Saturday, June 25, 2005

Cheney Visits Orthopedist(?) in Colorado
Associated Press
"Vice President Dick Cheney visited a renowned orthopedist Friday while in town for a forum held by a conservative think tank . . . . Cheney met with Dr. Richard Steadman to evaluate an old football injury to his knee, Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said," reports the AP from Vail, CO. But bloggers are buzzing this morning about political gadfly Arianna Huffington's claim that Cheney actually "passed through the Steadman Hawkins clinic and the Colorado Mountain Medical Center to get to the cardiac unit to see Dr. Jack Eck and his team," where he "checked into the hospital under the name of Dr. Hoffman." MORE: Huffington is now reporting that the Veep was treated for "an angina attack." Developing . . . . Or not.
> HUFFINGTON: CHENEY HOSPITALIZED
> VIVA, CHENEY
> BLOG ROUNDUP AT MEMEORANDUM

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Change of art: No US bashing at Ground Zero, Gov sez
New York Daily News
In response to complaints from enraged 9/11 family members and others about planned artistic and cultural exhibits at Ground Zero that were said to explore "acts of U.S. wrongdoing, like slavery and treatment of American Indians," NY Gov. George Pataki has pledged to keep the WTC Memorial focused on the Sept. 2001 attacks. Proclaims the Gov: "We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom or denigrates the sacrifice and courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11."

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Tsunami aid 'went to the richest'
BBC
A new report by the relief agency Oxfam has found that most of the aid sent to victims of last year's Asian Tsunami has ended up in the hands of businesses and landowners, denying assistance to those who need it most. "All aid agencies, as well as regional governments must share some blame for this failure," says the BBC's David Loyn.
> TSUNAMI REBUILD 'TO TAKE 10 YEARS'

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Killer senior: 'I did it and I'd do it again!'
Associated Press
78-year-old great-grandmother Lena Driskell shot and killed her 85-year-old ex-lover, Herman Winslow, "as he read a newspaper in a senior citizens home" in Atlanta, GA, reports the AP's Greg Bluestein. "I did it and I'd do it again!" Driskell screamed, as she was taken into custody at her home on June 10, "wearing a bathrobe and slippers and waving an antique handgun with her finger still on the trigger," according to police testimony at a bond hearing yesterday. The defendant was released on $25,000 bail and placed under house arrest.
> LA TIMES: ELDERLY INMATES RUN UP STAGGERING COSTS

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Can Wal-Mart or Target take your house?
CNN
In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of local governments to seize private property for economic development — a ruling that some believe could turn into "an early Christmas gift to the nation's biggest retailers," writes CNN/Money reporter Parija Bhatnagar. But Customer Growth Partners president Craig Johnson argues that those worries are overblown. "Even with the Supreme Court's decision potentially in their favor, smart retailers would rather go into communities wearing a white hat rather than a black one," he says.

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Contest winner sues over 'prize'
Associated Press —> Lucianne.com
"A woman who won a radio contest that promised the winner '100 grand' sued after the station gave her a candy bar - a Nestle's 100 Grand - instead of $100,000," reports the AP. "I wanted $95,000 more," said the winner, Norreasha Gill, of Lexington, KY. "Nobody would watch and listen for two hours for a candy bar." In addition to the lawsuit, the radio station, WLTO, "could face action by the Federal Communications Commission," experts say.

