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The Hunting Of The Snark

Snark Injection for Guantanamo Trial

While the Supreme Court has most certainly dealt the strongest blows against the Bush administration’s handling of Guantanamo detainees, a lower court in the same city might have dealt the most creative one. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected the government’s evidence for keeping a prisoner at Guantanamo by citing a celebrated poem of nonsense:

Lewis Carroll notwithstanding, the fact that the government has “said it thrice” does not make an allegation true. See LEWIS CARROLL, THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK 3 (1876) (”I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”). In fact, we have no basis for concluding that there are independent sources for the documents’ thrice-made assertions.

The opinion was referring to the government’s evidence against Huzaifa Parhat, who was detained in Afghanistan in 2001. While three documents were meant to convince the court that he should not be released, Judge Merrick B. Garland, who penned the ruling, flatly stated: “We are not persuaded.” His quite serious explanation, available in full as a pdf, follows:

Many of those assertions are made in identical language, suggesting that later documents may merely be citing earlier ones, and hence that all may ultimately derive from a single source. And as we have also noted, Parhat has made a credible argument that — at least for some of the assertions — the common source is the Chinese government, which may be less than objective with respect to the Uighurs.

Mr. Parhat is one of 17 Uighurs, a Muslim minority from western China, who were brought to the Guanatanamo prison after being detained in Afghanistan. As William Glaberson reported in The New York Times, their cases have drawn wide attention since they were spoiling for a fight against the Chinese, not Americans.

Despite the ruling, it is not clear what will happen to Mr. Parhat. No other country seems willing to accept him or the 16 others, except China, which may be all too eager. Washington refuses to send them back there, citing human rights concerns.

As for Mr. Carroll’s poem, it is available online for free in either text or audio. And feel free to channel Mr. Carroll yourself in the comments.

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Walmart New Logo

Wal-Mart Gets New Logo

The world’s largest retailer’s logo is getting a face lift. Beginning this fall the logos on the front of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores will be replaced with a new design, according to the store’s spokesman.

He says some customers have already seen the changes on store signs and advertisements. More than 3,600 U.S. stores will now display a star where the hyphen is in the company’s name according to The Wall Street Journal. They say, the new logo would show the company's name in white letters on an orange background, followed by a small starburst.

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Around The Horn

2 Mud Hens on World team

The Toledo Mud Hens will send two members of the organization to play and coach in the 2008 Futures Game.

Toledo manager Larry Parrish will join Detroit prospect Wilkin Ramirez (an outfielder currently with Double-A Erie) on the World Team during the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities during a game to be played on July 13 at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Ramirez, 22, who played with the Mud Hens earlier in the season, is ranked as the 14th best prospect in the Tigers organization.

Chicago Cubs: Reliever Scott Eyre was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a left groin strain. The Cubs recalled right-hander Jose Ascanio from Triple-A Iowa.

Florida: Second baseman Dan Uggla sprained his left ankle during Saturday night's game while trying to return to first after a single. Uggla began Saturday leading the majors with 23 home runs.

Kansas City: Alberto Callaspo, one day after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, was placed on the disabled list for undisclosed reasons.

Minnesota: Rightfielder Michael Cuddyer missed Saturday's game because of a strained tendon in his left index finger.

N.Y. Yankees: Manager Joe Girardi hinted Hideki Matsui, who is on the 15-day DL, could need surgery on his ailing left knee. "Could it be more? Yes," Girardi said.

Pittsburgh: Right-handed reliever Denny Bautista is considered day-to-day after being struck on the right forearm by a line drive Friday night. Bautista, the former Tiger, could be available again as soon as Monday.

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Solar Magic

Conjuring up some ‘solar magic’

National Semiconductor Corp. becomes the latest semiconductor industry company to join in the solar energy craze.

National Semi today unveiled its new “Solar Magic” (there’s a high tech-sounding name for you) device that connects to solar panels and claims to boost the output of the panels by 30 percent or more, even when the panels are covered in shade. To illustrate how it works, National Semi had a sort of wacky “race” with solar-powered golf carts at his Santa Clara, Cali. headquarters that you can check out here.

