What started as routine bickering between President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has turned into a weird fight over holiday greetings. It started on Wednesday morning when the White House marked the one year anniversary of the Senate introducing a bipartisan immigration bill by chiding House Republicans for stalling on immigration reform. "Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform," said the statement. Cantor issued a sharply worded response, claiming that Obama called him to have a serious talk about immigration just "hours after he issued a partisan statement." However, the White House says the president was just calling to wish Cantor a happy Passover.
A Pennsylvania man is facing 25 years in prison after trying to pass through a security checkpoint at JFK Airport with a loaded handgun and brass knuckles. Even worse: authorities say 55-year-old Richard Forti hid the gun in the pocket of a vest he placed in a tray and sent through the X-ray machine. At least the guy who hid cocaine in goat meat earlier this month was trying to keep airport officials on their toes.
NBC New York reports that the number of people affected by the city's recent measles outbreak is now 26. The news comes two weeks after the last new cases were confirmed, and the Health Department is "urging continued vigilance." That means that people with children should vaccinate them. The rest of us just have to wash our hands and hope for the best.
As anyone who has ever attended or been otherwise affiliated with NYU can tell you, finding anything but exorbitantly priced housing convenient to the school's Greenwich Village campus is extremely, extremely difficult, which makes the New York Post's Wednesday story on controversial, expansion-happy university president John Sexton extra irritating: In the spring of 2002 — as Sexton was preparing to take over the top spot at NYU after serving as dean of the law school for ten years — he had two one-bedroom apartments in a building reserved for students and professors turned into a duplex for his son, Jed, and daughter-in-law, Danielle Decrette. At the time, Jed was a 33-year-old aspiring actor, and Decrette was a NYU law school administrator. They stayed for five years.
Kalan Sherrard, a creatively costumed 26-year-old subway performer with a "nothing matters" sign, was arrested earlier this month during a peaceful puppet show, the latest, most colorful bust in the apparent crackdown on peddlers and panhandlers under new NYPD Comissioner Bill Bratton. (Arrests by transit cops are up 170 percent year over year.) Sherrard, though, isn't standing for it and has the video to prove he was just going about his bizarre business, at 1 a.m. in the Times Square subway station. He also knows the rules.
On Wednesday morning, a ferry carrying 432 people — most of them high school kids on their way to a field trip on the island of Jeju — began sinking off the the coast of South Korea. The Associated Press reports that 87 boats and 18 aircraft responded to the ship's calls for help, but rescuers were only able to get to 175 passengers before everything but the bow was underwater. Six people have been confirmed dead, which means that 283 remain unaccounted for. While divers were still searching the cold, muddy water for survivors on Wednesday evening, the chances of finding any of the missing alive don't look good, though South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a briefing that they would continue to do their best "to rescue even one passenger."
Only a month after Newsweek proudly announced that it had sniffed out the creator of Bitcoin, a train-collecting engineer from California named Dorian Nakamoto, a new study by Aston University researchers has a candidate of its own: Nick Szabo, a cryptographer whose writings they say have "uncanny" similarities with the language in Bitcoin's founding document — a 2008 white paper written by someone using the pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto."
A team of 40 (!) researchers studied many of Szabo's works and those of ten other leading Nakamoto suspects, according to the Wall Street Journal, and found a "large number of distinctive linguistic traits appearing in both the Bitcoin paper and Szabo’s blogs and other writings," leading them to conclude that Szabo is likely Satoshi Nakamoto. (Szabo has denied being Nakamoto.) The case for Szabo's authorship isn't airtight, though, so investigators will have to keep going in their efforts to figure out who invented Bitcoin. Soon, it might be easier to do this by process of elimination.
Like many people who spoke to the press in the wake of this weekend's deadly shootings at two Kansas Jewish facilities, Marionville Mayor Dan Clevenger felt the bizarre need to point out that the vocally anti-Semitic gunman, Frazier Glenn Miller, otherwise seemed like a decent guy. "He was always nice and friendly and respectful of elder people, you know, he respected his elders greatly. As long as they were the same color as him," said Clevenger, whose small Missouri town is the closest one to Miller's home (hat tip, TPM). "Very fair and honest and never had a bit of problem." However, the mayor differs slightly from others who vouched for Miller's niceness in that he was also willing to say that he wasn't totally opposed to the shooter's beliefs.
Even employees of a storied media company are still apparently struggling with basic email etiquette. The citizens of the Condé Nast kingdom responded to a reoccurring spam message today by resorting to reply-all — a cardinal sin of internet communication, unless you're really funny — causing the whole thing to devolve into a mess of useless messages across dozens of titles. Those who know better, of course, just took to social media to snicker.