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Partisan firestorm in DC
Washington Post
A partisan firestorm is raging in Washington today over Bush deputy Karl Rove's remarks at a Wednesday night Conservative Party of NY fundraiser. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," said Rove. "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Responds House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Karl Rove should immediately and fully apologize for his remarks, or he should resign. . . . He knows full well, as do all Americans, that our country came together after 9/11." But the White House is standing by its man. "If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that's their business," says Bush press secretary Scott McClellan.
> DEMS TRY TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT
> IS DICK DURBIN A TRAITOR?
> DEFENDING KARL ROVE
> ROVE-ISM REPLACES MCCARTHYISM

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Hillary Bashing Bio Has Unexpected critics
New York Times
A number of prominent conservatives, including Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, and John Podhoretz of the New York Post have attacked Edward Klein's "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President," surprising "both the author and the head of the conservative book imprint that published it." Says Klein: "I think a lot of conservatives are worried that a strong frontal criticism of Mrs. Clinton will elicit sympathy for her and turn her into a victim, as the Lewinsky matter turned her into a victim, and that will strengthen her hand."
> Clinton Book May Help, Not Harm, Her

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WEEKEND MOVIES: WITCHING HOUR
Variety
New in theaters: "Bewitched," "Herbie: Fully Loaded," and "George A. Romero's Land of the Dead." Notes Variety, "Box office bashers will likely get a new statistic to tout this weekend: longest streak of down weekends ever."
> EBERT: 'BEWITCHED' ENTERTAINS, BUT DOESN'T BEDAZZLE
> TURAN: SQUEEKY CLEAN AND LOVABLE AS EVER, 'HERBIE' RETURNS
> DARGIS: 'LAND OF THE DEAD' AN EXCELLENT FREAKOUT OF A MOVIE

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Southern Baptists end Disney boycott, call on parents to investigate homosexuality in public schools
Associated Press
The Southern Baptist Convention voted yesterday to call off its eight year old boycott of the Walt Disney Co. "We felt like it was time to end it," says SBC member Gene Mims. "Also Wednesday," the AP reports, "SBC delegates passed a resolution that encourages parents to investigate their children's public schools to determine whether they are too accepting of homosexuality."

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Religious 'Insensitivity' Cited at Air Force Academy
Associated Press —> Outside the Beltway
"A Pentagon investigation into complaints that evangelical Christians at the academy have bullied Jews and cadets of other faiths found no overt discrimination, but cited a degree of 'insensitivity,'" reports the AP's Jennifer Talhelm — a situation which has led some congressional Democrats to demand stricter oversight of the school. "Congressional oversight is necessary to ensure the appropriate changes are made at the academy. We must continue to hold the Air Force's feet to the fire," says CA Rep. Lois Capps. But Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) disagrees: "I believe we should focus on the fact that the Air Force investigation found that the academy leadership is aggressively dealing with this issue and that a significant majority of individuals contacted expressed an opinion that the overall climate at the academy has improved over the past two years."

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Classic Icons Seek Fresh Fame
New York Times
Through the magic of marketing, old faces like Underdog and Richie Rich are getting a 21st century makeover. "Nostalgia is a hit. The people running the licensing business had these brands in their childhood, and they appreciate the decreased risk of going with already proven track records," explains Mike Alic, general manager of the Licensing 2005 trade show. Adds Classic Media's Leslie Levine: "These characters have an emotional tug that sticks around."

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Iranian Blogger Returns From Exile for Vote
LA Times
Famed blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has been living in Toronto since the Iranian government shut down his newspaper five years ago, returned to the Islamic Republic last week to cover the presidential election. "I miss my country and I am frustrated that I must have fears of going back simply because of the words I have written in my weblogs," says Derakhshan, who calls this week's presidential runoff between former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a choice "between bad and worse."
> CAMPAIGN IN IRAN ENDS BITTERLY

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Common virus 'kills cancer'
CNN
"Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells," explains Penn State College of Medicine professor Craig Meyers.

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Candidate's Election Material Seized; 'Freedom' and 'democracy' not allowed in Iran
Washington Post
More than half a million Rafsanjani for president posters and cards bearing the words "freedom" and "democracy" were seized from a print shop yesterday by Iranian security officials, who told the owner, "The words you are using are offensive." Reformers have rallied around Rafsanjani in the hopes of defeating the hardliners' candidate, Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Friday's presidential runoff election.

