Monday, February 05, 2007

"The Jewish School Where Half the Pupils Are Muslim": London’s Independent reports from thoroughly-Jewish King David primary in Birmingham, England, where Muslim parents fight to get their kids into the place because they so respect its ethos, and its halal-like kosher food, and they willingly learn Hebrew and celebrate Israeli independence day. Oh, the school also has a Muslim prayer room and brings in Muslim teachers during Ramadan, but otherwise, what the Muslims see is what they get, and they’re loving it.

"Where the Women Alone Choose Whom to Wed": That’s a Seattle Times hed on an AP story on one of the islands off the west African country of Guinea-Bissau (just below Senegal) where some women and men still cling to the tradition of ladies’ choice. But as westerners, especially tourists, roll in, they’ve brought western courtship traditions and, by the way, a higher divorce rate, because, the natives say, "Love comes first into the heart of the woman. Once it’s in the woman, only then can it jump into the man." "Now the world is upside-down," complained old-timer Cesar Okrane.

O.J. "Can’t Remember," Even When He’s Making Stuff Up? Leaked transcript excerpts of the ill-fated Fox TV interview that was to kick off publication of If I Did It apparently puts O.J. in the curious position of saying he couldn’t remember some details of things he, according to the book contract, was supposed to be making up in the first place. Asked whether he took off his glove before he grabbed the knife (handed to him by his accomplice, "Charlie," he said), he told interviewer Judith Regan, "You know, I had no conscious memory of doing that, but obviously I must have because they found a glove there." [Yo, O.J., you’re supposed to have "no conscious memory" of any of these things because they didn’t happen to you.]

We Report, You Decide: Are sex offenders recidivists? The NY Times isn’t helping us. Here are three successive sentences:
"Sex offenders have a lower recidivism rate of almost all serious offenders except murderers," [John Q.] La Fond [retired law professor and author] said, citing a Canadian study of nearly 24,000 sex offenders there and in the United States. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law in Stony Brook, N.Y., called the Torrance [Calif.] decision to allow [a sex offender to volunteer at a school] unacceptable. Ms. Ahearn countered Mr. La Fond’s statistics, citing Department of Justice figures that sexual offenders have the highest recidivism rate of any felons.
Just like clockwork, as news hit last week about ExxonMobil’s record-shattering profit ($40B in 2006), another report spilled out (two weeks early, as it turns out) about how they haven’t cleaned up all the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill. The last time the company broke the record for profits (in June, with half-yr profits of $18.7B), it had the courtesy to write Yr Editor a good story [NOTW 969, 9-3-2006] by continuing its Valdez court fight, resisting the Justice Dept. over continuing cleanup costs of $92M. The latest spill news isn’t quite as dramatic, though: Is 26,000 remaining gallons that bad when, according to ExxonMobil, it’s still on only 0.002 of the shore of Prince William Sound?

Below The Fold
Gastric-bypass (and associated) surgeries are increasing among all the little butterball urchins, out of fear that they’ll grow up to be morbidly obese . . . . . A Bosnian magazine reported that a nurse in the Kosevo hospital has narrowed down the possible father of her baby to no more than 20 doctors, and maybe just 15 . . . . . Awesome: Kid with a great story to tell some day, in that his mom just delivered him on the floor at the Resorts Atlantic City casino . . . . . Awesome II: Mexico’s Manuel Quiroz is looking for an official title somewhere as the habanero (red-hot chili pepper!)-eating champ, since they don’t seem to faze him, including when he squeezes the juice into his eyes . . . . . Near Round Rock, Tex., two free-lancers looking like traffic cops set up a sobriety checkpoint, but it appears that they were just trying to help . . . . . Yr Editor has seen stories of desperate individuals trying to extract methamphetamine from their own urine, but here was a whole lab, having somehow acquired fifty gallon-sized jugs of it . . . . . And here’s biology grad student Rebecca O’Flaherty, beholding the vastly underrated maggot, with which she’s so fascinated that she does maggot art.