Running down the press:
We’ve entered the rococo phase of headline-writing about Clark Rockefeller. More importantly, this guy is really in Deutsch now. Waste your time on the Post story if you want, but for details of the creepy murder case that may involve this weak-chinned schnook, go back to yesterday afternoon’s Post or to this morning’s mundane AP story: “LA authorities: ‘Rockefeller’ is wanted German.”
Better still, see this morning’s BBC story, “Child-snatch suspect is ‘wanted.’ “
Rielle Hunter‘s younger sister, Melissa, could not be reached Monday, but she earlier told ABC News that Hunter is “a good and honest person” who had nothing to do with tipping reporters to her secret Beverly Hills rendezvous with Edwards.
A non-story about a semi-non-story. Let yourself go, if you want. It’s slightly less unhealthy than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Daily News: ‘Fiends armed with badge of shame’
Good story from cops reporter Alison Gendar:
Accused murderer Darryl Littlejohn. Gunpoint robber Israel Suarez. Molester Darryl Rich.
Those are just some of the criminals who graduated from a bounty hunter school accused of aiding and abetting felons by putting fake NYPD and federal badges in their hands.
Students of U.S. Recovery Bureau schools paid $860 to learn how to wield a baton and subdue “fugitives” with pepper spray and cuffs.
Los Angeles Times: ‘Michael Phelps’ victory dance is innate, scientists say’
The best Olympics piece so far:
The exuberant dance of victory — arms thrust toward the sky and chest puffed out at a defeated opponent — turns out to be an instinctive trait of all primates — humans included, according to research released Monday. . . .
This display of human pride and exuberance — witnessed by millions when swimmer Phelps and teammates won the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay for the U.S. on Sunday — closely resembles the dominance displays of chimps and monkeys, which also feature outstretched arms and exaggerated postures, researchers said.
The animal world is filled with inflated displays of superiority, noted Daniel M.T. Fessler, a UCLA anthropologist not involved in the research.
Weak headline, good story that actually applies historical context to a current event. More of a reminder than a scoop. Apparently unafraid to piss off those big bad NYPD officials, Rocco Parascandola plucks this one back from the memory hole:
Largely because of videos that surfaced that sometimes differed with police accounts during those protests, the police department has paid out more than $1.6 million in damages won by those who sued the city.
At that rate, with 576 more suits pending, it could pay out $12 million more.
It’s been four summers since the convention, four summers since Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it the NYPD’s “finest hour.” Most of the 1,806 people arrested probably would disagree, and 1,555 of them have had their cases dismissed or adjourned to be dismissed later as long as they stayed out of trouble.
Via Charles V. Bagli‘s story:
But now, the Police Department’s latest security proposal entails heavy restrictions.
According to a 36-page presentation given by top-ranking police officials in recent months, the entire area would be placed within a security zone, in which only specially screened taxis, limousines and cars would be allowed through “sally ports,” or barriers staffed by police officers, constructed at each of five entry points.
Disheartening, but is anybody really surprised by this?
Even if there had never been a 9/11, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who purchased the mayoral job, would support making this gloriously disordered city a gated community. And the NYPD, the most massive and powerful police bureaucracy in the country, loves the idea of hiring more troops for these security zones.
By the way, Bloomberg adds, put out that cigarette.
New Yorker: ‘Changing Lanes’
Elizabeth Kolbert‘s piece blasts McCain for swerving away from integrity. That’s not such a big deal for any candidate, but her story’s intriguing because it defends high gas prices. An excerpt:
The impact of rising fuel prices, by contrast, has been swift and appreciable. According to the latest figures from the Federal Highway Administration, during the first five months of this year Americans drove thirty billion fewer miles than they did during the same period last year. This marks the first time in a generation that vehicle miles in this country have edged downward.
Nina Shen Rastogi‘s “Explainer” confirms that, according to Scientology officials, Chef‘s soul will be “born again into the flesh of another body.”
