The fate of the United States—in the inevitable contest between Barack Obama and Willard Romney rests on the milquetoast people comfortably inhabiting the nation's pleasantly tended suburbs. Unless, that is, your news organization of choice says it's actually working-class people who hold the key to saving the planet.

President Obama
is proposing a plan that his handlers say will shrink and "streamline" the federal government, mooshing together six commerce-related agencies. His foes are "scoffing." Scoff, scoff, scoff...

In South Carolina, the first state to secede from the union, and now the latest front in the GOP presidential hunt, Rick Santorum has decided to call 2008 candidate John McCain a "fraud" and an "opportunist." And Willard Romney is betting on all the other candidates beating the snot out of each other so badly that he can squeak through in the hunt for the racist, redneck Baptist vote, even though he's an effete, moderate Mormon.

And, now, television actor Stephen Colbert
has transferred control of his superPAC to John Stewart (who most assuredly wouldn't violate Citizens United by coordinating with Colbert) so Colbert can legally pursue a run for president in yee-haw South Carolina.

The road to war with Iran has been repaved, with some new lanes added. The White House is directly passing on messages, through a secret channel, to Iran's ayatollah-in-chief that blocking off the Persian Gulf is a "red line" he ought not cross. But that group of carriers we've sent to the Arabian Sea? That has nothing to do with any of that.

A lawyer for French lothario Dominique Strauss-Kahn (remember him?) says awful things about the former IMF leader's libertine sex life: "At these parties, people were not dressed, and I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman." And, he had "a horror of prostitutes and pimps."

North Koreans who didn't look sincere enough when publicly weeping over the death of the man who starved them for decades and wrecked their country are now being punished.

Ha-ha-ha! Who could possibly conceive of something so absurd as a "housing crisis." Wasn't 2006 nice?

An Ohio panel had to think twice before deciding that, yes, posting a "white only" sign on an apartment complex's pool—all because the manager had a phobia about hair products used by a black girl—is, well, discriminatory.

Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of feeding a treasure trove of intelligence cables to WikiLeaks, is on the brink of a court-martial. The government is itching to make an example of Manning. A very stark example.

Chinese riot and hurl eggs over the release of the iPhone 4S, halting sales of the magic device their own kin have to work inhumane hours in a factory warehouse/prison to assemble.

The oldest living former Portland police officer—and the first woman to wear a badge in the city—has died. Sybil V. Plumlee was 100.

"Uranus takes a pounding more frequently than thought." It's also "gassy." Thank you, science. Thank you.