Monday, August 14, 2006

Midnight News -- 8/14/06

His loss being confirmed by a partial recount, former Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador plans years of protests, and even to disrupt the inauguration of winner Felipe Calderon. "'We will not accept an illegitimate government and a counterfeit president,' Lopez Obrador told supporters in Mexico City's downtown square, the Zocalo."

Muslims in India feel "targeted with suspicion". Blowing up hundreds of people on commuter trains can have that effect.

The government of South Africa is pursuing policies that mirror those of economic powerhouse Zimbabwe.

Someone accidentally cut the lights in Tokyo, and the Japanese are now out for blood. They've called in the lawyers.

A man who pleaded guilty to a vicious murder in Deadwood, South Dakota is seeking to forgo any appeals and bring about his own execution. I think the only moral objection to the death penalty is epistemological: how can we be sure that a person has done the crime for which death is the penalty? This doubt is to me nearly sufficient to abandon the whole enterprise of the death penalty. There is no such doubt here, and the punishment ought to be carried out. Holding back in this case is just squeamishness.

With perhaps just a little schadenfreude, an east coast paper reports on the troubles of Phoenix, Arizona, a long-booming Sun Belt megalopolis. Phoenix, when I was growing up, was smaller but still dangerous. There have always been neighborhoods that were quite dangerous, and there have even been mafia murders there. It's now so huge, however, that it's hard to ignore what takes place in Phoenix. An interview with a few newcomers disappointed that the Valley is too much like Los Angeles just reminds us that many people in Phoenix have no ties to the city's past. It's possible to talk to a hundred people at a Valley supermarket and not find one who was born there. Even in the early 80's, the vast majority of my elementary school classmates came from other states.

West Africans search internet dating services for Westerners who might lift them out of that region's poverty. One of them says she considers internet dating a "safer alternative to becoming an illegal migrant and trying to cross the ocean in a tiny boat."

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