Thursday, May 29, 2008

Overnight - A roundup of news items that you might have missed

FCC proposes free, but censored, broadband Kevin Martin, chairman of the FCC, is proposing that the (unused) 25 Mhz spectrum be auctioned off with a catch...the winning bidder would have to agree to provide free broadband access - and filter out obscene content.

State Department withdraws Fulbright Grants from Palestinain students in Gaza Israel has isolated and choked off the Gaza Strip, and had stalled and stonewalled, refusing to grant the students the right to leave to study abroad. The United States Consulate in Jerusalem said the grant money had been “redirected” to students elsewhere out of concern that it would go to waste if the Palestinian students were forced to remain in Gaza. Students were informed by email on Thursday of the life-altering decision. “If we are talking about peace and mutual understanding, it means investing in people who will later contribute to Palestinian society,” he said. “I am against Hamas. Their acts and policies are wrong. Israel talks about a Palestinian state. But who will build that state if we can get no training?”

We suggest starting with Ann Coulter if you want to investigate an actual case of voter fraud. "Could illegal immigrants sway an election?' Eric Shawn of Fox News asked on Wednesday, raising the terrifying specter of "people who are not even citizens voting for whomever they want." He went on to ask the know-nothings that Faux Noise panders to to contact them at with their tales of voter fraud. You know the ones - the ones that the Justice Department couldn't find? Well, we do know of one case...but Brad Friedman already did the heavy lifting on this one.

Emptywheel lays out her case
that aWol personally approved the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson. If I was on the jury, I would vote to convict.

Army suicides reached an all-time high in 2007
Strained by repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers are reaching their breaking point and suiciding at the highest rate ever recorded. Thirty-two suicides, or more than one-quarter of the actual 2007 total, occurred in Iraq as President George W. Bush poured extra forces into the country in an effort to quell sectarian violence. Another four occurred in Afghanistan.

This is what cultural sensitivity and historical understanding looks like. Japan has scrapped plans to use a military jet to airlift supplies to the survivors of earthquake and will instead deliver the aid in a civilian chartered airliner. There is still a lot of lingering anger in China over the brutality Japan heaped on their neighbors during WW II. Chinese officials were concerned about a backlash among people who remember Japan's war-time militarism.

Stonehenge gives up a secret For the entirety of modern history, people have speculated about the 5000 year old monument on the Salisbury Plain. Now, a team of archaeologists have determined that it was a monument for the dead. Radiocarbon dating of human cremation remains have been isolated and verified that the monument was the centerpiece of a burial ground. "It's now clear that burials were a major component of Stonehenge in all its main stages," said Mike Parker Pearson, an archaeologist at the University of Sheffield in England.

They come with empty suitcases and leave with full ones Spurred by the weak dollar, tourists from countries with strong currencies are coming to the U.S. to shop. According to the Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the number of foreigners visiting the U.S. reached nearly 57 million in 2007, up from 41 million in 2003. Last year, they contributed $122 billion to the American economy, up from $80 billion in 2003.