Wednesday, August 15, 2007


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Education Week

Science Camp: Just for the Girls
Academic camps are on the rise across the country, including ones to getadolescent girls excited about the exploration of science.
By Sean Cavanagh


Two teenage girls amble to the front of the room and unveil their creation:a miniature tower, built with wooden sticks and duct tape, bare hands andimagination.

It's the moment of truth.

They've spent the better part of an afternoon constructing an 18-inch-tallmodel of a high-rise. In a few seconds, the same camp director whochallenged them to build it will switch on a fan to see if he can blow itdown.

For Marcia Thomas and Alexandra Cooks, like the other young women here, it'sthe sort of challenge they relish. They have gathered on a campus of theUniversity of North Texas for a summer science camp set up specifically forgirls, one of a growing number of such camps around the country.

Many of the camps are being promoted by universities like UNT andorganizations that are trying to encourage female students to develop aninterest in science and mathematics, despite pressures that, like windpushing against a makeshift tower, threaten to topple their enthusiasm.


Inside Higher Education

Aug. 15
Pessimistic Views on Academic Freedom
A greater percentage of social scientists today feel that their academicfreedom has been threatened than was the case during the McCarthy era.

That finding - from Neil Gross, an assistant professor of sociology atHarvard University - was among a series of pessimistic papers presented at aforum on academic freedom Tuesday at the annual meeting of the AmericanSociological Association.

Gross surveyed social science professors last year about whether they hadfelt that their academic freedom was threatened, and found that aboutone-third did. In 1955, Paul Lazarsfeld, the late Columbia Universityprofessor, did a similar survey and found only one-fifth of professorsfeeling affected by attacks on their academic freedom.

There are many explanations for the increase, which may not mean an increasein the likelihood of a particular social scientist facing a threat to his orher academic freedom, Gross said. For example, more faculty members may beon the extremes of the political spectrum and thus be targets. Or people maybe defining academic freedom in different ways. But regardless, he said, theone-third figure was "alarming." While attacks on academic freedom andintellectuals are nothing new in American history, he said, such attackstend to be cyclical and the evidence suggests that we are in "an up cycle"in terms of such attacks.

Gross, who has done surveys of public opinion on attitudes about academicfreedom, said that one cause for the difficulties faced by academics todayis the "disjuncture" between public and academic attitudes about academicfreedom. He noted that a survey of the public for the American Associationof University Professors last year found that solid majorities supporttenure, but that many also believe that in some cases, colleges should beable to fire professors for political views such as belonging to theCommunity Party or defending the rights of Islamic militants. Clearly, hesaid, the public doesn't understand academic freedom the way professors do.

Other speakers saw other reasons for concern about the state of academicfreedom, which the sociology association recently created a committee tostudy. Lisa Anderson, a professor of international relations at ColumbiaUniversity, said that she likes to think of herself as an optimistic person,but finds herself worried that attacks on academic freedom are getting worseand are likely to continue along those lines.


The New York Times

August 15, 2007
How New Arabic School Aroused Old Rivalries

When aides to Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein were presented last fall witha proposal for an Arabic language and culture school, they thought the ideacould be controversial. But they said they could not resist the appeal of aschool that seemed right for the times and that would be a piece of theschool system's mosaic of dual-language programs.

Those intentions ran straight into the treacherous ethnic and ideologicalpolitical currents of New York and were overwhelmed by poor planning,inadequate support for the principal and relentless criticism from somequarters of the news media, primarily The New York Post and The New YorkSun.

The founding principal of the school, known as the Khalil GibranInternational Academy, Debbie Almontaser, a Yemeni immigrant with a longpedigree in the school system, resigned on Friday under pressure afterdefending the word "intifada" as a T-shirt slogan. On Monday, the schoolschancellor hastily appointed Danielle Salzberg, an educator who is Jewishand speaks no Arabic, as the interim principal, prompting taunting tabloidheadlines like "School Bad Idea Even Before Hebrew Ha-ha."

And Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was again explaining his administration'shandling of the school. "You don't have to speak Arabic in order to run aschool," he said at an unrelated appearance yesterday in the Bronx.


The New York Times

August 15, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
After 60 Years, Will Pakistan Be Reborn?

SIXTY years ago, British India was granted independence and partitioned intoHindu-majority India and my native nation, Muslim-majority Pakistan. It wasa birth of exceptional pain.

Handed down to me through the generations is the story of my namesake, myKashmir-born great-grandfather. He was stabbed by a Muslim as he went forhis daily stroll in Lahore's Lawrence Gardens. Independence was only a fewmonths away, and the communal violence that would accompany the partitionwas beginning to simmer.

My great-grandfather was attacked because he was mistaken for a Hindu. Thiswas not surprising; as a lawyer, most of his colleagues were Hindus, as weremany of his friends. He would shelter some of their families in his homeduring the murderous riots that were to come.

But my great-grandfather was a Muslim. More than that, he was a member ofthe Muslim League, which had campaigned for the creation of Pakistan. Fromthe start, Pakistan has been prone to turning its knife upon itself.


The Washington Post

Global Warming Simplicities
By Robert J. Samuelson
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; A11

We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming isamong the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can underminegood journalism. A recent Newsweek cover story on global warming is asobering reminder. It's an object lesson on how viewing the world as "goodguys vs. bad guys" can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story.Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do aboutit.

If you missed Newsweek's story, here's the gist. A "well-coordinated,well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks andindustry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change." This"denial machine" has obstructed action against global warming and is still"running at full throttle." The story's thrust: Discredit the "denialmachine," and the country can start the serious business of fighting globalwarming. The story was a wonderful read, marred only by its beingfundamentally misleading.

The global-warming debate's great unmentionable is this: We lack thetechnology to get from here to there. Just because Arnold Schwarzeneggerwants to cut emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 doesn't mean itcan happen. At best, we might curb the growth of emissions.


The Washington Post

Gaddafi's Libya: An Ally for America?
By Benjamin R. Barber
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; A11

The Benghazi Six -- five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor condemnedto death for allegedly spreading HIV among children in a Libyan hospital --were finally released last month. The media, looking for an explanation thatgrabs credit for the West, have fixed on C├ęcilia Sarkozy, wife of the newFrench president and a late presence in the negotiations. After holding thenurses for eight years, Moammar Gaddafi was supposedly unable to resistSarkozy's come-hither eyes and allowed her to walk away with his prisoners.

But the real drama is not in Sarkozy's agile grandstanding (the French didget a lucrative arms deal) or in the protracted negotiations involvingBulgaria, the European Commission and Gaddafi's gifted son, Saif al-Islam.Rather, the release points to deep changes in the Libyan regime that beganin 2003, when Libya gave up its nuclear program voluntarily, and thatcontinue today with gradual shifts in Libyan governance, its economy andcivil society that have been largely ignored by the West.


The Washington Post

Sense on Secrecy
A court weighs government's needs and Americans' rights.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; Page A10

THE U.S. COURT of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is scheduled to hear argumentstoday on the Bush administration's attempt to halt two challenges to itswarrantless surveillance program. Here's what legal scholars expect: The SanFrancisco-based court -- a favorite liberal punching bag for the SupremeCourt -- will hand down an "anti-administration" decision that allows thecases to move forward. If that happens, government lawyers won't be able torun fast enough to urge the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.

While the politics of the matter are fairly obvious, what is in seriousdispute is how any court should balance a president's legitimate interestsin protecting national security programs with a private litigant's right tochallenge their legitimacy. At the core of these two cases is the statesecrets doctrine, which permits the White House to hold back material itclaims would damage national security if revealed. In one, AT&T Corp. isbeing sued for allegedly collaborating with the government in thewarrantless wiretapping and other surveillance programs.


