Predicting Flu With the Aid of (George) Washington

The best way to track the spread of swine flu across the United States in the coming weeks may be to imagine it riding a dollar bill. The routes taken by millions of them are at the core of a computer model at Northwestern University that is predicting the epidemic’s future. Reassuringly, it foresees only about 2,000 cases by the end of this month, mostly in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston.” (New York Times )

Related:

Specter’s Plan to Rein In the Presidency

Arlen Specter

“The current issue of the New York Review of Books includes an article by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican Democrat of Pennsylvania, called “The Need to Roll Back Presidential Power Grabs,” which suggests that Mr. Specter has not switched parties with the intention of simply serving as a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama.

Finding Mr. Specter’s byline in the left-leaning Review would seem to underscore that, as he said in his official statement on Tuesday, his “political philosophy” is now “more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” But the article itself makes clear that the newest Democrat hopes to use his position to rein in the power of the presidency.

In it, Mr. Specter makes the case that “since September 11, the United States has witnessed one of the greatest expansions of executive authority in its history, at the expense of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.”

He then lays out an ambitious effort to roll back those powers, in words that indeed seem more natural coming from a senator of the majority party, rather than one in the minority…” via The Lede Blog – NYTimes.

Annals of Depravity

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 19:...
The Sheikh with Tony Blair.

“Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan is now under investigation in the United Arab Emirates after the shocking tape showed him beating a man with a nailed plank, setting him on fire, attacking him with a cattle prod and running him over.

But now lawyers for American businessman Bassam Nabulsi, who smuggled the tape out of the UAE, have written to the justice minister of Abu Dhabi – the most powerful of the emirates that make up the UAE – claiming to have considerably more evidence against Issa.

“I have more than two hours of video footage showing Sheikh Issa’s involvement in the torture of more than 25 people,” wrote Texas-based lawyer Anthony Buzbee in a letter obtained by the Observer.” (The Observer [via boing boing]).

Related: