UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 19, 2009

BREVITAS

CRASH TALK

Pro Publica
- Illinois has just become the 16th state forced to borrow money from the federal government to pay unemployment insurance benefits because its trust fund has run dry. The roughly $34.7 million Illinois has borrowed so far pales in comparison to the unemployment insurance debt of states like neighboring Michigan, which has borrowed $2.2 billion so far. But since Illinois, like many states, received most of its unemployment insurance revenue in the first two quarters of the year, the borrowing has probably only just begun.

RECOVERED HISTORY

Reuters
- The 15th century Vinland Map, the first known map to show part of America before explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the continent, is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said. Controversy has swirled around the map since it came to light in the 1950s, many scholars suspecting it was a hoax meant to prove that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America -- a claim confirmed by a 1960 archaeological find. Doubts about the map lingered even after the use of carbon dating as a way of establishing the age of an object. "All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the materials and other aspects -- do not show any signs of forgery," Rene Larsen, rector of the School of Conservation under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, told Reuters.

ECO CLIPS

Tree Hugger, UK -
The [British] National Trust is starting a "vertical vegetable garden" campaign by growing vegetables in window boxes and hanging baskets at their historic houses. They reckon that England's windowsills could provide the equivalent of 600 acres of farming land, producing loads of cheap, and very local food a year for hungry urbanites. The top five easiest vegetables to grow are lettuce, radishes, beetroot, rainbow chard and rosemary.

Tree Hugger - The Guardian's latest contribution to the [biking] debate is an exploration of riding styles for commuting - do fixed gear riders really get to work faster than mountain bikers or those of us on granny bikes? Just because the fixed gear rider gets to work first - does it count as the best commuting method if he or she is so sweaty and out of breath he needs a shower? If the slow cyclist comes in minutes later but doesn't need to clean up, is that really the faster method? And what about if the fixie rider saves their morning shower until they get into work (keeping in mind they've got to get home too)?

POLICE BLOTTER

UPI
- New York Police Department officials said the city is spending nearly $1 million to purchase and maintain typewriters for the police force. . . Most of the city's arrest forms have been computerized, but property and evidence vouchers printed on carbon-paper forms still require the use of typewriters. . . Dr. Edith Linn, a retired New York police officer and professor of criminal justice at the city's Berkeley College, said many of the 500 police officers she interviewed for a study told her the outdated equipment makes them less likely to perform arrests for minor offenses.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bob Seeger said...

Re: "the unemployment insurance debt of states like neighboring Michigan, which has borrowed $2.2 billion so far"
"I'm Not A Number"

We can't have any working people start think they're human or anything: it might get out of control.

July 20, 2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger robbie said...

Re: "many of the 500 police officers she interviewed for a study told her the outdated equipment makes them less likely to perform arrests for minor offenses. "

...and? Why is this a bad thing? How much money will be saved by not prosecuting minor offenses? Lessee...25000 dollars a year to house an inmate, court costs on the public dime anywhere from a few thousand to tens and tens, paperwork, "productivity" lost, general bereavement of the perpetrator and their family, etc., etc. Minor offenses are called minor for a reason. And, oh yeah...STOP ARRESTING PEOPLE FOR SMOKING A JOINT!

July 22, 2009 11:16 PM  

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