Jason was a UMass student until early last year. Then, early one morning, he was in his dorm room with two white female friends when two drunk white men, John Bowes and Jonathan Bosse, began peering in the window, yelling racial slurs including multiple if not creative uses of the N word. Bowes and Bosse ultimately broke the window, continuing to yell and challenge Jason to come out and fight them. He called a friend to come support him, and Bowes and Bosse followed the friend into the dorm, continuing their racist abuse and provoking a fight. They broke Jason’s nose, and when they continued attacking him, he defended himself with a pocketknife.
There are multiple witnesses to these facts — to drunk non-students breaking a dorm room window in a racist fury at seeing a black man in a room with white women, going into a dorm they had no business in, and starting a fight. Bowes and Bosse have been reported and arrested for assaults, including explicitly racist assaults with weapons, before in other towns.
And yet, of course, in our “post-racial” society, it is Jason Vassell, minding his own business in his own dorm room until he was attacked, who has been charged with felonies that could lead to 30 years in prison. One of his attackers, meanwhile, has been charged with misdemeanors including a civil rights violation without injury — despite Jason’s broken nose — and the other has been charged with nothing.
A soap bubble! It really is a real photo of a soap bubble. I’ve been perfecting these shots for the last few months, and this is the result of lots of experimenting and refining. Probably my best bubble. Bubbles change colour depending on the film thickness. This aquamarine phase is just perfect for creating clear reflections. It’s also a gorgeous colour.
A crop of a previous bubble, with a slight adjust on ‘curves’ to take out some of the harsher reflections. You might want to compare this with my other recent blue bubble “Streaky Sky Birdtable Bubble”. This one has a simple and single reflection (from the front surface of the bubble) whereas the other one is split into two, where I think there are reflections from the front and rear surfaces of the bubble.
Can you see all the leaves under my feet?
The FBI was aware for years of “pervasive and growing” fraud in the mortgage industry that eventually contributed to America’s financial meltdown, but did not take definitive action to stop it.
“It is clear that we had good intelligence on the mortgage-fraud schemes, the corrupt attorneys, the corrupt appraisers, the insider schemes,” said a recently retired, high FBI official. Another retired top FBI official confirmed that such intelligence went back to 2002.
The problem, according to the two FBI retirees and several other current and former bureau colleagues, is that the bureau was stretched so thin that no one noticed when those lenders began packaging bad mortgages into bad securities.
“We knew that the mortgage-brokerage industry was corrupt,” the first of the retired FBI officials told the Seattle P-I. “Where we would have gotten a sense of what was really going on was the point where the mortgage was sold knowing that it was a piece of dung and it would be turned into a security. But the agents with the expertise had been diverted to counterterrorism.”
A group of six church-goers came in last night after their evening services and sat down, not in her area but in another server’s. When the girl came to greet them and take their drink order, one of them said, “We want to tell you up front that we will not be tipping you tonight because…”
Are you ready?
“…we do not believe in people working on Sunday.”
The girl was taken full-aback, stammered out something that sounded like “I wouldn’t have to work on Sunday if so many church people didn’t come in,” or some such. She was furious. So was the manager of the restaurant whom she summoned to deal with them. I think he should have tossed the people out on their…uh…Bibles. To his credit, and demonstrating something like agape all around, he did say to them, “Well, we don’t believe in making our people work for nothing, so I will be serving you tonight.” And he did. God bless him.
One day after President Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their “shameful” decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.
An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money.
Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.
Obama’s current annual salary is $400,000.
“We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer,” an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. “They don’t get it. These people are idiots. You can’t use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses.”
Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a new system that, when fully developed, would use fusion to eliminate most of the transuranic waste produced by nuclear power plants.
The invention could help combat global warming by making nuclear power cleaner and thus a more viable replacement of carbon-heavy energy sources, such as coal.
American International Group Inc., the insurer saved from collapse by government money after losses on credit-default swaps, offered about $450 million in retention pay to employees of the unit that sold the derivatives, according to two people familiar with the situation.
About 400 workers at the financial products unit may get the money in two installments, said the people, who declined to be named because details of the payments were confidential. The business was responsible for about $34 billion in writedowns since 2007 as the market value of swaps AIG sold to banks plunged amid the subprime mortgage market collapse.
“I was extremely disappointed — but not surprised — to learn that AIG will be awarding bonuses to the very division that drove the company into the ground,” said Representative Elijah Cummings, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in an e-mail. AIG shouldn’t be awarding “millions of unmerited dollars to employees while at the same time begging the U.S. government for financial life support.”
