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The War on Academic Freedom

You know the strategy by now. Hundreds of right-wing think tanks pound the media with press releases. Newspapers and cable TV stations smell a conflict — always a safe bet for increasing circulations and ratings — and bring in the “think tank” experts for interviews. They pound away, repeating the same stock phrases over and over. They'[re echoed by AM talk radio, Good Morning America, and even Jim Lehrer on…

Jokesters now the go-to guys for U.S. candidates

Kerry needed to appear on The Daily Show because the American media itself has become ridiculous and he needs the endorsement of the jokers, not political pundits. The cable news shows that Jon Stewart mocks have become absurdly partisan. The print press is going through a period of self-flagellation as newspaper after newspaper apologizes and backtracks on its initial coverage of the need to go to war with Iraq. –…

The Garden of Eden

Our genes are basically the same now, as they were a hundred thousand years ago, as evidenced from the accepted theory that the more distant surviving twigs of our family tree branched off at about that time. Thus, however much concrete or how many people I am surrounded by, in my heart and in my brain I am still a Stone Age person. And as such, I do not need…

Boring Game? Outsource It

But now, the reality of exchange rates and international income gaps has spawned a virtual version of the real-world relationship between rich and poor countries. While players in wealthier countries casually drop hundreds of dollars to buy their way into better positions in the games — or out of tedious parts of the games — some workers in poorer countries are playing around the clock to produce virtual goods that…

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Recess gets regulated

Games where kids chase each other – tag or even cops and robbers – are generally banned in Natomas Unified’s elementary schools. No grabbing or pushing is allowed. At Natomas Park, students can only toss and catch a football – tackling or blocking isn’t permitted. But the no-contact rule applies beyond the grade-school gridiron. During lunch recess one recent afternoon, yard supervisor Janice Hudson spotted a first-grader pushing a girl…

Munch Paintings Stolen From Norway Museum

Armed men stormed into an art museum Sunday, threatened staff at gunpoint and stole Edvard Munch’s famous paintings “The Scream” and “Madonna” before the eyes of stunned museum-goers. The thieves yanked the paintings off the walls of Oslo’s Munch museum and loaded them into a waiting car outside, said a witness, French radio producer Francois Castang. Police spokeswoman Hilde Walsoe said the two or three armed men threatened a museum…

You're Athletes, Not Journalists

Participants in the games may respond to written questions from reporters or participate in online chat sessions — akin to a face-to-face or telephone interview — but they may not post journals or blogs until the Games end Aug. 29. To protect lucrative broadcast contracts, athletes and other participants are also prohibited from posting any video, audio or still photos they take themselves, even after the Games, unless they get…