteroid, carrying up to 2 tons of rocket fuel, Eismont said.

Properly anchored, the rocket fuel could then ignite at a designated time, changing the tame asteroid’s orbit to intercept an asteroid dangerously approaching Earth and diverting it.

The program would cost about $1 billion per Proton launch, he said, and the equipment needed to maneuver an asteroid into position could be developed within 10 to 12 years.

“Nobody can tell you when the next asteroid will come, but everyone would tell you that come it will,” Eismont said.

U.S. Consumer Spending Down In April

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in April, despite expectations of a slight rise, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday.

Economists had predicted spending to climb 0.1 percent, which would have matched March’s spending increase. Spending gains peaked in February, when spending rose 0.8 percent. Gains in January and March were modest.

As spending dropped, incomes also fell slightly — less than 0.1 percent — which caused disposable incomes to drop 0.1 percent, $16.1 billion.

Small shifts in spending are major economic news, as consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the country’s economic performance.

April’s figures bring March gains back down. In March, incomes rose 0.3 percent, while disposable personal income rose 0.2 percent, or $25.4 billion.

The department said payrolls decreased $2 billion at goods-producing companies after rising $700 million in the previous month. Payrolls in April increased $3.7 billion at service-oriented firms, a relatively muted gain compared with March, when payrolls at service-oriented firms rose $15.6 billion.

Personal spending rose $21 billion in March while personal incomes increased 0.2 percent, $30.9 billion, after rising 1.1 percent in February.

Disposable income, which also rose 1.1 percent in February, was up $20.7 billion — 0.2 percent — in March, the department said.

Wages rose for the second consecutive month, gaining $14.9 billion in March after a solid $44.6 billion gain in February. Wages at manufacturing jobs fell $100 million in March after rising in February.

At service-oriented jobs, payrolls increased $15 billion after a jump of $29.5 billion in the previous month.

Personal savings in March totaled $329.1 billion, down from $330.9 billion in February. The savings rate — personal savings as a percentage of disposable income — rose to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent, the department said.

Police: Disneyland Blast Suspect Set Off 2 Dry-Ice Bombs

ANAHEIM, Calif.,  (UPI) —  A Disneyland employee charged with setting off a dry-ice explosion at the California theme park pleaded not guilty Thursday in Orange County Superior Court.

Christian Barnes, 22, of Long Beach, is charged with felony possession of a destructive device in a public place. If convicted, he could be sentenced to six years in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He entered his plea via video from his cell at the Orange County Jail, where he was ordered held on $500,000 bail — down from the $1 million set when he was initially arrested.

Prosecutors said Barnes — who worked as an outdoor vendor, selling water and soft drinks at the theme park — set off a dry-ice explosion in a vending cart in the park’s Mickey’s Toontown section at about 4 p.m. Tuesday before dropping a water bottle containing dry ice into a trashcan, which exploded as a park employee was changing a full bag for a fresh one.

The second blast, at about 5 p.m., prompted an hours-long evacuation of Mickey’s Toontown.

Disneyland said on its Twitter account there were no injuries and no reports of damage.

Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department said Wednesday Barnes was cooperating with investigators and “has indicated this is an isolated incident with unanticipated impacts.”

Some of Barnes’ relatives attended the court session Thursday, including his grandmother, Flora Barnes, who said her grandson is “the nicest person I know,” the Times said.

“He’s a wonderful kid,” she said. “He’s a kid who wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Although the explosion did not cause significant damage, Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in a statement the park takes “matters like this very seriously.”

Baby Shower Being Planned For Kate Middleton

LONDON, (UPI) —  Kate Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge, will be the first member of Britain’s royal family to have a baby shower, a family friend said.

Her sister, Pippa, is organizing the event celebrating the impending birth of Kate’s first child with her husband, Prince William, The Sun newspaper reported. The baby is due in July.

“It isn’t royal tradition but Kate isn’t a traditional royal,” a friend told The Sun about the baby shower.

“She is modern and wants a normal life. Prince Harry, Kate and William are the royal family’s link to the younger generation. A baby shower wouldn’t normally happen if you’re in the royal family, but there is now a modern way of thinking.

“It will be a great day for everyone and Kate is doing this with the blessing of the queen.”

The party will feature a pacifier-shaped cake from the bakery run by Kate and Pippa’s brother, James, the newspaper said.

The date and location of the shower weren’t reported.

Survey: Marriage Larger Factor In Happiness Than Children

LONDON, (UPI) —  Britain’s Office of National Statistics said its study indicates marriage makes people happier than religion, money or children.

The office said 165,000 people were asked to rate their lives in the areas of how satisfied they are, how worthwhile they viewed their lives as, their happiness and their anxiety, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The office said it found marriage was the largest factor in happiness, far eclipsing earnings, home ownership, religious beliefs and having children.

