Mining Disaster: The operator of the West Virginia mine that exploded on Monday, killing 25 people, had been warned by federal officials that it could be cited for having a “pattern of violations,” which would have allowed far stricter federal oversight of the mine. But that tighter enforcement never came, despite the fact that it continued to rack up violations, The New York Times reports.
Congressional Threats: Anger over health care reform has nearly tripled the number of serious threats to members of Congress, The Washington Post reports. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer told The Post that the lawmakers reported 42 threats in the first three months of this year, compared with 15 in last three months of 2009.
Netanyahu Cancels on Obama: Reuters reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a planned trip to Washington next week for President Barack Obama's 47-country nuclear security conference. Quoting an unnamed "senior government official" Reuters reports that Netanyahu's decision came after learning Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel's assumed atomic arsenal at the meeting.
Speaking of Nuclear Weapons: In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, President Barack Obama hurled a zinger at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over her recent criticism of Obama's tighter restrictions on when the United States would use nuclear arms if attacked. Palin said that by pledging not use nuclear weapons against any country that has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attack the United States with chemical or biological weapons, it was "kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not going to retaliate." Obama's response? "I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues," the president said. Oh snap!
Attack of the Nerds? Mattel Inc., which makes the internationally famous Barbie doll, thought it would be fun to ask young girls who visited the Barbie.com Web site to vote on what the doll's next career should be. Girls from around the world overwhelmingly chose "an anchorwoman" from choices that also included architect, computer engineer, environmentalist and surgeon. But The Wall Street Journal reports that by the end of the first week, female computer engineers who learned about the election launched a viral campaign on the Internet to get out the vote and ensure Barbie would join their ranks. From the WSJ: "The result is a ponytailed doll in black leggings and a top decorated in binary code that spells Barbie, and lots of pink accessories—geek-chic glasses, Bluetooth headset and shoes."