March 10, 2010 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Chief justice wants State of Union bye

From Wire Reports
 
File Associated Press photo

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, pictured in 2007, said he was bothered by cheering.
(Full-size photo)

Washington – Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told law students Tuesday that he found it “very troubling” to be surrounded by loudly cheering critics at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, saying it was reason enough for the justices not to attend the annual speech to Congress.

“To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I’m not sure why we are there,” Roberts said at the University of Alabama Law School.

Obama’s January speech came a week after the court ruled, 5-4, that corporations had a free-speech right to spend unlimited sums to elect or defeat candidates for office. The president, looking down at the six justices in attendance, sharply criticized the court for having “opened the floodgates for special interests” to sway elections.

Senate Democrats rose to their feet, applauding and cheering the president’s comments.

Google map gives biking directions

Mountain View, Calif. – Google Inc. is adding a bike lane with its latest online mapping option.

The new bicycling directions available on Google Maps starting today supplement the guidance already provided to motorists and pedestrians. The biking directions initially will be available only for the United States.

Google spent the past six months tweaking its mapping service so it could recommend routes that would steer bicyclists away from big hills and heavily congested streets. The feature can be used to pinpoint bicycling trails in more than 150 cities.

Bike directions already have been available on some smaller Web sites, but Google is the first major Internet mapping service provider to add the option.

Ohio State janitor shoots two, self

Columbus, Ohio – An Ohio State University janitor who was about to lose his job walked into a maintenance building for his early morning shift Tuesday and shot two supervisors, killing one of them and fatally shooting himself. No students were hurt.

Nathaniel Brown, 51, arrived for work at the nation’s largest university dressed in dark clothing, a hooded sweatshirt and a backpack. He then opened fire in an office suite using two handguns, campus Police Chief Paul Denton said.

Brown spent five years in prison in the 1970s and ’80s for receiving stolen property but lied about it on his job application, records show.

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