The technology comes out of National Semi’s research into power mangement and conservation in semiconductors. Its “Solar Magic” boxes (check out the photo) will be made at factories in Arlington, Texas and in Scotland.


While this is National Semi’s first venture into solar, there’s lots more to come, company officials say. CEO Brian Halla has said the National Semi could someday get as much as 25 percent of its revenues from the solar business.

National Semi is just the latest high-tech giant to get into the solar business. Others include Intel Corp., which just spun off a solar cell making venture; IBM, which is researching solar concentrator and cooling technology, and Hewlett-Packard Co., which recently inked a deal with a photovoltaics company to share transistor technology.

Tech giants see the potential profits in solar. If they’re right, they could also drive down prices and boost efficiency in the industry — just as technology advancements do in almost any business.

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Can Deven Trabosh Get A Man

Just recently, Ian Usher of Australia, sold his life and belongings for $399,300 through eBay. He made the move to start a new life after breaking up with his wife. He was hoping for $500,000 but settled for less.

But even before that sale is finalized, here comes another odd offer. Deven Trabosh, a 42-year old single mom, is looking to sell on the Internet her four-bedroom home in South Florida and a chance at marrying her.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - She's tried night clubs and online dating sites, but now a 42-year-old single mother is looking for love where everyone else's heart is breaking — the real estate market. After a year of trying to sell her four-bedroom home and eight years of singledom, Deven Trabosh is offering her South Florida home and a shot at marrying her on the Internet."I figured let's combine the ad because I'm looking for love and I'm looking to sell the house," said Trabosh, a Barbie-esque blonde who teeters around the nearly 2,000 square-foot house in patent leather heels.

"Marry a Princess Lost in America," Trabosh wrote in the ads she posted on eBay and Craigslist last week. She describes a life of romance and travel and a home decorated with vaulted ceilings, upgraded tile and a soaking tub in a gated community with a pool and tennis courts. Trabosh, a licensed real estate agent who hasn't practiced in years, knew she would struggle to sell the home in the troubled real estate market, but insists her fairytale ad isn't just a sales gimmick.

"I'm struggling...I don't want to lose my house and I want to find somebody," said Trabosh, who changed her name in the ad to Traboscia to keep people from finding her in the phone book. "So I came up with this dream plan because I've always dreamt about being a fairytale princess." She listed the home for $340,000 on a sell-it-yourself web site, but upped the price, adding a $500,000 shipping fee to include her companionship on eBay.

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Sunshine Tutt Maries Chris Kattan

Chris Kattan, a former cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” tied the knot with model Sunshine Tutt in Yosemite Valley, Calif., on Saturday, his publicist, Jill Fritzo, said Monday.

Kattan, 37, appeared on “SNL” from 1996 to 2003. His screen credits include “Corky Romano” and “A Night at the Roxbury.”

The couple became engaged on Christmas Eve 2006.

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Samuel Clemens

'Mark Twain: An American Star' 'The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West'


By Elizabeth MacLeod

For ages 9-12


A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

By Sid Fleischman

For ages 9-12, coming in July

It's a good thing that Samuel Clemens lived a long life -- 74 years -- because he had a lot of living to do.

He was a sickly babe, causing his mother to proclaim: "I could see no promise in him." How wrong she was. Sam grew up to become a Mississippi riverboat pilot, a newspaper journalist and prospector in the Old West, a foreign correspondent traveling abroad and -- under the name we remember him by, Mark Twain -- a celebrated author and humorist.

These two new biographies will introduce you to this American treasure, whose creative mind gave birth to such classic literary characters as the adventurous Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and wonderful tales about jumping frogs and princes and paupers.

Sid Fleischman, a Newbery medalist for "The Whipping Boy," takes an in-depth look at Twain's early life, through the Wild West days.

Fleischman is a magician as well as a writer, and it shows in his magical way with words.

