December 31, 2013

* Happy New Year’s, everyone! Here’s a quick roundup of end-of-2013 news. If you’re a DC person, here are some places to go tonight. Human energy will fuel the ball drop in New York City. And Congressional candidates are spending the holiday in the most worst way imaginable: begging piteously for donations.

* Sarah Binder has an interesting post investigating current congressional gridlock in historical context. The takeaway: Congress has been very bursty in terms of legislative output, but there is also a secular declining trend in productivity.

* Utah has asked the Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages. The request went to Sonia Sotomayor, who can decide it on her own or refer it to the whole court.

* Prosecutors and Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the fired chief of staff for Senator Lamar Alexander who is under investigation on child pornography charges, have agreed to delay a formal indictment. Word is they might be trying to agree on a plea bargain.

* Fine essay from Nicole Gelinas about pedestrians killed in New York City. It’s a measure of driver irresponsibility in part, but also slap-on-the-wrist tickets for killing people with cars and trucks that aren’t up to regulation. As someone who walks to work, our driverless-car future can’t come fast enough.

* Tomorrow, Colorado will start selling legal marijuana. Here’s what that means. The biggest thing there will be how the feds react, and that’s somewhat up in the air. The Obama administration has said they maybe won’t bother, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes.

* A real potential breakthrough in nuclear fusion? Don’t get your hopes up, but fingers crossed.

* Jacob Appelbaum has an interesting talk about the NSA surveillance programs. Mostly it’s a great overview from a civil-libertarian perspective, but recommended especially for people who think “I have nothing to hide, I shouldn’t worry about these programs.”

* Speed metal drummers are being replaced by drum machines for some bands. Even Gene Hoglan!? Maybe we need cyborg metal drummers.

* A few more 2013 round-ups: Longform’s best of, NYT’s best books, best photos, and Ed Kilgore’s best work of the year.

I’ve really enjoyed writing here over the last couple months, once again, thanks for reading and commenting. See you all in 2014!