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Americans Angry with Obama Over Gas Prices

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© Reuters/Larry Downing
US - More than two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling high gasoline prices, although most do not blame him for them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Tuesday.

Sixty-eight percent disapprove and 24 percent approve of how Obama is responding to price increases that have become one of the biggest issues in the 2012 presidential campaign.

In the past month, U.S. fuel prices have jumped about $0.30 per gallon to about $3.90 and the Republicans seeking to replace the Democrat in the November 6 election have seized upon the issue to attack his energy policies.

The disapproval reaches across party lines, potentially spelling trouble for Obama in the election, although the online survey showed voters hold oil companies or foreign countries more accountable than politicians for the price spike.

"Obama is getting heat for it but people aren't necessarily blaming him for it," said Chris Jackson, research director for Ipsos public affairs.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all disapprove of the president's handling of gas prices, according to the online poll of 606 Americans conducted March 26-27.

Eighty-nine percent of Republicans said they disapproved, as did 52 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents.

"People are unhappy that they are having to pay $3.90 a gallon. They want somebody to be able to lash out at and the president is as good a person as anybody," Jackson said.

Magic Hat

Conspiracy charges dropped against Mich. militia

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The trial of seven Hutaree militia members arrested for allegedly plotting to launch an insurrection against the government begins in Detroit.
A federal judge dismissed the most serious charges Tuesday against seven members of a Michigan militia who were rounded up as homegrown extremists accused of plotting war against the U.S., saying their expressed hatred of law enforcement didn't amount to conspiracy against the government.

The decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia four years ago and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts granted requests for acquittal on the most serious charges: conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged conspiracies also were dismissed.

"There are very few judges that have this kind of courage," defense lawyer Michael Rataj said.

The trial, which began Feb. 13, will resume this week with only a few gun charges remaining against militia leader David Stone and son Joshua Stone, both from Lenawee County, Mich.

"The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level," the judge said.

Comment: Mixed nuts anyone?


Sheeple

High school expels student for tweeting f-word

An Indiana high school expels a student for a silly, profane tweet, even though it seems to have been sent at 2:30 a.m. The school suggests that it may track all of its students' tweets, regardless of what time or where they were sent.


Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
© Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
I am sure that the people who run Garrett High School in Indiana radiate intelligence.

Perhaps, though, they have tossed a little inkblot onto their pristine record with the expulsion of senior Austin Carroll. He didn't assault anyone. He didn't toss a projectile, nor brandish a knife. No, it seems that he merely tweeted.

Please prepare your best judgmental pose while I transcribe (mostly) his supposedly most offensive tweet: "F*** is one of those F****** words you can F****** put anywhere in a F****** sentence and it still F****** makes sense."

There, how did that feel? Juvenile? To some, perhaps. Amusing? Mostly to his peers, surely. But offensive? Offensive enough to get him thrown out of school, with a mere three months of his time there left to serve? With this, some might struggle.

Sheeple

War On Words: New York City Dept. Of Education Wants 50 'Forbidden' Words Banned From Standardized Tests

Dennis Walcott
© Marla Diamond/WCBS 880
Dennis Walcott

'Dinosaur,' 'Birthday,' 'Halloween,' 'Poverty,' 'Divorce' Among Those Suggested

New York - George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.

The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests.

Marla Diamond Talks To Walcott, Student About Banned Words

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word "dinosaur" made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. "Halloween" is targeted because it suggests paganism; a "birthday" might not be happy to all because it isn't celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses.

Airplane

Update: JetBlue Captain Subdued After Erratic Behavior on Flight

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© The Associated Press/Steve Douglas
Emergency workers tend to a JetBlue captain during a Las Vegas-bound flight from JFK International airport Tuesday in Amarillo, Texas.
It was an extraordinarily rare incident in the air - and a frightening one for passengers: A JetBlue captain was locked out of the cockpit and wrestled to the floor by passengers after screaming about a bomb during a flight from New York to Las Vegas.

JetBlue said that the captain of Flight 191, which was diverted to Texas on Tuesday morning, had a "medical situation" and that an off-duty captain traveling on the flight entered the cockpit before the landing "and took over the duties of the ill crewmember once on the ground" in Amarillo.

The co-pilot became concerned that the captain was behaving erratically during the flight, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating in coordination with the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration and Amarillo police.

"The captain had exited the cockpit during the flight, after which the co-pilot locked the door," said Brie Sachse, an FAA spokeswoman. "When the captain attempted to enter the locked cockpit, he was subdued by passengers."

Tony Antolino, a security executive from Rye, N.Y., realized something was wrong on the flight when the captain left the cockpit and starting walking erratically through the cabin, drinking water and becoming agitated.

