Daily Archives: May 6, 2010

Do we no longer have the ability to conduct a secret investigation?

I raised this topic a few days ago.

But here’s more, with details that should really alarm you. Read the whole thing, but for a sample:

[W]hat hasn’t been apparent until now is how news coverage of this story fundamentally changed the investigation. Law enforcement officials usually say they can’t talk to reporters about an ongoing investigation, but there were leaks in this case from the beginning — partly because of the dynamic between two powerful law enforcement forces in New York City….

Details about the Times Square investigation were all over the local newspapers, even as authorities were still trying to puzzle out who was responsible. Any element of surprise that law enforcement might have had was evaporating. To be fair, law enforcement was partly to blame. In many cases, it was the source of the information and leaks. But there seemed to be an extra level of frustration about the leaks in this case. As one law enforcement official told NPR, “Our operational plans were being driven by the media, instead of the other way around. And that’s not good.”

It’s not the press that’s at fault, it’s the cops – shut your mouths, boys!


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Lunatics running the asylum

Some crapola “scientific” cancer board has made it’s recommendations to Obama, who will no doubt push their agenda even though the American Cancer Society calls them half-baked idiots.

Dr. Michael Thun, an epidemiologist from the cancer society, said in an online statement that the report was “unbalanced by its implication that pollution is the major cause of cancer,” and had presented an unproven theory — that environmentally caused cases are grossly underestimated — as if it were a fact.

The cancer society estimates that about 6 percent of all cancers in the United States — 34,000 cases a year — are related to environmental causes (4 percent from occupational exposures, 2 percent from the community or other settings).

Suggesting that the risk is much higher, when there is no proof, may divert attention from things that are much bigger causes of cancer, like smoking, Dr. Thun said in an interview.

“If we could get rid of tobacco, we could get rid of 30 percent of cancer deaths,” he said, adding that poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise are also greater contributors to cancer risk than pollution.

The chairman of the president’s panel, Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. of Howard University, said the panel stood by the report.

“This is an evenhanded approach, and an evenhanded report,” Dr. Leffall said. “We didn’t make statements that should not be made.”

He acknowledged that it was impossible to specify just how many cancers were environmentally caused, because not enough research had been done, but he said he was confident that when the research was done, it would confirm the panel’s assertion that the problem had been grossly underestimated. [emphasis added]

Despite the uncertainties, the panel recommended more research and stronger regulation to protect public health.

The report also mentions things that people can do themselves to lower their risks. The measures include these:

¶Protecting children by choosing foods, house and garden products, toys, medicines and medical tests that will minimize exposure to toxic substances.

Filtering tap water, and storing water in stainless steel, glass or other containers to avoid exposure to BPA and other plastic components that some studies have linked to health problems.

¶Buying produce grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, or washing it thoroughly to remove them.

¶Buying meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, and avoiding processed, charred and well-done meat.

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How the hell did Greece get the Euro?

An excellent history here, in the International Herald Tribune.

By some accounts, Europe’s current plight can be traced to 1981, when Greece, still emerging from the aftermath of a military dictatorship, rushed to join the European Community — 14 years ahead of the much richer Austria, Finland and Sweden and even five years before Spain and Portugal.

At the time, President Francois Mitterrand of France opposed the bloc’s southward expansion, fearing that countries like Greece were not ready.

But those in favor of expansion carried the day, arguing that linking countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal to European structures was the best means to modernize their fragile democracies.

And for Europe’s classically educated leaders, who viewed Greece as the cradle of democracy, tying the poor Balkan country to Western Europe, despite its geographic remoteness at the time from the other European Community members, was, Mr. Papantoniou recalled, “an historic mission.”

The entire article is well worth reading, if you’re interested in this subject. And don’t blame the authors for the concluding paragraph, written two days before the communists started burning people alive:

Governments on both the left and right failed to overhaul a bloated public sector. The latest demonstrations in response to the government’s new austerity measures have been largely peaceful and muted by Greek standards, suggesting that a majority of Greeks are now resigned to more fundamental change, the type that it has skirted for several decades.


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Remember those promises that full body scanners wouldn’t reveal the dirty bits? Forget it.

TSA employee, teased relentlessly about his small penis after going through scanner, snaps, assaults fellow worker.


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By gosh, Greenwich Time has discovered Sponge Bob Metter

Greenwich Time photo

It took 36 hours, but our local newspaper seems to have finally heard of his arrest. Yes, they merely reprint a Bloomberg piece, but the accompanying photo, retrieved from the archives, is credited to a real live Greenwich Time photographer, and what else can you ask of this crippled dodo?


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In my case, it’s probably the other way around

Mr. Fountain goes ahunting

Most humans carry Neanderthal genes

In research published Thursday in Science, the researchers compared the Neanderthal DNA to the genomes drawn from five people from around the world: a San tribesman from South Africa; a Yoruba from West Africa; a Han Chinese; a West European; and a Pacific islander from Papua, New Guinea. They also checked it against the recently published genome of bio-entrepreneur Craig Venter. Traces of Neanderthal heredity turned up in all but the two African representatives.

“We do not find any evidence of Neanderthal gene flow into Africans,” said population geneticist David Reich at Harvard University Medical School, who helped analyze the Neanderthal genome. “What we find is shared equally by Europeans, East Asians and Papua, New Guineans.”

