Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (United States) (AFP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday called for North Korea to release an 85-year-old pensioner and Korea War veteran who has been detained in the isolated country for more than three weeks.

Without mentioning Merrill Newman by name, Kerry told MSNBC television that his detention was one of many “disturbing choices by the North Koreans.”

Newman was on an organized tour to the North when he was detained on October 26.

“This is a misunderstanding. My father is a veteran, and wanted to see the country and culture he has been interested in for years,” his son Jeff told CNN.

Noting that Pyongyang has detained others as well, Kerry said: “This is obviously one of those moments where North Korea needs to figure out where it’s heading [and] recognize that the United States of America is not engaging in belligerent, threatening behavior.”

He added that Chinese authorities, which have close ties to Pyongyang, were being “helpful” in Newman’s case.

The elder Newman, who usually lives in a California retirement home, “arranged this with a travel agent that was recommended and said was approved by the North Korean government for travel of foreigners,” his son insisted on CNN. “He had all the proper visas.”

This week the State Department renewed its warnings to all American citizens not to travel to North Korea, saying that such trips are “not routine” and “U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.”

Donald Trump Jr.

Screenshot from Twitter

You've probably heard about Donald Trump's claim that his Democratic rival got "a big fat se onhot in the ass" before delivering a nearly perfect performance on a recently televised town hall. Or his more recent demand that Joe Biden get a "drug test" before their debate on Tuesday night. Having spent months lowering expectations for Biden, the Trumps are now busily defaming him as a junkie.

But that particular slur backfired spectacularly over the weekend when the Trump campaign posted a bizarre video of Don Jr. -- seemingly in a condition that called for rehab services. As his father might put it, "many people are saying" that the presidential spud looked and sounded like someone abusing a controlled substance. (His slurred message was disturbed too, something about an "army of able-bodied men and women" to intimidate voters).

It's both funny and sad to watch Don Jr. decompensate on Twitter. (More funny, though.)

Click and judge his condition for yourself.