President Obama drops Social Security benefit cuts from his current budget proposal. Many folks saw the offer (to tie cost-of-living increases to a slower-growing but irrelevant-to-seniors inflation index known as "chained CPI") as a good-faith effort to get Republicans to support higher tax revenues, but I always saw it as a craven capitulation, and I'm glad he's given it up. Give yourself a pat on the back if you're one of the many, many folks who've agitated against its inclusion in the budget discussion.
American sues Ethiopian government for (among other things!) infecting his computer with spyware so they could monitor his computer use. This predicament apparently afflicts many former Ethiopians who've fled the oppressive government of their home country, but I'm more worried that a government that isn't a major world player by any stretch of the imagination can spy on folks like this. Of course, I also wonder why a government so anxious to keep its power doesn't, you know, do good works for its people.
A release of some 27,000 email documents shows then-Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker (now, of course, Governor of Wisconsin) suggesting that some of his employees respond to articles critical of him and/or his ideas in 2010. I can't say he broke the law -- we have no evidence, for example, that he told them to do it while they were working for the people of Milwaukee County, and we know he fired at least one aide caught doing just that in 2010 -- but Mr. Walker generally seems to have had more knowledge of what his aides were doing than he had previously said he did. And, you know, being the hand inside internet commenter puppet-heads actually looks weak and petty.
The Brooklyn Nets sign center Jason Collins a 10-day contract, virtually assuring he'll be the first openly gay man to play in an NBA game. (10-day contracts for players filling a short-term need have been standard in the NBA for decades.) I recall fretting that teams would shy away from him after he came out late last year (after a dozen years in the league, five as a starting center or power forward), but I also recall thinking I'd probably never know that for sure, since he's essentially a third center now, and third centers are never that much in demand. I guess we're about to learn a few things.
Finally, we visit the small agricultural town of Feldheim, in Germany, which has become self-sufficient via development of renewable energy technologies. Tea baggers may want to close their ears, but Feldheim's story testifies to the utility of both capitalistic and socialistic impulses -- farmers there began to prosper in the late '90s when they leased their land to a local energy corporation, which built wind turbines on that land and then bought a Soviet military site and converted that into a solar farm; at around the same time, the town and the corporation joined together to start a biogas factory. Hey, I don't care how we do good works so much as that we do good works.