Friday, June 13, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

I do not think that word means what he thinks it means...or maybe it does? The dogwhistle was pretty damned shill whatever the case. Pat Buchanan made the astute observation that the GOP’s only shot at winning this year is to trash Obama for his “associations” with controversial figures, and raise doubts among the electorate about choosing an “exotic” (code word for black) guy. Fortunately, Tanya Acker was there and she pounced. Buchanan stuttered and stammered and embarrassed himself. (Video at the link, h/t SilentPatriot)

DNCC postpones final media walkthrough The committee putting on the Democratic National Convention has canceled the event that was scheduled for next Thursday. The walk through is intended to give the hundreds of news organizations who will descend on Denver and the Pepsi center in August to cover the convention access to important logistical information about how to do their jobs here. The event was rescheduled because the host committee is strapped for cash and the shortfall might affect how the media facilities operate.

Vote for me or die! No, that isn't the new campaign slogan for the McSame campaign, it is the threat that is being stated openly by Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe. If the opposition wins the election, Mugabe said, his party would take up arms and fight to retain power. "I'm even prepared to join the fight," the 84-year-old Mugabe told a conference of his party's youth wing. Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangarai came in first in the March elections, and probably won it outright, but the results were withheld, then when the "results" were finally released - surprise, surprise - the opposition did not have 50% and a runoff would be necessary.

R. Kelly Acquitted on specious child porn charges. The monthlong trial centered on whether Kelly was the man who appears on a sexually graphic, 27-minute videotape at the heart of the case, and whether a female who also appears on it was underage. Prosecutors had argued that a graphic sex tape showed Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13 at the time. Both Kelly, 41, and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were on the tape, but neither testified during the trial. Defense attorneys argued the man on the tape didn't have a large mole on his back; Kelly has that distinguishing characteristic.

Navy jets collide over Nevada, one pilot missing Two jets flying a routine training mission over the high desert of northern Nevada collided in mid air today, about 50 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon. Two pilots safely ejected from an F-5 Tiger and were rescued, but the pilot of an F/A-18C Hornet was missing. Naval Air Station, Fallon, about 60 miles east of Reno, is home to the Navy's elite Strike and Air Warfare Center.

Manson follower near death, being considered for "compassionate release" Manson family member Susan Atkins, convicted in the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate, is terminally ill and has asked for "compassionate release" that she might go home and die with her family. The corrections department was reviewing the request, which if approved would then be passed to the state Board of Parole which has the power to release Atkins under state law so they can die with loved ones, at their expense. Compassionate releases are relatively rare — only 10 of the 60 requests made last year were granted. We are nonplussed at the audacity of even making such a request after the brutality of the crimes for which she was convicted.

We tried to calculate the odds, but our calculator started smoking Michigan teenager BreAnna Helsel has a little different idea about what it means to "striking it lucky" than most 16 year olds. On June 6, she went to close the kitchen window against the rain, and was struck by lightning. She watched the electricity exit her fingertips, hit the light fixture and knock out the power in the house. After being checked out at the hospital, and being told she was really lucky, the hospital employees were joking she should play the lottery - so on the way home she did - and she won twenty bucks.

FARC offers to free Betancourt Colombian president Alvaro Uribe said on Friday that a Farc guerrilla had agreed to release Ingrid Betancourt, the group's most high-profile hostage, if the government agrees not to extradite a FARC member it is holding in custody. Betancourt was taken captive by the FARC as she campaigned for the presidency on the Green Party ticket seven years ago. "I hope it was sincere, the guerrilla's offer communicated to the chief of the Das [Colombia's secret police] to release Doctor Ingrid Betancourt. We would respect our pledge not to extradite if it happened," Uribe told a meeting in Bogota, the Colombian capital.

Truckers strike paralyzes South Korean ports Protesting high fuel costs, 11,000 truckers in South Korea on Friday, paralyzing ports and cargo terminals, and presenting yet another significant challenge to the already unpopular new government of President Lee Myung Bak.

People from every segment of Pakistani society turned out, it seemed, to take part in a massive rally on Friday in support of judges fired last fall by U.S. backed president Pervez Musharraf. In a huge challenge to the president, and also to the newly elected government, tens of thousands of ordinary Pakistanis confounded all expectations by coming out in noisy, excited support of an independent judiciary.

And since we are talking about Pakistan...Former Prime Minister and outspoken critic of Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, stepped up his attacks on the sitting but embattled president in the last few hours, saying that the president must be held accountable for abrogating the constitution and the 1999 coup, when then army chief Musharraf ousted Sharif. He went so far as to suggest that Musharraf could hang for his crimes.

And we finish with a confirmation of our common sense Legal drugs kill more people than illegal ones, no matter how the authoritarians spin it. An analysis of autopsies in 2007 released this week by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission found that the rate of deaths caused by prescription drugs was three times the rate of deaths caused by all illicit drugs combined.

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