NY Observer: ‘What’s Doctoroff Saying to City? It’s a Secret’
Nice dig by Eliot Brown on his attempted dig for info:
The answer to those questions, it turns out, is not public information.
NY Observer: ‘Rangel on Immigration, Bad Guys’
Azi Paybarah points out a Charlie Rangel video performance in which the vet congressman does some shrewd truth-telling:
“All they want to do is arrest somebody and get on TV,” Rangel said, adding that the local economies rely heavily on the immigrants.
“They’re working against their interests,” he said. “It’s almost like a slaveholder saying, ‘Get rid of the slave, but we want them to work.”
Heather Timmons‘s story notes:
Yeah, it’s a “food chain.” Ridiculously overused metaphor, but interesting story for what it accidentally reveals about corporate jargon and, more importantly, what passes for “entry-level” jobs on Wall Street:
The jobs most affected so far are those with grueling hours, traditionally done by fresh-faced business school graduates — research associates and junior bankers on deal-making teams — paid in the low to mid six figures.
Cost-cutting in New York and London has already been brutal thus far this year, and there is more to come in the next few months. New York City financial firms expect to hand out some $18 billion less in pay and benefits this year than 2007, the largest one-year drop ever. Over all, United States banks will cut 200,000 employees by 2009, the banking consultancy Celent said in April.
B-school grads stepping into six-figure jobs. You don’t have to be a radical to note with grim humor the astounding inequity of wages on Wall Street for bullshit money-moving jobs vs. wages for the rest of us around the country who do more vital work (myself not included).
If Wall Street is smart (and recent events don’t support that), it will start pouring more money into the McCain campaign, because there’s no doubt that Barack Obama is less sympathetic to those six-figure B-school grads and more in tune with the rest of us.
Whether Obama would actually do anything about this inequity is another matter altogether, but there would be zero chance of such change under McCain.
Los Angeles Times: ‘Kuwait royal family member sentenced to death’
The story about royal drug trafficker Talal Nasser al Sabah, now sentenced to death, notes:
“The people of Kuwait are impressed with the independence of the judiciary and trust, in general, its rulings,” said Naser Sane, a Kuwaiti lawmaker. “In other Arab gulf nations, you don’t see a court sentencing in this way a member of a ruling family.”
In other words, if he’s executed, it will be a step toward democracy. Only in the Middle East — and the U.S.
Actually, the best move for this guy would be to flee to the U.S. Yes, we have the death penalty, but George W. Bush could add him to his list of pardons for the end of his term.
You can be sure that this president, despite his having been the hangingest governor in U.S. history, will have an extremely interesting list of pardons. That list probably includes convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard and a host of financiopathological miscreants.
Wall Street Journal: ‘McCain Bristles Over Russia’s “Aggression” ‘
Careful, old guy, don’t get yourself aggravated. The Journal — worth the piddling online-subscription money for its superior news stories and analyses — recognizes that McCain’s bluster, which it calls “an increasingly hard line against Russia over its military operations in Georgia,” is a ploy to separate himself from Obama by focusing on foreign policy.
But it also points out that McCain has always been a hardliner:
Monday’s tough rhetoric reflects a strategy by the McCain campaign to keep Georgia and foreign policy, which is seen as the senator’s strength, at the forefront of the debate.
Shrewd strategy. This provides an out for white voters in thrall to the Mandingo Complex but unwilling to say it aloud: They can tell themselves that it’s not a racial thing, that they really do prefer McCain because of his foreign-policy stances — ignoring his bellicose stance on the Iraq Debacle, with which they don’t agree.
They can tell themselves that McCain has much more foreign policy experience, even though most of his experience was as a prisoner of war.
White voters can’t say it’s race — that would be impolite or it would be speaking ill of themselves. (For more on that, see what I pointed out yesterday: New York magazine’s package on the color-coded campaign.)
Some of this internal thought process is conscious; some of it takes place in the subconscious. Whatever the case, this presidential race is about race. Bear with me while I remind you of this about a thousand more times before November.
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