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LA streets safe from federal agents

Jan. 14

In a ludicrous case of apparent mistaken identity, the Los Angeles police briefly arrested and apparently roughed-up two Immigration and Naturalization Service agents working undercover on a stakeout, according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

Details of the incident have not been released (and the LAPD ain’t talking), but one of the INS agents was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the altercation. It’s just one more humiliating incident for the LAPD, which yesterday suspended another four officers in an ongoing corruption probe into its anti-gang task force.…


Profiling goes to school

Jan. 13

Can teachers identify potential Columbine-style “classroom avengers” before they snap? Some schools have begun to use psychological profiling to keep tabs on possible loose cannons, reports the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Civil-rights advocates, however, worry that the system may unfairly stigmatize students and punish them for the movies they watch, the books they read, or even what they write in class.

One profiling software program currently being tested in Los Angeles ranks students on a scale of one to 10 as potential “safety risks.” (Used to be kids were “at-risk.” Now they are a risk.) But according to Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg, “Research shows that it is virtually impossible to identify which kids are going to commit violent acts without mistakenly pointing to kids who aren’t.”


The myth of poverty?

Jan. 12

It’s important to keep tabs on what the enemy is saying, especially when his boss is running for president. That’s the only reason we happened upon this gem of a column by Peter Huber in the current issue of FORBES magazine.

Writes Huber (astonished italics ours): “The problem of poverty has been solved. … It’s still possible to go to bed hungry in America, but those who do lack mental capacity or social aptitude, not access to food. … Compassionate and exasperated in equal measure, big-city mayors now enlist the police to force warm beds upon [the homeless]. … Obesity is the disease of the relatively poor; only the rich, it seems, can afford not to gorge. An excess of outlandish television has created the new poverty of imagination and intellect; only the rich read books.”

What more could we possibly add?


Making the rent the hard way

Jan. 11

Charles John Swanson found himself a solution to the problem of “high-income poverty” in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, it might cost him up to 25 years in prison, the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports.

Swanson, a 71-year-old retired pharmacist, was arrested Saturday after allegedly robbing a Wells Fargo Bank in Woodside, Calif. and holding hostages at gunpoint. He also admitted robbing another Wells Fargo branch in Palo Alto in October, police said. Swanson told police he needed the money to make ends meet because of the soaring cost of living Palo Alto.

“He’s on a fixed income, and it didn’t even rise to the level of his rent,” Palo Alto Police Detective Mike Denson said.

In the Oak Creek Apartments, where Swanson lives, rent for a two-bedroom starts at $1,995 per month and can reach as high as $3,100. Residents say the rent for the complex is constantly being raised, forcing many families to move to other locations.…


Coming soon: Dan “Coca-Cola” Rather

Jan. 10

Adam Clayton Powell III of the Freedom Forum’s FREE magazine reveals a scary trend in network news — the use of digital technologies to cram yet more advertising not only between, but right into news segments. CBS, for one, superimposed digital “billboards” pitching the network’s shows over the real billboards in the Times Square background to Dan Rather’s live New Year’s Eve coverage.

CBS News has a policy banning the digital alteration of news footage because of the potential to mislead viewers, but apparently the policy didn’t cover this new technology. While the network says it will not sell this kind of advertising to outside interests, the possibility makes some media watchers nervous.

One CBS spokesperson defended the practice thusly: “Times Square is full of billboards.” Oh, well in that case ……



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