Deep-red Texans like Ted Cruz more than ever. Everyone else is more ashamed than ever. So why not run for governor, next year, instead of president in 2016—and then just take over as president of Texas when the restive province eventually undoes its 1845 annexation.

Dick Cheney's heart-shocking device has a wireless function. His doctor had that function disabled in case someone tried to hack it and heart-zap-assassinate the former president (and ever-current fan of interventionist conflicts in the name of projecting American power). Years later, he was watching Showtime and saw a similar fictional plot and felt vindicated for his... caution.

The real fight against Obamacare will remain in the statehouses. Campaign finance corruption, coupled with media decline, has helped big business buy up bunches of lawmakers in red states. Those purchased employees are dutifully trying to block Medicaid expansion provisions meant as one of the underpinnings of the health care reform effort.

Afghanistan's elders and lawmakers have gathered for a major decision: whether to keep—or boot—American troops after the war's end in 2014. President Hamid Karzai, the CIA associate who's been in charge ever since we dislodged the Taliban 12 years ago, is shockingly okay with keeping us around for as long as we'd like.

The official end of the war, incidentally, could be a legal route for defying congressional Republicans and doing something more humane and legal with our Gitmo detainees.

We're friends again with Pakistan, after an ugly little row over our relentless drone incursions into their sovereign territory. Very quietly, we handed Islamabad $1.6 billion in aid, and, hey, would you look at that? Drone strikes reportedly are down.

Apple products are mostly status symbols, the company seems to be acknowledging, in light of an order to trim production of its budget-conscious (but flagging) iPhone 5C while boosting supplies of its higher-end (and more popular) iPhone 5S.

Pope Francis' real mission—and the real source of indignation among his opponents in the Roman Catholic Church—are becoming apparent. Yes, he's stunningly liberal, as popes go, on gay rights, wealth, and abortion. But he's also fixing to clean up high-ranking corruption his predecessors allowed to fester for years.

Residents of tiny Maryville, Missouri, are enduring national attention over a newly reopened rape case involving a 14-year-old girl and a high school football player, and I guess they find the spotlight discomfiting.

Chinese authorities, working to root out anti-Communist Party influences in the nation's most most prestigious universities, have fired a particularly outspoken and high-profile economics professor.

Gas companies have been running extensive fracking operations off the coast of California for years—and pretty much without any meaningful state or federal oversight, never mind the calamitous environmental consequences of the practice.

Rest in peace, Lou Scheimer—the connective tissue linking Superman, James T. Kirk, Fat Albert, Bill Cosby, He-Man, She-Ra, Batman, Archie and Veronica, Blackstar, Tom and Jerry, and Gilligan (from the Isle). The Filmation founder was 84.