– Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to raise the city’s cigarette tax by 75 cents a pack, which would make Chicago’s cigarette taxes the highest in the nation (even higher than New York City’s). Emanuel has also called for a federal ban on menthol cigarettes, which he has referred to as a “gateway to a lifetime of addiction.”
– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has retracted his administration’s challenge to the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state, saying through a spokesperson that while he “strongly disagrees” with the ruling, he will abide by the court’s judgment. Well, he’s just about clinched the pessimistic homophobe vote.
– A suburban Kansas City woman could face contempt of court charges after she reported to jury duty with her infant son, whom she is still breastfeeding and for whom she was unable to find a babysitter. A court order accused the woman of “willfully and contemptuously” appearing “for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.” This woman’s only crime is being a breastfeeding mother. Does the court expect mothers to arrange their entire lives around the possibility that they might at some point be called for jury duty? UPDATE: A judge has delayed holding the woman in contempt of court until the end of the Missouri legislative session, during which state lawmakers will hopefully pass a bill to exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty.
– Chinese authorities have announced a crackdown on reality TV shows in the country, no doubt due to official concerns that American Idol-style programs are drawing viewers away from the official state broadcaster, CCTV. Under the new regulations, only one prime time reality show will be licensed to air per channel, per quarter.
– John Cusack, Daniel Ellsberg, and Oliver Stone are among the notable civil libertarians appearing in a new PSA entitled “Stop Watching Us.” The video, which was produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warns against the dangers of NSA snooping, as well as condemning the government’s prosecutions of whistleblowers.
– Novelist Jonathan Franzen says that the Internet “should be really strictly regulated,” condemns the “libertarians in Silicon Valley” whose “predatory practices” are putting journalists out of work: “Why should Apple shareholders be getting rich while working journalists are getting fired?” Could it have something to do with the fact that Apple is making a product that people actually want to buy?
– Want to know where to find the cheapest marijuana in the United States? This map will help you out. (Unsurprisingly, marijuana is cheapest in high cultivation states: California, Kentucky, Oregon, and Washington.)
– On Saturday, dozens of Saudi women got behind the wheel and took to the streets in defiance of the conservative kingdom’s prohibition on female drivers, with some of the women posting videos of themselves driving to YouTube.
– And finally, Time’s interactive “Mood Map” of the United States is pretty neat. It allows you to see the results of a recently published study that measured the prevalence of certain personality traits, including extroversion and openness, in each of the 50 states. You can also take a quiz to see which state you belong in based on your personality. (I got New Mexico, indicating that I’m open-minded, conscientious and introverted. Seems about right.)