Finish VDOT contract work quickly, get laid off quickly.

A bridge on a major road outside of Charlottesville had to be replaced, shutting down that road for weeks. VDOT offered an incentive to finish ahead of schedule, and the full-time employees of that contractor worked their asses off to make that happen. They’ll wrap up tomorrow, way ahead of schedule. Their reward? They’re getting …

Tracy Thorne-Begland appointed to the bench.

How did he manage to be appointed by the circuit court, instead of via the legislature? Why, there was a vacancy left unfilled by the General Assembly. It seems that they failed to fill a judgeship. One of the candidates was turned down. His name is Tracy Thorne-Begland. You might have heard of him. Oh, …

2012 is the hottest year ever.

In the history of record keeping, so far 2012 is the hottest year in U.S. history. Spring was 5.2° warmer than the 20th century average, and fully 2° warmer than the prior record, in 1910. (That’s a huge difference. We’re not talking about tenths of a degree here.) Even more alarming is the resulting increase …

PolitiFact fact-checks Bob Marshall. (Hint: He does poorly.)

I’m amazed that they even bothered to fact-check Marshall’s claim that being gay “cuts your life by about 20 years,” since it’s obviously false. To their credit, they contacted the author of the study that constitutes Marshall’s evidence, who said that Marshall is guilty of a “gross misrepresentation” of his research, and that he is …

Romney’s classmates recall his assault of a gay student.

A Washington Post reporter interviewed five prep-school classmates of Mitt Romney’s, all of whom independently recalled that, in Mitt Romney’s senior year, he attacked a gay classmate. They say Romney led a small posse to the kid’s dorm room, where he was held down while Romney forcibly cut the crying boy’s shaggy, bleached blond hair. …

Greene County Republicans call for armed overthrow of the government.

In the March issue of their newsletter, a “Whitehouse [sic] Watchdog” column signed by newsletter editor Ponch McPhee concludes by declaring that “we shall not have any coarse [sic] but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November.” (It’s on page 7 of the PDF.) “Treason” is the word that …

Why the USPS is running out of money.

I thought that the USPS was in financial trouble because they’d over-promised pensions. Nope. It turns out that a law passed by Congress in 2006 requires the USPS to save up enough money to pay 100% of their pension obligations for the next 75 years by 2016. That’s unheard of. So why require that? To …

Don’t miss the Tribune’s exposé of the flame retardant industry.

The Chicago Tribune is running a brilliant investigative series on how flame retardants came to be used in so many of the products that we buy. It turns out that a) they don’t actually stop fires even a little bit b) they cause serious health problems and c) tobacco companies created a fake public interest …