Kids in DC and Maryland are trudging back to school today, but for their peers in Virginia, summer vacation is still going. The Commonwealth’s students don’t start class until next week, thanks to the state’s powerful amusement-park lobby. Virginia prohibits city and county school districts from starting class before Labor Day, thanks to a 1986 law designed to give an extra week’s worth of busy crowds to the state’s tourism industry, especially theme parks like Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens. Despite many attempts by some legislators to allow local school systems to set their own calendars, the law survives, largely thanks to regular donations from amusement park operators, giving the statute its nickname of the “Kings Dominion Law.”
A new survey of southern Republicans from Public Policy Polling finds that about half - 45% in Alabama, 52% in Mississippi - still believe Obama is a Muslim. A majority do not believe in evolution. And about a quarter - 21% in Alabama, 29% in Mississippi - think interracial marriage should be illegal.
Florida’s legislature recently debated a bill to remove licensing requirements from 20 occupations, including hair-braiding, interior design and teaching ballroom-dancing. For a while it looked as if the bill would sail through: Florida has been a centre of tea-party agitation and both chambers have Republican majorities. But the people who care most about this issue—the cartels of incumbents—lobbied the loudest. One predicted that unlicensed designers would use fabrics that might spread disease and cause 88,000 deaths a year. Another suggested, even more alarmingly, that clashing colour schemes might adversely affect “salivation”. In the early hours of May 7th the bill was defeated. If Republican majorities cannot pluck up the courage to challenge a cartel of interior designers when Florida’s unemployment rate is more than 10%, what hope has America?
Lind Bird was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle. She was warned she could have faced a fine after the customs official found — and seized — her $2 Kinder Surprise egg as illegal contraband. Bird learned U.S. authorities have banned the candy because they come with a plastic toy inside that could, if eaten, choke a small child. “It’s just a chocolate egg,” Bird said. “And they were making a big deal. They said ‘if you were caught with this across the border you would get charged a $300 fine,’” she said. … The U.S. takes catching illegal Kinder candy seriously, judging by the number of them they’ve confiscated in the last year. Officials said they’ve seized more than 25,000 of the treats in 2,000 separate seizures.
Rapper T.I. helped police persuade a man not to jump off the roof of high-rise office building in Atlanta, Georgia, Wednesday afternoon, police said. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, talked to the man about how a person “can make it through anything,” Atlanta Police spokesman James Polite said. “T.I. just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Polite said.
"Police are pictured with two of the 14 wild black bears that were guarding an illegal marijuana growing operation after a July 30, 2010 raid on the property in the Christina Lake area in southeastern British Columbia. Police told AFP the bears were fed dog food to keep them nearby to deter drug thieves. But feeding wildlife is illegal in Canada, and following the raid authorities said the bears might be killed because they could become dangerous when the feeding ended. That threat prompted thousands of people around the world to sign petitions, and join a Facebook group, to save the bears. Authorities in British Columbia ordered a reprieve on August 31, 2010 for some two dozen bears caught in a drug bust."
CBS News has learned that former AIG executive Joseph Cassano - the prime focus of the investigation into its collapse - will meet with Department of Justice attorneys next week in what will likely be an end to the two year criminal investigation into the company. Sources tell CBS News that the criminal case against Cassano - once called “the Man who Crashed the World” - has “hit a brick wall” - meaning that it is likely no one will be held criminally liable for the downfall of the company that triggered a $182 billion dollar federal bailout.
Murray Hill might be the perfect candidate for this political moment: young, bold, media-savvy, a Washington outsider eager to reshape the way things are done in the nation’s capital. And if these are cynical times, well, then, it’s safe to say Murray Hill is by far the most cynical. That’s because this little upstart is, in fact, a start-up. Murray Hill is actually Murray Hill Inc., a small, five-year-old Silver Spring public relations company that is seeking office to prove a point (and perhaps get a little attention). After the Supreme Court declared that corporations have the same rights as individuals when it comes to funding political campaigns, the self-described progressive firm took what it considers the next logical step: declaring for office.
Groups of bicycle-riding vigilantes have been repainting 14 blocks of Williamsburg roadways ever since the city sandblasted their bike lanes away last week at the request of the Hasidic community. The Hasids, who have long had a huge enclave in the now-artist-haven neighborhood, had complained that the Bedford Avenue bike paths posed both a safety and religious hazard. Scantily clad hipster cyclists attracted to the Brooklyn neighborhood made it difficult, the Hasids said, to obey religious laws forbidding them from staring at members of the opposite sex in various states of undress. These riders also were disobeying the traffic laws, they complained.
A designated survivor (or designated successor) is a member of the United States Cabinet who stays at a physically distant, secure, and undisclosed location when the President and the country’s other top leaders (e.g., vice president, secretary of state) are gathered at a single location, such as during State of the Union Addresses and presidential inaugurations. This maintains continuity of government with regard to presidential succession in the remote possibility of a catastrophic event which might wipe out large portions of the United States’ federal government, including the entire slate of individuals designated by law in the line of succession to the presidency. Since U.S. law does not provide for anyone to assume the office of president if everyone on this list is simultaneously killed, the practice of designating a survivor is intended to effectively eliminate the chance of that happening.
Does writing a blog constitute work? That appears to be the position of the New York State Department of Labor, which recently declared a laid-off attorney ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was bringing in $1.30 a day from blog ads.