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The Department of Justice's Control Over Weapons and Laptop Computers Summary Report

After a March 2001 audit of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's property management found that more than 500 weapons had been classified as "lost, missing, or stolen," Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered a review of how various other Justice Department components keep track of their weapons and laptop computers. The Office of the Inspector General recently released its report (which includes a chart showing that at the FBI the average time between discovering that a weapon is lost and filing a written report of the loss is 4.3 years).

During the time periods covered by our reviews [October 1, 1999, through January 31, 2002], the components collectively reported losses of at least 775 weapons and 400 laptop computers.

[T]he FBI had not completed a physical inventory of controlled personal property since before 1993. In the intervening years, the FBI had attempted to conduct inventories, but these were never completed ... It is simply not acceptable for the FBI to have failed to complete a physical inventory of controlled personal property in almost ten years and for the Department to be unaware of this weakness.

—Office of the Inspector General, Justice Department (www.usdoj.gov/oig/audit/0231/index.htm)

News Media's Improved Image Proves Short-Lived

Among the 1,365 respondents to one of the latest of the Pew Research Center's occasional surveys, The Wall Street Journal was seen as the most credible print source for news; CNN was seen as the most credible TV source; Tom Brokaw was, by a narrow margin, viewed as the most credible TV news person; and Geraldo Rivera was, by a wider margin, viewed as the least credible. (Among other public figures Colin Powell was seen as the most credible, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Greenspan.)

The favorable glow from the media's post-9/11 performance has completely disappeared ... [T]he public's grades for news organizations have tumbled since November [2001], on measures ranging from professionalism and patriotism to compassion and morality. Just 49% think news organizations are highly professional, down from 73% in November. If anything, the news media's rating for professionalism is now a bit lower than it was in early September [2001], shortly before the terrorist strikes (54%).

—Pew Research Center for the People & the Press (http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=159)

The 2002 Brown Center Report on American Education

Athletes tend to have higher earnings than nonathletes in the ten to fifteen years after high school graduation. Why?

From the human capital perspective, high school sports enhance an individual's stock of productive resources. Athletes may learn self-discipline, how to follow directions, perseverance, and how to set goals, a valuable set of skills for success in college and the workplace.

Another explanation focuses on social capital. High school sports ... bring parents of athletes into close contact, and create dense social networks around youngsters ... If an athlete decides to do something stupid, it is likely that an adult will hear about it and have a chance to intervene. Non-athletes ... often pass through school anonymously ... Kids who go out for a team sport may be intrinsically different than others—more ambitious, harder working, more confident in themselves. Signaled of the likelihood that a person possesses these traits, educators and employers reward athletes with good grades, admission to college, good jobs, and high wages.

—The Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution (brookings.edu/gs/brown/bc_report/2002/2002report.htm)

Education, Poverty, Political Violence, and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?

Alan B. Krueger, of Princeton University, and Jitka Maleckova, of Charles University, in Prague, tentatively conclude that higher living standards may not prevent hate crimes or acts of terror—and, indeed, may promote them. "On the whole," the authors write, "we conclude that there is little reason to be optimistic that a reduction in poverty or increase in educational attainment will lead to a meaningful reduction in the amount of international terrorism."

More educated people from privileged backgrounds are more likely to participate in politics, probably in part because political involvement requires some minimum level of interest, expertise, commitment to issues and effort, all of which are more likely if people are educated and wealthy enough to concern themselves with more than mere economic subsistence ... Terrorist organizations may prefer highly educated individuals over less educated ones, even for homicide suicide bomb attacks. In addition, educated, middle or upper class individuals are better suited to carry out acts of international terrorism than are impoverished illiterates because the terrorists must fit into a foreign environment to be successful.

—National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 9074 (papers.nber.org/papers/W9074)

Vadim Levin and Alex Sheyngis et al v. General Media Communications

When General Media raised the newsstand price for the June 2002 issue of Penthouse, many people willingly paid the one-dollar premium: the cover promised that inside were exclusive photos of Anna Kournikova "Caught Close Up on Nude Beach." But the photos weren't really of the Russian tennis player. In May, Judith Soltesz-Benetton filed a lawsuit claiming that the photos were actually of her; after looking at them, the presiding judge declared, "It's hard to believe any reasonable observer would believe they show Kournikova." General Media admitted that the photos were not of the tennis star and settled the litigation with Ms. Soltesz-Benetton. Now two men have filed a class-action suit on behalf of all those who bought the $8.99 June issue on the newsstand.

Plaintiffs ... would have acted differently had they been advised that Defendant's June 2002 issue did not contain any photos of Anna Kournikova caught on a nude beach. [Plaintiffs] would not have purchased the June 2002 issue had they been aware of the misrepresentation. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's deceptive conduct and marketing Plaintiffs and putative class plaintiffs have been damaged. WHEREFORE [Plaintiffs] respectfully [request] this Court enter an order: ... Awarding Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs' class damages as appropriate for Defendant's violation of the Consumer Fraud Laws.