The Miami Herald

Palm Beach
Posted on Wed, Aug. 15, 2007
Religious ranger gets his job back

A Palm Beach County park ranger who resigned his job in 2005 because hewanted Sundays off to go to church will get his job back and back pay,according to an agreement county officials reached Monday with the U.S.Department of Justice.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the county in federalcourt last week alleging that it had violated William J. Stewart's civilrights by forcing him to work on Sundays. The county had an obligation toaccommodate Stewart's desire to practice his religion, according to thelawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach.

Rather than continue to litigate the case, county officials agreed to offerStewart, 50, who now lives in Indiantown, his job back and pay him the$31,540 he lost in salary and interest when he resigned rather than work onSundays.

''By entering into this consent decree, the county is not admitting toreligious discrimination nor do we believe any took place,'' AssistantCounty Attorney Ernie Chasseur told county commissioners. ``However, allconcurred that under the circumstances it would be in the county's bestinterests to expeditiously settle this matter and avoid the possibility ofprolonged litigation.''

The settlement must be approved by a federal court judge.

A former telecommunications manager for the Palm Beach County Sheriff'sOffice, Stewart was hired as a part-time park ranger in May 2003 andresigned ''with deep sadness'' on Aug. 27, 2005.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Aug. 15, 2007
Concentrate on Obama's record, not his color

Sen. Barack Obama was scheduled to address the National Association of BlackJournalists, but he was late. A hum of conversation hung over thestanding-room-only crowd waiting for him in a ballroom at Bally's Las Vegas.Then, maybe 15 minutes after the appointed starting time, the would-bepresident was introduced. ''I want to apologize for being a little bitlate,'' he said. ''But you guys keep on asking whether I'm black enough'' --and here he had to pause for the roar of laughter that ensued -- ``so Ifigured I'd stroll in about 10 minutes after deadline.''

As the laughter subsided, he murmured, ``I've been holding that in my pocketfor awhile.''

I'll bet he has. And with any luck, that ''CP-time'' joke will be the lastword on the ''issue'' of his blackness.

A computer search finds 464 instances where Obama's name appears in print inconjunction with the phrase ''black enough.'' The first was in the ChicagoSun-Times in 2003 when he was preparing to run for the Senate. Writer LauraWashington recalled his loss in an earlier House race to a South Sideincumbent. ''Whispers abounded,'' she wrote, 'that Obama was `not blackenough.' ''

Washington went on to recall how her uncle, a retired black railroad worker,had seen Obama wearing ''a thousand-dollar coat'' while visiting a publichousing project. Her uncle, she said, 'dismissed him as an `elitist.' ''

And isn't that telling? A black rapper who visited that same housing projectwearing a thousand-dollar coat would be celebrated and emulated. A blackpolitician who does so is an elitist.


St. Petersburg Times

Q&A: Who pays when no-fault insurance law changes?
Rates may drop, but someone still has to pay. Drivers need to check theirpolicies now.
By JENNIFER LIBERTO and TOM ZUCCO, Times Staff Writers
Published August 15, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - After being on the books for 36 years, Florida's no-fault autoinsurance laws that require all drivers to buy personal injury protection,or PIP, are set to end.

The official expiration date is Oct. 1, but this week is pivotal.

Auto insurers must send out notices to their policyholders at least 45 daysbefore rates change, so unless the Legislature acts at the last minute,no-fault will expire.

State Farm, Florida's largest auto insurer, already has sent out one roundof notices and other carriers are doing the same. Whether insurancecompanies have guessed wrong remains to be seen. But the process is inmotion.

How could the end of no-fault affect Florida's nearly 13-million motorists?Here are some questions and answers.

What is PIP?
PIP stands for personal injury protection and is currently part of an autopolicy that covers medical coverage for all Florida drivers, no matter whois at fault. Unless lawmakers act, that mandated protection disappears onOct. 1. PIP covers the driver of the car and the passengers.

Will this take effect all at once?


