Some morning news and notes:
* MARRIAGE EQUALITY ADVANCES IN VIRGINIA: A federal judge has struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, a ban the attorney general there declined to defend. The ruling was significantly broader than those in some states, where judges have forbade discrimination against couples with legal marriages in other states.
* CONGRESS: STILL NO HELP FOR THE JOBLESS: Congress has taken another break without extending a long-term jobless benefits program that expired in December. Republicans don’t want to do it, at least not without punishing some other needy person with other budget cuts.
A lack of action affects real people. Pew has compiled the figures. In Arkansas, the reluctance of our Republican congressmen to help means:
* POLICE OFFICER SHOT IN HELENA: Release from the Arkansas State Police:
The Arkansas State Police is conducting an investigation in the aftermath of a shooting incident that occurred as local law enforcement officers in Helena were executing a residential search warrant late today.
Initial reports to State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents on the scene indicate at least one local officer was wounded by the gunfire and has been hospitalized.
* HANDY PUTDOWNS FOR THE CLIMATE DENIERS: With the South immobilized by ice — and “climate trolls” like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee making it a punch line for climate denial — Salon has compiled a handy list of zingers to respond to their ilk. It begins with the simple scientific assertion that a cold day has nothing to do with long-term trends of global weather patterns. Duh. There’s lots more. Salon quotes scientists. Or, you can get your climatology from the Huckster and Jim Inhofe.