Good news, everyone -- Congress passes, and the President signs, a law permitting good folks to "unlock" their cell phones, that is, use their cell phone with a different service provider than the one who sold them the phone. The bill reverses the U.S. Copyright Office's ruling that cell phone unlocking violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act -- but it doesn't reverse that ruling permanently, meaning that the Copyright Office will determine whether to extend the repeal in three years. Still, it's more freedom for the consumer in the meantime, and if you told the President and Congress to get it done, good job.
Patrick Cockburn notes that Israel's offensive against Palestine actually weakens Israel and strengthens Hamas. He is not the first to note the irony that greater military superiority, and the will to deploy it, is too often antithetical to real political superiority, but having invaded Iraq and spilled so much blood and treasure there over the last decade-plus, Americans should be particularly attuned to this message. And despite the "liberal" media remembering its pro-Israel bias, the shock of Israeli teenagers murdering Palestinian ones may be hard to shake.
Meanwhile, Toledo, Ohio residents can't drink the tap water, and Emily Atkins at Think Progress explains why. Long story short: a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie, where Toledo residents get most of their drinking water, has infested the water with a bacterium called microcystis, which can cause serious liver and digestive tract problems. Toledo residents couldn't drink the water until yesterday, and residents with liver issues couldn't wash in it. We're making it even worse, of course -- the main culprit, phosphorus runoff, is a major by-product of the massive amounts of fertilizers and pesticides in corporate farming.
ProPublica provides a timeline of the Senate's efforts to investigate CIA torture. It will remind you that the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind on, as the charges that CIA Director Brennan called "spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts" turned out to be a) not terribly spurious and b) rather well-supported by the facts. Of course, being CIA Director means never having to say you're sorry, even (or especially?) under a Democratic President.
Finally, Tracie McMillian at National Geographic explains how it could be that so many Americans with so many middle-class trappings could still go hungry. Those who poke fun at obese folks needing food stamps may find their minds opened a bit by the reporting herein, where average Americans' declining wages force them to "pit one bill against another" even as easy credit allows them to get cell phones and flat-panel TVs, while our government's corn subsidies make eating fast food an all-too-easy choice for overworked and underpaid Americans.