The Washington Post

Gonzales to Get Power In Death Penalty Cases
Rules Would Expand Fast-Track Authority
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; A02

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, under political siege for his handlingof the U.S. attorney firings and other issues, is to get expanded powers tohasten death penalty cases under regulations being developed by the JusticeDepartment.

The rules would give Gonzales the authority to approve "fast-track"procedures by states in death penalty cases, enabling them to carry outsentences more speedily and with fewer opportunities for appeal if thosestates provide adequate representation for capital defendants.

Such powers were previously held by federal judges, but a provision of theUSA Patriot Act reauthorization bill approved by Congress last year handsthe authority to the attorney general.

Under the regulations, death row inmates would have six months, instead of ayear, to file appeals in the federal courts, and federal judges would haveless time to consider petitions in capital cases.

The proposed changes, reported yesterday by the Los Angeles Times, wouldhand new authority to Gonzales as leading Democrats and some Republicanshave called for his resignation and questioned his truthfulness. Earlierthis month, Congress gave Gonzales greater powers in overseeing thegovernment's warrantless wiretapping program.


US Life Expectancy Years Behind 40 Counties
August 13, 2007 9:40 p.m. EST
Megan Shannon - AHN News Writer

Washington (AHN) - Officials blame a lack of health care in the US for itslatest ranking in life expectancy, which placed the country behind 40 othercountries.

The US lagged behind countries like Guam, Jordan, Japan and most Europeancountries. The highest life expectancy is found in a small country in thePyrenees Mountains between France and Spain called Andorra. Japan wassecond.

Andorra's life expectancy was 83.5 years while the US has a life expectancyof 77.9 years.

Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the University of Washington Institute forHealth Metrics and Evaluation, said, "Something's wrong here when one of therichest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care,is not able to keep up with other countries."

Forty-five million Americans live without health coverage. Many othercounties, who had better life expectancies than the US, have universalhealth care coverage where everyone is insured. One of these countries isCanada. But McGill University in Montreal epidemiologist Sam Harper saidit's more than that.


August 15, 2007
Elizabeth Edwards assails Obama and Clinton

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, lambastes hisrival Barack Obama as ''holier-than-thou'' on the Iraq war and accusesHillary Rodham Clinton of failing to show leadership on health care andIraq.

As her husband trails Clinton and Obama in national polls, Elizabeth Edwardshas been an outspoken critic of his opponents. Last month, she said herhusband would be a better champion for women as president than Clinton andmore recently said, ''We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman.Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fund-raisingdollars.''

In an interview published in the August issue of The Progressive magazine,Elizabeth Edwards complained about Obama, who opposed the war when he was astate legislator in Illinois and later as a U.S. Senate candidate but hassince voted for funds for the military.

John Edwards, then a U.S. senator from North Carolina, voted in 2002 toauthorize the military invasion of Iraq. Since then he has said his vote wasa mistake. He also voted against several funding requests while in theSenate-but not all, as Elizabeth Edwards claimed in the interview.

''And honestly, the other candidates?'' Elizabeth Edwards asked. ''Obamagives a speech that's likely to be extraordinarily popular in his homedistrict, and then comes to the Senate and votes for funding.... So you aregoing to get people behaving in a holier-than-thou way. But John stood upwhen he was in the Senate for exactly the thing he's asking these people tostand up for now.''


August 15, 2007
White House criticizes Clinton ad in Iowa

The White House on Tuesday assailed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton forcriticizing President Bush in her latest television ad, calling herstatements ''outrageous.''

The 60-second spot, which began running Tuesday in Iowa, intercuts scenes ofthe candidate interacting with voters and talking about challenges facingmany working people.

''If you're a family that is struggling and you don't have health care, youare invisible to this president,'' the New York senator says in the ad. ''Ifyou're a single mom trying to find affordable child care so you can go towork, you're invisible too.

The ad also argued that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are''invisible'' to Bush.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino initially declined to commenton the ad, but then lambasted the spot and the senator.


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