Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Cue up the braying jackass chorus: The first draft of a book which changed the world's attitude to evolution is available for the first time online. Papers which led to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution were previously only available to scholars at Cambridge University's library. The draft notes are among 20,000 archive items created by the 19th Century naturalist during his lifetime. Dr John van Wyhe, a Darwin specialist at Cambridge University, said: "He changed our understanding of nature." --PR

Will there be on-demand access to the musings of Steve Doocy? What we have learned that is in for a major relaunch sometime in the next few weeks. The company has been working with a major design agency in New York City, and according to someone who knows, spent millions on it, and has developed, among other things, an umbrella design, a network navigational element that will go over all the sites in whole WSJ Digital Network, including,, and Also slated for a redesign is and it is likely it will become part of the WSJ network, including design similarities. --PR

Is it the end of the road for Senator Byrd? Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) chaired an important Appropriations Committee hearing yesterday on the Iraq supplemental bill, with onlookers paying as much or more attention to the ailing 90-year-old's performance in the chair as to the underlying issue of war funding. Byrd's failing health and ability to continue to hold the reins of one of the most important committees on Capitol Hill have been the subject of intense scrutiny... --PR

Merck loses its cool...Merck and Co., Inc. engaged in a series of deceitful actions that led to an underestimation of deaths caused by its blockbuster drug Vioxx during post-marketing research of the pain reliever, according to two articles in a medical journal that used documents released by Merck in lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant. The articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, stated that Merck failed to disclose damaging information about death rates in Vioxx patients, and paid academic researchers to put their names on papers they did not write...Merck reacted angrily to the articles. --PR

Props to Senator Barbara Mikulski for delivering some smackdown [follow the link to see the whole clip] to Budget Director Jim Nussle The White House has proposed a $108 billion emergency-spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frustrated that U.S. taxpayers continue to pay for the wars while domestic needs go unmet, lawmakers have attempted to attach spending for domestic programs to the bill. But Bush has balked, promising to veto any such bills. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing yesterday [Wednesday], White House budget director Jim Nussle ironically blasted lawmakers for “sky-is-the-limit mind-set” on the spending bill. One of the most combative moments came when Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) chastised Nussle for his “snarky, scolding, dismissive” responses to the senators and the Bush administration’s attitude toward funding the nation’s law enforcement officers... --PR

NYC Mayor wants the feds to help with 9/11 health costs Michael Bloomberg called on the federal government to pay $150 million per year to cover medical bills for workers and residents who have suffered adverse health consequences as a result of the September 11 terror attacks. Soon after 9/11/01 the federal government set up a $1 billion insurance fund to help workers at the site with health problems caused by breathing in toxic dust and fumes during the recovery and clean-up. That fund has been plagued by lawsuits and criticized roundly for failing to compensate claimants. --BG

Congress moves to cut off a student loan crisis
The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved legislation directing federal financial institutions, including the Treasury Department's Federal Financing Bank, to ensure enough money is available to provide student loans as all those "fat envelopes" land in mailboxes throughout the land this month. --BG

As overtime vanishes, the downturn deepens As businesses cut employee hours, the effect is being felt by self-employed people, from piano teachers to management consultants, are losing clients, and reducing their own spending, furthering the spiral. --BG

$100 Million That is the amount of the McCain fortune, mostly amassed by his wife's family via their beer distributorship. Again, I gotta say, it takes a hell of a set of stones for a guy with eight houses and a hundred million bucks to call a biracial guy who was raised by a single mom "elitist." --BG

ETA bombing injures seven police in Bilbao, Spain A blast ripped through the offices of the ruling Socialist Party in a working-class neighborhood after a heads-up call. Seven policemen who were evacuating the area were injured. Bilbao, in the northern part of the country, is the largest city in the Basque area of the country. --BG

That popping sound you hear is the Anchor Baby's head exploding and what'll ya bet her minions are in full froth? (Good! Hope they all stroke out over it!) Bilal Hussein is a free man, but she has had the noose ready to hang him, and the entire AP board of directors, too, for sticking up for their photographer and working for his release. (Of course now that Murdoch - who once hired that nasty, diseased little strumpet - is a member, I can see that bit...) Hussein was arrested in Fallujah two years ago, on suspicion of associating with or being involved with terrorists, and held without charge by the U.S. military until yesterday, when he was finally released after an Iraqi court determined there was no evidence to support the accusations and bring charges against him. --BG

Anyone know how to say "Boo-ya, Bee-otch!" in German? Three days after a coin collection worth $50,000 Euros was stolen in a burglary, the thief took them to the bank to deposit them for safe-keeping, because, after all, someone might try to steal them...He marched right up to the window and handed them their rightful owner! --BG

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