In Case You Missed It: The fracas over the WA State education system gets fracasier, as does the fracas over the ferry system.

"[T]he packages were small, about the size of a book. One had five holiday stamps": Two packages explode in US government buildings in Maryland.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan: Suicide attack kills 17 in Kandahar.

It Is Done: Washington State officials sign $1.1 billion tunnel contract.

So Effing Awful: Following her fiance's death earlier this week, the Seattle woman attacked with a blowtorch in Puerto Rico has died.

And I Thought Nothing Could Be Worse Than the Screech Sex Tape: "Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators made a public appeal Thursday in seeking at least four men who were videotaped sexually assaulting at least 10 women who appear to be severely disabled, including women in a care home," reports the Los Angeles Times.

WikiLeaks Warning: "The State Department is warning hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and businesspeople identified in leaked diplomatic cables of potential threats to their safety and has moved a handful of them to safer locations," reports the NYT.

RIP EPA?: After first day in Congress, Republicans have outlined three bills aimed at limiting power of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Stay Off the Tracks: Seattle pedestrian hit by light rail train dies.

Finally, belated happy birthday to Tom Waits, the American singer/songwriter/theatermaker born on this day December 7 in 1949. I stupidly got it wrong by a month. But since today's major musical birthday is Kenny Loggins, I'm letting the Waits composition below stand.