Data Dive - Here is the absolute last thing you ever need to read about a White House petition. Chris Wilson over at Yahoo! News has mapped the 6.9 million people who signed a petition at the White House website and drawn an interesting picture of a clustered America - http://yhoo.it/Y1HCWj
Waiting for Sequester - How's It Playing Out There? (Outside WH Tourgate) - Sarah Parnass has been tracking the local effects of sequester. She writes:
One week after lawmakers failed to avert automatic spending cuts - sequestration in Washington speak - and the effects have started to trickle in. But in Washington the main argument over sequestration has been more about tours of the White House than what's going on outside the beltway as lawmakers focus on White House tours -
In Sioux Falls, two hospitals stand to lose millions in payments for Medicare services, according to KELO TV. Business owners in Sioux Falls don't seem to expect their economy to take a hit, but the Meals on Wheels program anticipates losing up to 11,000 meals for needy South Dakotans, the station reported last week.
Two senators from Kansas both signed a letter complaining about the White House tours, but the writer of a letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle is so floored by sequestration as a whole he labels "truth stranger than fiction."
House Speaker John Boehner sent his own letter to constituents this week, taking a dig at the White House and telling Americans to tour the Capitol instead. He also tweeted five times about White House and Capitol tours in the span of two days. Boehner's other tweets mostly referred to spending as the nation's problem.
Yet in Boehner's own district, up to 13,000 employees are facing furloughs at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, according to WHIO TV. In Cincinnati-Hamilton County, almost 300 low-income children will lose the opportunity to get early childhood education, according to Cincinnati.com. When asked about these cuts, Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel said the speaker of the House wants to replace the sequester cuts, and that the House had already voted twice to do so. He also pointed to a piece Boehner wrote about the cuts to the local Air Force base in February, a little under a month before the sequester cuts went into effect.
More from Parnass - http://abcn.ws/X4ZClG
US Adds 236K Jobs, Unemployment Falls to 7.7 Pct. - http://abcn.ws/13KOoEU
Reigniting the GTMO Debate - The Obama administration's decision to try Osama bin Laden's son-in-law in federal court in New York City instead of a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay has reignited a debate over how to deal with suspected terrorists.
As Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill Americans in New York Federal Court today, Republicans in Congress were criticizing the Obama administration for prosecuting a suspected al Qaeda terrorist in a civilian court just about a mile from the 9/11 memorial built over Ground Zero. http://abcn.ws/13KlFzG (Parkinson and Bruce)
Civil War Sailors Laid to Rest, Part 2 - http://abcn.ws/13Kl0OH
Obama Talks Immigration With Faith Leaders - ABC News http://abcn.ws/Y0J8FJ
Fashion Designer Calls Michelle Obama's Clothing 'Dreadful' - ABC News http://abcn.ws/YIAJZL
North Korea Claims Nuclear Missiles 'on Standby,' Cancels Nonaggression Pacts After UN Sanctions Toughened - A leading general in North Korea claims the country has a long-range missile armed with nuclear warheads on standby. Pyongyang repeated its Thursday vow to ditch all nonaggression pacts with South Korea and again threatened a " preemptive nuclear attack" on the United States as well.
The regime also announced early Friday that it plans to cut off phone hotlines between North and South Korea. It was part of a defiant response to tough new sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
Colonel General Kang Pyo-yong was quoted in North Korea's party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, as saying his soldiers are already positioned to launch a war of reunification - taking over South Korea - whenever the order is given by its leaders. "Our intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other missiles are on standby position mounted with various nuclear warheads that have been developed lighter and smaller," he announced to tens of thousands gathered Thursday at a mass rally in Pyongyang. http://abcn.ws/XYr0zA
Sequester at Home: Sandy-Struck New Jersey Worries About Sequester Cuts - A lot of uncertainty persists about how exactly organizations that provide for New Jersey's neediest will feel the cuts, but administrators are preparing for the worst. http://abcn.ws/WaJH2h (Sarah Parnass)
Republicans Hate on Ashley Judd - Republicans are pouring Haterade over the actress as if she had just won a bowl game. http://abcn.ws/YRHOEh (Chris Good)
Brennan Took Oath on Really Old Constitution… (Symbolism Alert) Without Bill of Rights - http://yhoo.it/WzmGZp
Senator Plays Cupid for Staffer - http://abcn.ws/YRHIg9