Thursday, January 17, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 17, 2008

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Instant Boot-Up

A Silicon Valley startup bypasses Windows to start computers faster, gettingpeople online in seconds.

By Kate Greene
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Many office workers have the same morning routine: turn on the computer,then grab coffee, catch up with coworkers, or look at paperwork whileWindows boots up. Others save time, but waste energy, by keeping theirmachines on all the time.

Now Device VM, a startup based in Silicon Valley, has a product thatcircumvents the everlasting boot-up. The company has recently released atiny piece of software that, when integrated with common computer hardware,gives users the option to boot either Windows or a faster, less-complexoperating system called Splashtop. Depending on the hardware and Splashtopsettings, a person using the software--which is based on the open-sourceoperating system Linux--can start surfing the Web or watching a DVD in lessthan 20 seconds, and, in some cases, in less than five.

DeviceVM has formed partnerships with several hardware manufacturers, andSplashtop is already available on hardware from Asus, a manufacturer ofmotherboards, the main circuit boards inside computers. Within the nextcouple of months, desktops and laptops with Splashtop-enabled hardware willbe available to consumers, says David Speiser, director of businessdevelopment at DeviceVM.

Lengthy boot-ups on Windows machines occur for a number of reasons, explainsBen Chong, senior architect at DeviceVM. "First of all," he says, "Windowsis pretty big." This means that it has megabytes of instructions tofollow--from opening up applications to checking what's in memory. Mostcomputers also come with extra software that Windows automatically loads atstartup. "In many cases, Windows PC comes with a whole bunch of stuff youdon't need," Chong says. "Starting all of the programs takes a lot of time."(Microsoft wasn't able to comment on Windows' startup times before thisarticle went up.)



Inside Higher Education

Global Warming 'Teach-In'

Jan. 17

At colleges, support for the green movement tends to come in the form ofconstruction, pledges, investments and the like. Starting this month, youcan add to that list "teach-ins."

As part of a national effort to promote environmental activism on campus,professors at more than 1,100 colleges have agreed to discuss issuesrelating to global warming in their classes on January 31 or take part inpanels running throughout the day.

Focus the Nation, a project of the nonprofit Green House Network, is beingorganized on the macro level by a handful of recent college graduates withthe help of professors and students who plan events on their campus. Theinitiative is based on the work of an economics professor at Lewis & ClarkCollege.

At most participating campuses, pledges are coming from many professors - insome cases 50 or more - who are planning to modify their lectures, createshorter presentations or attend the panel discussions. Rather than planningevening rallies, professors are being asked to do the teaching duringregular class hours.

"The concept is we don't want these events to preach to the choir - thepeople who would normally spend hours talking about global warming," saidAlex Tinker, a spokesman for the initiative. "We're looking to get to thecritical mass of students who aren't aware of the depth of the problem, andare just going to class that day."

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Miami Herald

Lieberman, GOP seek out Jewish vote

Posted on Thu, Jan. 17, 2008

Joe Lieberman, the one-time Democrat who narrowly lost the vice presidency,stumped in South Florida for a Republican presidential candidate Wednesdayevening, putting his former party on alert: The GOP is after the Jewishvote.

Lieberman told about 200 Republican Jewish activists that he's backing JohnMcCain because his fellow senator and Iraq War hawk best understands thenature of the radical Islamic threat faced by ''our ally Israel'' -- whilemuch of the Democratic Party has forsaken Israel.

''The Democratic Party, I believe, respectfully, has left the strongestroots of its foreign policy and national security,'' Lieberman said, addingthat McCain ``has always believed that Israel is our natural ally, from thebeginning of its modern existence to this day in the war against Islamicextremists and terrorists.''

The high-profile endorsement and comments -- mirroring Republican attacks onDemocrats since 9/11 -- are a public-relations coup for McCain, as well asfor the longstanding Republican campaign for the Jewish vote. Historically,when 20 percent of the Jewish vote has gone to a Republican, it has helpedseal a GOP White House win.

While Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic on social issues year after year,the Republican presidential candidates this year have gone to great lengthsto out-Israel each other -- with an array of tactics including using Israelinewspaper e-mail lists, traveling to Israel and addressing myriad Jewishgroups.

