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A 14-year-old girl is believed to be the only survivor of a Yemenia air bus that crashed into the Indian Ocean.

The deposed president of Honduras plans to return Thursday in an attempt to reverse the military coup that exiled him to Costa Rica.

Minnesota's Supreme Court has declared Al Franken the winner of the Senate race that has been in contention since the November election. If the Court's decision is upheld, Franken would give the Senate Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

Iran's Guardian Council would like us all to know that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elction. For serious, just in case anyone forgot where they stand since a few days ago. Meanwhile Ahmadinejad has warned that he will seek revenge on a "monopoly of global powers" that he says encouraged pro-democracy sentiment in Iranian citizens.

Don't eat the cookie dough! It has e.coli. Salmonella I get, but e.coli? In cookie dough? Oh yeah, don't eat the beef, either. Have fun at all those 4th of July barbecues, America!

Mark Sanford has crossed the line from necessary candor into tragic oversharing:

During an emotional interview at his Statehouse office with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he’s trying to fall back in love with his wife... South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he “crossed lines” with a handful of women other than his mistress — but never had sex with them.

A female talking head on CNN just said if she was this guy's wife, she'd be tossing his belongings from the roof of the governor's mansion. I can't really disagree. I mean... really, dude? You have children. Show a little restraint with what you offer to the press for release to the public.

I never entirely understand why it matters who a politician is sleeping with in regard to their job. Is it infuriating/hilarious to see some family values blowhard get caught in an infidelity scandal? Sure. But if the guy can do his job, then what he does with his dipstick is no one's problem but his and his family's. The problem with Sanford is he decided that the governor of a state could drop off the grid for a few days without telling anyone and it would be acceptable. If he'd just made a phone call to his office, he wouldn't be in this mess right now.

mcguffin, given your comment yesterday, I blame you for this.

Finally today, the media frenzy can officially end. Michael Jackson is just fine! He and Elvis are planning a big tour next fall. Whether Tupac will open is as yet undetermined.
Afternoon readers! I took a couple of days off last week with family in town, but I'm sure I didn't miss anything big, right?

Oh wait. The celebrity Rapture has begun! I leave you people for two days, and you go and kill off the biggest starts of the 70s and 80s, then throw in a perfectly innocent TV salesman as some sick kind of freebie?! And nobody even cares about poor David Carradine anymore.

Here's some stuff about Michael Jackson you might not actually have heard yet. Oh, and his ex-wife decided not to wait until the body was cold to start telling people that the kid is not his son. (I apologize; that was terrible.)

There was speculation that TV pitchman Billy Mays died as a result of a blow to the head suffered in a rough plane landing, but his autopsy showed he actually died of a pulmonary embolism.

But hey, a lot of other stuff happened today that has nothing to do with celebrities dropping like flies, so let's move on to some of that:

Wall Street con man Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in jail. At 71 years old, Madoff would likely have died in jail even with the recommended 50 year sentence.

President Obama proposed new standards for lighting efficiency in the wake of his energy bill passing the House. Democrats added a last-minute amendment to the bill, which now must pass the Senate.

After recounting 10% of the votes cast, Iran's Guardian Council has validated the results of the Presidential election. So that should fix everything.

The President of Honduras was arrested and has been exiled to Costa Rica in what is being called a military coup. The new government has initiated a media blackout and is determined to stay in power despite opposition from the U.S. and Venezuela.

Iraqi forces will take over security of their own cities tomorrow, as American combat troops withdraw in keeping with an agreement that dictates the removal of all American troops by 2011.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the city of New Haven, CT violated the rights of twenty firefighters by throwing away the results of a promotional exam after the test was deemed discriminatory. The ruling overturns a ruling made by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on a lower court.

Today in crazy politicians, Michele Bachmann (some background on her crazy if you're not familiar) will not be completing her entire census form, because "between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau... that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps.” Viva la revolucion! (If she's so concerned with privacy, then why doesn't her record show it?)

SNN News Ticker: Short and Sour Edition

(Sorry, this posted before I was finished with it.)

Mark Sanford is back! And he wasn't hiking naked after all. He was actually in Argentina. On an out-of-country trip he took without telling his staff, or his Lieutenant Governor... or his wife. So at least that's not weird. The press conference he's holding at 2pm today to explain this should be awesome, since last night he was apparently "somewhat taken aback" that people care when the governor of a state drops off the grid.

Neda Agha-Soltan, the woman whose death has acted as a rallying cry for Iranian opposition since the video of her being shot hit the web this weekend, may have been mistaken for the sister of a terrorist, according to Iranian reports.

Gawker has a rundown of other developments in Iran, including reports that the government is charging families seeking to claim the bodies of their dead relatives a fee for each bullet with which they were shot. I really wish I were making that up.

