Three-term Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, says she will not seek reelection this fall because she is tired of the "atmosphere of polarization" paralyzing Congress. The 65-year-old legislator's seat is projected to fall into Democratic hands, diminishing hopes of Republicans, who need a net gain of four seats to recapture the Senate.
Amid mounting criticism, James Murdoch, 39, son and one-time heir apparent of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has stepped down as executive chairman of News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of News Corp embroiled in a deepening scandal over phone hacking and other corrupt practices. Murdoch will remain at the company as deputy chief operating officer.
Goodspeed Musicals has announced that the new musical Amazing Grace, based on the life of John Newton, will kick off the season at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. Under the direction of Gabriel Barre and with music and lyrics by Christopher Smith, the musical will open May 17 and run through June 10.
James Q. Wilson, author and political scientist, died March 2 at age 80. The academic's 1982 essay, "Broken Windows," argued that tolerating small crimes led to more criminal behavior. Mayor Rudy Giuliani put that theory to practice in the 1990s in New York City, resulting in a dramatic decrease in crime-and one of the great public policy successes of the last half-century.
Berenstain Bears co-creator Jan Berenstain died Feb. 24 at age 88. Berenstain and husband Stan began publishing the beloved children's books in 1962 after receiving a boost from writer and editor Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Their son Michael, a Christian, joined the team after his father died in 2005 and began collaborating with his mother on stories emphasizing faith-based themes.
World War II veteran Lynn "Buck" Compton, a first lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division whose military heroics were memorialized in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, died Feb. 25 at age 90. After the war, Compton became a Los Angeles deputy district attorney and successfully led a team in prosecuting Sirhan Sirhan in Robert Kennedy's assassination.
Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart died March 1 at age 43. Breitbart, who family said suffered from heart problems, worked for the Drudge Report before launching other internet outlets including Breitbart.com aimed at exposing corruption, hypocrisy, and media bias. He had gained notoriety in recent years after breaking the sexting scandal involving former Rep. Anthony Weiner and exposing improprieties within ACORN that led to Congress defunding the group. Last month Breitbart announced during a speech at the CPAC that he was poised to release tapes from President Obama's college years that he said would reveal Obama's radical bent on "racial division and class warfare."