Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Now, who's the frickin' elitist? ABC News' Tahman Bradley Reports: After the brouhaha over Sen. John McCain's struggle to recall how many houses he owns, Newsweek wondered how many cars might be parked at the presidential candidate's multiple homes. The weekly newsmagazine checked vehicle registration records for both McCain and Sen. Barack Obama and found that when you include the candidates' spouses, McCain owns 13 cars, Obama 1. McCain has a 2004 Cadillac CTS, a 2007 half-ton Ford pickup truck, a 1960 Willys Jeep, a 2008 Jeep Wranger among other American cars. He's got a few foreign vehicles in his fleet as well, owning a 2005 Volkswagen convertible and a 2001 Honda sedan.

And it ought to be hilarious: Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens will testify at his federal corruption trial, he said Friday. Stevens is accused of lying on Senate disclosure forms about hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and renovations to his Girdwood home received form VECO Corp., an oil services company whose employees normally build oil pipelines and processing equipment. The trial starts Monday with jury selection in Washington, D.C. Stevens maintained his innocence during a news conference Friday in Anchorage. "I have said I am innocent of the charges against me and I think the trial will show that," Stevens said. He urged Alaskans to reserve judgment until all the evidence is in. Stevens, 84, the Senate's longest-serving Republican, also is seeking re-election in November. He says he plans to return to the state as much as possible during the trial, expected to last at least three weeks.

Have they found the capital of the Khazars?A Russian archaeologist says he has found the lost capital of the Khazars, a powerful nation that adopted Judaism as its official religion more than 1,000 years ago, only to disappear leaving little trace of its culture. Dmitry Vasilyev, a professor at Astrakhan State University, said his nine-year excavation near the Caspian Sea has finally unearthed the foundations of a triangular fortress of flamed brick, along with modest yurt-shaped dwellings, and he believes these are part of what was once Itil, the Khazar capital. By law Khazars could use flamed bricks only in the capital, Vasilyev said. The general location of the city on the Silk Road was confirmed in medieval chronicles by Arab, Jewish and European authors.

Oh, bullshit. After holding his tongue for eight years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is getting his revenge on Karl Rove. McCain said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that he would abolish the White House political office, once part of Rove’s extensive empire, and would name Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to regulate the nation’s markets. “I would move the political office out of the White House and into the Republican National Committee,” McCain said on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “We've gotta have a White House that is without politics.” And we're to believe a man who turned to his former nemesis to help guide him? Rove is helping McCain run the sleaziest, lyingest campaign ever. BULLSHIT! We call BULLSHIT on that.

Just don't call it "the ownership society" because we're seeing how that works: Mexican police are testing a new weapon against widespread corruption in their ranks: home ownership. Officers and prison guards in Michoacan state can now get special deals on houses and financing through a pilot program designed to keep them out of the pockets of organized crime. The strategy is part of Mexico's desperate push to professionalize local law enforcement, infamous for extorting bribes at bogus traffic stops and providing security for drug lords. Through a partnership between a private homebuilder and the state, more than 4,000 police and prison guards who normally wouldn't qualify are eligible for mortgages on brand new homes under construction outside Morelia, the state capital. The state provides the land and gets refunded from the mortgage payments. The homeowners must pass background checks and forfeit the property if convicted of a crime.

Murderers captured in Sudan: Five Sudanese Islamists admitted in filmed confessions their role in murdering a US diplomat and his driver in the Sudanese capital on New Year's Day, a court heard on Sunday. John Granville, 33, who worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and his 40-year-old Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas were shot dead in their car before dawn in Khartoum on January 1. Confessions filmed by police after the arrest of the five were shown to a crowded courtroom in Khartoum. "The American car braked suddenly, and we stopped behind it," one of the defendants, Mohammed Makawi, 23, said on the video. "Then I shot two bullets from a pistol."

Coach pulls high school team off field after racial taunts: Leading 14-8 midway through the third quarter last night at Fort Hill in Cumberland, Md., Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies said he pulled his team off the field after Crimson Tide players were subjected to repeated racial epithets. "They were trying to upset us, calling my guys the N-word. I had one guy in tears. I had to take him off the field," Jefferies said, adding that as he walked with his team to the locker room he was verbally accosted with slurs. He said the team was forced to stay in the locker room for 30 minutes while police established a secure path for the team to board its buses.

Yeah, We're sure he'll comply, no problem A federal judge ruled against the Bush administration's closed-door policy on internal documents by ordering Vice President Dick Cheney to preserve a large amount of records during his time at the White House, the Associated Press reported Saturday. The decision is meant to prevent many records from being destroyed before they can be made public under the Presidential Records Act, which the Bush administration has attempted to narrowly define.

Um, Sarah - your running mate says he knows how to win wars and get bin Laden and won't say til he's enthroned So you got a lot of damned gall, little girl, trashing Obama for not "acting more decisively" on the economic meltdown that John "Cotton Hill" McCain's economic adviser Phil Gramm made possible.

Homeland Security grants become burden for local government entities Since 9/11, millions of dollars worth of homeland security grants have flowed to Washington state and its local governments for everything from bomb-defusing robots to planning and training to respond to a terrorist attack or a catastrophic earthquake...But now, with state and local jurisdictions already struggling financially and considering sharp cuts in their own budgets, the Department of Homeland Security wants them to start sharing in the cost. The department has signaled it may require a 25 percent match to the grants. State, county and city officials say they don't have that type of money..."There's no way," said Steve Bailey, director of Pierce County Emergency Management and president of the Washington State Emergency Managers Association. "We would lose millions of dollars. This is going to affect everybody."

Washington set to vote on assisted suicide Washington voters will decide whether or not to follow their neighbor Oregon and allow terminally-ill Washingtonians to receive a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs of two doctors certify that a patient has six months or less to live. The doctors would be required to refer the patient to counseling if the patient was not considered competent to make the decision to end his or her own life.