Staring into the abyss: Japan fears nuclear disaster as explosion damages reactor and radiation levels rise ... Really lousy timing: Aflac fires Gilbert Gottfried as voice of the Aflac duck after he tweets lame jokes like: "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them" ... Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour fires aide for joking that Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" isn't popular in Japan right now ... Royals gotta stick together: Saudi Arabia sends troops into neighboring Bahrain as royal family asks for help to quell uprising ... Nothing like an open mind: National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre refuses to meet with President Obama. "Why should I or the NRA go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?" he says ... Surprisingly, this did not happen in Arizona: During discussion about shooting feral swine from helicopters, Kansas State Rep. Virgil Peck suggests using same tactic on illegal immigrants. He later says it was a joke. Maybe he should be a writer for Gilbert Gottfried.
Tuesday, March 15
No nukes is good nukes? Explosion and fire rock another reactor in Japan as possibility of core meltdown looms ... Germany, feeling a bit nervous, shuts down seven of its reactors, all built before 1980 ... Near-meltdown in Washington: House passes stopgap spending bill, delaying government shutdown for three weeks, as 54 Republicans defect to Democratic side ... Meanwhile, House Republicans hold "emergency" meeting of Rules Committee to discuss cutting off funds for National Public Radio ... Winter looks brighter: Oregon's unemployment rate drops to 10.2 percent in February, with strong job growth in private sector ... Now that's harsh: Singer Jon Bon Jovi (remember him?) says Apple's Steve Jobs is "personally responsible for killing the music business" with iTunes ... ... Dirty old man: Prosecutors claim Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with underage Moroccan girl 13 times.
Wednesday, March 16
This must be getting serious: Emperor Akihito of Japan makes unprecedented TV appearance to express concern and encouragement ... US advises its citizens to stay at least 50 miles away from crippled nuke plant ... Bad day for freedom: Rebel forces opposing Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi overwhelmed after making last-ditch stand in city of Ajdabiya ... New York Times says three of its reporters and a photographer are missing in Libya ... Meanwhile, Saudi troops swoop down on protesters in Bahrain's Pearl Square ... Lethal free speech: William Melchert-Dinkel found guilty in Minnesota of aiding suicide by urging depressed people on the Internet to kill themselves; could get 15 years.
Thursday, March 17
Help at last: Libyan rebels finally get some good news as U.N. Security Council approves no-fly zone and military action against Qaddafi ... Battling the Click & Clack socialist menace: U.S. House, in party-line vote, cuts off funding for National Public Radio. Bill likely to go nowhere in Democratic-controlled Senate ... Lawmakers and lawbreakers: Wisconsin DA charges Republican state senators with breaking state's open meetings law with stealth vote to pass union-busting bill ... Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone proposes cutting salary of DA Patrick Flaherty 20% to help pay for Flaherty's grand jury investigation of, uh, something ... Religious observance: Millions of Americans enact annual rite of getting stinking drunk in honor of the patron saint of Ireland.
Friday, March 18
Every place is downwind: First traces of radiation from Japanese nuclear reactor disaster arrive on West Coast; experts say nothing to worry about ... Not so fast: Wisconsin judge issues restraining order blocking state's new union-busting law ... Don't get mad, get everything: Tiger Woods's ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, reportedly buying 17,000-square-foot, $12 million mansion in North Palm Beach, FL, 10 miles away from Tiger's estate ... Mideast heats up again: Security forces and government supporters in Yemen open fire on protesters, kill 40. In Bahrain, government tears down symbolic monument in Pearl Square ... You can't make this stuff up: Republican lawmakers in Minnesota push bill making it illegal for people getting public assistance to carry more than $20 cash.
Saturday, March 19
Shocked and awful: U.S. military begins "Operation Odyssey Dawn" against Qaddafi, hitting military targets with missiles launched from Navy ships in the Mediterranean ... Sarah Palin, on trip to India, criticizes Obama's handling of Libya, says she would have shown "less dithering, more decisiveness." Maybe she would have shot Qaddafi from a helicopter ... Don't eat your spinach, kids: Japanese health ministry finds abnormally high levels of radiation in milk and spinach produced 30 to 75 miles away from damaged nuke plant ... Getting mooned and liking it: "Supermoon" wows spectators as moon comes closest to Earth in 18 years; unfortunately, clouds spoil the show in Bend.
Sunday, March 20
Good nuke news: Japan says it's stabilized two of the six reactors at damaged nuclear plant ... "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys," eh? French cruise missile hits Qaddafi's residential compound; not known if dictator was home at the time ... Elsewhere in Mideast, Egyptians enthusiastically vote for new constitution and a bunch of government officials in Yemen resign to protest deadly attacks against demonstrators ... Don't dare call her a dick: Rachel Uchitel, Tiger Woods's former mistress, moves to NYC to begin career as a private detective ... Other news from the Tiger beat: Britain's Daily Mail reports the golfer, 35, is dating Alyse Lahti Johnson, 22, a blond (of course) college student.