It seems that the DRM on Gears of War came with a built-in shut off date: the digital certificate for the game was only good until January 28, 2009. Now that the game fails to work unless you adjust your system’s clock, what’s Epic’s response? “We’re working on it.”
Those who pirated the game, as usual, continue to play with no issues.
For web designers, there are four keys to surviving bad economic times: do good work, charge a fair price, lower your overhead, and be sure you are communicating with your client. As a reader of 24 ways, you already do good work, so let’s focus on the rest.
Bad times are hard on overweight companies and over-leveraged start-ups, but can be kind to freelancers and small agencies. Clients who once had money to burn and big agencies to help them burn it suddenly consider the quality of work more important than the marquee value of the business card. Fancy offices and ten people at every meeting are out. A close relationship with an individual or small team that listens is in.
There may be an upside to illegal file sharing: The Institute for Information Law in the Netherlands reports that the average downloader buys more DVDs, music, and games than people who never download. Illegal downloaders represent 45 percent of consumers who purchase content legally, the institute recently reported.
The Institute estimates some 4.7 million Dutch Internet users 15 years and older downloaded hacked and pirated DVDs, games, and music in the last 12 months. This would imply a staggering 25 percent of the Dutch population (from the 2008 figure of 16.5 million) who view illegal downloading and sharing as socially acceptable, even as they’re also legally acquiring content in parallel.
If as much as 25% of the population breaks the law, it’s usually the law that’s wrong.
Here’s how I posted the previous article:
it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish W3C specs from Onion articles. <emotionml xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/2008/11/emotionml”><emotion><category set=”humaneDatabaseLabels” name=”Amusement”/><intensity value=”0.7″/></emotion></emotionml>
I start counting with 0 and often times end up with 1 less than everyone else comes up with.
A huge disappointment for pet owners, was word that iPhoto’s newest feature, Faces, wouldn’t recognize animals according to Apple employees on the show floor. We even did a few tests at Macworld Expo with images they had of the dog Luce.
Well, we are happy to say that we were able to get iPhoto to recognize Robbie’s Cat, Lola.
The high-flying execs at Citigroup caved under pressure from President Obama and decided today to abandon plans for a luxurious new $50 million corporate jet from France…
ABC News has learned that Monday officials of the Obama administration called Citigroup about the company’s new $50 million corporate jet and told execs to “fix it.”
A man who said he robbed a downtown Shreveport bank because he was out of a job and hungry has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree robbery.
Roy Brown, 54, of Audrey Lane, pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court to robbing the Capital One bank in December 2007.
Brown admitted walking up to a teller with one of his hands under his jacket and telling her it was a “stickup.” The teller handed the man three stacks of bills and he took a single $100 bill, told her he was homeless and left, police said.
Brown surrendered to police the next day, telling them his mother didn’t raise him that way.
A former executive of insurance heavyweight American International Group Inc. was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday in a fraud case that authorities say cost shareholders more than $500 million.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but there’s now evidence that Windows 7 will ship in multiple editions, following trends set by Windows XP and Windows Vista.
The latest version of Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install, according to a screenshot from PC Beta.
The five versions of Windows 7 are as follows: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate.
Start your guessing on the actual differences now…
Statistically speaking, there’s at least one person on Earth who’s a fan of Eminem and Benny Hill and Doctor Who. This video is for that freak.
The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has said that progress is being made in the international community’s battle against terror in Afghanistan – and that progress is being made by iPhones.
Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: “They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.”
Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give “credit” to God, Attenborough added: “They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”
Attenborough went further in his opposition to creationism, saying it was “terrible” when it was taught alongside evolution as an alternative perspective. “It’s like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five … Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066.”
The traveling pool of press photographers that follows presidents includes representatives from three wire services — AP (The Associated Press), AFP (Agence France-Presse) and Thomson Reuters. During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration.
From the set I picked this one – and I think it’s famous enough that you don’t need the caption to know the exact minute this picture was taken:
But we got everything done, and we’re ready for tomorrow..
A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay is so chaotic that it is impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution.
Vandeveld, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the lead prosecutor against Jawad until he asked to be relieved of his duties last year, citing a crisis of conscience. He said the case has been riddled with problems, including alleged physical and psychological abuse of Jawad by Afghan police and the U.S. military, as well as reliance on evidence that was later found to be missing, false or unreliable.
Vandeveld said in a phone interview that the “complete lack of organization” has affected nearly all cases at Guantanamo Bay. The evidence is often so disorganized, he said, “it was like a stash of documents found in a village in a raid and just put on a plane to the U.S. Not even rudimentary organization by date or name.”