The ONS said its analysis indicates having children had very little effect on happiness but boosted people’s perception of their lives as “worthwhile.”

“It [marriage] gives people a sense of stability, and a greater sense that their life is worthwhile,” said Dawn Snape, one of the report’s authors. “I think that the issue with children is that we probably all recognize the saying ‘you are only as happy as your unhappiest child.’ Parents have a responsibility and that in itself can add to the perceived burden. People are happiest in their youth and when they are older. Middle-aged people are the least happy because they have the most responsibility.”

Police Selling Guns From Buyback Program

ST. CHARLES, Ill.,  (UPI) —  A police department in the Chicago suburbs said some of the guns obtained from a buyback program will be sold to a pair of licensed dealers.

St. Charles Police Chief James Lamkin said about 20 firearms obtained through a gun buyback program and seized by courts will be sold to the dealers, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

“There’s value in these guns,” Lamkin said. “They’re not illegal guns. Quite honestly, it’s a bottom line for us.”

Most other area departments, including the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police, destroy the guns obtained through buybacks.

“There are individuals who will say, why not simply destroy them?” St. Charles Mayor Raymond Rogina said. “But when that happens, there will be someone saying that’s taxpayer dollars [at stake] and you’re throwing it away.”

Poll: 17 Percent Of Fliers Don’t Mind Diaper Changes

CHARLESTOWN, Mass.,  (UPI) —  Massachusetts website Airfarewatchdog said its poll found 17 percent of fliers see nothing wrong with using a seatback tray table as a baby changing station.

The survey of 740 airline passengers found 60 percent of those polled said they would discuss the issue with the passenger and complain to a flight attendant, while 10 percent said they would be disgusted, but not take any action.

“Obviously, when there’s turbulence and passengers can’t make it to the [lavatory], there’s no choice but to ‘change in place,'” Airfarewatchdog founder George Hobica said. “And some older planes don’t have changing tables in the lavs. But when and if it’s possible to changes babies in lavatories, most passengers would prefer that parents use them. After all, people eat on those tray tables.”

Poll: Clinton Leads Rand Paul, Jeb Bush In Hypothetical 2016 Race

HAMDEN, Conn., (UPI) —  U.S. voters prefer Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republicans Rand Paul or Jeb Bush in hypothetical 2016 presidential matchups, a poll indicated.

Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York, leads Sen. Paul of Kentucky, 49 percent to 41 percent, and former Florida Gov. Bush 48 percent to 40 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday indicated.

Vice President Joe Biden trails Bush 44 percent to 38 percent and lags behind Paul 43 percent to 39 percent in hypothetical matchups, the poll found.

Clinton had a 52 percent to 40 percent favorability-to-unfavorability rating, off from an all-time high 61 percent to 34 percent in a Feb. 8 survey by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

Results indicated Biden had negative ratings, 37 percent to 44 percent. Paul had a positive rating, 32 percent to 24 percent — with 42 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

Results indicated neutral attitudes about Bush, with both favorable and unfavorable ratings at 29 percent. Forty-two percent said they haven’t formed an opinion.

Even though her favorability rating dropped, Clinton “remains the queen of the 2016 hill at this point, but the wide gap between her and some of the leading Republican contenders on favorability may be closing, as her overall favorability has taken a hit,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Results are based on a survey of 1,419 registered voters conducted May 22-28. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.

Moms Now Primary Breadwinner In 40 Percent Of U.S. Households

WASHINGTON,  (UPI) —  The number of American families where the mother is the sole or primary breadwinner nearly quadrupled in a half-century, a study indicated.

Women were the main providers in 40 percent of U.S. households in 2011, up from just 11 percent in 1960, the Pew Research Center reported this week.

The “breadwinner moms” were overwhelmingly single, Pew found.

About 63 percent, or 8.6 million, were single mothers and 37 percent, or 5.1 million, were married women who earned more than their husbands.

The income gap between the two groups was significant. In households where the wife earned more than her husband, the median total family income was $80,000, the study said. In families headed by a single mother, the median income was $23,000.

The report was based on Pew’s analysis of Census Bureau data and a Pew survey conducted in April of 1,003 adults in the continental United States.

What Recovery? Despite Fed Boasts, Americans Have Regained Only 45 Percent Of Recession Losses

In March, the Federal Reserve chirped that Americans had, as a whole, recouped 91 percent of the aggregate wealth the Nation lost during the economic crisis of 2007-2009.

But Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis released a report that strays pretty far from the Fed’s earlier, optimistic message. Unlike the March report, the current version adjusts for inflation, and averages all gains and losses across population demographics.

It’s a completely different picture. Instead of being on the cusp of full recovery, we’re not even halfway there. With the corrections in place, the average U.S. household appears to have recovered only 45 percent of whatever wealth was lost between 2007 and 2010.

