March 31, 2014

We've all heard of places where pollution and scarcity have forced people to purchase bottled water. But could bottled air be next? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, residents in China's Henan province received a "treat" last weekend when they had the opportunity to line up for a breath of clean air.

A Henan travel agency brought in twenty bags of air as a publicity campaign to encourage the impoverished, smog-ridden community to take a load off and visit Laojun Mountain. According to the article, the few lucky residents, who were limited to a few minutes each with the bag, "tried to wring the bags in order to extract every bit of air possible."

If photos of people hungrily breathing in clean air aren't enough of a wake-up call, consider that Henan has been selling canned air to its residents for more than a year. The province is one of the most polluted areas of the world, but it may not be long before we see this trend happening closer to home.
Kaitlin Roberts

Coming Soon
9:39 a.m. ET

With movies like Bad Boys, Armageddon, and the Transformers series, Michael Bay has spent decades cultivating a reputation for using a sledgehammer when a gentle tap would do. But Hollywood's blockbuster-iest director is going smaller and more human-sized for his next movie, 13 Hours, which offers a dramatized version of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012:

Bay has definitely toned down his usual excesses for his take on the still-controversial story, which avoids being overtly political by focusing on the U.S. soldiers who defended the embassy from the Islamic militants who attacked it. "When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right," says the trailer, amid footage of the carnage at the embassy.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi hits theaters in January 2015. Scott Meslow

word police
9:38 a.m. ET

The University of New Hampshire has created a "Bias-Free Language Guide" for campus use, a thorough document which details exactly which words the UNH community should and should not use to promote a "healthy, more productive classroom culture.

Included in the guide is a request that UNH students refrain from simply calling themselves "American":

Preferred:  U.S. citizen or Resident of the U.S.
     Problematic: American
Note: North Americans often use “American” which usually, depending on the context, fails to recognize South America
Preferred:  North American or South American
     Problematic: American:  assumes the U.S. is the only country inside these two continents.

While some of the other guidelines are just good manners (like saying "black" or "African American" rather than older, now-offensive labels) others are more surprising (like avoiding "mothering" and "fathering" in favor of the neutral "parenting"). "Healthy" also gets the axe, which seems to be news to the writers of the guide themselves. Bonnie Kristian

war on drugs
9:23 a.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The new acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Chuck Rosenberg, said Tuesday that marijuana and heroin may not be equally dangerous.

"If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is," Rosenberg remarked. "Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert." Despite its cautious nature, this statement marks a significant change from the perspective of his predecessor, who was willing to compare the two substances, saying pot is an "insidious" drug.

Both pot and heroin are currently classified by the DEA as Schedule I substances, the "most dangerous" of all drugs with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," despite research suggesting medical marijuana can be effective in pain relief and other treatment in a variety of diseases. Bonnie Kristian

what a world
9:19 a.m. ET

This is a real clarification that had to be made by a Scott Walker representative after the Wisconsin governor visited two of Philadelphia's premiere cheesesteak facilities:

- When [Walker] arrived, he went to get in line and the owner of Geno's escorted the governor to the front.

- The governor left his food and drink on the table while he did a media gaggle and he then took it with him when he left. He was actually eating the sandwich as he walked toward his vehicle. []

The bizarre statement became necessary after dozens of people in the City of Brotherly Love expressed outrage over the presidential hopeful's controversial cheesesteak decisions — policies that are clearly near and dear to their hearts. Some background:

Wisconsin Gov. and presidential candidate Scott Walker stopped by Pat's and Geno's in South Philly [Tuesday] for a campaign event, and, perhaps not surprisingly, things appear to have not gone all that well.

First off, it appears that when Walker showed up, he cut his way into the line at Geno's, which legitimately and understandably upset some members of the lunch crowd...Then, over at Pat's following his second steak, Walker reportedly left his trash on a table in the outdoor seating area, apparently expecting the steak shop to send out a member of the wait staff (which does not exist) to clean it up. []

Walker himself was all cheer...

But he may have lost Philly's vote.

In Walker's meager defense, politicians have been known to mess up the delicate art of ordering a cheesesteak before. In 2003, John Kerry enraged the city by asking for Swiss cheese (everyone knows you need to eat it with Wiz). "This isn't about a cheesesteak," explained the Democratic Underground after the incident. "It's about the ability of a candidate to interact with everyday people. You're better off skipping Pats/Genos altogether (but don't order one from somewhere else in Philly) than to go in there without a clue with what to do." Jeva Lange

Trump's take
8:38 a.m. ET

Donald Trump basked in a "told you so" moment Wednesday morning... until Public Policy Polling shut him down.



To be fair, Trump — who kicked off his presidential campaign by declaring that illegal immigrants from Mexico are "rapists" — does appear to be faring just slightly better among Latinos than his fellow Republican contenders in the latest PPP poll. Trump has a 34 percent favorability rating among Hispanic voters, followed by Jeb Bush with 31 percent, Ted Cruz at 30 percent, and Marco Rubio at 29 percent. But as the Democratic-aligned pollster PPP points out, Trump still trails Hillary Clinton among Latino voters by a massive 61 percent to 28 percent split. Becca Stanek

8:22 a.m. ET
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

That revelation comes courtesy of a New York Times article pulling from "hundreds of pages of sworn testimony by Mr. Trump over the past decade." The Times wryly notes that the picture of Trump under oath is "something less flattering" than Trump's preferred image as "a teller of difficult truths, whose wealth unburdens him from the careful pronouncements of ordinary candidates."

To wit: "You're disgusting," Trump told a lawyer who asked for a medical break from court proceedings in 2007 in order to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old baby. "Do you even know what you're doing?" he additionally challenged her during questioning.

But beyond that, Trump tipped his hand as to how disconnected he is from 21st century technologies.

Television? "I don’t have a lot of time," he said, "for listening to television."

Text messages? Not for him.

For a candidate who says he is an authority on modern business, Mr. Trump is slow to adopt technology. In 2007, he said he had no home or office computer.

"Does your secretary send emails on your behalf?" he was asked.

His secretary generally typed letters, Mr. Trump said. "I don’t do the email thing."

By 2013, Mr. Trump was still not sold on email. "Very rarely, but I use it," he said under questioning. [The New York Times]

Read the whole thing at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

By the numbers
7:55 a.m. ET
Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

At least since they each declared that they're running for president.

Here's a full sampling of the tally of total combined Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network appearances for all the GOP candidates since their official campaign launches, per Politico:

1) Paul, 35 … 2) Huckabee, 31 … 3) Trump, 30 … 4) Perry, 24 … 5-6) Fiorina and Jindal, 20 each … 7) Cruz, 17 … 8) Santorum, 16 … 9) Rubio, 14 … 10-11) Carson and Graham, 12 each … 12-13) Kasich and Pataki, 11 each … 14) Christie, 7 … 15) Walker, 4 … 16) Bush, 3. [Politico]

The number of appearances doesn't quite track with candidates' running in the polls. Trump is the only candidate who appears both at the top of national polls and near the top of Fox News' list. The most recent Monmouth poll shows Fox's most frequent guest, Paul, at only 6 percent. Becca Stanek

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