Congress tried and failed last night to exert what limited power it has over the National Security Agency, with a restive House of Representatives voting 205-217 on a defense spending amendment that would have cut off funding for the NSA's program of bulk telephone data collection. For once, John Boehner and Barack Obama agreed on something (yay, spying!). And so did Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachmann (boo, spying!).

The North Pole is a lake, once again. In what's becoming a summer tradition, melt water has formed a shallow pond over the thin layer of what sea ice remains to hold back the Arctic Ocean.

But rapid Arctic thawing is hardly a novelty or even a blessing in disguise. Despite hopes of a fabled Northwest Passage for shipping and new fossil fuel exploration, all the methane and awfulness belched into the sky could wreck our climate and cost the world a combined $60 trillion.

Marijuana is legal in Washington state. Barack Obama and his Drug Enforcement Agency don't much care. The feds keep on raiding dispensaries.

It's true and a fact! Most Americans, in a news organization's poll, support legal abortion.

The US Senate maybe has a fix for this year's gut-punching increase in rates for new student loans. But even though the plan to tie the loan program to the economy would lower rates right now, it also could send them even higher than ever in the next five years.

United on social issues, Democrats, some say, should stop trying to win the center, only to keep drifting right, and focus on moving the party back to the left where it belongs.

The fate of Bradley Manning, source of some of WikiLeaks' most interesting disclosures, rests in the hands of a judge, also an Army colonel, who's been accused of repeatedly favoring the government.

The Pentagon has found a way to punish Egypt's military for a coup against its democratically elected Islamist government: withholding four promised F-16 fighter jets. (But don't worry, Egypt! We're still going to give you $1.3 billion in "other equipment" and totally hang out with you at a joint military exercise. So it's all still, y'know, cool.)

A terrible train derailment in Spain, its worst in decades, has so far killed close to 80 peopleand injured more than 130. Two trains collided after one took a curve traveling more than twice as fast as the posted limit.

A court has ruled that Dish Network's ad-deleting "Hopper" device does not, in fact, violate copyright law. It's just awesome.

Paula Deen's longtime cook and "soul sister" says she helped Deen's career maybe more than Deen gave her credit for and also that Deen sometimes used racist words around her. Deen says she just wants more money than all the money and nice things Deen already gave her.