Mitt Romney’s campaign may be struggling, but his transition operation is moving full steam ahead.

The GOP presidential candidate’s Washington team is intensifying its efforts, moving into official office space and holding meetings on Capitol Hill.


The transition effort — while necessary and appropriate for a GOP nominee so close to the election — is a jarring contrast to a campaign that appears on the ropes to many Republican strategists. Receiving no bump from the Tampa convention, Romney is plowing ahead with a methodical approach to staffing his would-be administration, despite the fact that his campaign is said by some to need a radical makeover.



According to a new Zogby Poll the wheels are close to coming off the Romney campaign. President Obama leads Mitt Romney among NASCAR fans, 48%-41%.


Many of you probably saw this sign carried by a striking teacher here in Chicago. Today the RedEye got to the bottom of the story:

When asked if the mayor is fond of the Canadian crooners, his spokeswoman Tarrah Cooper told RedEye in an e-mail “No.”

It’s nice to see this kind of vital, penetrating coverage of the strike.


The Guardian:

Seventy members of an Islamist sect in Russia have been found living in an underground bunker without heat or sunlight on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, according to Russian media.

The sect members – including 20 children, the youngest of whom was 18 months old – are thought to have been underground for nearly a decade.

Many of the children were born underground and had never seen daylight until the prosecutors discovered them on 1 August. After health checks, a 17-year-old girl turned out to be pregnant.


A few days ago, I posted this crazy story about an attack on a Cards Against Humanity game. It was originally reported in the River Falls Journal, and got picked up by Kotaku and Gameranx. I caught up with the guy who was hosting that game to get the whole story.

Maxistentialism: What’s your name, where are you from, what do you do?

Online I go by Sodapop Murphy for anonymity’s sake. I’m from the twin cities, though I moved to River Falls for college. At work I’m a dancer, though my coworkers claim I’m some kind of line cook.

Maxistentialism: How did you hear about Cards Against Humanity?

I heard about CAH on Reddit a few months back and rushed to Fast Copy (the campus copy center) and had cards printed and cut. I paid $3.88 for my copy.

Maxistentialism: What was going on the night of your game? Were you having a party?

The night of the incident my girlfriend, best friend and I had just arrived at my house in River Falls from my g/f’s place in Uptown (Minneapolis). My roommate Ben was having a party for the city and county elections where they drank as the results updated online real-time.

Maxistentialism: Who was the guy that flipped out? Did you know him?

The man who went bonkers was a friend of Ben’s and a candidate for County Board who we’ll call “Bob” - a completely generic name with no relation to this story whatsoever. Bob typically seemed very easy going, but post-incident I’ve heard a few isolated stories about the guy losing his shit.

Maxistentialism: I heard something about a pedophile joke setting him off… do you remember what happened exactly?

I’ll preface this by setting the scene. There were four people at the dinner table playing CAH. Tony (a roommate), Kelsey, Alex, and the villain, Bob. The party had disbanded and I went to bed a few minutes prior.

Someone asked, “What is the U.S. airdropping to the children of Afghanistan?” My girlfriend Kelsey played the card “Pedophiles”. This sent Bob into a flight of mania.

When shit hit the fan, Bob stood up and and began to yell maniacally at the top of his lungs. A roommate of mine named Tony grabbed a knife out of fear, ran outside and down the street. “You better run,” said Bob. “I have guns.”

My girlfriend immediately ran into my room and frantically tried to wake me, soon followed by my best friend, Alex. As they filled me in on the urgency of the situation, I could hear Bob’s blood curdling screams as if he were giving birth to a full grown yeti. The sound of glass breaking and items being tossed across the room made it sound like a German snuff film. Alex said Bob tried to throw a wine bottle through the sliding glass door, but luckily it shattered upon impact rather than the door. Wine stained the walls and ceilings and beer bottles were smacked on the floor as Bob made his way toward my bedroom.

The insane yelling continued, acting as an indicator for his whereabouts within the domicile. He trudged closer and began breaking in my wooden bedroom door, akin to Jack Nicholson in The Shining. The rage was unmistakable. At that point I realized someone willing to damage another’s home has already put aside all concern for consequence, leaving him no reason to hesitate to push it one step further and physically injure someone - which, in my opinion, was probably his intention for trying to get into my room in the first place. 911 was called, and about a minute or two after the police drove by. Alex yelled “Over here!” out of my bedroom window and they pulled over and started toward my house on foot.

