Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

June 14 is Leon Wieseltier's birthday. Many happy returns to a real mensch.

The stupid really does burn sometimes and this might just be the stupidest thing ever committed to pixels. Start with a false premise, apply some faulty logic, pretend there is no difference between micro and macro, and you get this from the idiots at the "Discovery Institute" - intelligent design is real because automotive engineers rely on intelligent design and advertisers tout it in car ads. So it must be real. Right? When the stupid sizzles, we blame god.

We told you the stupid burns and in this case it burns books. (Fitting that this took place in a state that recently elected a governor who thinks he exorcised a demon.)

If they want to play in politics they should pay taxes on their property "The Christian community cannot and does not want ever to substitute the legitimate and right competencies of institutions," the Pope told pilgrims in southern Italy on Saturday. A day after strolling through the Vatican Gardens with U.S. President George W. Bush (no word on if there was hand-holding) the Pope said the Church had the role of "supporting (governments) in their work and always proposes cooperating with them for the good of all." Yeah, that's a nice platitude, but we don't buy it, however YMMV.

Powell may back Obama for President Speaking to a crowd in Vancouver, B.C. on Saturday the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State who served in two republican administrations indicated that he is considering voting for Obama in November, but quickly added that race was not a factor. "I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st-century America and the 21st-century world regardless of party, regardless of anything else other than the most qualified candidate."

OK, not what I expected him to do, but we're taking baby steps right now: Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday named the eight-member task force he's tapped to review the department's management of nuclear weapons and related programs. The panel will be led by James R. Schlesinger, who served as CIA director and Defense secretary under Richard Nixon and then became the first Energy secretary under Jimmy Carter. The panel is to consider the findings and recommendations of a classified investigative report prepared by Navy Adm. Kirkland Donald that examined the recently discovered improper shipment of missile components to Taiwan in 2006. That report led to Gates' unprecedented decision last week to force the resignations of the top two Air Force leaders, Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Mosley. The Donald investigation revealed a "degradation of the authority, standards of excellence and technical competence within the nation's [intercontinental ballistic missile] force," Gates said when he announced the resignations June 5.

Give him whatever he wants, just let him keeeeeeeeeeep talking: So how lenient will Jack Abramoff's judge really be? He'll find out on Sept. 4, which a judge in Washington today set as his sentencing date. But don't expect that to be the end of the multi-year investigation of his lobbying ring. The feds expect him to keep up is cooperation, and possibly even testify at some point. Keep in mind that Abramoff has been cooperating from federal prison since he began serving time for his role in the separate fraud case in Florida. Attorneys in the case came to an interesting agreement this week, according to a joint motion filed in federal court.

Because every time you mention "Che Guevara" a wingnut explodes into harmless dust and dissipates into nothingness: While Ernesto "Che" Guevara remains the most famous export of this sleepy city, his legacy here has long been a low-key one. Except for a handful of businesses named in his honor, few markers alert visitors that the revolutionary leader was born here exactly 80 years ago before becoming one of the most mythic figures of the 20th century. That changed Saturday when civic leaders inaugurated the first official monument honoring the revolutionary leader in Argentina, ending decades of government silence about the controversial figure. A 13-foot-high bronze statue unveiled before hundreds of cheering admirers depicts the beret-wearing Guevara standing defiantly while facing toward Santa Clara, Cuba, where another statue of Guevara faces toward Argentina. Much of Guevara's family, including three of his children, attended the ceremony along with other veterans of the Cuban Revolution who fought beside Guevara.

Enough already--let's quit the bitching and get to work: Florida Democrats will gather [tonight] in Hollywood, Fla., looking for unity after one of the most fractious primary seasons ever. But just two weeks after Democrats thought they mostly had put the debacle over Florida's delegates behind them, party faithful are bickering over who will get to attend the national convention in Denver in August. The back-and-forth largely was behind the scenes, until party activist Jon Ausman sent a blast e-mail late Thursday featuring obscenity-laced excerpts of e-mails he'd received from Kirk Wagar, Barack Obama's finance chairman for Florida. Wagar's e-mails rip Ausman and the state's top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who had backed Hillary Clinton but supported Obama after he became the presumptive nominee. The highlights of Wagar's e-mail: "You [Ausman] f---ed us. We are dealing with it. You need to accept the fact that you f---ed us." And of Nelson: "I am getting very sick of Nelson making a bad situation worse." Wagar promptly responded with an e-mail apologizing for the profanity but suggesting Ausman had used "out of context snippets" from "ongoing and sometimes heated arguments" the two had. He also said he had not maligned Nelson. He said Friday that he had "made a mistake" but hoped those who know him "know my passion is for the right thing and not self-interest." At issue is the Obama campaign's desire to name some of its loyalists as delegates, replacing others who are committed to Obama but were picked by state party insiders. Grow the fuck up, make the choices, get to work, and let's beat the hell out of McCain. The only people getting "fucked" are the American people, and they need some help. Now.

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