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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.

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