—Circuit Court of Cook County, County Department, Chancery Division (news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/kournikova/levinak82602cmp.pdf)

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall: An Estimate of the Costs of the Crisis in Corporate Governance

Three economic researchers calculate in a working paper that the loss of confidence following the collapse of Enron and WorldCom will cost the U.S. economy $37 billion to $42 billion in reduced GDP—"in the range of what the federal government spends per year on homeland security, or the increase in the cost of oil imports from a ... $10 increase in the per barrel price of crude oil."

—The Brookings Institution (brookings.edu/views/papers/graham/20020722.htm)

Executive Excess 2002

According to the ninth annual CEO-compensation survey, the average CEO makes 411 times as much as the average worker. (Twenty years ago, in contrast, CEOs earned only forty-two times as much as their workers.) If the average annual pay for production workers had increased at the same rate as CEOs' pay has since 1990, a production worker might have made $101,156 in 2001, rather than $25,467. The report also reveals that engaging in dubious accounting practices can pay off handsomely: top executives at twenty-three companies under investigation for accounting fraud earned 70 percent more ($62.2 million versus $36.5 million) than top executives at other large companies.

—Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy (ufenet.org/press/2002/EE2002_pr.html)

Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1993-2000

The value of all conventional-arms sales contracts worldwide increased for the third consecutive year in 2000, reaching nearly $36.9 billion. Despite the three-year increase, however, the inflation-adjusted total was still lower than in 1993, when countries were re-arming themselves after the Gulf War. In 2000 the United States was by far the leading exporter of arms (involved in more than half of all arms-transfer agreements), followed by Russia, France, Germany, Israel, and China. The biggest market for arms has been the Near East. From 1997 to 2000 the United Arab Emirates ordered more arms than any other nation, followed by India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China, and Israel.

—Congressional Research Service (clw.org/atop/grimmett2001_report.pdf)

Making a Name

When the suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone married, in 1855, she did something evidently unprecedented: she kept her own surname. Not for another 120 years or so would this become a common practice in America. Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist, and one of her former students, Maria Shim, looked at twenty years' worth of New York Times wedding announcements and found, not unexpectedly, that the proportion of brides retaining their surnames had increased, from less than 10 percent in 1980 to about 20 percent in 1984-1998 to nearly 35 percent today. But there's a curious internal dynamic. When the researchers looked at alumni surveys from the Harvard class of 1980, they found that 38 percent of women who married within five years of graduation retained their surnames, compared with 57 percent of those who married later than that.

—National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 8474 (papers.nber.org/papers/W8474)

Race in American Public Schools: Rapidly Resegregating School Districts

Segregation in the U.S. public school system declined after the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, reaching its lowest levels in the mid-1980s. Since 1986, however, rates of "inter-racial exposure" in the public schools have declined; several Court decisions in the 1990s appear to have accelerated a nationwide trend toward resegregation. This study, which looked at 239 school districts with enrollments of more than 25,000, found that levels of school integration are falling, most rapidly in the South and the West. (The five most rapidly resegregating school districts are in Texas and Georgia, and three of the five whitest school districts in the nation are in Texas.)

—The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University (www.law.harvard.edu/civilrights/publications/reseg_districts02/ Race_in_American_Public_Schools1.pdf)

Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases

In 2000, according to a World Health Organization assessment, 1.1 billion people worldwide had no regular access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion had no regular access to sanitation systems. Lack of access to clean water leads to four billion cases of diarrhea each year. Peter Gleick, an expert on global freshwater resources, reveals that even if we reach the United Nations' stated goal of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015, as many as 76 million people will die from water-borne diseases before 2020.

—The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security (pacinst.org; report available at: pacinst.org/reports/water_related_deaths_press_rls.htm)

Probability of Decline in Real GDP

This economic barometer, dubbed the "Anxious Index" by the New York Times reporter David Leonhardt, is drawn from the Survey of Professional Forecasters, the longest-running quarterly macroeconomic survey in the United States. It asks experts to predict the likelihood that the GDP will decline in the quarter following the one in which the survey is conducted. The most recent survey, conducted in the third quarter of this year, posits a 19 percent likelihood that the GDP will decline in the period ending in December. Since 1968, when the survey began, every Anxious Index above 30 percent has been followed by a recession.

—Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (www.phil.frb.org/econ/spf/index.html)

Work and Family Life Study

The latest results from this long-term study (begun in 1980) of marital instability indicate that women unhappy in their marriages often enter full-time employment as an escape. But although a woman's entrance into the workplace does tend to increase the stability of her marriage, it does not increase her happiness.

—The Population Research Institute, Penn State University (www.pop.psu.edu/searchable/press/jun2402.htm)

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