The Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper, published an online map of gun permit holders in several counties (and is fighting to get data for more) after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
A blogger retaliated by posting addresses of staffers at the paper. And threats rolled in. The newspaper has now hired armed security guards for its Rockland County headquarters.
Where there's smoke, there's ire
At one tense point in fiscal cliff talks, says The Washington Post, the White House floated the idea of putting Social Security benefits in play in exchange for a delay in spending cuts and a rise in the federal debt limit. (Obama folks deny such a trial balloon.) Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was not pleased.
"Aides said," the paper reported, "Reid actually tore up the proposal and threw it into the blazing fire in his ornate green marble fireplace. ... Reid said he didn't want evidence that the idea had ever been considered."
Popularity is relative
The North Carolina firm Public Policy Polling used its Twitter account to suggest just how much love remains for the Capitol Hill gang.
"Ok y'all we're testing Congress' popularity against 23 other things this weekend. They include root canals, Ebola, meth labs, and Nickelback."
And later: "Congress is less popular than colonoscopies, used car salesmen, and Nickelback, but it's at least beating out Gonorrhea and N. Korea so far."
From hack to flack (hack, hack)
In his campaign trail memoir, Rolling Stone contributing editor Michael Hastings goes all Freudian on White House spokesman and former magazine writer Jay Carney and other one-time-journalists-turned-operatives.
"Dealing with ex-journalists ... was like dealing with ex-smokers. They were barely able to disguise their contempt for what they once were, convinced now of their superiority because they had tapped into a part of life that was so much more fulfilling and wonderful than hacking up a lung. Yet they still loved nicotine and thought about smoking all the time, and so in their contempt became the most difficult pains ... to fire up a Parliament around, or, in this case, to get a leak from, or set up an interview with."
Take a former Democratic vice president, the Al Jazeera satellite news network and exiled Fox News Channel talker Glenn Beck. Stir.
Al Gore, a founder and part owner of Current TV (think of an indie version of MSNBC with an even smaller audience), is selling the channel to Al Jazeera for $500 million. The Qatar-based network wins props from some as a largely objective news organization that has been a check on authoritarian Middle East regimes. For its occasional airing of al-Qaida videos, others see it as a terrorist organ.
The sale could give Al Jazeera a toehold on U.S. cable listings.
Beck, looking to get his "The Blaze" from the web to regular TV, wanted to buy. He was rebuffed for ideological reasons. He called the climate change-concerned Gore a hypocrite for overlooking the inconvenient truth that Al Jazeera was born with Arab oil money. More bluntly, Beck insisted Al Jazeera "hates America."
VP of Awkward
Vice President Joe Biden joked his way into cringe territory during swearing-in ceremonies for the U.S. Senate. A photographer asked the husband of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat, to drop his hands to his sides, Biden quipped: "Spread your legs: You're going to be frisked." The vice president then explained, "You say that to somebody in North Dakota, they think it's a frisk." He turned to the senator's husband and said, "They think you're in trouble, right?"