Friday, August 8, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Crossposted from our new home blog,
They gave us a republic...

Yeah, don't be scamming on Medicare: For people with osteoporosis, a painful bone disease, a simple medical device can help. Doctors use it to inject bone filler and repair tiny fractures. The procedure, called kyphoplasty, can be done in about an hour without putting the patient to sleep. But Kyphon, the company that made the device, stood to make a lot more money if patients were admitted to the hospital for expensive overnight stays...As an outpatient procedure, Medicare would pay about $1,000 for kyphoplasty. But as an inpatient procedure, Medicare paid up to $10,000 -- your tax dollars.

But will they disarm? Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered most of his militiamen to disarm but said Friday he will maintain elite fighting units to resist the Americans if a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops is not established. Also Friday, Iraqi police say at least 16 people have been killed and 20 wounded when a car bomb struck a market in the northern city of Tal Afar. A senior police official in the nearby city of Mosul says the car was parked when it exploded by the market, crowded with shoppers. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information. The bombing is the latest in a series of deadly attacks by suspected insurgents seeking to chip away at recent security gains. Al-Sadr's statement - read to worshippers during Friday prayers in Baghdad's former militia stronghold of Sadr City - is in line with details revealed earlier this week and appears to be an extension of plans he announced in June aimed at asserting more control over the militia.

It used to be called "shy" before it was called "stalking" but oh well: A microbiologist claims she was stalked for decades by Bruce Ivins, the suspect in the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001 who, according to court documents, was obsessed with the sorority she joined in college. Nancy L. Haigwood and her former husband, Carl J. Scandella, also think Ivins may have wanted to get close to her when he moved in down the street from the couple in the suburbs of Washington in the early 1980s. Ivins, an Army scientist, committed suicide last week as federal authorities prepared to charge him with killing five people by sending anthrax spores in the mail. The letters were dropped in a mailbox near a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority office in Princeton, New Jersey, and prosecutors have suggested Ivins chose that location because of its proximity to the office. Well, case closed!

Did they figure out if he actually wrote the plays, though? The theater where "The Merchant of Venice" and "Romeo and Juliet" likely debuted and where William Shakespeare himself may have trodden the boards has likely been discovered in east London, archaeologists at the Museum of London said. The possible foundations of what is known as simply, The Theatre, were unearthed by builders excavating the site - a vacant garage - for another structure. Museum archaeologists were called to the location to make sure nothing was destroyed, and had a eureka moment. "We were there, scratching our heads, looking into the trenches, thinking, 'this could be it,"' Jo Lyon, a senior museum archaeologist, said Wednesday. "So we did some more research, and then we found the angled walls. And we all went, 'Oh my gosh, this should be it.' " Other theaters of similar vintage also have angled walls, so the discovery was significant. Archaeologists also had known for a long time there was a high probability for The Theatre to be on this particular site. But there are no maps that show its location, no images to show what it might have looked like, and only a vague description of it. "It's in the right place, it's at the right angle to be a polygonal shape," Lyon said. "It's a pretty high possibility."

This probably bodes ill for republicans this fall For the first time since 1966, an incumbent congressman in Tennessee has lost a primary. Freshman republican Representative David Davis lost to the mayor of a small city in the heavily republican TN 01. Challenger Phil Roe defeated the one-term congressman by linking him to big oil. In the final days of the campaign, Roe took to the airwaves with a commercial that accused Davis of selling out to Big Oil by taking money from oil industry PACs and backing legislation favored by oil companies that would allow expanded off-shore drilling. Lets make sure we are clear on this – Tennessee republicans turned out an incumbent with oil ties while the republican minority is engaged in a hyperbolic circle jerk in a closed chamber, insisting on an emergency session to do the bidding of Big Oil. During the final weeks of the campaign, gas prices in the TN 01 hit a record high of $3.94.

Speaking of that hyperbolic circle jerk on the part of the republican minority John Boehner managed to rip himself away from the golf course to return to the floor of the closed House chamber late this morning. He spent Monday through Thursday blustering that the Congress needed to be called back for a special session to do the bidding of Exxon-Mobile…from the golf course. At least one of his tee-times was for a republican fundraiser.

Cheney will address the party faithful on the first night of the republican nominating convention. There is no love lost between Cheney and McCain - in fact, the two men can't stand one another, and association with either of the executives is toxic, so they are both speaking the first night, before McSame even arrives.

As with most addictions, there is a smoking gene Most people react to tobacco (or opiates, or alcohol) in an adverse manner the first time they experience it, but a few people feel waves of pleasure and even euphoria. The people in that group have a genetic predisposition and addiction can happen with the very first cigarette.

Nuptuals by the numbers All over Asia couples were married on 08/08/08 in hasty, individual ceremonies and mass weddings. In Chinese the word for "eight" sounds like the word for "prosperity," and in any language the number has a pleasing symmetry: two circles interlocked like a pair of wedding rings. It also looks like an infinity symbol turned upright, suggesting that the marriage will last forever.

The first gold medal of the Beijing games has been earned by Katrina Emmons of the Czech republic in the 10 meter air rifle competition. She shot a perfect 400 in qualifying and set an Olympic record in the event with 503.5 points. Lioubov Galkina of Russia won the silver. Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia took the bronze.


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They gave us a republic...

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