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New Research: Soya is a 'sperm killer'
The Independent
According to researchers at King's College London, "even small amounts" of genistein, a chemical found in soya products, is a "sperm killer" that "causes sperm to 'burn out' once they reach a woman's reproductive tract." Woman who consume products such as soy milk and meat substitutes are being advised to discontinue their use when trying to conceive.

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FBI accesses Social Security, IRS records
New York Times
The Social Security Administration and the IRS suspended privacy regulations on an "ad hoc" basis after 9-11, allowing federal investigators to search thousands of citizens' files. Says one former FBI agent: "We got very useful information, that's for sure. We recognized the value of having that information to track leads, and, to their credit, so did the Social Security Administration." But privacy advocates are concerned. "An ad hoc policy like this is so broad that it allows law enforcement to obtain really sensitive information by merely claiming that the information is relevant to the 9/11 investigation. There appears to be very little oversight," says the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center's Marcia Hofmann.

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'Housekeeper from Hell' behind bars in NY
New York Daily News
A maid who allegedly stole a $95,000 pair of earrings from Robert De Niro's wife, as well as undisclosed cash and merchandise from other celebrity clients like Isabella Rossellini and Faith Popcorn, was arrested at her Queens home last night on multiple felony charges. "I didn't think you would notice," she's quoted as telling a former employer.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wireless Web puts personal data at risk
CNN
"Ethical hacker" Richard Rushing tells CNN that wireless Internet connections are dangerously insecure. "At any point in time, I can reach out and touch everyone's laptop at the hot spot, and there's usually not any way of preventing that -- from me touching and looking at other people's stuff at the hot spot itself." And there's an even bigger problem on the horizon, according to Rushing -- "fake wireless hot spots that look like the real thing."

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Lions rescue, guard beaten Ethiopian girl
Associated Press
"A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday," reports the AP. Says the policeman, Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo: "They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest."

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DC police chief Charles Ramsey's car stolen
Reuters
"When he went out to use it to go to church, he found it was missing and reported it stolen," says police spokesman Quintin Peterson, who adds that there were "no weapons of any kind" in the vehicle.

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Schwarzenegger's Approval Rating Falls to New Low
Bloomberg
A new poll finds the Governator's approval rating at a Gray Davis-like 37 percent. "Schwarzenegger really has lost a lot of the political leverage he once had," says the Field Poll's Mark DiCamillo. "The well is not there as it was last year."

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Hollywood worries as 'Batman' begins weak
LA Times
With ticket sales down and audience dissatisfaction up, Hollywood is getting nervous about the future. But Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., tells the Times, "In any business, whether it's the stock market or whatever, you aren't going to have every year exceed the year prior. Like any business that has a little bit of a downturn, you can't panic because of six months."
> AMC, Loews Cineplex to merge

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Bird flu takes wing -- again
Forbes —> Sploid
China's Ministry of Agriculture has reported its third bird flu outbreak in the last two months, this time affecting 128 geese and ducks. "The MOA said it's under control. No human cases were reported," says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Noureddin Mona.
> AsiaPundit: How to prepare for the Avian flu pandemic (Via The Moderate Voice)

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California Investigates Tardy Tsunami Warning
New York Times
"Thank God it wasn't the real thing. The backbone of our warning system simply did not work," says Annemarie Conroy, director of the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

E-Mail Embarrasses 119 Failing Students
Associated Press
The University of Kansas financial aid office recently sent out e-mails notifying failing students that they could lose their financial assistance if their grades didn't improve. The problem? Every student who received the notice was listed in the e-mail's header. "Nobody should have known that I failed a class or that I even had a student loan," complains one outraged student. The university is contacting affected individuals to apologize.

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Orgasms: a real ‘turn-off’ for women
New Scientist —> BoingBoing
At the moment of orgasm, the female brain shuts down, according to a new study conducted at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Says one researcher: "Fear and anxiety levels have to go down for orgasm. Everyone knows this but we can see it happening in the brain."

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