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Monday, June 04, 2007

News of Interest 6/4/07

Somebody's Watching You
"Cop Watch LA is no longer relying on mere coincidence to capture images of police misbehavior. Dressed in black and red Cop Watch T shirts, the young members are motivated and vigilant — telling their own stories of victimization at the hands of police. When many young adults are often sleeping in during the weekends, they are often getting up before 7 a.m. to patrol downtown LA in an effort, Austin says, to keep police from harassing the homeless population."
Activists Don't Always Want Celebrity Help For Their Causes
"Simon Teune, an academic who studies protest movements at the Berlin Studies Center, says a survey of several campaigns shows that 'the original objectives of civic movements get watered down whenever celebrities come on board.' The faces tend to package their social criticism in a generalized way and to drop the radical edge. 'They say they are against poverty. So what? Do you know anyone who is in favor of poverty?' he said. The celebrities focus on phenomena that can readily be portrayed as scandalous, but do not point any finger at the political and social causes of the crises, he said. 'That is why a majority of the critics of the G8 are not too rapt about all the celebrities jumping in to lend their support,' Teune explained."
These days a good butler is hard to find
"his crisis might bring scoffs of mock sympathy from commoners. But it is causing anxiety from estates in the Hamptons to the ocean-side mansions of Malibu. There's a butler shortage. 'If we doubled the number of butlers, they wouldn't be without work,' said Charles MacPherson, vice chairman of the International Guild of Professional Butlers and president of a top household consulting company who also is an instructor at International Butler Academy in the Netherlands."
Median pay for Arizona CEOs in '06: $1.09 million
"Many Arizona chief executive officers collected an armload of goodies last year, and several took home grand prizes. Amid a benign economy and strong stock market, companies reported median CEO and chairman compensation of $1.09 million, according to an analysis of pay packages at 57 public firms by The Arizona Republic. That was down slightly from $1.11 million in 2005 but well ahead of median totals of $679,000 in 2004 and $629,000 in 2003. "
Vt. secession movement gains traction
"Disillusioned by what they call an empire about to fall, a small cadre of writers and academics hopes to put the question before citizens in March. Eventually, they want to persuade state lawmakers to declare independence, returning Vermont to the status it held from 1777 to 1791."
Japanese policeman stabs self to avoid work
"The plight of overworked Japanese employees was highlighted over the weekend when it emerged that a policeman had stabbed himself in the stomach and tried to make it look like an assault so that he could take time off work."
Are crimes in virtual reality subject to real laws?
"Earlier this year, one animated character in Second Life, a popular online fantasy world, allegedly raped another character. Some Internet bloggers dismissed the simulated attack as nothing more than digital fiction. But police in Belgium, according to newspapers there, opened an investigation into whether a crime had been committed. No one has yet been charged. Then last month, authorities in Germany announced that they were looking into a separate incident involving virtual abuse in Second Life after receiving pictures of an animated child character engaging in simulated sex with an animated adult figure. Though both characters were created by adults, the activity could run afoul of German laws against child pornography, prosecutors said. "



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