The monolithic gun lobby goes the way of a badly beaten Voltron—splitting up into its component parts after the nation's second-largest gun group decided to buck the biggest one, the NRA, and back a Senate compromise that could lead to expanded background checks.

Proving that states
(though apparently not Oregon) can screw up the political courage to pass their own gun control laws, New York's assault weapons registry and ban on high-capacity magazines both took effect today over the loud exclamations of the gun lobby.

A man in Oregon City, cleaning his handgun, accidentally fired it through the wall, police say, hitting his 9-year-old stepdaughter in the head while she played in the back yard.

War and strife mean Afghanistan is headed for a bumper crop of opium this year.

Venezuela elects—but barely, by a few tenths of a percent—the handpicked successor of cancer-dead premier Hugo Chavez. Already, the opposition is muttering about the influence of the military and loyalist state ministries.

Direct talks with North Korea wouldn't be so awful, Secretary of State John Kerry muses in Tokyo, hoping to let a little air out of Asia's nuclear war balloon.

Portland-based Mercy Corps, meanwhile, points to one possible cause for North Korea's recent swagger: The United States' decision, last year, to cut off food aid—and trigger a wave of famine—as punishment for a missile test. The North has often caressed the nuclear button as a way of getting the West to ease up on sanctions.

Secretly, delicately, the United States is providing food aid to desperate and hungry rebels and civilians fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. Although, it's not so secret anymore, since Washington—peeved that everyone thinks its sitting on hands—decided to let a reporter tag along.

I spent the past several weeks hunger-striking in Gitmo after being held for more than 11 years with no charges, and with no end in sight—despite Barack Obama's promise to shut the place back in 2009—and all I got was this lousy catheter, force-feeding tube, agony and humiliation.

The cop fired for bringing targets with Trayvon Martin's face to a shooting range explains that the images were supposed to be examples of what NOT to shoot. Oh. I get it. That makes it better.

Michael Jackson might really be the biological father of just one of his kids, Blanket, according to the creepy Daily Mail, which is lifting a report from the creepy/awesome New York Post, which is reporting on a court battle between Jackson's estate and AEG, the company putting on Jackson's aborted last tour.