Need a few new reasons not to like Richard Nixon? Newly released tapes feature the late President advocating abortion for interracial babies and encouraging George H.W. Bush to recruit pretty women to run for office as Republicans.
Nine people were killed and at least seventy injured when two commuter trains collided yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Unrest continues in Iran in the wake of the Presidential election – here's a rundown of today's updates. Over the weekend footage of a young woman shot at a protest became a rallying point for the opposition movement. The victim, Neda Agha-Soltan, was on the way to a protest when she was shot in the chest.

President Obama today made some of his strongest statements on Iran's unrest, while Iran's Guardian Council ratified the election results and said that there would be no new election.

TV host Ed McMahon has died. He was 86.

A submarine has reportedly picked up a signal from the recording devices aboard the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

The governor of South Carolina has been missing since last Thursday. Apparently he went for a hike, without telling anyone (including his family when he disappeared for Father's Day), and will be back at work tomorrow.

Speaking of questionable decisions by your elected representatives, Missouri State Representative Cynthis Davis released a statement condemning a summer meals program for school kids who receive free lunches during the school year. I cannot accurately describe the insanity of her logic, so I'll just quote a few choice excerpts here:

Cut for your pleasure.Collapse )

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to expend the energy to debate points made by anyone who would claim that "hunger can be a positive motivator," though. The whole thing just reads like and anti-poor people manifesto. Oh, by the way? This person also supported a lawsuit disputing President Obama's citizenship.

You thought we were done with the moron lawmakers, didn't you? Not quite yet! Because the Senate Democrats in Albany have locked themselves in the Senate chamber. No word yet on whether they plan to collectively hold their breath until they get their way.

Moving on.

Barack Obama is a recovering nicotine addict! And he obviously needs to get back on the patch, because he gets pretty bitchy when asked perfectly fair questions about his own smoking and his new tobacco legislation.
It's a bad day to be on a plane. The pilot of a flight from Brussels to Newark died mid-flight over the Atlantic Ocean. The co-pilots landed the jet safely in New Jersey and the passengers were not made aware of the situation. And this morning Anderson Cooper's plane was hit by lightning en route to an interview in Washington, D.C. So yeah. If you're flying today... cancel.

Speaking of that Cooper interview, Hillary Clinton had to cancel because she fell and broke her elbow. Ouch. I can't even imagine how much that has to hurt.

Because we have nothing else to worry about in this country, PETA is pissed off because the President killed a fly. Thank goodness we have PETA around to remind us of what's really important.

Or, you know, we could talk about Iran. Protests continue today as the government makes an overture toward dialogue. But don't worry, Iranians, American politicians know exactly how you feel because they didn't get their way in Congress that one time.

Ugh. One in four South African men questioned in a survey admitted to committing rape. Almost half claimed more than one victim. I have no witticisms for this, sorry.

Today in signs the end is nigh, it's raining tadpoles (and small fish) in Japan. IT'S RAINING BABY FROGS, PEOPLE. Repent before it's too late!
In spite of government effort, news keeps pouring out of Iran about the protests. Click here for a constantly-updating roundup of Twitter posts and news links. Or click here to find out what you can do to help.

Irshad Manji is a writer and educator who focuses on Muslim reform. She wrote on her blog yesterday about a young Iranian she met last year, who has (according to her Twitter page) been seriously injured in the Tehran protests.

President Obama today revealed his proposal for a new structure to regulate the financial industry, including a new agency designed to protect consumers.

Surprise! Gay rights groups aren't impressed with Obama's record on gay rights issues so far. Admitting that today's vague benefits memo is mostly for show probably won't help.

The FDA has issued a warning against Zicam cold remedy products. The agency claims the products have caused users to lose their sense of smell.

Investigators say they're getting closer to determining what brought down Air France flight 447, although the in-flight recorders still haven't been found.

Today in ways we're all gonna die, radioactive wasps. I'm not kidding.

OK, so I know I declared a moratorium on contributing to the relevance of She Who Shall Not Be Named from Alaska, but when her supporters start calling David Letterman a child rapist it's kind of hard to ignore. The joke was stupid, unfunny, and in bad taste. Fine. But the guy's been on the air forever and you want to fire him now? Over one bad joke? Also, obviously the appropriate way to show your outrage and moral superiority over a guy who made fun of someone's kids is to make cruel comments about his kids. Stay classy, America.

SNN News Ticker: Late Link Catchup Edition

Though I haven't posted in two days, I have been storing up links. So instead of making a huuuuuuge post tomorrow, here's a round-up of what I've been collecting:

A leftover from last week, but worth a watch: CNN's Rick Sanchez asks whether we have a double standard about the way we treat Muslim extremists and other extremists in the wake of the Holocaust Museum shooting.

Iran is in a state of chaos after the Presidential election last week. Charges of voting fraud have led Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, to order an investigation on the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Opposing candidate Mirhossein Mousavi has filed a lawsuit to cancel the election results.

