Teen murder suspect carried a load of race hatred that fit right in

To get to Brandon, you have to drive across the Pearl River, a boundary that seems to separate black Mississippi from white.

In the town’s center, a monument stands honoring the confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

This mostly white town in mostly white Rankin County is about a 30-minute drive from Jackson, Mississippi. It’s here in Brandon that some residents say a gang of teenagers expressed their strong racial prejudice — sometimes through violence.

These residents say the teens were friends with and often led by Deryl Dedmon, now 19 and facing capital murder and hate crime charges for the killing of James Anderson, a black man, who died after he was beaten and run over by a truck in Jackson, according to police. Dedmon has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has refused to answer CNN’s repeated requests for comment…

Parents and students who knew Dedmon tell CNN it was widely known that he expressed a hatred for blacks, white people who had black friends, and anyone he thought was gay. And they say he had a history of harassing teens at his high school.

CNN has learned that Department of Justice investigators have uncovered two other possible incidents where groups of white Rankin County teens, including Dedmon, have sought out and attacked a black person.

But police and school officials told CNN that there were no warning signs, no concerns about Dedmon or his friends before James Anderson’s death this summer. Brandon’s Assistant Police Chief Chris Butts described Anderson’s killing as “an isolated incident” that has been blown out of proportion by the media.

RTFA. It’s long. It’s just as I remember a lot of white Mississippi, White Louisiana.

Yes, you can break it down into economic graduations, education, church culture – pretty much any white I knew in that neck of the bayou who declared they lived in God’s Country meant they felt they kept Black folks in line. In line with racist culture perpetuated by the state’s white politicians and police departments.

It wasn’t the same in Black or integrated communities. The balance may have changed by now. The results of official racism obviously haven’t.

The silliest and most common hiding places for passwords

When I was an IT admin, I had the pleasure of dealing often with people who would submit urgent service requests and then leave for the day, leaving their office empty and computer locked by the time I could get there to help. Fortunately, I was often able to fix their problem while they weren’t there. Why? Their password was somewhere on their desk in one of these easy-to-find locations.

Under the Keyboard. This is a pretty common one, and one of the first places to look if you need to find someone’s password (or one of the first places to avoid if you need to jot down an often-used but difficult to remember password.) The worst offenders leave them on a post-it on their keyboard tray, or under the spot where their keyboard lives. Others attach the post-it to the underside of the keyboard, thinking it’s better hidden there. In both cases, it’s a sure bet that anything under the keyboard will have a password on it…

Under the Mouse Pad. This is another common hiding place for people who don’t want to put their passwords under their keyboard. They’ll usually slide a couple of sheets of paper under the mousepad with their usernames and passwords on it and refer to them when they forget, or update them when their password expires…

Under the Desk. One of the most disturbingly common spots many officer workers hide their passwords is one of the easiest to find: right under their desk surface. Just sit down at their desk and put your hand directly under the desktop, and you’ll often find yet another post-it note attached there. Most people who do this operate under the assumption that no one’s ever under their desk to see or notice such a thing—except the IT admin or help desk tech they call when they’ve jostled the Ethernet cable loose from the back of their desktop…

I haven’t even posted half of the silly places people think are secure in the world of prairie-dog cubicles. If you’re guilty of any of these, go apologize in advance to your network administrator. You may have compromised everything that should be secure. And if your password is “1-2-3-4-5” – quit your job and go back to flipping burgers for a living.

So where should you store your passwords? RTFA for a couple of suggestions.

Most Americans would toss the Electoral College on scrap heap

Nearly 11 years after the 2000 presidential election brought the corruption idiosyncrasies of the United States’ Electoral College into full view, 62% of Americans say they would amend the U.S. Constitution to replace that system for electing presidents with a popular vote system. Barely a third, 35%, say they would keep the Electoral College.

Gallup’s initial measure of support for the Electoral College with this wording was conducted in the first few days after the 2000 presidential election in which the winner remained undeclared pending a recount in Florida. At that time, it was already clear that Democratic candidate Al Gore had won the national popular vote over Republican George W. Bush, but that the winner of the election would be the one who received Florida’s 25 Electoral College votes…

Republicans have grown somewhat more amenable to adopting a popular vote system over the past decade. Now, for the first time since 2000, the majority of Republicans favor it. Independents are not quite as supportive as Democrats of the popular vote system, but the majority of them have consistently favored it.

Additionally, Gallup finds little difference in the views of Americans of various age groups on changing how the country elects presidents. Support for amending the Constitution on this matter is 58% among 18- to 34-year-olds, 64% among 35-to 54-year-olds, and 62% among those 55 and older.

From 1967 through 1980, Gallup periodically asked Americans about replacing the Electoral College with a popular vote system using different question wording, and each time, the majority favored it. The issue was particularly relevant during this period because the popular vote in the 1968 and 1976 presidential elections was so closely divided…

Next question? What do you think Congress will do about responding to the will of the people?

I thought so, too. They are truly useless.

Good News – India on the verge of wiping out polio


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

India has “never been closer” to wiping out polio, India’s health minister has declared as he marked World Polio Day.

There have been no new cases for more than nine months, making it the longest polio-free period since the global eradication campaign was launched. The only case reported this year was in the state of West Bengal in January. There were 39 cases reported over a similar period in 2010.

