A public apology—the one thing America really goddamn hates doing—has become the primary sticking point in talks with Afghanistan, sort of its version of making us beg by saying pretty-please-with-cherries-and-ice-cream on top, over whether the Pentagon will still get to keep at least a few troops in the country after next year's massive withdrawal.

UN climate-change talks have gone to seed—per usual. This time, the host country, Poland, summarily fired its environmental minister in the middle of the sessions. And, way more importantly, poor countries—the countries that will disproportionately bear the brunt of calamity—are bolting in droves to protest rich countries' unwillingness to promptly pay up to help offset those looming climate-related ills.

Iran's supreme cleric (Level 17, CN, 96HP) politely reminded everyone, in the midst of earnest nuclear power negotiations with the West, that he's still the man to please.

He derided US government policies but insisted Iran had no animosity towards the American people and seeks "friendly" relations.

The remarks were met with the traditional revolutionary chant of: "Death to America."

In liberated America, meanwhile, our supreme clerics court justices decided it was perfectly cool—and not a violation of women's rights—for Texas to enforce draconian laws forcing many of its abortion providers to close.

The Obamacare jihad will now be fought in statehouses. Corporate lobbyists from the front group ALEC are working with the GOP to seed the nation with centrally written clone bills meant to wreck healthcare exchanges by punishing the insurers who participate in them.

The Justice Department, in policing financial improprieties has finally mustered up the will to something obvious: Levy fines and penalties against multinational banks so drastically high they might actually serve as a deterrent. Witness a recently announced $13 billion fine for JPMorgan Chase—a sum worth half of the bank's annual profit.

A space-obsessed billionaire, Dennis Tito, has big plans for rocketing humans into orbit around Mars, if not quite landing there, the end of 2017. He's aiming for a six-month window when Mars and Earth will be as close as they've been in forever, to cut down on rocket fuel.

The National Security Agency remains terrible at respecting whatever negligible limits it's already supposed to abide.

Warrantless wiretapping overseas, it turns out, helped build the FBI's case against would-be Pioneer Courthouse Square bomber Mohamed Osman Mohamud. The Justice Department, under a new policy change, admitted the tactic in recently filed court papers.

The white supremacist serial killer who shot and paralyzed Larry Flynt in the midst of a cross-country murder rampage targeting Jews and African Americans nearly 40 years go, has been executed.

Stress over the government shutdown drove a freshman Republican congressman from Florida straight into the arms of a waiting Washington, DC, cocaine dealer. He used to handle his stress by tweeting out reviews of the garbage for sale in SkyMall catalogs.

A state representative in Hawaii thinks he'll end homelessness by strutting around Honolulu with a sledgehammer and bashing apart homeless people's property.

Oregon's economy isn't doing terribly. The unemployment rate, now at 7.7 percent, is as low as its been since the Great Recession dawned forever ago. And like every employment report in the country, that slow jobs rebound is happening despite cutbacks in the government sector, which historically has been at the front of every other recovery parade.

Something like 500 cars parked in inner Northeast and Southeast have now had their tires slashed by a prolific vandal or vandals no doubt enjoying all the media coverage of their pain-in-the-ass handiwork.