Comment: See this report of a similar incident involving the American Airlines flight attendant: Passengers' terror as flight attendant screams 'We're going to crash!' and rants about 9/11 before being wrestled to the ground by colleagues


Bizarro Earth

Trayvon Protesters Ransack Store

North Miami Beach Walgreens incident caught on video


US, Florida - North Miami Beach police said surveillance video shows dozens of high school students demonstrating in the Trayvon Martin case Friday ransacking a Walgreens store.

The incident occurred during a walkout from North Miami Beach Senior High School in support of Martin, 17, who was fatally shot in Sanford. Protesters have been calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, 28, who has not been charged because he claimed self-defense in the shooting, according to police.

Minutes after walking out of their school Friday, a large group of students walked through the streets of North Miami Beach. Along the way, they stopped at a Walgreens at 163rd Street and 15th Avenue at about 10:40 a.m.

Surveillance video shows dozens of teenagers running through the store. Police said about 80 to 100 students stormed in, ransacking the shelves, before the school's vice principal ordered everyone outside.

North Miami Beach police said students damaged items worth about $150.

Beer

'Kony 2012' Exec Joked About Keeping $900k Donation for Himself


One of the heads of Jason Russell's Invisible Children organization made a video after the charity won a $1 million grant ... in which he appears to be drunk and joking about keeping $900,000 for himself.

TMZ has obtained the clip ... featuring Jedidiah Jenkins, the Director of Ideology for the charity dedicated to hunting down African warlord Joseph Kony.

The footage appears to be shot in 2010 ... right after Invisible Children won the $1 million grand prize in the Chase Community Giving Facebook competition.

In the video, Jenkins is holding a handle of Smirnoff vodka ... and slurs to the camera, "I don't know if you heard this or not ... but we won a ... we won a million dollars so ... pretty rad."

After chugging from the bottle, Jenkins continues ... "a hundred thousand for Haiti and $900,000 in extra for me."

Hardhat

North Sea gas cloud: "May be months" to stop it

A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's (TOTF.PA) evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow.

Elgin platform
© Unknown
The Elgin oil and gas platform is operated by Total
Dubbed "the well from hell" by an environmentalist who said the unusually high pressure of the undersea reservoirs made it especially hard to shut off, the loss of oil and gas output from Elgin - as well as the prospect of a big repair bill - helped drive Total's share price down six percent on the Paris bourse.

As Shell pulled its bigger Shearwater facility offline too and an air and sea exclusion zone was declared around the forlorn Elgin rig, 150 miles (250 km) east of Aberdeen, green campaigners denounced dangers in the technically challenging deep drilling that energy companies have undertaken around the globe to exploit the high prices created by insatiable demand.

Comment: This is looking like BP's Deepwater Horizon's leak all over again. Hopefully, this one will not turn out to be a 'Total' disaster.


Stop

North Sea exclusion zone set as gas surges from leak

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© Antoine Agasse/AFP/Getty Images file
A file picture taken on May 29, 2009 shows the Total Elgin-Franklin oil and gas platform in the North Sea 150 miles off Aberdeen on Scotalnd's east coast.
A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling out of a leaking drilling platform off the Scottish coast has led to the evacuation of hundreds of workers and the creation of a two-mile exclusion zone.

Coastguard officials ordered shipping to come no closer than two miles from the abandoned Elgin platform, located 150 miles off Aberdeen, and said there was a three-mile exclusion zone for low-flying aircraft such as helicopters, the BBC reported.

Energy firm Total UK, which operates the platform, said it did not know the source of the leak and was considering all options including drilling a relief well - a solution that could take six months.

"We have mobilised experts from elsewhere in the Total Group to offer additional assistance and help us deal with the incident," it said in a statement.

It evacuated 238 workers from the platform after the leak was spotted on Sunday, according to a report in The Scotsman. The report said Shell had reduced its workforce on two nearby offshore installations because of the drifting gas.

Airplane

JetBlue flight diverted, captain restrained

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© REUTERS/Joshua Lott
JetBlue Airways logo
A JetBlue flight to Las Vegas was diverted to Texas on Tuesday due to what the airline described as a "medical situation" involving the captain -- who one witness said had to be restrained after he pounded on the locked cockpit door.

The FBI said it responded to the scene in Amarillo, Texas, and was looking into the incident on Flight 191 from New York. JetBlue said the pilot-in-command elected to divert the flight from New York carrying 135 passengers due to "a medical situation involving the captain."

"Another captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo, and took over the duties of the ill crew member once on the ground," the statement said.

The ill crew member was removed from the aircraft and taken to a local medical facility, JetBlue said. The plane, which took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, had been scheduled to land at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.