Pentagon Prepares to Evacuate U.S. Embassy in Sudan - The Friday AM Quickie 4/21/23

I never had a blue check on Twitter, and now I certainly never will: most journalists, celebrities, and public figures lost verification on the platform yesterday, and it's now a disaster capitalist free-for-all full of scammers and chaos agents impersonating government agencies. Anyway, I'll be covering for Robert all next week, so it's back into the isolation chamber for me. Have a nice weekend, folks! - Corey

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No One Sounds Optimistic About the Situation in Sudan

There's not a lot of independent on-the-ground reporting from Sudan in the best of times, but now, with the capital Khartoum and parts of the countryside descending into violence, the world is relying on delayed descriptions of the chaos from people who've managed to escape it. Per the New York Times, it's unclear "who, if anyone" is in control of Africa's third-largest country. Here's how the Washington Post, reporting from Nairobi, summarizes the dilemma people are facing:

Across Sudan, desperate families are weighing their chances of survival: Stay in homes with dwindling food and water as mortars and artillery shells rain down, or grab your loved ones and head into streets crackling with gunfire, dodging checkpoints, tanks and battling soldiers? ...
The major hospitals in Khartoum have mostly shut, either hit by heavy weapons or out of power, water or vital supplies. Doctors have been killed, children have bled to death trying to reach help, and armed men are invading private homes to rob, rape and kill. Some have evicted residents, taken their supplies and set up military positions on the roof.

"Khartoum is a ghost town. Not one living being," one resident wrote after fleeing the city. "The shooting didn't stop throughout the day... [O]ur family who picked us up said bodies were strewn on the roads. Can't believe we've come to this."

The shooting seems likely to continue through the Eid holiday, which begins this weekend. The Associated Press reports that Sudan's military has ruled out negotiations with the paramilitary group it began trading fire with last Saturday, the Rapid Support Forces. RSF leader Gen. Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti" Dagalo claims he has called for a "humanitarian truce"; military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan says he will accept no resolution short of the RSF's defeat or surrender.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that the Pentagon is moving U.S. forces to Djibouti "in anticipation of a potential mission to evacuate U.S Embassy personnel in Khartoum." Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman privately told lawmakers this week that the plans for the mission won't include a "military-led general evacuation of American citizens."

At last report, the World Health Organization says more than 330 people have been killed, and ten times that number wounded -- but those numbers are likely undercounts, as it's still too dangerous to collect bodies from the streets. Some 20,000 Sudanese have already fled to Chad and aid groups are calling on all neighboring countries to keep their borders open to refugees. Sudan's cities were largely spared during the Darfur war. Not now.

Senate Judiciary Advances 7 Nominees without Feinstein

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin took a new approach to the backlog of judicial nominees yesterday, advancing seven nominees with bipartisan support and without the crucial tie-breaking vote of ailing and absent California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. But five more of President Joe Biden's nominees who lacked any Republican support have been "shelved" indefinitely, as NBC News reports. Meanwhile, NBC reports, Biden's Labor Secretary nominee Julie Su "appears to be in jeopardy" as conservative Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Kelly of Arizona -- in addition to "independent" Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema -- have "expressed skepticism" about Su's nomination. Su appeared before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday, and endured idiotic questioning from Republicans.

Autopsy Shows Georgia Cops Shot Protester Shot 57 Times

Georgia State Sen. Nabilah Islam yesterday responded to the release of the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's autopsy report on "Cop City" protester Manuel Terán, better known as Tortuguita, by calling for legislative hearings and an independent investigation. The autopsy report showed that law enforcement left Tortuguita with at least 57 gunshot wounds. Police had claimed the protester fired on them first, but the medical examiner found no gunpowder residue on their hands. "We must hold those who shot and killed Tortuguita accountable," Sen. Islam wrote. There is no police footage of the killing, which was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, and Islam also plans to introduce a bill to require the Georgia State Patrol to wear body cameras.


  • Scientists Observe 'Disastrous' Ice Sheet Loss "This matters because rising sea levels will displace and/or financially impact hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, and will likely cost trillions of dollars," said University of Colorado ice researcher and former NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati. via
  • Elon Musk Tries to Spin SpaceX Rocket Explosion as a Success Instead of completing a planned 90-minute flight, yesterday's "exciting test launch of Starship" lasted four minutes before going down in flames. via the Associated Press.
  • House GOP Passes Trans School Sports Ban All Republicans voted yes, all Democrats voted no, and President Joe Biden has vowed to veto the bill if it passes the Senate. via NBC News.
  • BuzzFeed Closes Pulitzer Prize-Winning Newsroom Announcing the loss of some 60 jobs, CEO Jonah Peretti said he had "made the decision to overinvest" in journalism. via the New York Times.
  • Proud Boys Have Not Held Up Well Under Cross-Examination Defendants in the group's seditious conspiracy trail have been "evasive and unreliable" under questioning; one became "visibly agitated on the stand" when prosecutors asked him to explain his enthusiasm for a video showing a Proud Boy knocking a Black woman to the ground. via the Washington Post.


$5 million

That's how much a private arbitration panel ruled that "MyPillow Guy" Mike Lindell must pay to Robert Zeidman, a computer forensics expert who responded to Lindell's "Prove Mike Wrong" challenge, which offered that sum to anyone who could disprove his fantastical claims about Chinese interference in the 2020 U.S. elections. Zeidman, a Trump voter, submitted a 15-page technical report debunking Lindell's theories, but he refused to honor the deal; per the Washington Post, the arbitrators have given Lindell 30 days to pay up.


4/21: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Heather Digby Parton, contributing writer at and proprietor of the blog Hullabaloo, to round up the week in news.


Fox News LIES About Dominion Cost $787 Million After Settling Lawsuit

Also, the Times takes a look at the First Amendment implications.

Right-Wing Loser's PATHETIC Attempt to Troll 'Woke' Bookstore Backfires BIG TIME

Dude really needs a new hobby.


"I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs. ... He was fully into [racist conspiracy theories], he would sit and watch Fox News all day every day, blaring in his living room."

-- Klint Ludwig speaking to CNN about his grandfather, Andrew Lester, who shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl when he rang the doorbell of Lester's Kansas City home by mistake.

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