As soon as they arrived they forced Bob outside and we emerged from my bedroom. My house was absolutely trashed. There was glass everywhere, cards had been strewn about and covered in wine as if he’d been pitching ‘em around while he went batshit. Everything was covered in beer and wine. What really infuriated me was how frightened my cat Lunchbox was - he ran off for a day and a half. The police walked through the house and took photos and had us write reports.

Maxistentialism: How did everyone react when he lost his shit?

Everyone was absolutely frightened. We’d never experienced confrontation like that. We’re all mild mannered and easy going - we’d never assumed someone would equate words in a game to intent to commit crude acts. I mean, I read the news everyday yet I’ve never robbed a pawn shop, beat my girlfriend or bombed Libya. 

Maxistentialism: I read that after he was arrested, he came back?

A few hours after police brought Bob down to the station he came back to gather some items he’d left behind including his dog. Ben, who arrived back home five minutes after the incident, called the police and told them not to let Bob go as he may come back and continue his reign of terror. Despite the depth of the vandalism and the potential intent behind attempting to break down a door to get to people, they let him go. We could hear Ben speaking to him outside when he came back - he told him he was no longer welcome at our place and that he needs to leave.


Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin firebombed

Daily Kos:

On Sunday April 1, 2012 at 7:41 P.M. the Grand Chute Fire Department responded to Plannned Parenthood, 3800 N. Gíllett St for a fire alarm. While investigating the cause for the alarm, firefighters  found evidence of foul play and requested assistance from the Grand Chute Police Department.

An unknown person placed a small homemade explosive device on an outside window sill to the buílding. The device later exploded, causing damage to the building. A small fire broke out at the time ofthe explosion, but it quickly burned itself out prior to the arrival of the fire department.


The Atlantic:

Uh, no one knows whether there was a coup in China?

Here’s the most disconcerting thing we’ve read this afternoon: an explainer from Mark MacKinnon, The Globe and Mail’s China correspondent, on why reporters can’t really nail down hard information about rumors of a coup in China. Wait, a coup in China? Implausible as it might sound, there have been rumors circulating that the world’s most populous nation and the United States’ largest foreign creditor may have switched leaders or something.

There probably wasn’t a coup in China, but this is just a crazy story.




The manufacturer of Marmite says its supplies of the yeast-extract product ran out this week, four months after earthquakes forced it to close the only factory that made New Zealand’s version.

"Don’t freak. We will be back soon!" the company, Sanitarium, says on the Marmite website. But there are signs of freaking in this country of 4.4 million people, which eats its way through 640 metric tons of the savory spread every year.

640 metric tons of Marmite would be a great Cards Against Humanity card.


NBC San Diego:

Creator of Kony 2012 video arrested for masturbating in public

A co-founder for Invisible Children was detained in Pacific Beach Thursday night for being drunk in public and masturbating, according to San Diego Police Department.

Jason Russell, 33,  was allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something, according to Lt. Andra Brown. He was detained at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road.

What happens if you make the story all about yourself.

EDIT: Willystaley says, “If only ‘masturbation’ were used figuratively to describe self-serving behavior in general. THAT would make this story extra-funny!”


New Tumblr Project: For the next month, I’m going to be running a new blog called “Just the News.” Check it out at justthene.ws.

More info:

Just the News is an experiment by Max Temkin to capture the big news of the day without any gossip, sports, or distracting bullshit.

I’ve always wished I could get my news on a plain white page with a few well-curated stories; no ads, no social media, no comments. I got tired of waiting for someone to build that page, so I made it myself.

I’m no reporter, but I’ll do the best I can to curate about five important stories a day. On days where there aren’t five important stories, I’ll post less. Some days, I’ll also link to a single great piece of long-form journalism.

I’ll update this blog every morning during the month of March, and we’ll see what happens after that.

Thanks for reading!



At $500 billion, Apple is worth more than Poland

Business Insider:

Ugh, No, Apple Is Not Worth More Than Poland

Remind me why we pay attention to CNN?