Over in Chicago, cocktail connoisseurs are forgoing the liquid state altogether. Instead of drinking their favorite bourbon or infused vodka, they're inhaling it with a simple device, called the Vaportini. But don't expect these gaseous cocktails to replace liquid libations anytime soon.
The White House is calling out Congress for a slowdown in voting on judicial nominees, saying it has left 10 percent of judgeships unfilled. The president also faces criticism from the left on the pace of his nominations. But recent White House moves and a new Senate rule could help get things moving.
Pope Benedict XVI leaves the church in the midst of change: American Catholics' social views tend to diverge from the Vatican's, and the church now sees much of its support in South America and Africa. One former member of the College of Cardinals says the next pope will have to be aware of the church's needs in South America.
Thousands of women were taken into Magdalene Laundries, run by the Catholic Church, and forced to work without pay. The practice went on for decades after Ireland's independence, with the last one closing in 1996. For the first time, the state has acknowledged and apologized for its role in facilitating the practice.
One dominant theme of the trip will be how to resolve the crisis in Syria, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Kerry is portraying his first trip as secretary of state as a listening tour, and he certainly expects to hear a lot about Syria.