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The New York Times

Editorial: Don't Tie the Next President's Hands

January 17, 2008

President Bush is discussing a new agreement with Baghdad that would governthe deployment of American troops in Iraq. With so many Americans adamantabout bringing our forces home as soon as possible, a sentiment we stronglyshare, Mr. Bush must not be allowed to tie the hands of his successor andensure the country's continued involvement in an open-ended war.

Given what's at stake in Iraq in terms of American and Iraqi lives lost,national treasure and broad national security interests, the negotiations onany new agreement must be fully transparent - which they are not. Thenational debate must be vigorous and thoughtful, and then Congress must voteon whatever deal results.

The White House and the Iraqi government decided in December to pursue thepact as a way to define long-term relations between the two countries,including the legal status of American military forces in Iraq. Theostensible goal is a more durable political, economic and securityrelationship than is possible under a United Nations resolution, the currentinternational legal basis for the American military presence in Iraq.

Iraqi officials, increasingly unhappy with restrictions on sovereigntybecause of the presence of 160,000 foreign troops, have said that they won'textend the United Nations mandate beyond this year. A Washington-Baghdaddeal would have to take its place for the troops to stay.

Formal negotiations won't start until February and few details are known,but already the two sides are laying down markers. The Iraqi defenseminister, Abdul Qadir - apparently tone-deaf to the American politicaldebate - told The Times's Thom Shanker that his nation would not be able totake full responsibility for its internal security until 2012 or be able todefend its own borders from external threat at least until 2018.

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The New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: A Center Called McCain

January 17, 2008

Nobody's been right all the time on Iraq, but Senator John McCain has beenless wrong than most. He knew a bungled war when he saw one and pressedearly for increased force levels. He backed the injection last year of some30,000 troops, a surge that has produced results.

Modest results, yes, and violence has blipped upward again this month, and,yes, Iraqi political progress is slow. But progress is always slow when apopulation terrorized over decades is freed. Violent attacks were down 60percent in December from their 2007 high and refugees have begun to go home.

A trickle homeward, yes, a speck in the ocean of 2.2 million Iraqis forcedinto exile, but tens of thousands of people don't return unless they seehope. That's why more than 4 million Afghans have gone home since theTaliban's fall.

Yes, I know, the myriad Iraqi dead won't return.

McCain was politically dead six months ago, his campaign undone by hisbacking of President Bush's Iraq policy. His remarkable resurgence, whichhas put him in the lead among Republican candidates, according to recentpolls, is one measure of the Iraq shift.

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The New York Times

Editorial: Race and Politics

January 17, 2008

After watching the subject of race intrude on the primaries last week, andbecome even more prominent this week, we were relieved that Senators HillaryRodham Clinton and Barack Obama called a truce Tuesday night.

The last thing Americans need is a loony debate over whether it is moreimportant to choose the first woman or the first African-American nomineefor president. That threatens to alienate voters more than they are alreadyand obscures the fact that an American party actually managed to create thatchoice.

The presence of Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should have made talk of race orgender academic. But Mr. Obama seized the mantle of change and upset Mrs.Clinton in Iowa in part by drawing away her support among women. By the timethe campaigns got to New Hampshire, the Clinton team was panicking. Mrs.Clinton had to win or risk being out of the primaries entirely.

It was clearly her side that first stoked the race and gender issue. Mrs.Clinton mentioned in a debate in New Hampshire that a woman president wouldbe a change for America. It was an offhand comment, and obviously true. Butthe next day, at events we attended, Mrs. Clinton's surrogates were pushinghard the line that a woman president would be "the real" change.

Mrs. Clinton followed up with her strange references to the Rev. Dr. MartinLuther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson - and no matter how many timesshe tried to reframe the quote, the feeling hung in the air that she wasdenigrating America's most revered black leader.

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The New York Times

Editorial: Good Decision on Tribal Casinos

January 17, 2008

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne made exactly the right call when herecently denied permission to 11 Indian tribes around the country to acquiremore land in order to build casinos.

