Friday, October 17, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

What the hell happened here? A man suspected of setting off an explosion Friday at a small-town law firm in northern Georgia died in the blast that also injured four people at the office, authorities said. Police were called to a disturbance at the firm just before the explosion. An officer arrived and saw a man get out of a sport utility vehicle and run behind the building. The explosion followed, Dalton police Lt. Bruce Frazier said. It wasn't clear whether an explosive device was planted or was on the suspect, Frazier said. An attorney at the firm who left the office just before the blast said employees told him they saw a man trying to drive his vehicle into the building and locked the doors. Investigators were searching the 71-year-old suspect's house and thought there might be a bomb in his vehicle at the scene,

Identity theft is a crime for which the punishment never seems enough:A college student who with her boyfriend stole the identities of friends and neighbors was sentenced Friday to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution. Jocelyn Kirsch, a former Drexel University student, and then-boyfriend Edward Anderton used the money for expensive salon visits, exotic vacations and fancy dinners. Federal guidelines called for a prison sentence of 70 months, but U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno credited Kirsch for her apparent remorse and for her July 14 guilty plea to aggravated identity theft and other counts. Kirsch, 23, and Anderton acknowledged stealing the identities of friends and neighbors in the Philadelphia area in 2006 and 2007 to net more than $116,000 in goods and services.

No, we don't need this going on, ever: Turkish warplanes successfully hit all their intended targets in an air strike on the main rebel Kurdish bases inside Iraq on Friday, the military said. The jets bombed Mount Qandil, an area about 60 miles inside Iraq, where the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK leadership is believed to be hiding. "The operations that were carried out during the day were successful and all planes have returned safely to their base," the military said.

Being a Norwegian, I can tell you--watch them Swedes: Al Qaeda in Iraq's second-in-command, killed recently in Mosul, was actually a naturalized Swedish citizen who's been wanted by the U.S. since 2006, a U.S. official told CBS News. U.S. intelligence knew him as Mohamed Moumou, but in Iraq he went by the alias Abu Qaswarah...Moumou was identified in December 2006 in a U.S. Treasury release as an individual who was providing financial assistance to al Qaeda and facilitating terrorist activities. Moumou, who was born in Morocco and moved to Sweden as a teenager, was a well-known leader of an extremist group centered around the Brandbergen Mosque in Stockholm...

Just in time for Halloween: Workers renovating a rugby stadium have uncovered a vast complex of tombs beneath Rome that mimic the houses, blocks and streets of a real city, according to officials, who have unveiled a series of new finds. Culture Ministry officials said Thursday that medieval pottery shards in the city of the dead, or necropolis, show the area may have been inhabited by the living during the Dark Ages after being used for centuries for burials during the Roman period. It is not yet clear who was buried in the ancient cemetery, but archaeologists at the still partially excavated site believe at least some of the dead were freed slaves of Greek origin. "It's a matter of a few weeks to discover what is down there," said archaeologist Marina Piranomonte. "But it's something big; it looks like a neighborhood." A separate dig in the north of the city has turned up the tomb of a nobleman who led Rome's legions in the second century A.D.

Dare not let reality intrude on Sarah-geddon's carefully constructed "reality" To avoid the candidate becoming "depressed," her staff studiously sequesters her away from news about the campaign.

Sarah Palin personifies cognitive dissonance Yesterday on the campaign trail, Sarah Palin told a rally in North Carolina that she loves visiting the "pro-America" parts of the country, implying that some areas are by definition "anti-America" - presumably she was not thinking (we know, we state the obvious and could stop right there, but we will soldier on...) about the members of the Alaskan Independence Party, of which her husband was a registered member for several years, a party founded by a man who proudly proclaimed that he had no use for America or her "god damned institutions" and which wants the state to secede from the union. The founder lost his life in a plastic explosives deal gone bad, and Sarah-geddon addressed the parties convention this year, wished them success on their efforts and encouraged them to keep up the good work. But she thinks those of us who believe in the Constitution and the ideals that made America great at one time, are Anti-American. The mind absolutely boggles.

Does she just hate whales, or is this somehow connected to Raffi? The Beluga whales of Alaska's Cook's Inlet have been added to the endangered species list, over the strenuous objections of that great animal lover Sarah Palin. The act of granting the whale protection under the Endangered Species Act gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the authority to embark on an ambitious research effort to determine why the species is on the decline, and if human activities in the area are contributing to the decline in population and need to be curtailed in order to protect its habitat.

Does it mean anything? China took a further step toward opening itself to the world, announcing Friday that an easing of restrictions on foreign journalists enacted for the Olympics would become permanent. Premier Wen Jiabao signed the new decree, which took immediate effect, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao at a late-night news conference.

Basically, he sucks: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has repeatedly boasted about his record on the environment and energy issues. His website touts McCain’s “longstanding commitment to conserving America’s natural resources and promoting environmental stewardship,” for example. Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released its 2008 National Environmental Scorecard — giving McCain a 0 percent rating. The scorecard ranks members of Congress on 11 key votes based on “the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations.”

We think this is a great idea! It took about fifteen minutes for the blowback to start in the wake of Michelle Bachmann's screed on Hardball tonight, in which she channeled the disgraced Joe McCarthy and accused Barack Obama, and liberals in general, of being traitors and needing investigation, and, presumably some sort of sanction ranging somewhere between reeducation camps and summary execution. Click the link, watch her lose her fucking mind in public and then sign the petition encouraging Congress to censure her fascist ass. (h/t Steve Audio)