For one thing, there are more 3.8 million more American households now than in 2007; for another, almost 70 percent of the post-recession gains have come in the form of stock surges, which benefit upper-income Americans in far greater proportion than those living in a middle-class household. And the value of homes, where most middle-class Americans’ wealth is stored, is still down almost 16 percent from pre-recession levels.

Hillary Loved Less, Christopher Stevens Was ‘John Doe’ In Death, Cap Gun Gets 5-Year-Old Suspended, Brand-Name Weed, Asteroid Preppers: Friday Morning News Roundup 5-31-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.


  • Thanks to her “handling” of the Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s popularity has taken a pretty big dive. A Quinnipiac University poll shows 52 percent (still an amazing number) of respondents “approve” of Clinton, but that’s a 9-point drop since her all-time high of 61 percent in February. Of those surveyed, 48 percent blame her for the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in the Sept. 11 attack.


  • Speaking of Stevens: An anonymous U.S. official has told CBS News that Americans in charge of the mess told the Benghazi Medical Center to list Stevens, who died of asphyxiation in the attack, as “John Doe” on his death certificate. “The reason for the pseudonym,” says the official, “was to avoid drawing undue attention to the importance of the victim as Americans rushed to figure out how to recover Stevens’ body and return it to the U.S.” They get a lot of John Does in Libyan hospitals?


  • In the gun-panicked suburbs of Washington, D.C., kids are getting thrown out of school for eating stuff into gun shapes, pointing their fingers like guns and firing off Hello Kitty bubble guns that literally shoot pretty, floating bubbles. So an unnamed 5-year-old who brought an orange-tipped cap gun onto the school bus must have seemed, by comparison, like an outright terrorist. So the adults in his life did the sensible thing and suspended him for five days. That’ll teach ’im!


  • A former executive for Microsoft is planning to launch America’s first marijuana brand — think Marlboro or Camel, except for weed — by sourcing the product from Mexican suppliers and pledging consistency across the market. It’s still illegal under Federal law, but with States beginning to ignore the Feds, Jamen Shively (he’s the man with the plan) says marijuana in the United States is becoming “a giant market in search of a brand.”


  • This afternoon’s 3.6 million-mile flyby of a pretty chunky asteroid — romantically dubbed “1998 QE2” — is turning some scientists’ thoughts toward disaster preparedness. Their best answer for space rock crashes, so far, is… well, to stand by and watch using a bunch of telescopes hooked up to a computer database. Social media could play a role in preparing the public for a direct strike; scientists are using today’s near-miss as an experiment in engaging people in play-by-play discussion of real-time sky events. Giant asteroid; run!


Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

U.S. House Members Propose Change To Rules Of War

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  Some members of the U.S. House are proposing a change to the way so-called associated forces with cursory ties to al-Qaida are targeted, officials said.

The lawmakers drafted a change to the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorism, The Hill reported Thursday.

The proposal is to be considered by the House Armed Services Committee next week, sources told The Hill.

In a counter-terrorism speech at the National Defense University last week, President Barack Obama said the 12-year-old rules of war need to be changed.

“Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands,” Obama said.

Under the current rules of war, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have the power to determine which associated forces can and can’t be targeted in “kill/capture” missions, The Hill said.

Michael Sheehan, head of special operations and low-intensity conflicts at the Pentagon, told the Senate Armed Services Committee before Obama’s speech there was no need to change the rules of war.

“At this point we’re comfortable with the AUMF as it is currently structured. Right now it does not inhibit us from prosecuting the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates,” he said.

Report: FBI IDs Person Of Interest In Possible Ricin-Tainted Letters

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  FBI agents questioned a person of interest in the suspected ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CBS News reported.

Authorities were observed searching a home in New Boston, Texas, Thursday in video shot by Shreveport, La., television station KSLA, CBS News said Friday.

The FBI questioned the person in Texarkana, Texas, the report said.

The Secret Service said a possible ricin-tainted letter sent to Obama Thursday bore similarities to a letter sent to Bloomberg.

A spokeswoman with the FBI’s Washington Field Office said the Secret Service intercepted a “suspicious letter” and the FBI was testing it for the highly toxic material, The Washington Post reported.

“U.S. Secret Service can confirm that the White House mail-screening facility intercepted a letter addressed to the White House that [was] similar to letters previously addressed to Mayor Bloomberg in New York,” the Secret Service said in a statement. “This letter has been turned over to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation.”

On Wednesday, authorities intercepted ricin-contaminated letters mailed to Bloomberg and the gun-control group he founded, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which has been an outspoken advocate in the recent push for stricter gun laws.

Earlier this year, ricin-laced letters were sent to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a Mississippi judge. Police in Washington state last week arrested a man in an inverstigation into a death threat to a judge and two ricin-tainted letters sent earlier this month.