Politico: The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Sunday that he has ordered a top-to-bottom review of the university’s actions in a computer hacking case that led to the federal prosecution of renowed programmer and web activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself last week as he awaited a federal trial on 13 felony counts.
“Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in an email sent to the university community Sunday afternoon and relayed to POLITICO by an MIT spokesperson.
Reif said he had asked a computer science and electrical engineering progfessor at the Cambridge, Mass. school, Hal Abelson, “to lead a thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present.”
“I have asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took. I will share the report with the MIT community when I receive it,” Reif added.
Huffington Post: After nearly a month in limited release, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (review) finally went wide this weekend and it grossed $24 million to top the weekend box office. The film now has a $29 million cume.
In an alternate universe, one where The Gangster Squad opened on September 4th and Zero Dark Thirty opened wide in late December, Open Road would have had the weekend to itself for the Marlon Wayans found-footage horror spoof A Haunted House. Financed for just $2.5 million, the picture still withstood heavy competition and debuted with $18.8 million. This was somewhat of a ‘passion project’ for Wayans, having had the Scary Movie franchise more or less taken from them after the underwhelming second installment (he called it, not incorrectly, more of a Celebrity Rehab that a satirical series at this point).
Anyway, the film received expectantly terrible reviews, but the utter absence of dumb comedy in the marketplace right now, as well as the obvious draw for African American audiences, helped it become hugely profitable in just its first three days. It actually had a surprisingly high 2.8x weekend multiplier, meaning that there was a clear demand for what this film was selling. We’re actually getting a Scary Movie 5 this coming April, starring the likes of Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen (as well as relative innocent bystander Ashley Tisdale), so it will be interesting to see how the next chapter of the original franchise compares with this cheaper offshoot. [Read more]
New York Times Widely Cricitized For Dismantling Its Environment Desk, Eliminating Editorial Positions
Think Progress: The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated.
InsideClimate News reported in their Friday scoop that theTimes insists this won’t affect coverage. But I’m very skeptical, as are a great many others, judging by comments echoing through the blogosphere, twitter, and my inbox. For instance, the award-winning journalist Peter Dykstra — a 17-year veteran of CNN now publishing the Daily Climate — sent me this note sharing his too-relevant experience:
It’s far from a precise match for our situation at CNN four years ago — we all got fired, not re-shuffled. And of course, CNN will never be confused with the Times. But CNN similarly assured everyone that coverage would not be affected. One area where a decision like this would likely have the same impact at the Times that it did at CNN: When you abolish a standalone beat, it sends a strong message to every career-conscious reporter and editor that chasing environment stories is not a path to advancement.
Politico: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday launched a full-throated defense of former Sen. Sen. Chuck Hagel and his nomination to head the Pentagon. “He’s had a very, very distinguished public service record that he can stand on,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There are a lot of comments about different things he’s said over the years, and I think he’ll have a chance to respond to all those comments at the his confirmation hearings.”
Powell said he believes Hagel will ultimately be approved by the Senate.”I think he gets confirmed,” Powell said. “I’ve read some of the responses that he’s already put together, and I think he will make a very, very spirited defense of his position. And I think he’ll be confirmed.”
Powell wasn’t without criticism for how the nominating process of Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who was floated as a potential secretary of state, was handled by President Barack Obama.
“I think it was not handled well,” Powell said, who endorsed Obama in both of his presidential campaigns. “One of the problems, both with Ambassador Rice and with Chuck Hagel, these sort of signals come out that, “This is who we are thinking about.” And you’re left out there to dangle for weeks. Well, if this is who you’re going to nominate, nominate them, and let’s get on with the process.” [Read More]
By Daily Mail Reporter — The Secret Service arrested a registered sex offender in Michigan after he allegedly made a racist death threat against President Barack Obama and threatened to blow up the FCC.
James Allen Myers, 37, called the offices of the National Geographic and the Federal Communications Commission and threatened the president because he was outraged by the ’filthy sex and perversion’ that was allowed on television,’ according to federal charges filed against him on Thursday.
He allegedly called Obama a racial slur and said: ‘I’m gonna hang our… president from a tree outside the White House with a burning cross and a swastika on the lawn.’ [Read more]
Weekend gun violence: David Adam Young of Greenville was arrested and charged in the early Sunday morning shooting death of an unidentified person at Bobby T’s Nightclub on the outskirts of Mauldin. David Adam Young, 47, was apprehended and positively identified after a brief vehicle chase with police. He was hit with several charges including murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Separately, Tom Billodeaux, 20, of Escondido, California, was shot by San Diego police, who stormed the Reading Cinemas Carmel Mountain during a showing of “Les Miserables” after he was seen in a parking lot pulling a gun on his girlfriend and a bystander. Police stormed the cinema and went theater-to-theater looking for Tom Billodeaux.
ANOTHER WOMAN GANG-RAPED IN INDIA: Six men are in police custody in yet another gang-rape of a woman in India. This latest incident comes four weeks after a brutal attack on a student on another bus. She died from her injuries after being transported to a Singapore hospital.
Police officer Raj Jeet Singh said the 29 year old woman was the only passenger on the bus as she traveled to her village in northern Punjab state Friday night. The driver reportedly refused to stop at her village and drove her to a desolate location. She was then taken to a building where the bus driver and conductor were joined by five friends who took turns raping her throughout the night. The bus driver dropped the woman off at her village early Saturday Singh said. Six people were arrested and a seventh is being sought. The victim is recovering at her home.
Separately, a 32 year old man was arrested for allegedly raping and killing a nine year old girl two weeks ago in Ahmednagar district in western India, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The child’s decomposed body was found Friday. The suspet committed the crime seven months after he was released from prison where he served nine years for raping and murdering a girl in 2003, PTI reports.
Ret. Gen. Colin Powell slammed the GOP Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” saying that “there’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.” Colin Powell pointed to a number of statements directed at President Obama as evidence that there is still racism within the Republican Party.
He singled out former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “shuck and jive” comment aimed at President Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya: ”When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’.’ That’s a racial-era slave term,” he said.
He also took aim at former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a Romney surrogate, who called the president “lazy” after the first debate. I might also add Sununu also said the president needed to learn how to be an American and that Colin Powell only endorsed him because he’s black. Here’s what Gen. Powell had to say about John Sununu: ”He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well; he said he was ‘lazy.’ Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is “shiftless,” and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”
On This Day in history Jan. 13, 1966: President Lyndon Johnson appointed the first black cabinet member. Robert C. Weaver was appointed to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HHS), which is now referred to as Health and Human Services.
Separately, Patricia Roberts Harris was the first black woman appointed as a cabinet member. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1977.
Alisa Massaro, 18; Bethany McKee, 18; Adam Landerman, 19; and Joshua Miner, 24, have been charged with the deaths of Eric Glover, 22, and, Terrence Rankins, 22, in Joliet. The bodies of the two men were found in Massaro’s house in the 1100-block of North Hickory Street.
Eric Glover and Terrence Rankins were reportedly strangled to death and there was an attempt to dismember the bodies,the coroner’s office said. Adam Landerman is the son of a police sergeant. The men were reportedly lured to the home where they were robbed and killed.