His decision was unpopular with the tribes and their friends in government.They complained that Mr. Kempthorne had robbed the tribes of income. But thesecretary's reasoning was sound, not least because the casinos would behundreds (and in two cases more than a thousand) miles from tribalreservations and thus of little benefit to tribal residents.

Under the law, tribes cannot acquire new land unless the Interior Departmentfirst gives the land federal trust status. This, Mr. Kempthorne, who haslong been opposed to Indian casinos on nonreservation lands, refused to do.

Two of the losers were tribes that had hoped to build casinos in New York'sCatskill Mountains and bring prosperity to a depressed area. This page isall for bringing prosperity to the Catskills, but not on the backs ofgamblers. And one of the suitors - the Stockbridge Munsee tribe - wasludicrously far away. Its reservation is north of Green Bay, Wis. The otherCatskills applicant was the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, located near Massena, onthe Canadian border.

Mr. Kempthorne also sensed, correctly, that granting the tribes' requestswould undermine the spirit of the law. Washington started putting land intrust for tribes during the 1930s as a way of increasing tribal unity andpreventing reservations from being sold off. These applications seemed tohave more to do with money than tribal cohesiveness.


The New York Times

Race Bait

January 16, 2008, 6:55 pm

SEATTLE - On the West Coast, we are the deepest of blue state America. Wehave ditched our badges of tribal politics for a post-racial era. We canbreak the padlocks of prejudice, and why not?

That's what we tell ourselves.

But recent experience shows that campaigning with color is fraught withperil - even in the most liberal of precincts. As Senator Barack Obama maysoon find out, it's O.K. to make history, to allow people to feel good whilemaking history, to be an abstraction. But it's quite another to be "theblack guy."

For a while, it looked like Obama could be the rare African-American leaderwhose race was nearly invisible - and he may still be. He's post-CivilRights, Oprah-branded, with that classically American blend of a mother fromthe heartland and a father from a distant shore.

And after that Iowa victory speech, people felt something had passed intoour collective rear-view mirror, without actually saying what that somethingwas.

Now it looks like every mention of race - from the overblown dust-up withSenator Hillary Clinton this week to the calculated comments comparing himto Sidney Poitier - is bad for Obama. A victory in South Carolina, with itsheavy black vote, will be seen as one-dimensional.

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The New York Times

$300 to Learn Risk of Prostate Cancer

January 17, 2008

A combination of common and minor variations in five regions of DNA can helppredict a man's risk of getting prostate cancer, researchers reportedWednesday.

A company formed by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicineis expected to make the test available in a few months, said KarenRichardson, a Wake Forest spokeswoman. It should cost less than $300.

This is, some medical experts say, a first taste of what is expected to be arevolution in medical prognostication. The results, they agree, are clear.But the question is what happens next. And will patients be helped orharmed? Because the new test - which will analyze DNA in blood or salivasamples and is to be offered by ProActive Genetics - cannot predict whichmen will get aggressive cancers, it could lead to more screening andunnecessary surgery and complications. But, proponents say, it could alsohelp men decide whether they want aggressive screening in the first place.

The researchers found that about 90 percent of the men in the study had oneor more of the gene variants and more than half had two or more. The cancerrisk increased as the number of variants rose and increased substantiallywhen men had four or five of the variants.

Men with four or five variants made up only 2 percent of the studypopulation but had a 4.5-fold increased risk of having prostate cancercompared with men who had none of the variants. If the men also had a familyhistory of prostate cancer, their risk was nearly 10 times higher than thatof men with none of those risk factors. Less than 1 percent of thepopulation had all the variants and a family history.

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The New York Times

Bush Allows Navy to Continue Sonar Use

Filed at 7:48 a.m. ET
January 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Conservationists vowed to return to court to challengePresident Bush's decision to let the Navy continue using high-power sonar inits training off Southern California, a practice they say harms whales andother marine mammals.

The president's decision to exempt the Navy from an environmental law willnot by itself allow the anti-submarine warfare training to go forward,because an injunction remains in place. But the Navy believes it willsignificantly strengthen its argument in court.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in SanFrancisco had been expected to rule on the future of the Navy exercises onFriday. But after Bush's decision, the appeals court on Wednesday sent theissue back to the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to consider.

