Extremely Alarming, Indeed: CBS News: "North Korea vowed Tuesday to restart a nuclear reactor that can make one bomb's worth of plutonium a year, escalating tensions already raised by near daily warlike threats against the United States and South Korea. The North's plutonium reactor was shut down and partially destroyed in 2007 as part of international nuclear disarmament talks that have since stalled. The declaration of a resumption of plutonium production — the most common fuel in nuclear weapons — and other facilities at the main Yongbyon (also spelled Nyongbyon) nuclear complex would boost fears in Washington and among its allies about North Korea's timetable for building a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the United States, technology it is not currently believed to have. ... The U.S. called the announcement 'extremely alarming.'"
ProPublica: A MuckReads Guide to North Korea
Meanwhile: Washington Post: "The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to create the first international treaty regulating the global arms trade, a landmark decision that imposes new constraints on the sale of conventional arms to governments and armed groups that commit war crimes, genocide and other mass atrocities. The U.N. vote was hailed by arms-control advocates and scores of governments, including the United States, as a major step in the global effort to enforce basic controls on the $70 billion international arms trade. But it was denounced by Iran, North Korea and Syria for imposing restrictions that prevent smaller states from buying and selling weapons to ensure their self-defense. The treaty covers a wide range of conventional weapons, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles and small arms."
Beware of Lizard People, and Pollsters With Too Much Time on Their Hands: PPP: "On our national poll this week we took the opportunity to poll 20 widespread and/or infamous conspiracy theories. Many of these theories are well known to the public, others perhaps to just the darker corners of the internet." A few of the lowlights:
- 37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax.
- 6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive.
- 21% of voters say a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the US government covered it up.
- 28% of voters believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order.
- 7% of voters think the moon landing was faked.
- 13% of voters think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ, including 22% of Romney voters.
- 29% of voters believe aliens exist.
- 9% of voters think the government adds fluoride to our water supply for sinister reasons (not just dental health).
- 4% of voters say they believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power.
What's the Opposite of Gun Control? Associated Press: "Backers of a newly adopted ordinance requiring gun ownership in a small north Georgia town acknowledge they were largely seeking to make a point about gun rights. The ordinance in the city of Nelson - population 1,300 - was approved Monday night and goes into effect in 10 days. However, it contains no penalties and exempts anyone who objects, convicted felons and those with certain mental and physical disabilities. City Councilman Duane Cronic, who sponsored the measure, said he knows the ordinance won't be enforced but he still believes it will make the town safer."
Too Big to Be Infallible: Reuters: "Pope Francis, who has said he wants the Catholic Church to be a model of austerity and honesty, could restructure or even close the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of its troubled bureaucracy, Vatican sources say. Francis, who inherited a Church mired in scandals over priests' sexual abuse of children and the leak of confidential documents alleging corruption and infighting in the Vatican's central administration, is mulling his options as he sets the tone for a reformed and humbler Holy See. One of the tests of his papacy will be what he does about the bank which has regularly damaged the Vatican's image over three decades and faces growing calls for reform."
The (Alleged) Plot to Rig the NYC Mayoral Election: New York Times: "A top New York State lawmaker was arrested early Tuesday morning for what federal prosecutors said was his central role in a brazen series of bribery and corruption schemes, including an attempt to buy a spot on the ballot in this year’s race for New York City mayor. In outlining the charges against the lawmaker, State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, as well as five other politicians and Republican Party leaders, United States Attorney Preet Bharara said the case was but the latest evidence that corruption in New York was 'pervasive.' ...Mr. Smith, a Queens Democrat who rose to become the first black president of the State Senate, was accused of conspiring with City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III, a Queens Republican, to get his name on the ballot for mayor as a Republican, which would require approval of a majority of the party’s leadership in the city."
#StockTips: Wall Street Journal: "The Securities and Exchange Commission gave explicit permission for companies to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to announce key information, so long as investors have been alerted about which sites will be used to disseminate such information. ... The SEC had probed a post by Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Reed Hastings on his personal Facebook page stating that Netflix's monthly online viewing had exceeded one billion hours for the first time. Netflix shares jumped 6.2% on July 3, the day Mr. Hastings made the disclosure. In December, the SEC said it was considering bringing charges against Mr. Hastings. ... Other executives have drawn scrutiny for their social-media actions in the past."
Up and Walking (With Crutches): USA Today: "Injured Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware arrived on campus on Tuesday afternoon after being discharged from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. His first stop was the Yum! practice center on Floyd Street where he was bringing back the Midwest Regional trophy that coach Rick Pitino left in his hospital room. ... Ware suffered a compound fracture of his right leg during Sunday's game against Duke. He sent a text to The Courier-Journal earlier saying was leaving the hospital and plans to be in Atlanta for the Final Four on Wednesday."
One More Sports Story: ESPN: "New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who is in the final season of a $57 million contract, has left agent Scott Boras to sign with a company founded by Jay-Z. Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, announced Tuesday that it is getting into the sports representation business through a partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). This arm of CAA will be known as Roc Nation Sports, which simultaneously announced that its first sports client is Cano."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
Future Tense: Google Invents a Spam Filter for Your Phone
Moneybox: The Next Fed Chair Will Be Janet Yellen
See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.