A newly announced budget deal in Congress—a departure from the rancor and delay we've come to expect every single time the government's cash is about to run out—has annoyed partisans on both sides of the political spectrum. Democrats, for instance, wish it kept up long-term unemployment benefits, even though it does largely end the blind cuts of "sequestration." Rabid conservatives don't think it's suicidal enough.
Most Republicans, however, are coming off as rational. House Speaker John Boehner has been slapping back at grouchy right-wing think thanks, and GOP aides say they're confident the budget will sail through the Tea Party-dominated lower chamber. Because everybody's just a little bit too tired to care this time.
And yet they're still so very, very irrational. Still flustered over a Senate rule change killing filibusters over presidential nominations, Republicans have decided to make the remaining confirmation process as miserable as possible by stretching out debate for hours upon hours at a time. So Harry Reid has called their bluff, ordering the Senate into all-night sessions that no one wants to sit through.
Vladimir Putin seems like he's wrestling with the bear inside himself, defending his country's draconian, brutal anti-gay laws as a bastion of conservatism and tradition against the tendrils of "genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance."
Not content to let that be the only outrageous comment out of Russia today, Putin's government also celebrated "'80s Night"—reminding everyone listening that it still has ample nuclear stockpiles and would happily use them against the United States of America if provoked.
India's reinstated ban on gay sex, by the way, has earned it a knock on the door from the United Nations. The law supported by India's supreme court dates to the days of the British Empire. It can be changed, except it seems the country's parliament doesn't feel like it.
On Japan's death row, prisoners sometimes receive only a few hours' notice before they're unceremoniously pried from their cells and hanged in secret.
Frustration over the factions waging Syria's civil war has led the United States to abandon "non-lethal" aid to the country's myriad rebel groups. The decision came after an Islamist group broke into the warehouse that all the groups are supposed to draw from.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, meanwhile, are suffering under the frightening cold of an especially inhospitable winter that's begun dumping all kinds of snow on their meager camps.
The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service has been accused of fakery. But the man has told reporters he really is an interpreter, but that the moment on the world stage triggered his schizophrenia and that he was hearing voices and trying to do the best job he could to stay in control.
Trayvon Martin's legally approved killer, George Zimmerman, won't face any domestic violence charges after his girlfriend took back what she said about him menacing her with a gun. He'll now get that gun, and others, back.
A vigil yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Clackamas Town Center.
The Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints ditched a ban on black priests 35 years ago, never quite explaining why it ever had the ban in the first place. It's finally admitted the plain truth: We were racists, and now we're trying not to be.
"I'M AS FUNKY AS DONNY AND MARIE." IN FAIRNESS, THEY'VE BEEN TRYING FOR SOME TIME. JIMINY CHRISTMAS AND FIDDLE-DEE-DEE.