Naked City

Beyond City Limits

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a name NPR listeners will surely recognize, has given a $2 million grant to UT to create the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, to promote press freedom and professionalism in Latin America, according to the university. Rosental Alves, a Latin American journalist and holder of UT's Knight Chair in International Journalism, will direct the new center, which will host a conference titled "Investigative Journalism: Ethics, Techniques, Dangers," in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this month. -- L.N.

Weed watch: Last week, Nevada's largest law enforcement group endorsed a constitutional amendment to decriminalize marijuana possession. The board of the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs voted 9-0 to support the proposed amendment, which would abolish arrest and criminal prosecution of adults in possession of less than three ounces of pot and would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana in the same manner as alcohol and cigarettes. The NCOPS isn't wild about the latter proposition, but supports the amendment because they feel police resources should be spent "protecting the public," the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) reports. Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, a measure supporting medical marijuana may be off the November ballot due to a screw-up by the District's Board of Elections and Ethics. Though the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project gathered enough valid signatures to get a ballot slot, the Board erroneously rejected thousands, saying the group had not obtained the required amount in several individual wards. The district registrar agreed with the MPP that the Board had erred, but the Board itself determined it was the MPP's responsibility to verify every falsely rejected signature. The group is reportedly considering their legal options. "We didn't pick this fight," MPP Executive Director Robert Kampia told DRCNet, "but we will win it." -- J.S.

From the Dept. of Serious Irony: U.S. drug czar John Walters announced in this summer's Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Update -- a publication of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy -- that NASCAR driver Jimmy Spencer will help publicize the federal government's anti-drug message. It didn't take long for the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest to attack the ONDCP's message as seriously conflicted. NASCAR has a $7.5 million sponsorship agreement with Busch beer, and many drivers have additional sponsorship deals with other breweries, the Center points out. A picture on the ONDCP's Web site, promoting Spencer's alliance with the anti-drug campaign, features his race car sporting a Budweiser decal. -- Jordan Smith

Blow jobs for Bushes: "President Bush is filthy, his wrist is bleeding and sweat is dripping from his chin. But he is exuberant as he hauls freshly cut cedar to a burn pile," begins AP reporter Scott Lindlaw's article on the president's ranch-time activities, which appeared on the Sunday, Aug. 11, cover of the Austin-American Statesman. Over the column inches, Bush jogs, spits, shares a "classic scene of male bonding" with aides (Secret Service agents standing by will save him, we're told, in the event a tree threatens to fall upon him), and cares for his "beloved" oaks, among other brawny things. "Visiting the 1,600-acre ranch helps him decompress," Lindlaw writes. Reflecting on that manly scene, it occurs to "Naked City" that the 7,000 newly terminated American Airlines employees and their 15,000 pink-slipped kin at IBM could use some decompressing too -- maybe even jobs clearing brush on Texas vacation ranches ... -- L.A.

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