Elizabeth MacLeod has written more than two dozen children's books, including several biographies. This 32-page book has lots of photos (and cartoons), making it a better choice, perhaps, for younger readers looking for a brief overview of Twain's remarkable life.

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Alvan Motor Freight Closes Its Doors

Alvan Motor Freight goes out of business

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The combination of rising fuel costs and the recent strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Holding Inc. have pushed a Kalamazoo-based trucking company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Alvan Motor Freight Inc., which employs 525 people in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, has ceased operations and arranged for another company to deliver its remaining freight, according to a press release from the company.

"They've issued a press release and that's all I know," said Tom Harty, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 7, which represents about 30 Alvan workers in Kalamazoo. "We're in meetings with the workers."

The 67-year-old company was founded in Kalamazoo by the family of James Van Zoeren, president and chief executive officer.

No one answered the phones this morning at Alvan, 3600 Alvan Road in Kalamazoo. A recording said the number listed for Van Zoeren's home has been disconnected.

In the company press release, Van Zoeren said he was trying to sell the business.

Van Zoeren told the Kalamazoo Gazette in May that American Axle, which was on strike 87 days, was one of the company's biggest customers.

"The American Axle strike is absolutely killing us because of the trickle-down effect with the closure of General Motors plants and how that impacts our customers who are first- and second-tier auto-parts suppliers," Van Zoeren said.

Gazette News Service contributed to this report.

Contact Gazette Staff Writer Alex Nixon by email or by calling (269) 388-2783.

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EveryScape Takes You Where Google Can't

For those who want to cruise New York's city streets without ever having to leave a computer, Google offers a service called Street View, an interactive map made up of street-level photos.

And as the Internet giant plans to use the feature to replicate the streets of major cities worldwide, one company has begun to take this technology a few steps further.

Everyscape, a Massachusetts-based startup, has recently launched an online mapping service that allows users to not only explore a neighborhood but also to go inside shops and restaurants.

With a few clicks of a mouse, users can navigate through neighborhoods and tourist sites. A special icon next to a building invites users to enter and have a look around.

"While Google has focused their technology on building a better map, we wanted to do more and replicate the experience of actually being somewhere," Everyscape chief executive Jim Schoonmaker said.

And instead of dispatching a fleet of cars to scour major cities and capture snapshots the way Google does, the company relies on independent contractors recruited through its Web site. Trained to operate specialized equipment, these "destination ambassadors" are assigned regions and are paid per mile to map. By getting locals involved, Schoonmaker hopes to "enable the world to build the world."

West Coast representative Scott Gressit has spent the last six months doing just that, driving up and down the coast of California and snapping photos from a roof-mounted camera. Despite the constant commute, he's motivated by the project's prospects and plans to expand his efforts to major cities in Arizona and Nevada.

"It's an opportunity to be part something that will eventually be a household name, just like how Google is now," Gressit said.

On top of earning $10 for every street mile he helps put on the interactive map, the San Diego resident receives a commission whenever he convinces a business to have its interiors photographed -- a task that brings what he considers easy money.

"I met some people who immediately embrace and want to have a presence, while others have lots of questions and want to learn more," Gressit said. "But it's pretty well priced, so it's a pretty easy sale.

"I actually think it's underpriced," he said.

Joe Ryan, owner of the Press Box Sports Bar in Manhattan, was quickly sold on the idea when he was approached with an offer to lease his locale on the interactive map.

"It's absolutely worth the price of the lease," Ryan said. "We have a very nice private party room upstairs and whenever people call to see if they can have a party there, it was very hard for me to describe it. Now I just tell them to go to the site, and they can take a look around. It's a big help."

But even with a novel business plan and $7 million in investment from venture capital firms, challenges remain. Some experts say to cut into Google's market, the company would need to extend its mapping capabilities abroad to popular destinations like Sydney and London, where the legality of such technology has been challenged.

"It would be tough to expand what Everyscape does to other countries where privacy laws are more restrictive" said Kier Clarke at Google Maps Mania, which reviews Web sites inspired by Google Maps.

