In March 2007, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson flew to Kish Island, an Iranian resort awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures.
Days later, after an arranged meeting with an admitted killer, he checked out of his hotel, slipped into a taxi and vanished. For years, the U.S. has publicly described him as a private citizen who traveled to the tiny Persian Gulf island on private business. But that was just a cover story. An Associated Press investigation reveals that Levinson was working for the CIA. In an extraordinary breach of the most basic CIA rules, a team of analysts — with no authority to run spy operations — paid Levinson to gather intelligence from some of the world's darkest corners. He vanished while investigating the Iranian government for the U.S. [more inside]
that the AP's online stylebook has recently banned the term "homophobia." AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn explained "it's just off the mark. It's ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don't have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case." Slate's Nathaniel Frank disagrees
with the decision stating that in an effort be appear neutral, the AP risks being part of the problem. James Rainey at the LA Times surveys
the arguments for and against the decision and notes that homophobia may be the right term in some situations.
Race to Nowhere
(trailer) is a documentary film by first-time director Vicki Abeles that discusses her perception that the US education system has become "obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired." [more inside]
Flash Friday: Mardek 3
is an rpg similar in style and length to the Final Fantasy or Earthbound games from the SNES days. But that's not all! [more inside]
Some of the only known aerial photos
, taken by a police helicopter, the only aircraft allowed in the Manhattan airspace during the attacks, of September the 11th have been released. [more inside]
is the chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press. Recently, he has been focusing his lens in Afghanistan. Photographer Collection: David Guttenfelder in Afghanistan
and On Assignment: Afghanistan
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall
, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun
reporter before he produced The Wire
) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber
, Dave Winer
, and the folks at Gawker disagree
, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright
. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research
to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced
it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights
"In one booklet, I come across the rather fabulous student error that the protesters at Kent State in 1970 were shot by 'the Federal Reserve.'"
In his essay "AP Diary
," Christopher Phelps shares the true story of what it's like to spend a week grading Advanced Placement exams.
The Washington Post give the Associated Press the banhammer
. It seems the A.P. doesn't like some blogs
for using its headlines and excerpts. It's fair use, but A.P. disagrees. NYTimes take
. [more inside]
Life Lock CEO's Identify Stolen
Remember all those commercials recently tell us to steal Life Lock's CEO Todd Davis' Identity? Well seems as though someone did.
Before a hill, a figure rests, his hands folded.
His face retains a unsettling demeanor of peace, or contemplation. Whatever thoughts come to his mind at this point, we shall never know, for he shall never awake from his slumber. [via
] [more inside]
Got Questions About the News? Ask AP (Associated Press)
All you have to do is "send your questions to newsquestions(at)ap.org, with "Ask AP" in the subject line. Then keep an eye out for installments of the new Q&A column, where you'll finally get some answers"... maybe... if they feel like it. Instant Analysis: No threat to Ask Metafilter.
FCC to investigate Comcast's traffic-management practices
. The AP
and the EFF
both have confirmed that they do interfere with some certain file sharing technologies. Previously
(yt) discusses A&P
Best headline ever.
The AP lets it's geek flag fly in an article about high-wire artists crossing a river in Korea. [thanks kottke]
Katrina Ushers in Return of Big Government
We have a larger govt now (people working for the govt) than we have ever had. We have now the Patriot Act, overseeing much of our activities. We have intelligence agencies doing lord knows what domestically, and security checks etc. Now we learn that Big govt is back? Where had it been before the storm?
Power Cut Shuts Down Iraq Oil Exports
ASRA, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's oil exports were shut down Monday by a power cut that darkened parts of central and southern Iraq, including the country's only functioning oil export terminals, Iraqi and foreign oil officials said.
- The United Arab Emirates is to mount robot jockeys on racing camels later this year after a ban on using children in the region's popular sport.
Life imitates parody of life. Much like last night's Daily Show segment
mocking the idea of pre-written post-debate analysis, here's the Associated Press' post-debate summary
. And not a second too soon, what with the debate not starting for another five hours or so.
AP Seeks Release of Bush Military Records
Records destroyed? Ah, the other set! ..."Records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in papers filed in federal court in New York.
Those records came from federal records clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service
, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said. ..."
Speaking of Transit Watching. I found it really interesting to see the collection of AP photos about the transit of Venus today. Apparently the compelling story is not so much the science (planets orbit the sun, got it), but the global spectacle. It's a bit of an anomaly of late, but Venus watching seems to be something the whole world peacefully agrees is a good thing. [View the viewers in
a bleak moment for beauty:
herb ritts has died. nytimes link.
"The Associated Press
, which usually does not report names of sexual assault victims, stopped identifying the girls by name after authorities said they had been raped. The AP resumed reporting Marris' name Friday after she came forward and used Brooks' name after she appeared on national television Monday." Richard Roeper
and the Los Angeles Times
cover the media decision to cover rape differently than other crimes.
"we're just two schmucks who thought something was funny."
Yet more elian/true news (like you needed more). The two playboy guys have backed down from the AP bully boys. if you are running a mirror site, send in a link to these guys and they'll link to you. With over 1,000,000 visitors in the past couple of days, it might be worth the e-mail.
Meanwhile Salon also has a run down
on the story.
Found this over at Free Advice
in regards to the Elian Gonzalez Spoof Movie:
WHAT IS "FAIR USE" WITH RESPECT TO A COPYRIGHT?
Copyrighted work may be used for certain limited purposes by people other than the owner under the doctrine of "fair use." "Fair use" includes reproduction for specific purposes such as:
criticism and comment, including parody
I beleive that the movie is protected. How else could have the South Park used the photo in last night's episode? I doubt the AP is going to go head to head with Comedy Central over the issue.
It is just easy for big companies to threaten the little people and know that they will win. What a shame.