He said the evidence was scattered throughout databases, in desk drawers, in vaguely labeled containers or “simply piled on the tops of desks” of departed prosecutors.
“I further discovered that most physical evidence that had been collected had either disappeared” or had been stored in unknown locations, he said.
It’ll be quiet on this weblog the coming week – I’ll be working on the Nationale Onderwijs Tentoonstelling (in short: NOT), which is the bi-annual education fair. It’ll be lots of fun, but I won’t have much time to post items here…
Vatican officials said Saturday they were disappointed by President Barack Obama’s decision to end a ban on federal funding for international groups that perform abortions or provide information on them.
Monsignor Rino Fisichella, who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, urged Obama to listen to all voices in America without “the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death.”
Look in the mirror, Rino. Your policies are deadly to women everywhere:
Nepal’s maternal mortality rate is among the highest in South Asia, in part due to the numerous deaths caused by unsafe abortion. Recognizing that the criminalization of abortion was greatly contributing to Nepal’s high maternal morbidity and mortality rates, the Nepalese Ministry of Health developed a plan to decriminalize abortion; however, the plan involved forming a coalition of NGOs to create advocacy strategies. A number of these NGOs received U.S. funds and were thus unable to participate in the Ministry’s plan without losing their funding. Even though Nepal eventually legalized abortion in a historic move in 2002, the Mexico City Policy will continue to reduce the ability of Nepalese NGOs to provide safe and legal abortion services, since U.S. funding is the largest source of foreign family planning assistance in Nepal. As a result, organizations will likely choose to continue receiving USAID funds rather than risking bankruptcy.
Another practical effect of the Mexico City Policy has been the closure of family planning clinics due to USAID’s withdrawal of funding, notably in sub-Saharan Africa. Seventeen centers in Uganda, five centers in Kenya, one outreach program serving poor communities in Ethiopia, and several clinics in Tanzania have closed for this reason. In Kenya alone, the five clinics that closed served tens of thousands of women. They provided basic services that many poor women could not otherwise afford or access, including well-baby care, pre- and post-natal obstetric care, HIV testing and counseling, and contraception. In order to avoid closing seven more health posts and one maternal nursing home when President Bush imposed the global gag rule, health care provider Marie Stopes International of Kenya laid off one-fifth of its staff, cut the remaining employees’ salaries, reorganized its clinic structure, and increased client fees. The country’s other leading reproductive health provider, the Family Planning Association of Kenya, laid off nearly one-third of its staff, raised patient fees, and cut salaries in order to keep its remaining clinics open and running without U.S. funding.
Similarly, the global gag rule has cost the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia—which runs 671 community-based reproductive health care sites, 24 youth centers, and 18 clinics—more than a half-million dollars. The Association does not provide abortion services because abortion is illegal in Ethiopia.Nevertheless, by communicating the fact that unsafe abortion was claiming the lives of Ethiopian mothers to local policymakers, the group forfeited its U.S. funding, which resulted in a loss of services to 301,054 women and 229,947 men living in urban areas. Clearly, the women and families who lost access to these resources and clinics were the true victims of the Mexico City Policy.
Interrogators are lauding President Obama for signing an executive order that will shut down secret CIA prisons and place the use of coercive interrogation techniques completely off limits.
“[The order] closes an unconscionable period in our history, in which those who knew least, professed to know most about interrogations,” said Joe Navarro, a former special agent and supervisor with the FBI.
“Some die-hards on the right – who have never interrogated anyone — are already arguing that forcing interrogations to be conducted within army field manual guidelines is a step backward and will result in ‘coddling’ dangerous terrorists,” retired Colonel Stuart Herrington, who served for more than 30 years as a military intelligence officer, said soon after the order was signed. “This is a common, but uninformed view. Experienced, well-trained, professional interrogators know that interrogation is an art. It is a battle of wits, not muscle. It is a challenge that can be accomplished within the military guidelines without resorting to brutality.”
At around 6pm on January 27 of last year, 80-year-old Isaac Singletary spotted a couple of drug dealers attempting to do business on his front lawn. It wasn’t the first time. Singletary, described by relatives as territorial and a bit crotchety, did what he’d done in the past. He grabbed his gun, and walked out on to his lawn to scare them off. Problem is, this time the men weren’t drug dealers. They were undercover Jacksonville, Florida police posing as drug dealers. They had come on to Singletary’s property to bait possible drug offenders. When he brandished his gun, the police shot Singletary four times, once in the back. He died a short time later. A subsequent investigation by Florida’s attorney general cleared the officers who shot Singletary of any wrongdoing.