Scientists say loud sonar can damage marine mammal brains and ears. It mayalso mask the echoes some whales and dolphins listen for when they use theirown natural sonar to locate food.

But much is still unknown about how sonar affects whales and other marinemammals. For example, the sound can hurt some species while not affectingothers, and experts don't fully understand why.

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The New York Times

Pakistan Fort Overrun by Militants

January 17, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Hundreds of Islamic militants attacked a paramilitaryfort in Sararogha, in the restive South Waziristan tribal region innorth-west Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 22 soldiers and taking severalothers hostage in a nearly six-hour battle, government intelligence agencyofficials and local officials said Wednesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were notauthorized to discuss the attack, said that 600 to 700 militants hadattacked the Sararogha fort, firing rockets and mortars in a region wherelocal and foreign militants have battled the Pakistani military.

Fifteen soldiers belonging to the South Waziristan Scouts, an officialparamilitary militia, died in the battle, one intelligence official said.

Another local official said that the militants later beheaded at least sevenother soldiers.

A spokesman for Tehreek-i-Taliban, an Islamic group that is sympathetic tothe Taliban, said that it had carried out the attack and that it had killed16 soldiers and captured 24, and that only two militants had been killed.

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The Obama of 'Dreams'

By David Ignatius
Thursday, January 17, 2008; A23

The promise of Barack Obama's presidential campaign was that it wouldtranscend the old racial and ideological categories of American politics.Obama was sometimes described as "post-racial" or "the Tiger Woods ofpolitics" -- someone who defied the usual dividing lines and, in that sense,would be a healer and a uniter.

The past week has illustrated that race is still a campaign issue. The flapabout what the Clintons meant in their comments about Martin Luther King Jr.or an Obama "fairy tale" on Iraq is overdone, but the deeper question ofObama's racial identity is not. He is the first African American with achance to win the presidency, and many blacks -- after initially holding himat a distance -- are now treating him as a symbol of racial pride andidentity. Amid this heightened sensitivity, the jostling that's normal in apolitical campaign is taken as a sign of disrespect.

Fortunately, we have Obama to help disentangle the racial threads. I don'tmean the candidate we see on the stump -- it's too late in the campaign forthat -- but the one who wrote the book. Obama's first memoir, "Dreams FromMy Father," is one of the best political autobiographies I've read, and itdeserves to be a modern classic on the subject of the moment -- race andidentity.

Much of Obama's book is about his own search to understand his life as amixed-race child of an African father and a white Kansan mother. Hedescribes his early teenage struggles in "trying to raise myself to be ablack man in America," shooting pool in the red-light district of Honoluluor learning to trash-talk on the basketball court. "I was living out acaricature of black male adolescence, itself a caricature of swaggeringAmerican manhood," he writes.

The book is cited these days because of Obama's frank discussion of his useof drugs in the years when he was dealing with the absence of his father andhis uncertain identity: "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: Thefinal, fatal role of the young, would-be black man." He was spared, hewrites, in part because of a sense of guilt: "Slipped it into your babyfood," his mother told him.

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A Tale of Abuse
Was Jose Padilla, an American arrested in the United States, subjected toillegal torture? Congress should find out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008; A22

JOSE PADILLA, the onetime alleged dirty-bomb plotter, this month sued JohnYoo, the onetime Bush legal adviser who played a key role in crafting theso-called torture memos. The lawsuit is of dubious legal merit, but itcontains allegations that ought to grab Congress's attention.

Mr. Padilla, a U.S. citizen, claims his constitutional rights were violatedbecause he was held as an enemy combatant for almost four years. He alsoclaims in the lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco federal court, that he wassubjected to acts that amount to torture. These include extended periods ofsolitary confinement, disorienting sleep and sensory deprivation, "extremeand deliberate variations" in temperature, "loud noises at all hours of thenight," "markedly uncomfortable and painful (or 'stress') positions,""noxious fumes that caused pain and discomfort to his eyes and nose,"threats of severe physical injury and death, and "psychotropic drugs." Mr.Padilla also claims that he was prevented from bathing for weeks at a timeand was forcibly "groomed."

