Pot Goes Mainstream, SWAT Your Enemies, Big Tax Take: P.M. Links

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  • We're not just for over-the-top law enforcement and dangerous acts of vindictiveness -- we also do birthday parties!

    Across the U.S. a bumper crop of marijuana legislation is loosening restrictions on the popular intoxicant. The laws frequently seek to take advantage of pot's medicinal properties, but with a solid majority of Americans favoring outright legalization, many measures go further.

  • Soaring yields on Spanish bonds because of fears over that country's financial stability are fueling concerns over Italy's economic health, as the eurozone's woes grow worse.
  • States expect to collect more tax revenue this year than they've seen since before the recession—partially as a result of economic recovery, and partially due to hiked tax rates. Spending is also expected to increase, but to remain below pre-recession heights.
  • Stuxnet and Flame — two malware programs believed to be state-sponsored attacks directed at Iran — share enough commonalities that their creators appear to have cooperated early in the development process, says Kaspersky Lab. U.S. officials have confirmed that Stuxnet was a joint American-Israeli effort.
  • Criticism of convicted bomber and progressive political activist Brett Kimberlin has resulted in targeting of conservative bloggers for SWAT-ing attacks — elaborately staged bogus calls that have resulted in the dispatch of armed paramilitary police to their homes.
  • Having shut down file-sharing company, Megaupload, and denied the firm's customers access to their data, U.S. government officials say they'll permit people to retrieve their files — if they pay. Meanwhile, it turns out FBI officials took evidence in the case from New Zealand despite a judge's instructions to the contrary, and Megaupload head Kim Dotcom won praise from the court.
  • At Southwest Florida International Airport, five TSA supervisors are being fired and 38 face suspension for failing to perform random screenings at security checkpoints. Meanwhile, a new study says backscatter "nude" scanners pose no health dangers — but the study looked at TSA-supplied data, and not the actual machines.
  • Cops in Prince George County, Maryland, allegedly handcuffed and roughed up a couple of teenagers — apparently, pretty much just because they could. (HT sloopyinca)

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