Saturday, June 7, 2008

BREVITAS

AN AD HAS BEEN PLACED in the New York Review of Books, Harvard Magazine, and the Yale Alumni mag, by a "Best-selling Boston author, media commentator." Whoever could this wonderful, lonely lady be? "SMART AND BEAUTIFUL, yet unequivocally cute. Playful intelligence, international sophistication. Best-selling Boston author, media commentator (MacNeil/Lehrer, Nightline, NPR). Known for laser-like intellect balanced by warm heart and disarming ability to laugh at herself. Ivy educated, Ivy professor. Slender divorced brunette with expressive sexy eyes, head-turning presence. Ardent about politics, media, technology, the arts. Delights in great theater, favorite destinations, and close friendships. Urban explorer, loves to get lost in new cities, but remains addicted to staring at the water from my Cape Cod vacation home and to Boston pleasures-the new ICA, breakfast at the old Ritz, Widener stacks, O Ya, Sel de la Terre. Seeks really smart, physically fit, sophisticated man, 47 to 64, Boston/New England/NYC strongly preferred."

RADAR

SHARON WAXMAN - Justin Timberlake's handlers at Spyglass Entertainment had journalists at the "Love Guru" junket signing one of those Tom Cruiseian ("do not stare at the star") contracts that demands, among other things, that the journalist not mention anything personal or private, destroy all materials not approved in advance, and make the freelancers personally liable for anything they might write about the guy. Here it is from the contract, in legal chapter and verse: "All Material which Journalist intends to use first must be submitted to Company and Artist for approval. The print, negative, or other material embodying disapproved Material will be promptly destroyed by the Journalist." And this: "Journalist agrees not to disclose to anyone any confidential, personal, or private information about Artist, Artist’s family, or Artist’s personal relationships at any time." and this: "Journalist will be solely responsible for any and all other individual authorizations, releases, consents, clearances, licenses, and payments as may be necessary with respect to the use of the Material." [UPDATE: My sources tell me that the studio has backed down and the contract is no longer]

AP Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III was in custody on charges that he slipped ecstasy into the drinks of technology executives, maintained a warehouse to store cocaine and tried to conceal his illegal conduct with bribes and death threats. The billionaire also is accused of committing conspiracy, securities fraud and other violations while he led the Irvine-based computer chip company. . .

A successful entrepreneur, Nicholas is accused of using much of his fortune to fund drug parties in airplanes and luxury homes and to build a secret tunnel and room beneath his mansion in Laguna Hills. . .

The 18-page indictment on drug charges alleges that Nicholas kept four properties in Orange County and Las Vegas, including a warehouse in Laguna Niguel, Calif., where he stashed and distributed cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. He later remodeled the warehouse with private rooms and furnished it with art and high-end electronics. . .

In 2001, Nicholas smoked so much marijuana during a flight on a private jet between Orange County and Las Vegas that the pilot had to put on an oxygen mask, the indictment states.

Nicholas also required his unnamed coconspirators to provide detailed invoices for drugs they sold to him, and used code names such as "party favors" and "refreshments" to conceal what was being sold, prosecutors alleged. . .

One suit was filed by Nicholas' former bodyguard and personal assistant, Kenji Kato, and the second by a construction crew that claimed they were hired to build an underground lair for Nicholas where he could indulge in sex with prostitutes and drug use. The workers claimed Nicholas failed to pay them millions of dollars and used intimidation and death threats to prevent them from leaving the project, which was kept secret from Nicholas' wife and city inspectors.

NY POST A leading lower Manhattan women's-rights lawyer watched porn at his desk, discussed his "pierced genitalia" and wears a "slave" collar at work as part of a sadomasochistic relationship with his girlfriend, a shocking sex- harassment suit alleges. Jack Tuckner, 50, whose law firm says it's "dedicated to the empowerment of women in the workplace," is a "self-described 'testosterone-poisoned' attorney with a penchant for bondage . . . who demeaned all of the women who worked for him," says the suit. It was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by former office manager Lisa Brockington. . . During her two-year tenure at the firm - which [Brockington] quit in January - he called her "Aryan babe" and "the ultimate shiksa so highly coveted by inner-city Jews" and verbally abused female staffers to the point of tears, the suit says. "Tuckner told Brockington that he believed all women have fantasies about being raped," the suit alleges. He also once suggested he had visited the bathroom to masturbate after staring at her, Brockington said.

