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If you’re traveling to some of the Northeast’s more popular metro areas, and you smell a rat, you’ve got a trophy nose. Bloomberg News reports that in Philadelphia, residents in 18 percent of the City of Brotherly Love’s households have told the U.S. Census Bureau that within the past year, they saw signs of rats or mice inside their homes. Boston came in second at 17 percent. (Don’t forget, Beantowners, that finishing second to Philly makes you the first loser.) New York City was third, with 15 percent.  In New Orleans, the Big Easy leads the nation in cockroaches, with 41 percent of households there reporting the creepy critters.
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As if crooks needed more help to succeed, members of a SparkFun Electronics team of hackers recently showed off their skills on stage in Las Vegas. They successfully used a $200 digital robot to crack a super-secure safe in about half an hour, according to BBC News. Even worse, the audience of several hundred hackers responded with “rapturous applause.” The occasion was something called Def Con – the largest gathering of underground hackers in the world. Wonder if the FBI and the CIA were somewhere in the wings making notes and taking names?
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So, Chicago is on track to record more than 700 homicides before the end of the year, according to the Chicago Tribune. The handgun there appears to be the quicker, scaled-down version of the Noah’s Ark story. Can we go so far as to declare what’s happening in the Windy City as self-inflicted “cultural cleansing”?
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SFgate reports today that reputed hip-hop artist Zion I and a film crew were robbed at gunpoint Monday of a $90,000 camera while shooting a music video in West Oakland. What did they expect to happen in the distressed Prescott neighborhood where they were filming?
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In England, an unidentified driver totaled his brand new super-car — a $288,000 Ferrari 430 capable of going nearly 200 mph – about an hour after he purchased the vehicle. Perhaps he should have saved a few bucks by waiting a few days until electric-carmaker Tesla makes its sporty new $35,000 sedan available to the public. The wasteful incident gives legitimacy to the mystifying woman in the Liberty Mutual insurance commercial who stupidly starts out by saying: “You totaled your brand new car.”
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In France, big-money actor George Clooney is furious with his following of aggressive amateur photographers – oh my! Seems the paparazzi scaled the fence around his Lake Como estate, climbed a tree on private property and shot photos capturing the inside of Clooney’s home, his twin babies and his wife, Amal. The result? A blurry cover photo in Voici magazine. Has the whole world gone nuts?
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Speaking of insanity, North Korean cupcake-thug Kim Jong-Un is now boasting that his nation is capable of a nuclear strike against any target in the United States – even New York City, which is more than 6,800 miles away. 
Yahoo News reports that the little fat guy’s boasting comes in the wake of Friday’s second test launch of an ICBM missile.

Buried deep in the report is the fact that North Korea has yet to make a nuclear weapon small enough to fit into a missile nosecone. Moreover, the Communist nation in which people are starving has not yet mastered the technology to allow the launched projectile to survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

And nowhere in the article does it point out that the U.S. is monitoring the situation closely enough to spot evidence of an imminent strategic nuclear attack on the United States and its allies. In that event, according to a January report in The Atlantic, the U.S. would be able to launch a preemptive strike using missiles and bombers to obliterate North Korea’s launch pads.

Moreover, among other protective measures are 30 ground-based interceptor missiles that the U.S. maintains in Alaska and California. Not to mention the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s airborne-laser program, capable to bringing down ballistic missiles with laser-armed aircraft.