Friday, January 18, 2008

Stroke On Newark

Secret Service: Detailed Look at '06 Turmoil - It's June 16, 2006. Steve Howards, a 55 year old environmental consultant, is visiting a shopping mall in Beaver Creek, Colorado with his seven year old son. Howards notices a commotion, spots Darth Cheney at its center, approaches, maybe taps Darth on the shoulder, tells Darth his policy in Iraq is disgusting and walks away. Ten minutes later the Secret Service arrests Howards for assault and deposit him in jail. When it's time to prosecute the five T-men turn into the 5 stooges, with conflicting stories about who said what when in the period between the incident and the arrest. Two of the agents claim that a third encouraged them to file a false report to justify the arrest. Howards is initially charged with harassment, not assault. Ultimately all charges are dropped and Howards sues the Secret Service agents, claiming civil rights and free speech violations.

There is absolutely no chance the Secret Service watched anyone assault Darth and let him walk away. If they did, the agents should be dismissed immediately. Not for the phony arrest or cover-up but for the most basic of failures - they did not protect the Vice President of the United States. So, if the 55 year old environmental consultant shopping with his seven year old son didn't assault Darth, what happened?

The T-men are giving conflicting testimony, but the one person who is saying absolutely nothing is Darth. Picture Darth after this incident. He's just been interrupted in the middle of an otherwise pleasant interaction with the loyal public. He's surprised, taken aback and, after a few minutes, angry. He growls quietly to Agent Reichle "Make sure that asshole never bothers me or anyone else again."

Collector Returns Art Italy Says Was Looted -Philanthropist Shelby White is "returning" ancient Greek and Etruscan art to Italy to resolve Italian claims that it was looted from archaeological sites. OK, maybe White bought some items of doubtful provenance, and maybe no one should get good title to stolen goods, no matter when and where they were stolen - but then why is Italy getting Greek artifacts? Are they more Italian because the Etruscans or the Romans stole them from the Greeks three thousand years ago instead of three hundred years ago?

Planning Newark's Next Big Step: An Apartment Tower Near the Arts Center - Developer Lawrence Goldman is now planning a commercial/residential development next to NJ/PAC. The skyline changing, upscale building, Newark's first residential construction in four decades, will include subsidized units for artists. The plan includes a boathouse for the Rutger's crew. Fantastic idea. Presumably the boathouse will serve the Newark campus (sadly, the New Brunswick campus no longer has a men's crew), but maybe it will offer prep and masters programs to Newark residents. Act now, Mayor Booker - you could be planning for Newark's Next Big Stroke.

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