A Phone, Not a Gun. Contrary to some early reports (in an-O-ther paper), we now know Merle Hatch, the man shot and killed by Portland police on Sunday night outside of Adventist Medical Center, was wielding a telephone receiver, not a gun. If you missed it, here’s Denis’ full story including a video of the incident.

Adding Up Remote Control Death. During a recent press conference, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, let slip that the US had killed 4,700 people using unmanned drones.

Here’s to the State of Mississippi. The Laurel Leader-Call, a newspaper in rural Mississippi, is defending itself from a redneck backlash following a story it published on the first gay marriage in its county.

Fat No More? Americans are eating slightly less fast food then before. I think we know who is to blame for this, COUGH, COUGH, Michelle Obama, COUGH.

Drinking Death. Guests at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles where understandably disturbed to discover they’d been brushing their teeth with water from a rooftop tank containing a dead 21-year-old Canadian woman. Police are investigating her death.

Violence Continues in Syria. This morning, a car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital of Damascus killing 42.

Closer to home and your checking account…

Budget Cuts Are Expected to Slow the Economy. As we approach another round of—totally avoidable—budget cuts, economists warn these cuts will slow the country’s already-sluggish economic recovery.

Congressional Job Security. In case you forgot, the “poison pill” of deep budget cuts that was part of the 2011 sequester law is set to go into effect this March, oh, and while others suffer, members of Congress will still be cashing paychecks. It’s good to be the lawmakers.

And speaking of lawmakers…

Gun (Un)Control. As we noted on the blog yesterday, in Salem, Oregon lawmakers seeking gun control backed away from more stringent legislation when gun-lovers got mad at them.

Online and Way Off. Lastly, the Oregonian is reporting the state’s largest charter school—which just happens to be online—graduated a blind student without teaching her to read and write independently.

I don’t know about you, but my faith in online learning is now totally gone. I guess I shouldn’t have wasted $100 on that doctorate from the Universal Life Church. The whole thing just makes me sick like I don't know which way is up.