Mr. Padilla asserts that Mr. Yoo, a former lawyer in the JusticeDepartment's Office of Legal Counsel and now a law professor at theUniversity of California at Berkeley, should be held personally responsiblebecause he provided the legal and policy guidance that allowed the allegedabuse; Mr. Padilla filed a similar lawsuit against former defense secretaryDonald H. Rumsfeld, among others. Mr. Padilla's legal contention isfar-fetched. A federal appeals court ruled that he was legally detained. Mr.Yoo's memo was breathtakingly broad and, we believe, wrong because it gavetoo little consideration to constitutional and statutory provisions thatshould have been a check on the president's power. The Justice Departmentultimately repudiated it. But Mr. Yoo is almost certainly entitled toimmunity from personal liability because he was acting in his professionalcapacity in advising the executive. Unless Mr. Padilla is able to prove thatMr. Yoo was either incompetent or acted in knowing violation of the law, thelawsuit should be dismissed. Allowing the lawsuit to go forward could alsohave a chilling effect on administration lawyers who may fear being heldindividually liable for giving candid advice.

Nonetheless, lawmakers should examine Mr. Padilla's allegations. Mr. Padillawas convicted last summer of conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap and ofproviding material support for terrorism; his claims may be wildlyexaggerated. But there is no way to know without a thorough examination;given the sad administration record of the past six years, the allegationsare not incredible. Congress has launched an investigation of thedestruction of CIA tapes that allegedly depicted two al-Qaeda suspectsundergoing harsh interrogation. Lawmakers have an even greater interest indetermining whether a U.S. citizen was tortured on U.S. soil and, if Mr.Padilla is telling the truth, in ensuring that it never happens again.


Washington Post

O.J. Simpson leaves jail after judge's lecture

By Rick Wilking
Thursday, January 17, 2008; 2:50 AM

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson was freed from a Las Vegas jail onWednesday evening, after spending five nights behind bars for trying tocontact a defendant in an armed-robbery case that could send him to prisonfor life.

The former football star posted the $250,000 bail that had been imposedearlier in the day by an angry judge, and was driven off in a whiteMercedes-Benz amid tight security at the Clark County Detention Center. Hewas dressed in the same clothes he had been wearing when he was arrested.

Simpson, famously acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, has beencharged with leading a robbery last year to get back his own sportsmemorabilia.

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass, scolding him for arroganceor ignorance, doubled Simpson's bail and told him to put his Florida home upas additional surety.

Glass ruled Simpson, 60, had violated the terms of bail set in November at$125,000 when he left a profanity laced telephone message for one of hisco-defendants with his bail bondsman.

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The Washington Post

Runner Wears Uniform That Caused DQ
Kelly Sets Personal Records At the DCIAA Invitational

By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2008; E08

Juashaunna Kelly, the Theodore Roosevelt High School senior track star whowas disqualified from Saturday's Montgomery Invitational for wearing anoncompliant uniform, wore the same unitard yesterday and set three personalrecords at the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association Invitational at thePrince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.

Kelly, a devout Muslim, has worn the same uniform for two years, a singlepiece of spandex that includes a hood and covers her torso, arms and legs inaccordance with her religious beliefs.

The left arm of the uniform is blue, the right is orange and the hood issimilarly split between those colors. That design, officials at theMontgomery Invitational said, violated a rule of the National Federation ofState High School Associations, which sanctioned the event, by not being "asingle-solid color and unadorned, except for a single school name orinsignia no more than 2 1/4 inches."

DCIAA Executive Director Allen Chin, who was present at yesterday's meet,said: "She's been allowed to run in our meets for the past two years withthat. It is a solid color; there's just one solid color on one arm and adifferent one on the other arm."

Kelly said she brought a long-sleeve white T-shirt yesterday (she didn'tbring one last Saturday) in case meet officials demanded she change. Shesaid she was told, however, that because her uniform matched Roosevelt'sschool colors, she could stay in her original uniform.

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