By LISA HOFFMAN
Scripps Howard News Service
February 11, 2007
At Fort Lewis in Washington state, for instance, nearly 130 gang and extremist group members have been identified since 2005, with many believed responsible for criminal misconduct on base. At Fort Hood in Texas, the Army has identified 23 gang-bangers since 2003, including one soldier, who was a Gangster Disciple leader, convicted of two aggravated robberies.
In its Jan. 21 report, the FBI said the gang members "constitute only a fraction of military personnel," but are increasing in the ranks and posing both a crime and national security threat.
The military services say some of the increase can be explained by a greater focus on the problem, which they say they are actively battling at installations in Germany, Japan and Iraq, as well as at Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Bliss, Texas.
Forget Iraq, Iran, health care and the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Rep. Edolphus Towns is taking on an issue of truly earth-shaking importance: potty parity.
Draping the subject in more elegant language, the New York Democrat has just introduced H.R. 693, the Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act of 2007.
It would, he promises, bring women the last full measure of equality, by mandating that any building anywhere in the country that receives $1.5 million or more in federal funds must have a two-to-one ratio of women's and men's restrooms.
"Most women who have ever attended a sold-out sporting event have a story about important plays they've missed because they were standing in line, waiting for the restroom," Townes said in announcing his legislation. "Meanwhile, their male companions were able to zip in and out of the washroom." (Not to mention zip up.)
No matter what comes of immigration reform, the recent swell of newcomers has already changed the American landscape in ways only now beginning to be understood. A study by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board finds that immigrant workers are a big factor in reducing clogged roadways - although they make up less than 14 percent of the work force, they represent 40 percent of large carpools, and are more likely than other workers to bike, walk or take public transport.
Researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University found that increased Hispanic and Asian immigration into the United States reduced the number of interracial or cross-ethnic marriages involving native-born Hispanic and Asian-American men. The drop of about 5 percent in the last decade ended what had been a decades-long trend of more marriages to whites. But with the immigration influx, these men found greater numbers of potential brides from their own groups.
Tap out a dot and a dash Feb. 22 to mark the end of a long era in telecommunications. That's the last day that Federal Communications Commission rules mandate that people seeking an amateur (ham) radio operator's license are required to demonstrate proficiency in Morse Code - the long and short key first developed for the telegraph back in the 1840s.
The United Nations' committee that oversees communications signals dropped the requirement four years ago, but protests by nostalgic American hams delayed the U.S. government's move to drop the code test until now.
A horse is a horse, of course, but don't look for Mr. Ed if you check out the first draft of an international project to map all the genes of Equus caballus. The samples for the horse-gene sequencing project came from a thoroughbred mare named Twilight who resides at Cornell University. The $15 million tab for the mapping project was picked up by the National Institutes of Health, and soon will allow comparative gene research between human and horse and give veterinary researchers insights into equine diseases.
Some jokers suggest that troubled astronaut Lisa Nowak will use the "PSSD" defense against charges she wanted to do harm to a reputed romantic rival. That stands for "Post Space Stress Disorder."
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