Attention 40 million Target shoppers: If you bought anything at the store between November 27 and December 15—and you probably have, because you needed underwear and armpit anti-stink deodorant even if you didn't get out to buy Christmas presents—hackers may have swiped your name and every interesting piece of data on your credit/debit card.

Vladimir Putin is jealous of the United States. Sort of. The Russian leader, a former KGB bigshot, gave a wide-ranging press conference where he confessed he wished he had a spying program as robust as our National Security Agency's. He also denied working with NSA leaker Edward Snowden (a patriot, says the ACLU). Oh, and Puitn's going to pardon an oil tycoon who's languished in jail for the past 10 years... mostly because he made Putin jealous. We should probably be worried.

A provincial coup is spreading ethnic violence through the new (but oil-rich) country of South Sudan.

We're so close to a federal budget. The US Senate passed a two-year bill, with help from nine Republicans, that softens some of the rough edges of the automatic "sequestration" cuts expected to kick in next year. Sounds good, except it screws the poor by cutting out extended unemployment benefits for the first time in years.

I can't bring myself to joke about a 51-year-old man who tried committing suicide by self-immolation in the middle of St. Peter's Square, for reasons still unknown.

A hillbilly on television can't be on television for a little while after he said bigoted things about gay people to a magazine that was probably condescending to him.

The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, meanwhile, raffled off a spot on a lead float for a couple about to get married. A gay couple won that lottery. So they'll be on national TV instead.

The Obamacare clusterbork is even worse in American territories and protectorates like Guam.

When you're important, like the former Republican governor of Virginia, you can politely ask the feds to wait to arrest you for financial crimes, and they'll probably listen.

Rest in peace, Al Goldstein. The publisher of Screw, who helped make hard-core, un-airbrushed, visceral pornography a normal thing, has died. He was 77.

The "welfare queen" with the Cadillac famously called out by Ronald Reagan in a 1976 campaign speech wasn't an example of a benevolent state gone soft and blind. She also wasn't fake. Linda Taylor was a real, hardened criminal in Chicago, already crowned "queen" by a local daily. Reagan merely decided to use her egregious example as a way to discredit legitimate, deserving welfare clients—and poison the conversation around social services for decades to come.