Last month, the European Union issued a statement warning Google to comply with the region's strict privacy laws. Google responded with a technology that blurs people's faces in photographs.

Still, Schoonmaker believes the promises are worth any potential difficulties.

"To be able to go to virtually visit a city like Aspen, walk down the street, hope on a gondola and go up a mountain and ski down," Schoonmaker said. "It's just a very powerful tool."

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Fire At Sweetwater Casino

Fire tearing apart South Jersey restaurant & bar

Flames are devouring the Sweetwater Casino Restaurant & Bar.

Chopper Six was first on the scene, the 2700 block of 7th Avenue in Sweetwater, Atlantic County. A huge plume of white smoke billowed into the air.

Firefighters encountered a problem when they arrived -- a lack of water. Since the area is rural, firefighters have had to call in extra tankers with water to battle the blaze. Firefighters were concerned about spreading brush fires as well, so some of the pumper trucks sucked water out of the nearby Mullica River in order to get water on the flames.

The flames were first reported around 5 a.m. and burned for nearly 2 hours.

The Sweetwater Casino doesn't actually contain a casino. It is a restaurant with a banquet hall.

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James Bond Quantum Of Solace Trailer

Bond film trailer set for debut

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig will reprise the role of James Bond

The trailer for the next Bond adventure Quantum of Solace will be shown for the first time on the internet on Monday.

The teaser for the new film, which stars Daniel Craig as 007, will be online from 1700-1900 BST before being released to the world's media.

Cinema-goers will be able to see the taster from Wednesday, when it will be shown before Will Smith's film Hancock.

Quantum of Solace is due out in the UK on 31 October and is released in the US

and elsewhere the following month.

Fan site

The trailer for the 22nd Bond bonanza will be available to internet users in the UK and other countries on MSN and via AOL in the US.

US internet users can expect to view the short film online from 0900-1100 Pacific Daylight Time or 1100-1300 Eastern Daylight Time.

It is set to be dubbed or subtitled into 13 languages for cinema fans around the world, and features expanded footage of the film.

Monday also sees the launch of a new Quantum of Solace website, which will offer fans news, images and downloads related to the film.

The title of the latest outing was confirmed by producers earlier this year.

Quantum of Solace was part of a collection of short stories, entitled For Your Eyes Only, published by Bond creator Ian Fleming in 1960.

The film also sees Dame Judi Dench take on the role of M for the sixth time.

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Bell 407 Helicopter Collision

Medical helicopters collide, killing at least 6

At least six people were dead and one critically injured Sunday after a midair crash between two medical helicopters near a hospital in Arizona, authorities said.

The collision, at Flagstaff Medical Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, set fire to a 10-acre area, according to fire officials, and another two rescue workers were injured by a secondary explosion after the crash.

The helicopters collided at roughly 3:45 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"As you can imagine, we've got lots of heaps of metal to go through," said Capt. Mark Johnson of the Flagstaff Fire Department. "It's just difficult right now."

He said a landing pad on the roof of the hospital is used by medical helicopters.

Federal Aviation Authority officials originally had reported at least seven deaths and three critical injuries, but they revised those numbers after investigators spent more time on the scene.

Flagstaff Police Department Sgt. Tom Boughner said the two rescue workers were not immediately believed to be seriously injured. He said the helicopters crashed into a wooded area near a neighborhood and that no one on the ground was believed to have been injured or killed in the crash.

He said the fire had been contained by Sunday evening.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said at least one of those killed in the collision was a patient.

He said three of those killed, including the patient, were aboard a Bell 407 helicopter operated by Air Methods Corporation, an air medical service provider. The other helicopter, operated by Classic Helicopter Service of Utah, also was a Bell 407. The other four victims, including the one critically injured, were on that helicopter.

Both helicopters were headed to the hospital at the time of the crash, Gregor said.

FAA safety inspectors from Phoenix, Arizona, were en route to the scene Sunday, and additional inspectors from Washington were expected to arrive Monday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead a probe into the crash, Gregor said.

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