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Sucking the last drops from the brown, curling husk of America

via | Wired Blogs | Bruce Sterling | "The Post-American World"
(((You think "cyberpunk is dead"? Check this baby out -- a cogent argument that AMERICA is dead.))) Link: Excerpt: Fareed Zakaria’s ‘The Post-American World’ | Newsweek International | Newsweek.com
"Look around. The world's tallest building is in Taipei, and will soon be in Dubai. Its largest publicly traded company is in Beijing. Its biggest refinery is being constructed in India. Its largest passenger airplane is built in Europe. The largest investment fund on the planet is in Abu Dhabi; the biggest movie industry is Bollywood, not Hollywood. "Once quintessentially American icons have been usurped by the natives. The largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. The largest casino is in Macao, which overtook Las Vegas in gambling revenues last year. America no longer dominates even its favorite sport, shopping. The Mall of America in Minnesota once boasted that it was the largest shopping mall in the world. Today it wouldn't make the top ten. In the most recent rankings, only two of the world's ten richest people are American. These lists are arbitrary and a bit silly, but consider that only ten years ago, the United States would have serenely topped almost every one of these categories. "These factoids reflect a seismic shift in power and attitudes. It is one that I sense when I travel around the world. In America, we are still debating the nature and extent of anti-Americanism. One side says that the problem is real and worrying and that we must woo the world back. The other says this is the inevitable price of power and that many of these countries are envious—and vaguely French—so we can safely ignore their griping. But while we argue over why they hate us, "they" have moved on, and are now far more interested in other, more dynamic parts of the globe. The world has shifted from anti-Americanism to post-Americanism...."

May 01, 2008

The terrible bullying of the Oakland schools

Oakland: When school bullies get out of hand

(04-23) 22:51 PDT Oakland -- Anthony Cataldo of Oakland first raised concerns about aggressive bullying at his son's elementary school last year after Zachary lost four teeth on the playground - but he said he received only a verbal assurance that things would change.

Cataldo said he complained again when some boys at school kicked 7-year-old Zachary in the stomach three months ago but got no response.

Now - two days after an older student slammed Zachary against a tree, fracturing his skull and sending the first-grader to intensive care - Cataldo is hiring a lawyer, and school officials are paying attention.

"This is the only way they'll listen," Cataldo said. "I'm scared for my son."

Some keyboards are incredibly filthy

BBC NEWS | UK | Keyboards 'dirtier than a toilet'

Out of 33 keyboards swabbed, four were regarded as a potential health hazard and one harboured five times more germs than one of the office's toilet seats.

Microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson said a keyboard was often "a reflection of what is in your nose and in your gut".

During the Which? tests in January this year, a microbiologist deemed one of the office's keyboards to be so dirty he ordered it to be removed, quarantined and cleaned.

Oregon high schoolers grooming their eyebrows, getting punished

Specially groomed eyebrows a headache at Oregon high school

A Portland high school is raising eyebrows with its brow grooming policy: shave 'em or go home.

Some students at Centennial High School have shaved vertical lines into their eyebrows in a trend recently made popular by hip-hop star Soulja Boy. School officials say the mark looks like a gang symbol.

Centennial administrators are telling students with the lines that they can't return to school until they shave their eyebrows off. Assistant Principal Mark Porterfield said the students are not suspended, but they are not allowed in school until they cooperate.

Four students have been sent home. One returned with a bandage covering the shaved brow.

LAPD dismisses 320 complaints of racial profiling

320 complaints of racial profiling and not one had merit, LAPD says - Los Angeles Times

Dave, this one's for you.

In 2007, the LAPD's Internal Affairs Group closed 320 investigations into allegations that officers stopped, questioned or otherwise confronted someone solely because of the person's race. Nearly 80% of the time -- 252 of the cases -- the claims were dismissed outright as "unfounded," according to an annual complaint report presented Tuesday to the civilian Police Commission. In the remaining cases, there was either insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion or no misconduct was uncovered.

"A big, fat zero," said a visibly flummoxed Commissioner John Mack, who is African American and the former president of the Los Angeles Urban League. "In my mind, there is no such thing as a perfect institution . . . I find it baffling that we have these zeros."

His disbelief, echoed by other commissioners, drew a quick response from Police Chief William J. Bratton. Unsolicited, he told the commission he would have his staff conduct a survey of other large, urban police departments, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, to back up his belief that the findings in the LAPD are similar elsewhere.