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Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Democrats have convened Wednesday in Philadelphia for the third of four nights in a national convention that has been eventful and sometimes divided. Speakers tonight include Vice President Joe Biden, nominee Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jack Davis, the iconic Mad Magazine cartoonist, died Wednesday morning. He was 91. "There wasn't anything Jack couldn't do," said MAD editor John Ficarra. "Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters -- his comedic range was just incredible. His ability to put energy and motion into his drawings, his use of cross-hatching and brush work, and his bold use of color made him truly one of the greats." Davis's death marks the end of an era in comic book history: he was the last surviving EC Comics artist.


Marcos Daniel Jimenez, a former U.S attorney appointed by President George W. Bush, rescinded his Republican Party membership Monday night in a Facebook post claiming the party's core principles had been hijacked by an unstable leader. "I have decided that I will no longer be associated in any way with a party that is led by a bigoted, dangerous demagogue and that has become a party dominated by fear, anger and hate," said the status, first reported by Politico. "Republicans should make no mistake about this," he wrote. "You now clearly belong to the party of hate ... you are supporting a strongman who believes all of that."


Prosecutors are dropping charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with Freddie Gray's death. Six officers were charged in connection with the April 2015 death of Gray, a 25-year-old who died after sustaining a neck injury while in police custody. A pretrial hearing for Officer Garrett Miller had been set for Wednesday. Trials for officers Alicia White and William Porter had been scheduled for the fall. Baltimore Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow made the request to drop charges against them in court Wednesday. Three officers had already been acquitted in the case: Edward Nero, a bike officer involved in the initial police encounter with Gray; Caesar Goodson, who drove the van; and Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in connection with Gray's death.


The campaign that encouraged millions of people to dump buckets of ice-cold water over their heads raised enough money to help make an important research breakthrough, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association announced Monday. In just eight weeks, $115 million was donated to the ALS Association, 67% of which was dedicated to advancing research for treatments and a cure, the non-profit reports. One million dollars went towards Project MinE, a University of Massachusetts Medical School Project that was able to identify a gene that is responsible for the degenerative disease.


Tuesday night, Bill Clinton, the husband of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to honor his wife's historic achievement. Bill's stately-but-approachable appearance and middle-of-the-road fashion choices make him a terrific candidate for the supporting role of first spouse of the United States. ... We've yet to read an interview with the person who styled Bill's silver locks for last night's DNC appearance, or even see a brief in Women's Wear Daily or GQ crediting the designers who dressed him for the occasion. read more


A federal judge has granted John Hinckley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, full-time release from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he has been in treatment since the shooting. The conditions of Hinckley's release are incredibly detailed and strict. They include a provision that he must carry a GPS enabled phone whenever he is away from his mother's home, cannot speak with the media and must have no contact with the family members of his victims.


Environmentalists worry that an increase in oil trains could lead to an rise in oil train derailments, like the kind seen in early June when a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude derailed outside the Oregon town of Mosier, spilling 42,000 gallons of oil near the Columbia River. But according to witnesses that testified before the EFSEC on behalf of Vancouver Energy -- the joint venture between Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. and the entity behind the Tesoro-Savage terminal proposal -- oil spills might not actually be that bad for the environment. read more


Election officials in northern Thailand think they can buy off a gang of monkey vandals with fresh fruit and vegetables, after about 100 macaques tore up voter lists publicly posted ahead of next month's referendum on a proposed constitution. Phichit election official Prayoon Jakkraphatcharakul said if feeding the monkeys did not deter them, then newly installed sliding glass doors might - if they don't figure out how to open them. Prayoon speculated that the pink color of the voter lists for the Aug. 7 referendum might have attracted the animals.


In a touching moment during the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders was moved to tears as his brother gave an emotional speech about their parents -- Eli and Dorothy Blackburn Sanders -- and what they'd think of his campaign for president. Eli Sanders was a paint salesman who had emigrated from Poland at age 17. Dorothy was a native New Yorker who married him and they raised two sons in Brooklyn: Larry, born in 1934; and Bernie, born in 1941. Struggling through economic hardships and strong supporters of the New Deal, the parents had hard lives: Dorothy died in 1969 and a grieving Eli died three years later. read more


The Democrats have been hammering Donald Trump over his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his campaign manager Paul Manafort's connections to the Kremlin. Now that security experts say it's likely that Russian intelligence agencies were behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, Democrats have once again called on Trump to release his tax returns to prove that he doesn't have ties to Russia. In an interview with Florida news station CBS4 Miami, Trump denied he had any business dealings with Russia and even went so far as to say that he'd never met Putin. "I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever," he told the station. This is interesting because during a debate last year, Trump explicitly said that he'd met Putin while the two of them were set to appear on 60 Minutes. "I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates," said Trump at the time. read more


Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton's email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power's cyberspying of a secretary of state's correspondence. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press." read more


Health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro's picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed. Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city's waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant "superbacteria" that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems. "Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap," said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. read more


One of the most poignant moments in Monday night's Democratic convention speech by First Lady Michelle Obama was when she mentioned that her family lives in a White House that was built by slaves. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly acknowledged this was true, but unexpectedly put in a good word for the slave masters. "Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well," O'Reilly said. read more


A Georgia man who won $3 million in the lottery in 2015 could face life in prison after pleading guilty to investing in a crystal meth operation. Ronnie Music Jr., 45, of Waycross, pleaded guilty last week to federal drug and gun charges after U.S. attorneys presented evidence that he "conspired with others to possess and distribute kilograms of methamphetamine," according to the Department of Justice. "Music decided to test his luck by sinking millions of dollars of lottery winnings into the purchase and sale of crystal meth," said U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver.


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