Mark Memmott

"For the first time in history," hundreds of millions of people in China are now wealthy enough to buy jewelry, combs and trinkets made of ivory and that's led to a huge spike in the illegal slaughtering of elephants in Africa, The New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman said earlier today on Morning Edition.

Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."

Just as they did during the Republican National Convention, independent fact checkers spent the first day of the Democratic National Convention listening for claims that don't add up — and found them.

-- FactCheck.org says it heard "a number of dubious or misleading claims" from the Democrats who spoke on stage Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. Among the problems it found:

A federal judge in Boston today "ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison" for murder, The Associated Press writes.

As Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen has reported for All Things Considered, encounters between humans and bears are up sharply across the western U.S. The bears are having to cover more territory because of droughts that have dried up some of their natural foods, including berries.

Live! With Kelly is now Live! with Kelly and Michael.

Michael Strahan, a retired defensive end from the New York Giants, was officially named today to fill Regis Philbin's slot on ABC-TV's popular daytime chat show.

"All three Detroit automakers saw double-digit sales increases in August compared with the same month last year," the Detroit Free Press writes. The gains "show that the automotive industry remains one of the economy's few bright spots," it adds.

A top lieutenant to Chinese President Hu Jintao has been shifted to a lesser position because of "a lurid new scandal" involving the fiery crash of his son's Ferrari in March, The Associated Press writes.

According to the AP:

Talk about your just deserts:

"A Colombian drug trafficker, known as the 'queen of cocaine,' has been killed in the city of Medellin," the BBC writes. "Griselda Blanco, 69, was shot dead by gunmen as she was leaving a butcher's."

That rather dry report doesn't do justice to the life and death of Blanco, though. As Miami New Times writes, her assassination on Monday:

Check this fresh headline from The Times-Picayune in New Orleans:

"Public's anger at lengthy power outage after Isaac boils over."

According to the newspaper, after six days of camping outside in sweltering temperatures because Hurricane Isaac knocked out power last week, there are many angry folks in the city and surrounding parishes.

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

That classic question — so famously asked by then-candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980 — is again a topic of great debate as Democrats kick off their 2012 national convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Among the things the Republican Party's presidential candidate is hearing this morning about the address he gave Thursday night is that "in a speech heavy on anecdotal history but short on policy details, Mitt Romney avoided major falsehoods."

If you missed some of Thursday's action at the Republican National Convention, when Mitt Romney accepted his party's presidential nomination, we were live blogging here and you can always read through it to see how the day and evening went.

But if you'd like to save some time, here are five things that struck us (skip to the end if you only want to read about Clint Eastwood):

Mitt Romney accepted the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination tonight and told the nation that if he's elected he will end the four years of "disappointment and division" brought upon America by President Obama.

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," Romney said. "But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something."

Mitt Romney will tell Americans tonight that he understands why they voted for "hope and change" four years ago, but that President Obama has not delivered and that "my country deserves better."

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," he will say after accepting the Republican Party's presidential nomination, according to excerpts of his address released by the candidate's campaign.

If CNN's John King is right, Dirty Harry is indeed tonight's "mystery speaker":

"Clint Eastwood is the #gop mystery speaker for Thurs night. #cnnelections"

There are claims flying back and forth today over whether Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has falsely accused President Obama of breaking a promise to make sure a GM plant in Ryan's hometown stayed open.

We posted earlier about Ryan's words in his acceptance speech Wednesday and the "false" rating they got from PolitiFact.com.

"This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue," CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll, in an interview with an institute that promotes diversity in the news media, says of the ugly racial taunts directed her way Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Rep. Paul Ryan stretched some truths Wednesday night when he accepted the Republican Party's 2012 vice presidential nomination, according to the fact checkers who parse politicians' words for news outlets and independent watchdogs:

For those who like word clouds, here is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, during which he accepted his party's vice presidential nomination.

This picture of how often he said something drew our eyes to:

-- "Obama." That would be the president, of course, who Ryan said has failed the American people.

Hello from Tampa, where tonight Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the Republican Party's vice presidential nomination and told the nation that if he joins Mitt Romney in the White House they will work to solve the nation's problems, not blame them on others.

"We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead," he said. "We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles."

As Isaac continues to pound the Gulf Coast from Louisiana east through Mississippi, Republicans gathered in Tampa for their 2012 national convention continue to strike a balance between going on with their politicking and partying while trying not to look indifferent to the suffering of others.

Awww:

Bradley Thompson, a production manager at the Republican National Convention here in Tampa, took the opportunity this morning to propose to his girlfriend, Laura Bowman. He popped the question right in front of the big on-stage screen — on which were the words "Laura Bowman, will you marry me" and some lovely photos.

From the kiss he got in return, it appears she said yes.

Thanks to Townhall.com's Guy Benson, one of the hotter stories of the morning here in Tampa seems to be that actor/director/American icon Clint Eastwood is reportedly coming to the Republican National Convention and may be the "to be announced" speaker on Thursday night's schedule.

If you missed some of Tuesday's action at the Republican National Convention, we were live blogging here and you can always read through it to see how the day and evening went.

But if you'd like to save some time, here are five things that struck us:

With a program designed both to tell the American people more about Mitt Romney and to make the case that Republicans' ideas for solving the nation's problems are better than Democrats', the 2012 GOP National Convention got going today and Romney officially became the party's presidential nominee.

Delegates also officially made Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin the party's vice presidential nominee.

We live blogged through the afternoon and evening. Scroll down and read "up" if you want to see how the story developed.

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