Meanwhile, the protests rage on. (This liveblog is a lot to read, but pretty exhaustive coverage if you really want details.)

Foreign journalists have been confined to their hotels, which has led Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance that would take the site offline since it has become a primary source of information on what's happening in Tehran. (I already linked you to one user reporting from Iran earlier today.)

President Obama is cautious about getting the United States involved.

Speaking of Mr. President, he's scheduled to sign a memorandum on Wednesday granting benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Unfortunately it looks like the reality isn't as great as the spin makes it sound.

Allow me to editorialize for a minute here: Barry. Buddy. I know this whole job is probably pretty overwhelming and you certainly can't do everything you promised you would do, but your report card on gay issues so far sucks. Remember when you were going to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell? What happened there? Let's not even get into your stance on gay marriage, which I have disliked since before I voted for you. It can be argued that marriage is a state issue, after all. Oh wait. Your Justice Department just endorsed the Defense of Marriage Act. Seriously, what the hell? Like I said, I know you can't do everything in six months, but that doesn't mean you have to stumble awkwardly in the other direction, either.

Moving on.

Hey, speaking of this Obama guy, did you know the President is BLACK?! Time to send lame race jokes via your official e-mail account as a state employee! But the best part is the "apology:"

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

Classy.

The Tennessee State Senator for whom this enlightened aide works has issued an official reprimand and a statement condemning the e-mail.

Finally, in case you were somehow unaware that Ambercrombie and Fitch is a company devoted to being total douchebags, here's the story of an employee who was kicked off the sales floor because her prosthetic arm did not fit the store's image. Because discriminating against minorities and the non-anorexic just wasn't enough, they had to go for the disbled to go for the asshole hat trick.

Programming Note

SNN will return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. In the meantime, for an on-the-groung account of what's happening in Iran, check this out.

SNN News Ticker: Showdown Edition

It's official, the swine flu is now a pandemic. They grow up so fast!

The guard shot at the Holocaust Museum died yesterday. In an ugly bit of irony, he was shot immediately after opening the door for the gunman, thinking he was an elderly visitor in need of assistance. The gunman left a note in his car:

"You want my weapons -- this is how you'll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media."

Now here's my question: given that the gunman was a convicted felon who tried to take the Federal Reserve Board hostage at gunpoint, who thought it was a good idea to give him a gun again? Here's a charming profile of the gunman in which other white supremacists call him crazy with no apparent sense of irony and his ex-wife talks about how he liked painting ducks. But only white ducks. (OK, I totally made up that last part.)

The Presidential election in Iran is tomorrow and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponent has seen a sudden surge in popularity.

Republicans in Albany tried to get back to business after a judge ruled in their favor – but the Democrats didn't show up and locked away all the Senate documents. Way to be mature there, guys.

President Obama hosted a town hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin today to discuss his health care reform plan. But the best part was when a local father told the President that he pulled his daughter out oif her last day of school, to which the President replied, "Oh! Does she need a note?" (And yes, he actually wrote the kid a note.)

That was mostly terrible terrible news, so here are some baby panthers to soothe your nerves.

SNN News Ticker: Love Thy Neighbor Edition

A gunman armed with a shotgun opened fire at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. early this afternoon. He wounded a security guard before being shot himself by other guards. Both men have been hospitalized and the museum evacuated. Information about the gunman is beginning to emerge – he's apparently well-known among white supremacist groups and authored a book with anti-Semetic themes. (That link goes directly to a website promoting the book.)

Italian car company Fiat now officially owns Chrysler's assets. The Fiat CEO announced a new direction for the company:

"Work is already under way on developing new environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, high-quality vehicles that we intend to become Chrysler's hallmark going forward," the new company said in a statement.

Clearly he is unaware that it is illegal to produce anything but ginormous SUVs here in America.

Oh this is just awesome: two of the passengers on the Air France flight that went down in the Atlantic ocean apparently had ties to terrorist groups. Meanwhile the search for the in-flight recording devices continues.

The New York State Senate is in complete chaos after two Democratic Senators switched affiliation, which transferred majority power back to the Republican party after the Democrats gained majority in the last election. In response, the Democratic caucus stormed out and the former Democratic Majority Leader has declared that he's still the Majority Leader even though the Democrats no longer hold a majority. The Senate chamber is locked and it's a big old mess and everyone kind of looks ridiculous right now. New York Magazine's webpage has a nice compliation of coverage if you're interested in plumbing the depths.

If you're unfamiliar with the work of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the American journalists sentenced to 12 years' hard labor in North Korea, here's a sample. Ling reported all over the world. Lee was on her first overseas assignment.

Jeremiah Wright: still talking. Why? Who knows? But you'll be relieved to know he forgives Barack Obama for distancing himself from him. "Them Jews" made him do it, apparently. That's an actual quote. I have no idea what it means. Is it Anti-Semitism Day or something and no one told me?