Perennial candidate Bob Kelleher won an upset victory in Montana’s Republican U.S. Senate primary, making a tough race even tougher for the state GOP. Kelleher, an 85-year-old attorney from Butte, will challenge Democrat incumbent Max Baucus in November. Baucus is a five-term U.S. senator who had more than $6 million in the bank in May and has raised more than $10 million since he was last re-elected in 2002. Kelleher, who has run for office in the state at least 13 times, has not filed any campaign finance reports, meaning he has not raised or spent more than $5,000 in the race. The new nominee’s views are far from the mainstream Republican party in Montana. He has run as both a Democratic and a Green Party candidate, and he has advocated more gun control GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE

Ralph Nader wants to lower the voting age nationwide to 16. Austria lowered their voting age last year. Also, legislators in several states are considering lowering the voting age for local elections. As Nader states, 16 year olds work, are able to drive motor vehicles, and pay taxes, but are not allowed to vote. With 16 year old voting, Nader argues that high school social studies teachers would be more likely to present voting in a non-partisan environment in the classroom. This would stimulate their students to become an informed electorate.

With its image of blue sky and fluffy clouds, the rectangle floating lately over I-95 near Allegheny Avenue suggests something dreamy, almost heavenly. . . But this is the work of no church. "Don't believe in God?" it asks. "You are not alone." . . . Mounted by a consortium of local atheists, it is an invitation to the area's atheists, agnostics, skeptics, rationalists and religious freethinkers (no one label fits them all) to overcome their differences and form a coalition. "Hundreds of thousands of your neighbors in the Delaware Valley feel the same as you do," according to the Web site www.phillyCOR.org, to which the billboard directs passing motorists. PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

The Hernando County Florida Green Party will be hosting a series of free films this summer at a local library

COURTHOUSE NEWS - A supervisor at Prosper, Inc., a "self-help and motivational coaching" firm, waterboarded an employee as an example to co-workers, Chad Hudgens claims in Utah County Court. Hudgens says his boss, Joshua Christopherson, ordered co-workers "to hold Hudgens by the arms and legs . . . then slowly poured a gallon jug of water over Hudgen's mouth and nostrils, thereby making it impossible for Hudgens (to breathe) for a sustained period of time. ... Christopherson (then) told the team that he wanted them to work as hard on making sales as Chad had worked to breathe while he was being waterboarded." Hudgens wants punitive damages for assault and battery, emotional distress, interference with contract and wrongful firing.

German nursing homes are using a novel strategy to stop Alzheimer's patients from wandering off: phantom bus stops. The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, which pitched an exact replica of a standard stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it. The centre had been forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their often non-existent homes and families. . . "We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later and invite them in for a coffee," said Richard Neureither, Benrath's director. "Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave." TELEGRAPH, UK

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) said they support the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S., with nearly half (46%) who indicated strong support for new nuclear plants, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. Republicans (85%) and political independents (70%) were more likely than Democrats (49%) to support the construction of new nuclear power plants. A majority of respondents of all ages - with the exception of those age 18 to 24 (47%) - expressed support for buildding new nuclear power plants, with the greatest overall support among those age 65 and older (78%). Men (82%) are more likely than women (52%) to favor building new nuclear power plants in the U.S. ZOGBY

Cities fighting to be the greenest in the land should look to Victoria, British Columbia, for some tips. . . For instance, do your city streets provide solar-powered trash compactors? How about parking that encourages fuel efficient cars? Victoria is full of those hyper-tiny Smart cars, in lime, pink, blue and other colors. They are encouraged, in part, by special parking spaces just for them. (Or any other vehicle that is a maximum of three meters in length.). . . Victoria is also a biking city, with clearly marked bike lanes on the roads. . . Victoria, in general, seems to be very aware of doing its part to save the planet. It's a walkable city, and bus service seems extensive. Many restaurants do their part to promote and use products from nearby farms. ELLEN PERLAMN, GOVERNING

One company is working on giving that tried and true internal combustion engine a major boost. Artemis, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based company, has developed a hydraulic hybrid transmission that could potentially double the mileage of most vehicles -- by accident, as it happens. The firm's original goal had been to simply reduce CO2 emissions on the highway by 30% (a goal it also achieved). The results were confirmed independently by the U.K. Energy Saving Trust, which found that Artemis' prototype BMW 530i hydraulic series hybrid, equipped with the new transmission, achieved double the MPG in city tests over its manual alternative. . . Niall Caldwell, one of Artemis' senior engineers, . . . predicts that vehicles equipped with the DD technology would become even cheaper than standard hybrids. The inevitable downside: We may not see this technology in production for a while -- perhaps up to 10 years. TREE HUGGER

Richard Clarke, chief of counter terrorism under Clinton and demoted by GWB, talked about just how egregious the lies and distortions by the Bush administration were in the runup to the war. . . "We should not allow these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just pretend that nothing happened when there are over 4,000 Americans dead and over 25,000 Americans grievously wounded. They'll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives. Someone should have to pay, in some way." - SF CHRONICLE

A record 2.3 million people were in the nation's prisons and jails in 2007, according to a Justice Department report . . . The report notes that in the 10 largest states, prison populations increased "during 2006 at more than three times (3.2 percent) the average annual rate of growth from 2000 through 2005."