From that pattern, the researchers deduced that prehistoric humans encountered their Neanderthal mates in the Middle East as small human bands first migrated out of their African homeland. There may have just been a few encounters. “A little interbreeding would have spread those genes far and wide,” said British anthropologist Chris Stringer at London’s Natural History Museum.

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Come on, Joe, get a grip

My favorite Constitutional law professor InstaPundit says it very well:

JOE LIEBERMAN’S TERRORIST EXPATRIATION ACT. I think this is a terrible idea. As I’ve said before, we need a bright-line distinction between citizens and noncitizens to reduce the temptation of political abuse. This blurs that distinction, which is a bad thing.

Anger and fear never form a sound foundation for messing with our Constitution.

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This is one sweet house in Riverside

14 Lake Drive

I showed this house today, the first time I’d seen it since it sold five years ago for $1.275 million. The new owner has completely redone it: new kitchen, baths, etc. and obviously poured some real money into it but is smart enough to write that off and has listed it for just $1.249. At that price, for this location, I think it’s a great deal.

It’s on what we used to call “the station pond”, reflecting the fact that the Riverside train station is just down the street. It is also in one of those nifty micro-neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone and gets along. Every Christmas Eve there’s a carol sing and bonfire (my mother used to lead it, back in the late fifties and 60’s) and the rest of the year kids play around the pond, ride their bikes around the loop and in general, have a great life.

The house is small: three bedrooms, three baths, a nice living room that extends from front to back, that new kitchen and not much else except a deck overlooking the back yard. Not perfect for a family with three teenagers, no doubt, but for a young couple looking to move into a great area at what in this town passes for an affordable price, it is ideal. Check it out, if that’s you.


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Sellers: you’re being idiotic

Dow dropped as much as 900 points today before coming back, sort of. Those of you who have rejected all-cash deals within 80% of your asking price (you know who you are, and so do I) thinking that, come summer, the market’s coming up to your level, are making a very foolish bet.

In my opinion, of course – you do what you want.


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What’s the difference between Greenwich Time and Newsweek?

About the same as that between a mammoth and a mastodon – they’re both doomed to extinction.


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Cousin Henry Fountain’s been dispatched to Houston to cover the oil spill

Not that I would expect less, but he’s got a good article in the Times explaining what they’re trying to do with the “oil dome” today.

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So what’s going on at Greenwich Time?

Winding down

L.T. arrested for statutory rape, they can cover. Domestic dispute on Buxton Lane? Yeah, they got that, with names. Michael Metter, president of WGCH and Greenwich resident arrested at dawn yesterday by the FBI and charged with all sorts of nefarious crimes related to his penny stock scam, SpongeTech? Nah – no interest. Doesn’t that strike you as curious?

I’m not going to suggest to a dying newspaper what they might want to report on, but in town populated with financial types, I’d think news of Metter’s arrest would be of more interest than a drug-addict ex-football player getting in trouble again, in New Jersey, no less, or a couple not getting along. But heck, if they could figure that out, they wouldn’t be following WGCH into the graveyard, would they?


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Back to tires for Nokia?

My first contact with Nokia was in the early 90’s, when I bought four of their snow tires for Pal Nancy’s Volvo. Great product – the Volvo went from being a helpless turtle-on-its-back in the snow to a veritable tank. Good for the Finns, thought I.

Nokia went on from there to become the most powerful cellphone manufacturer in the world and, I think, sold off the tire part of the company. They may want to buy it back, because their cellphone business reached maximum height some years ago and has been spiraling down in a death dive ever since. They spend billions on R&D and yet still have nothing that can compete with the iPhone and now, it’s too late. Looks like it’s back to tires and reindeer meat for the Finns. Too bad – good company, once.

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Connecticut Democrats solve the budget deficit

We’re going to borrow another $1 billion, “postpone” paying $ 100 million due to the already-underfunded pension fund, and cross our fingers and hope the economy recovers really, really quickly, because the 2012 budget is already projected to hold a three billion dollar deficit. Leadership at its finest.


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James Lileks is back to form

My favorite Minnesotan newspaper columnist kind of veered off track there for awhile and I stopped reading him. But thanks to InstaPundit, I see he’s back to his old brilliant self.

From the conclusion:

CNN chatterboxes later ruminated that the fellow had a hard life in the U.S. — couldn’t get a good job, had his house foreclosed on. Granted. But this has happened to many during the Great Recession, and 99.99999% don’t sit down and conclude: “Well, it’s Pakistan for fertilizer bomb training, then.” CBS News runs a headline: “Faisal Shahzad’s Motive Shrouded in Mystery,” which is like doing a story on people lining up for the iPad launch and wondering why so many nerds formed an orderly line outside a store.  It must be terribly frustrating to the jihadis: we’re completely upfront about our goals and rationales, and they still don’t take us seriously. What do we have to do?

They’ll think of something.


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Laugh or cry – your choice

Teens sent home from school for wearing American Flag T shirts – “incendiary, on Cinco de Mayo day”

The five teens were sitting at a table outside during their brunch break about 10:10 a.m. when Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez asked two boys to take off their American flag bandannas. The boys said they complied. In the same conversation, sophomore Dominic Maciel said, Rodriguez told the group to “walk with him to the office.”

Where is the ACLU?


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