India is one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic. The virus is also prevalent in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The overall trend in India is so positive that its vaccination programme is being discussed as one other countries might learn from.

Pakistan is a particular concern. It has seen 118 new cases so far this year concentrated in poor, insecure areas: Karachi, Baluchistan and the tribal areas close to the border with Afghanistan.

The two countries routinely re-infect each other. Afghanistan has seen 40 new cases this year. The continuing violence there also makes it hard to reach vulnerable children. Nigeria too has seen a surge in cases this year which have undermined recent gains…

Some communities simply do not trust the people who administer the vaccine and fear it could hurt their children… But they trust their priests.

The health ministry reported that no cases were reported from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh for 18 months…

Uttar Pradesh has been one of the worst-affected regions in the world’s fight against polio with hundreds of cases reported until a few years ago. Of the 549 polio cases in India in 2008, 297 were in Uttar Pradesh.

It is especially heartwarming for a grayhead like me to witness this victory. I grew up in a time when polio threatened all societies. Beaches and pools were often closed in summer because of the threat of contagion. All of us knew someone in every neighborhood who died or was left paralyzed by the disease.

I experienced each stage of vaccine development from early days of the first vaccinations, needle sticks and terrified children as kids always are over needles – on through to oral vaccines. The relief experienced by my parents, all parents in the factory town I grew up in. The minority of superstitious nutballs who kept their kids from safety were looked at as fools who fortunately only constituted a danger to themselves – and unfortunately to their own children.

Privacy vs. Press Freedom if being connected gets you into school

It was bad enough for the University of Illinois when The Chicago Tribune’s 2009 series “Clout Goes to College” exposed the existence of a “clout list” that over five years gave hundreds of well-connected students an edge in admissions, and led to the resignations of the university president, the chancellor of the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus and most of the trustees.

But two years later, the university is still mired in litigation before the federal appeals court in Chicago, fighting the release of more documents the newspaper has asked for, including the names and addresses of the parents on the clout list. The university has turned over about 5,200 pages of documents to the newspaper. But in a separate state court proceeding, The Tribune is seeking the grade point averages and ACT scores of the students accepted from the clout list.

Those requests set off a shootout between the state’s freedom of information law and the federal privacy law for educational records…

Mr. Skinner said the university’s position is that anything anyone sends in about any applicant is a student record protected by the law.

But The Tribune, backed by media groups including The New York Times, argues that the documents are not education records under the federal law, but rather records of questionable conduct, so the public’s right to know should prevail.

“When Governor Blagojevich calls the chancellor and says, ‘Admit this favored person,’ that’s not an admission record kept in someone’s file,” said James Klenk, a lawyer for The Tribune. “That’s something that should be disclosed to the public. We’re investigating public officials in their decision making. Some people were admitted not on their merits, while other people, on the merits, didn’t get those spots, and that’s wrong…”

Parents and university officials who used the clout list to bypass the merit-based application process, the brief said, “cannot now claim any reasonable right to privacy to cover their actions, as it is far outweighed by the newsworthiness of the scandal and the right of the public to hold accountable those responsible for perpetrating a fraud.”

Look at the whole array in the litigation: bureaucrats, lawyers, politicians – and the well-connected parents and students. Decide for yourself what’s really at stake. Privacy or public access to information about people who committed a crime?

Is this 77-year-old actor the world’s oldest porn star?

He is a prolific artiste who has appeared in more than 350 films. But Shigeo Tokuda gets little in the way of recognition on the streets of Tokyo. Perhaps that’s because at 77 he couldn’t look less like a star. Or perhaps it’s because admirers tend to keep their appreciation of his work to themselves.

Tokuda has shot to prominence as Japan’s oldest porn actor, the unlikely face of a brand of Japanese blue movie that taps into the country’s fast changing demographics. And yet he didn’t even get started until he was almost 60.

Tokuda, who is married with two adult children and a grandchild, made his debut in 1994 after a meeting with a porn director in Tokyo.

“I was a fan of adult films and went directly to his office to ask if they’d got specific films in stock,” he says. “He asked me there and then if I wanted to appear in a film. I immediately said no.”

He soon changed his mind and at 59 in a hotel in western Tokyo he launched his acting career, playing the part of a company president with a roving eye…

Other than changing his name – Shigeo Tokuda is his professional alias – his attempts to conceal his acting career from his family are surprisingly half-hearted. He had to confess to his daughter after she intercepted a fax offering him a scene that left little to the imagination. “She was speechless for a while,” he says…

According to industry executives, the market for “silver porn” has doubled over the last decade and now comprises about a fifth of the 3,000 adult films…that Japan produces every year.

That growth reflects wider social changes in Japan, where more than a fifth of the population is 65 or over. That figure is expected to rise to about 40% by 2055.

The impressive life expectancy of the Japanese – 86.4 years for women and 79.6 years for men – has spawned a range of services for the elderly, from tailor-made exercise parks in playgrounds once meant for children to bigger, easier-to-read fonts in national newspapers…

Tokuda usually appears with much younger women – the youngest was 54 years his junior – in films with such titles as Forbidden Elderly Care.

Go for it, dude. Physical fitness for grayheads is an important category of lifestyle management.

Tokuda intends to stay in the craft until he’s 80.