Monday, July 28, 2008

BREVITAS


OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Paul Bedard, US News & World Report
- Sen. Barack Obama has not been a fan of private police like Blackwater in war zones, and some news outlets even reported that they were spurned for his trip last week to Afghanistan and Iraq. But Whispers confirms that Blackwater did handle the Democratic presidential candidate's security in Afghanistan and helped out in Iraq. What's more, Obama was overheard saying: "Blackwater is getting a bad rap." Since everything appeared to go swimmingly, maybe he will take firms like Blackwater out of his sights, the company's supporters hope.

CIVIL LIBERTIES

Amos Maki, Memphis Commercial Appeal - Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department. The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0 , a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar. In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment," the anonymous bloggers write on the site, "Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States. Some members of the Enforcer 2.0 have contacted their attorneys and we are in the process of filing a lawsuit against Larry and the City of Memphis. What's wrong Larry? The truth hurt?" It wasn't clear if the lawsuit is aimed at shutting down the site or if it's part of an effort to stop leaks that might affect investigations.

MONEY & WORK

Wall Street Journal
- In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data. Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income. According to the figures, the richest 1% reported 22% of the nation's total adjusted gross income in 2006. . . . The 1988 level was 15.2.

NEIGHBORHOOD CRIME REPORT

Progress Report
- Bill Moyers interviewed investigative journalist Jane Mayer and mentioned that in Mayer’s new book, she notes that FBI agents refused to participate in the CIA’s interrogation of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay because they determined it to be "borderline torture." Moyers then asked, "Who were some of the other conservative heroes, as you call them, in your book?" Mayer remembered one top Justice Department lawyer and "very conservative member of this administration" who said that after participating in White House meetings authorizing torture, he believed that "lunatics had taken over the country." Mayer said two other top DOJ lawyers had to develop a system of speaking codes because they feared they were being wiretapped while others described an "atmosphere of intimidation," mainly from Vice President Dick Cheney. . . "They felt so endangered in some ways that, at one point, two of the top lawyers from the Justice Department developed this system of talking in codes to each other because they thought they might be being wiretapped…by their own government. They felt like they might

WAR DEPARTMENT

Washington Post - In a sign of shifting political winds seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the nation's police chiefs and the heads of its 57 biggest police departments objected this year to the Bush administration's focus on domestic security, saying it has come as the White House proposes slashing traditional police-assistance programs by $2.7 billion as part of its annual budget tussle with Congress.

A new suicide hotline for veterans has attracted more than 22,000 vets and prevented over 1,000 suicides.

CYBER CLIPS

Slashdot - Google's index of unique URLs has reached a milestone: one trillion. Google's blog provides some more information, noting, "The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark."

We checked out the new search engine Cuil, which is backed by a $33 million investment and searches 120 billion web pages. When we put in your editor's name a number of nice items came up, but accompanied by photos of three persons unknown to him.

THE MIX

NY Times A study paid for by the National Science Foundation has found that girls perform as well as boys on standardized math tests. Although boys in high school performed better than girls in math 20 years ago, the researchers found, that is no longer the case. The reason, they said, is simple: Girls used to take fewer advanced math courses than boys, but now they are taking just as many. "Now that enrollment in advanced math courses is equalized, we don’t see gender differences in test performance," said Marcia C. Linn of the University of California, Berkeley, a co-author of the study. . . The findings, reported in the July 25 issue of Science magazine, are based on math scores from seven million students in 10 states, tested in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

ECO CLIPS

Tree Hugger -
J. David Goodman writes in The New York Times about extreme bike commuting: "Once limited to dense urban environments, bike commuting has found a small but devoted following in the New York City suburbs. While there have been no formal studies of the trend, transportation experts and cycling advocates say the number of suburban bike commuters is growing. " It's not just young people, either; "Henry Minnerop, a partner in a Manhattan law firm and "70-plus" years old, said he drives each day - year round - to Englewood Cliffs, and then bikes about 12 miles into Midtown. "I park my bike in the garage I used to use when I drove in," he said before riding off. "There's a gym in my office. I shower and come out looking like a lawyer." Some travel a very long way; One of the longest bike commutes belongs to Phil Riggio of Darien, Conn., who rides to and from his Midtown office three times a week. Mr. Riggio, a technology trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, began making the 40-mile, two-hour trip in March, shortly after his office moved to Manhattan from Darien. Taking the train left "no time to exercise," he said. "I just thought I'd combine the workout time and the commuting time."

Reuters -
The number of miles driven on U.S. highways in May fell a record 3.7%, or 9.6 billion, from last year because of soaring fuel costs, the U.S. Transportation Department said . . . It was the biggest drop ever for any May, which usually sees increased traffic due to Memorial Day vacations and the beginning of summer. . . During the first five months of the year, highway travel was down 29.8 billion miles from a year ago.

MID EAST

HOW MUCH OF YOUR TAXES ARE GOING TO IRAQ?

FURTHERMORE . . .


Radar -. A five-year-old boy escaped his daycare center just outside of Dallas, Texas, earlier this week by saying he had to go to the bathroom. He then proceeded to sneak out through an unlocked fire exit, walk to a RaceTrac gas station to buy himself snacks and soda, and then stroll nearly a half-mile to the local Hooters, presumably to pick up a couple chicks and power a few hot wings.

1 Comments:

At July 28, 2008 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting expression on the young adventurer's face.
A maybe-I-shouldn't-have-tried-to-order-cocktails kind of look.
Anyone here ever see the footage from the Mike Douglas Show of five-tear-old Tiger Woods and his dad? Something reminiscent about that in the photo.
One can only imagine the future in store this lad.

 

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