Pot politics
May 19, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) declined to tell Yahoo News whether he had ever smoked marijuana in an interview published Monday, saying there was no right answer.

"If you say that you did, then suddenly there are people out there saying, 'Well, it's not a big deal,'" he said. "On the other side of it is if you tell people that you didn't, they won't believe you."

And, he added, he didn't want anyone to use him as an excuse to smoke pot because, "I think there's no responsible way to recreationally use marijuana."

About half of all adults say they've used marijuana at some point in their lives, and seven in 10 say weed is less dangerous to personal health than alcohol. Jon Terbush

you can't make this stuff up
1:15 a.m. ET

A northern California woman experienced an intense three days, beginning Thursday when she delivered a baby in the middle of a forest and ending Saturday when she started a wildfire in order to be rescued.

Amber Pangborn, 35, was driving to her parents' house when she started to go into labor, NBC News reports. She decided to take a back road in the Plumas County National Forest, and wound up giving birth, then running out of gas in a remote area without cell phone reception. Pangborn said she survived by drinking the tiny bit of water she had with her and eating some apples. By Saturday, Pangborn was afraid she and her daughter, Marisa, would die, so she used a lighter and hairspray to start a brush fire. "The whole side of the mountain caught on fire," she said. "I was looking at Marisa and was like, 'I think Mommy just started a forest fire.'"

Pangborn's plan worked, and she was found by members of the U.S. Forest Service, who came racing to the quarter-acre blaze. Pangborn and her baby were taken to separate hospitals, and were expected to be reunited Tuesday. Although not everyone will approve of Pangborn starting a fire in a drought-stricken state, her mother, Dianna Williams, thought it was a great idea. "I'm elated and the baby's beautiful," she told NBC affiliate KCRA. "I'm glad that she's a smart kid. She's always been smart." Catherine Garcia

Highbrow Emo
12:41 a.m. ET

If all you know about Justice Antonin Scalia's blistering dissents last week is his whimsical use of "jiggery-pokery" and "pure applesauce" (ObamaCare) and his accusation that he and his colleagues are a "threat to American democracy" (same-sex marriage), you want to know more, but you don't like reading long legal documents, the band Coheed and Cambria is at your service.

In the song below, posted to Funny or Die, the band takes some of the more poetic parts of Scalia's dissents on gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act and spin them into a ballad for two acoustic guitars, an acoustic bass, a shaker, and two singers. Never has so much disappointed anger sounded so lovely.

If listening to nearly 4 minutes of prog balladry is too much, Daniela Lapidous at McSweeney's has distilled Scale's gay marriage dissent into a haiku:

You're not a poet,
Kennedy. And by the way,
Democracy’s dead. [McSweeney's]

She created remarkably evocative haikus of the other three dissents and Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion, too, and you can read them all at McSweeney's. Peter Weber

Not funny
12:39 a.m. ET

In totally justifiable lawsuit news, Paris Hilton is reportedly planning on suing the Egyptian television host who set up an elaborate prank that tricked the socialite into thinking the plane she was traveling in was crashing.

Hilton was in Dubai when Ramez Galal, host of Ramez in Control, invited her to go on a sightseeing plane. Hilton says she had no idea that it was all a gag — the plane was under the control of a stunt pilot, who shut off the engines and took the aircraft into a nose-dive. Footage from inside the plane shows an obviously terrified Hilton screaming and crying, surrounded by actors who are playing along with the "joke" that the plane is about to crash.

TMZ reports that Hilton is "furious" over the stunt, and has contacted her lawyers, who said she has a case for emotional distress. She no longer wants to get on airplanes, and said the prank was even worse than it appears on tape, with the plane nearly hitting the water. Watch the video below, and get ready to feel sympathy for Paris Hilton. Catherine Garcia

June 30, 2015
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, three cables that deliver internet service to Sacramento, California, were cut in what was likely a coordinated attack.

The FBI is now investigating the case, with special agent Greg Wuthrich of the Bureau's San Francisco division saying the incident could be the latest in a string of cuts that have happened in the San Francisco Bay area over the past year. The cables were severed in Livermore, 40 miles east of San Francisco, at 4:20 a.m. Tuesday, Reuters reports. While repairs are underway, there is no estimated time for when internet service will be back up.

Wave Broadband spokesman Mark Peterson said only suburban areas of Sacramento have been affected by the outage. Wave is a customer of Level 3 Communications and Zayo Group Holdings Inc., the companies that own the cables. Catherine Garcia

This just in
June 30, 2015

Firefighters in Greeleyville, South Carolina, are battling a blaze at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a black church that was set on fire 20 years ago by members of the KKK.

The Mount Zion AME Church is located about an hour away from Charleston. The cause of the fire is not yet known. Mark Keel, chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, told The Post and Courier that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and other federal agencies have been notified and are on their way to the scene.

This is the seventh black church in the south to catch on fire in recent weeks, with at least three cases known to be arson. Catherine Garcia

taking a stand
June 30, 2015
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned a $100,000 gift after the donor asked that the money "not be used to support transgender girls," the organization said.

The group was "thrilled" when they first received the donation, which would have provided financial support for 500 scouts. Once the donor sent a follow-up note with the request, the money was returned, and a new fundraising campaign was launched on Indiegogo, using the hashtag #ForEVERYgirl. "Girl Scouts empowers every girl regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity [and] sexual orientation," the group said in a campaign video. "Every girl deserves access to a safe, friendly environment where she can stand up for what she believes in and be proud of who she is."

The message worked; in less than 24 hours, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington raised enough to replace the $100,000, and then some. Catherine Garcia

possible endorsement?
June 30, 2015
David Becker/Getty Images

Cliven Bundy, the rancher who made headlines last year for not paying the $1 million in fines he owed to the Bureau of Land Management for letting his cattle graze on government-owned land, met privately with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday, Bundy says, adding that he educated Paul on federal land oversight and states' rights.

"I don't think he really understood how land rights really work in the western United States," he told Politico. "I was happy to be able to sort of teach him." The Republican presidential candidate was in Mesquite, Nevada, to speak with supporters, and he shared his thoughts on land rights. "I think almost all land-use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level," Paul said. "I think that the government shouldn't interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision."

Bundy said he spoke with Paul for 45 minutes — Paul's spokesman told Politico he didn't have any scheduled meetings with any of the attendees, and didn't speak to anyone for 45 minutes — and disagreed with Paul over the actions of groups like American Lands Council, which uses litigation and legislation to get land from the federal government to give to states. "My stand is we are already a sovereign state," he said. "The federal government doesn't need to turn this land back to us. It's already state land."

Bundy became a conservative hero after the BLM came to impound his cattle as penalty for not paying the grazing fees, and hundreds of armed militia members came to his ranch to show their support. The tide turned after he made derogatory statements about "the negro," alluding that black people might have been better off under slavery. Once those comments were made public, former supporter Paul released a statement saying Bundy's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." Catherine Garcia

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