Only in America
January 14, 2013

Maria Waltherr-Willard, 61, is suing her Cincinnati-area school district for violating an implied contract to keep her away from young kids. Waltherr-Willard, who quit in 2011, had taught high school French for more than 30 years before the district reassigned her to teach middle school Spanish. Since the 1990s, she has suffered from pedophobia, a fear of younger kids that causes anxiety, chest pains, vomiting, nightmares, and dangerously high blood pressure. "It's a tough phobia," says Dr. Caleb Adler.

Quotables
6:11 a.m. ET

Tuesday's edition of The Indianapolis Star has an unusual front page editorial on Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Under a massive headline, "Fix This Now," the editorial says that the law "already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future," and urges "bold action" to fix the problem. Karen Ferguson, The Star's president and publisher, underscored the urgency:

The governors of Washington and Connecticut have already banned state-sponsored travel to Indiana, several companies have condemned the law, and the NCAA is under pressure to criticize the law or even move the college basketball finals from Indianapolis to another city. On Monday, the Republican leaders of the General Assembly said they would try to "clarify" the law so it won't be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

"Half steps will not be enough," The Indianapolis Star said. "Half steps will not undo the damage" to Indiana's image, "reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome," and yearslong effort "to attract talented workers and thriving businesses." Repealing the law isn't politically feasible, the paper says, but "Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." Read the entire editorial at The Indianapolis Star.

Want
5:06 a.m. ET

Forget those alarm clocks that you can plug your iPhone into — isn't your smartphone an alarm clock by itself? — because waking up to your favorite song or podcast or ringtone is nothing compared with waking up to a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Meet the Barisieur, created by designer Joshua Renouf:

The stylish alarm clock not only heats up water, siphons it over your favorite ground beans, and filters it into a cup, but the Barisieur also has a special refrigerated vial to hold your milk and a drawer for your sugar, if you're into anything other than black coffee. And it plays the radio, too. There are two downsides: The Barisieur isn't available for purchase yet, and when it does go on sale, hopefully sometime in 2015, it will cost about $300-375. That's still cheaper than hiring a live-in barista. For more photos, visit the JR Industrial Design site.

Watch this
4:06 a.m. ET

Van Halen, with David Lee Roth back as frontman, is releasing a new album, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, on Tuesday. On Monday, they shut down part of Hollywood Blvd. to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live. If you're wondering why Roth's nose is bandaged, he smacked it with a microphone in their first take of "Panama." He makes a joke about it halfway through the version below, but his bloodied nose doesn't stop the 60-year-old rocker from kicking and singing his way through the song. And Eddie Van Halen's guitar work is pretty close to the same as it was when Roth left the band in 1985. Watch below. —Peter Weber

RIP
3:23 a.m. ET

On Sunday, police found the body of Spence Jackson, the media director for Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, about a month after Schweich apparently killed himself hours before a planned news conference to accuse the head of the Missouri Republican Party of waging an anti-Semitic smear campaign against him. Jackson, 44, was discovered inside his locked apartment in Jefferson City, shot dead in an apparent suicide, according to Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker.

Police are treating Jackson's death as a suicide, though they aren't ruling out other causes of death, and they aren't releasing the contents of a note found near Jackson's body. Schweich, a Republican, was running for governor, and after his death, Jackson called on Missouri GOP Chairman John Hancock to resign. Shoemaker has more information about the case in the news conference below. —Peter Weber

News you can use
2:36 a.m. ET

If you're looking for a brief recap of why people are getting worked up over Indiana's new "Religious Freedom Restoration" law, preferably with some jokes thrown in, Seth Meyers has you covered. On Monday night's Late Night, Meyers explained the controversial law, why people think it will lead to anti-gay discrimination, how it differs from similar federal and state laws, and why Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is an ineffective spokesman for the bill he signed last week. Or, you could just watch for the jokes. —Peter Weber

Bieber Roast
1:59 a.m. ET

Justin Bieber threw some pretty good barbs of his own at his Comedy Central roast, which aired Monday night, but after sitting through an hour of mercilessness mockery, Bieber took the stage and apologized for being a jackass. "Let's get serious for a moment," he said, noting that nothing prepared him for being a teen mega-star. "There's been moments I'm really proud of and a lot of moments I look back and I’m pretty disappointed with myself for, but the things I've done don't really define who I am." Bieber sort of undercuts his perceived sincerity by licking his lips repeatedly, but his apology earns him a hearty round of applause — which he follows up with a Selena Gomez joke. You can watch some of the night's jokes at Comedy Central, and Bieber's coming-of-age speech below. —Peter Weber

Bieber Roast
1:16 a.m. ET

"I bet you're wondering why I'm here tonight," Martha Stewart said in the middle of her bit during Comedy Central's roast of Justin Bieber. But by that point, nobody was wondering. Stewart had everyone in the audience — as well as roastmaster Kevin Hart and the other objects of her barbs on stage — gasping with laughter and shock. Her best joke — no, not the one about making pot brownies with Snoop Dogg — involves both Hart and Bieber, and you can watch it below. Warning, Stewart gets a little salty at times, so probably NSFW. —Peter Weber

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