Justice Dept readies national informant system: “Everywhere in America, a concerned worker can call a toll-free number and be connected directly to a hotline routing calls to the proper law enforcement agency or other responder organizations when appropriate.” When this operation is up and running, the US will have more potential informants than East Germany’s Stasi did at the height of its power.
Israeli military releases another baby photo: I missed my chance to blink to the first one, but I won’t repeat the same mistake twice! Of course, that one was “just a joke”, acording to the family of the infant. CNN
Beware Bush’s summer charm offensive: ‘The American administration has rethought missile defence and plans a fresh drive to sell a new system to “protect friends and allies”. Will this win the critics over?’ Guardian UK
“Humans possess a gene which acts as a defence against infection by HIV, scientists have found.” The gene, CEM15, can stop the HIV virus from replicating if it is not interfered with by a protein, Vif, produced by the virus. This suggests new strategies — either finding the gene product of CEM15, which the article does not hint at, and replicating its function, or finding a way to inactivate Vif’s inactivation of the CEM15 gene — to fight HIV infection.
Christopher Hitchens writes:
‘…(T)he existence of a vast pedophile ring in the United States in the twenty-first century is something more than an affront to “family values.” And the fact that this ring is operated by named and senior churchmen, who continue to hold high office and to officiate at Sunday ceremonies, is something more than an outrage. Alleged “cultists” in Waco, Texas, who were only suspected of maltreating children inside their compound, were immolated by a bombardment of federal fire. The admitted and confessed enablers and protectors of rapists and child abusers are invited, at the most, only to resign their high offices.’ Free Inquiry
A teetotaler’s guide to social drinking: ‘Giving up alcohol can be addictive. It starts in the most innocuous way. You merely want to lose some weight, or perhaps to gain some health, and you decide to stop drinking, just for a week or so. Before you know it, you are hooked on the regular rushes of well-being brought on by abstinence. You are seduced by your improved appearance, or you crave yet another full night’s sleep, uninterrupted by the nonspecific anxiety that used to wake you at four in the morning. Above all, there is the novelty of having mental clarity by day. You cannot imagine life without it.
The only trouble is that you remember all too well how irritating you used to find it during your own drinking days when some killjoy said, “Not for me, thanks—I’m on mineral water.” Drinkers mind if one among them is not drinking. Like death, drink is a great leveler. Sobriety immediately introduces a hierarchy. ‘ The Atlantic
“A crop of new books assesses why our collective hopes for marital bliss have soured and what might be done about it. Viewed together, they reflect a surprising consensus that has emerged of late between liberals and conservatives over the virtues of, if not the road to, holy matrimony. It’s a consensus that’s been largely overshadowed by recent partisan debates over whether the government should be getting involved in such private decisions as to whether poor people ought to get married. But this new development represents something of a détente in the 30-year culture war over gender roles, family values, and the meaning of tying the knot.” Washington Monthly