Today’s post: Japan needs a break as do Libyan rebels, NPR is on the chopping block and you should be wearing green

Depending on what you read and when you read it (I’m going with Bloomberg for now), Japanese officials at the Fukushima nuclear power plant are having some success pouring water on the compromised reactor #3 or they’re not.  Any way you look at it, no one wants to be within 100 miles of the radiation leaking into the air, yet hundreds of workers are risking their lives trying to prevent Japan from having the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.  Power outages are expected today throughout the country as citizens turn up their heaters to fight cold temperatures.  Japan needs some good news, fast.

Moammar Gaddhafi’s army, having struck from land, air and sea, are on the brink of winning the battle with rebels over control of the country.  It’s heartbreaking for the opposition forces, once believed to be on their way to a Tunisia- and Egypt-like revolution over a cruel and curious dictator, to see their efforts dashed after bloody clashes.  The rebels hope to, at the very least, continue their fight until international aid arrives, the pace of which may be too slow to make a difference.  Despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Gaddhafi should be overthrown, global efforts to step in have been non-existent.

The House is voting today to restrict using taxpayer money to fund NPR.  More than just limiting dollars spent on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, today’s debate and subsequent vote targets NPR.  It’s a mostly liberal organization any way you slice it.  Of course Republicans are going to try to manage its reach.  Cynics consider efforts by Republican governors to break up unions a direct attack on the largest campaign contributors the Democrats have and not simply a way to reduce deficits.  None of this should be surprising.  Republicans are good at getting what they want.

Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat are competing this weekend to become the next president of Haiti.  Talk about a job you wouldn’t want.  Former president Jean-Bertrande Aristide, exiled in South Africa, is returning to his former country today, escorted by actor Danny Glover, in an attempt to…to… I don’t really know what he hopes to accomplish.  Like Japan, Haiti needs a break.

If you’re a Trojan fan, I’m sorry.  Not that anyone expected great things from USC in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but saying buh-bye so quickly hurts.  Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) beat Southern Cal, 59-46, Wednesday night in the final game of the “First Four” in March Madness.

Despite our tendency toward gluttony and sloth, Americans born today can now expect to live longer than at any other time in our history.  Born yesterday (2008), you could anticipate living to a ripe 78 years of age.  Today (2009-10), it’s 78.2.  Imagine if we actually took care of ourselves?

Did you know astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, has a twin brother?  Guess what he does for a living?  Yup, he’s an astronaut, too.  He’s been in space for a while, working at the International Space Station, and wearing a bracelet to show his support for his sister-in-law.  Take a look at this photo.  Sweet.

He was brought to Ireland as a slave. He was a Brit.  There were no snakes to drive out, but he did assist the Irish in becoming predominantly Christian.  He is thought to have died on March 17, 460 A.D.  The shamrock is believed to have been used by him to represent the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  Celebrate St. Patrick today by wearing green, serving Irish stew and soda bread, hoisting a pint of Guinness if you’re over 21, and being particularly nice to people with last names like Finnegan, O’Rourke, Gallagher, Fitzgerald, O’Callaghan, Ryan, Murphy, McCormick and Harrigan.

Top o’ the afternoon to ya.

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