. . . The U.S. rate of incarceration (762 per 100,000) is five to eight times that of other highly developed countries, according to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice think tank. . . . Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population - even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. ABC NEWS

INTEREST GROWS IN PRISON ALTERNATIVES

THE MANUFACTURER AND BUILDER, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6, JUNE 1870 Some years ago, when experiments were made with the pendulum at Bunker Hill Monument, Massachusetts, it was incidentally found by Professor Horsford, that every morning the plumb-line suspended from the centre of the top to the floor indicated an inclination to the west, every noon toward the north, and in the afternoon to the east. These movements were found the most marked when the sun shone, and thus due to the expansion of one side of the structure by the heat of its rays. It was lately tried what is the amount of this influence on the Capitol dome in Washington, which is of iron, a substance which, as is well known, expands more than stone. A long plumb-line was fastened to the under side of the ceiling of the rotunda, and extended to the stone pavement below. The plummet described daily an elliptical curve, of which the longest diameter was from east to west, and amounted in hot, sunny days to four or five inches. Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution, remarks in regard to this, "By molecular action of this kind, perpetually continued, time, the slow but sure destroyer, levels with the ground the loftiest monuments of human pride."

When your editor was a reporter for Roll Call in the 1960s, he did a story on the diurnal differences in the Capitol dome. Presumably it's still occurring, but no signs yet of leveling this lofty monument with the ground due to molecular action

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said "`economic egoism'' has led to what may be the worst economic contraction since the depression of the 1930s, and placed some of the blame on the U.S. The Russian leader said no single country, even the U.S., can reverse the global economic decline alone, and claimed a role for Russia in finding a solution. "An underestimation of risks by the largest financial companies together with the aggressive financial policy of the world's largest economy led not only to corporate losses; unfortunately, the majority of people on the planet became poorer,'' Medvedev said in St. Petersburg. . .

"For global financial markets, 2007 was one of the hardest years in recent decades and, if experts are to be believed, the most complicated since the Great Depression of the 1930s,'' Medvedev said. BLOOMBERG

Researchers secretly tracked the locations of 100,000 people outside the United States through their cell phone use and concluded that most people rarely stray more than a few miles from home. The first-of-its-kind study by Northeastern University raises privacy and ethical questions for its monitoring methods, which would be illegal in the United States. It also yielded somewhat surprising results that reveal how little people move around in their daily lives. Nearly three-quarters of those studied mainly stayed within a 20-mile-wide circle for half a year. The scientists would not disclose where the study was done, only describing the location as an industrialized nation. Researchers used cell phone towers to track individuals' locations whenever they made or received phone calls and text messages over six months. In a second set of records, researchers took another 206 cell phones that had tracking devices in them and got records for their locations every two hours over a week's time period. AP

THE CASE FOR CONVERTING SOME OF OUR INTERSTATES TO RAIL

2 Comments:

At June 7, 2008 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Two-thirds of Americans (67%) said they support the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S., with nearly half (46%) who indicated strong support for new nuclear plants, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows."



"The Energy Department's safety plan for handling containers of radioactive waste before they are buried at the proposed Yucca Mountain dump has become a "fool's errand," according to a major nuclear equipment supplier....The blistering critique of safety standards is in a newsletter that Holtec sent last week to its customers and suppliers, warning that the project has become a "doomed undertaking."


I just love the way these two stories play out together. The answer: those who support nuclear power must agree to move to the Yucca Mountain area in a show of confidence and support. Or refuse in an admission of their stupidity in supporting nuclear energy in the first place.

 
At June 7, 2008 9:13 PM, Anonymous Bill Hennessey said...

Re: "Green" Victoria B.C.

The Victoria Capital Regional District pumps 120 million litres of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca every single day. The effluent flows through 6mm screens which removes large solids, but little of the sediment and none of the toxic cleaners, solvents, medicines, and other contaminants that go down our sinks and toilets.

This is harmful to the marine environment, embarrassing to the majority of local residents and presents a significant potential liability for tourism and other businesses in this city.

It is amazing that in the 21st Century a community as affluent as Greater Victoria is simply flushing its wastes into the ocean. Victoria stands alone as the only Canadian city of its size without even a plan to have secondary treatment.

more here: www.poopvictoria.ca/sewage-in-victoria

 

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