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Government

Watergate "Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dead At 95 126

Hugh Pickens writes "W. Mark Felt Sr., 95, associate director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, better known as 'Deep Throat,' the most famous anonymous source in American history, died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. Felt secretly guided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to pursue the story of the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office buildings, and later of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies. 'It's impossible to exaggerate how high the stakes were in Watergate,' wrote Felt in his 2006 book A G-Man's Life. 'We faced no simple burglary, but an assault on government institutions, an attack on the FBI's integrity, and unrelenting pressure to unravel one of the greatest political scandals in our nation's history.' No one knows exactly what prompted Felt to leak the information from the Watergate probe to the press. He was passed over for the post of FBI director after Hoover's death in 1972, a crushing career disappointment. 'People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing by helping Woodward. The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?'"
United States

Barack Obama Is One Step Closer To Being President 601

At 3:00 Eastern time on Monday Dec. 15, 538 electors in state capitols across the US cast the votes that actually elected Barack Obama the 44th President. Obama received, unofficially, 365 electoral votes (with 270 needed to win). The exact total will not be official — or Obama officially elected — until Congress certifies the count of electoral votes in a joint session on Jan. 6, 2009. The Electoral College was established in its present form in 1804 by the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution. Electors are not required to vote for the candidate who won their state — in fact, 24 states make it a criminal offense to vote otherwise, but no "faithless elector" has ever been charged with a crime. "On 158 occasions, electors have cast their votes for President or Vice President in a manner different from that prescribed by the legislature of the state they represented. Of those, 71 votes were changed because the original candidate died before the elector was able to cast a vote. Two votes were not cast at all when electors chose to abstain from casting their electoral vote for any candidate. The remaining 85 were changed by the elector's personal interest, or perhaps by accident. Usually, the faithless electors act alone. An exception was in 1836 when 23 Virginia electors changed their vote together. ... To date, faithless electors have never changed the otherwise expected outcome of the election."
Transportation

Compressed-Air Car Nears Trial 173

DeviceGuru writes "Air France and KLM have announced plans to conduct a six-month trial of a new zero-emission, compressed-air powered vehicle. The AirPod seats three, can do 28 mph, and goes about 135 miles on a tank of compressed air. Motor Development International, the vehicle's developer, expects the AirPod to reach production by mid-2009, and to sell for around 6,000 Euro. Initially, it will be manufactured in India by Tata Motors, and distributed in France and India."

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