Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Robert Novak, 'The Prince of Darkness,' Dead at 78

Conservative columnist Robert Novak, known as the "Prince of Darkness" to his enemies, has died of brain cancer at the age of 78.
Novak’s remarkable and long-running career made him a powerful presence in newspaper columns, newsletters, books and on television. On May 15, 1963, Novak teamed up with the late Rowland Evans Jr. to create the “Inside Report” political column, which became the must-read syndicated column. Evans tapped Novak, then a 31-year old correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, to help with the workload of a six-day-a-week column. Evans and Novak were the od d couple: Evans a Philadelphia blue blood and Yale graduate; Novak from Joliet, Ill. who attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus. Novak handled the column solo after Evans retired in 1993. The Chicago Sun-Times has been Novak’s home paper since 1966.

In 2003 Novak was accused of deliberately leaking the name of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative in Africa. Plame's identity was classified and the "Plame Affair" consumed the national press for months, some of whom accused Karl Rove or Dick Cheney of ordering the leak. Novak's revelation ended Plame's career with the CIA, but he was never charged with breaching national security. Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby was eventually convicted.

Dr Boyce Money: Wells Fargo's Bad Relationship With the Black Community

Wells Fargo was recently hit with another discrimination suit in the state of Illinois. This is the second high profile lawsuit alleging that the company has engaged in predatory lending in black and Latino neighborhoods. The suit was filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and presents evidence that black and Latino customers were being guided toward higher cost loans even when they qualified for lower cost loans.

Obviously, these lawsuits are not good PR for a company that is one of the primary sponsors for Tavis Smiley's yearly State of the Black Union event.

"I'm talking of the worst of the worst bad loans that were sold in the run-up to the collapse of the housing market," the attorney general said in a press conference about the suit.

The attorney general should be commended for taking on this lawsuit. Just a few months ago, Wells Fargo was accused of engaging in similar practices in black neighborhoods in the city of Baltimore. Christopher Chestnut, a prominent attorney in the state of Florida who pursues racial bias cases, stated that, "The factual allegations plead in both Illinois and Maryland courts indicate a trend of predatory inequity in lending by Wells Fargo. The alleged behavior is alarming, depressing and unnecessary."

Mr. Chestnut is right. There appears to be a pattern in Wells Fargo's business practices and hopefully its day in court will reveal any possible deception. Genma Holmes, a blogger and entrepreneur concerned with social justice, has taken it upon herself to challenge Tavis Smiley and those connected to the State of the Black Union for their decision to promote Wells Fargo within the black community. In light of Smiley's campaign to hold President Barack Obama accountable, Holmes has argued that Smiley himself should be held accountable for his business relationship with Wells Fargo.

My position on this issue is clear: Companies found to discriminate should be taken to task, and we are fortunate to have an attorney general within the Obama administration (Eric Holder) who might be willing to do that. At the same time, predators are less likely to make you into a victim if you protect yourself from being good prey. This means that educating our children on financial literacy is critical, so they know how to shop for the best loan products when buying a home. Additionally, broader financial training in the black community could be beneficial to ensure that we don't buy into the latest products being presented by companies who simply choose the right spokesperson. There is no substitute for education and preparation. Perhaps Tavis Smiley's great book, 'Covenant with Black America' should include a chapter on fighting predatory lending. Given his relationship with Wells Fargo, I hope that wouldn't be a conflict of interest.

While the Wells Fargo suit is going to be interesting, there is a more general and painful economic devastation occurring in the black community. Black unemployment is nearly twice that of whites, and having lower wealth levels also implies that our community has a smaller financial cushion to soften the jobs disparity. But in the midst of darkness there is always an opportunity to grow, so perhaps our financial challenges will help us focus on more important values in our community. We've made it through much worse, and we are certainly going to make it through these difficult times.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with Your Partner in Ways that Feel Good." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email box, please click here.

Bomber 'will die a convicted man'

US relatives of the Lockerbie victims want to see the conditions of the verdict upheld

It is not just the fate of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing that is in the hands of the Scottish justice secretary.

It is a curiosity of devolution that Kenny MacAskill is also in a position to decide whether or not to uphold the international agreement which brought the Libyan to court in the first place.

In 1998, the UK and US governments agreed Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi and his co-accused could stand trial under Scots law in the Netherlands under certain conditions.

In a letter to the UN secretary general, Britain and America made clear that "if found guilty, the two accused will serve their sentence in the United Kingdom".

It is that condition that US relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing are determined to ensure is upheld.

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and seven US senators have weighed in behind them to demand Megrahi "serve out the entirety of his sentence in Scotland".

Megrahi stood trial under Scots law in the Netherlands
They believe the original agreement precludes prisoner transfer to Libyan custody - but what seems binding in Washington is clearly not regarded as legally binding in London.

The British Foreign Office said: "We do not assess there is any international legal obstacle to transfer", while stressing any decision was "exclusively for Scottish ministers".

The Scottish Government has never been keen on prisoner transfer from the moment it emerged Tony Blair had struck a deal on the issue with Colonel Gaddafi in the Libyan desert.

In April 2008, First Minister Alex Salmond said in an SNP press release that "anybody connected and convicted of the Lockerbie bombing should serve their sentences under Scottish jurisdiction."

He also promised to "uphold the international agreements" previously made.

Medical advice

To allow prisoner transfer now would look like an enormous climbdown for the SNP government.

It could not happen anyway while there are outstanding legal proceedings in Megrahi's case.

Although he has dropped his second appeal against conviction, the Crown's appeal for a tougher sentence has remained active.

That does not mean Megrahi, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, will die in Scottish custody.

A Crown appeal for a tougher sentence has remained active
The justice secretary could grant him compassionate release to spend his final days with his family.

The BBC has been told that the medical advice the minister received has suggested Mr al-Megrahi may have less than three months to live, which normally qualifies a prisoner for release on compassionate grounds.

This would still anger US relatives and politicians, but would not appear to breach the pre-trial agreement because as law professor Robert Black puts it, under compassionate release "sentence is served".

The final decision is the Scottish justice secretary's to make. He has cleared his diary to do so, probably this week.

Unless Kenny MacAskill caves in to international pressure, Megrahi could be back in Libya for Ramadan.

Despite always protesting his innocence, it is now clear he will die a convicted man, having served a fortnight in jail for each of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing.

Latest Favre saga twist hasn't fazed Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson isn't sweating the latest Favre rumor that he will still join the Vikings.

Tarvaris Jackson has come to what seems like a logical conclusion. Years after his NFL career is finished and he's sitting in a rocking chair, Jackson still is going to have to hear about Brett Favre.

Jackson, who is competing for the Vikings' starting quarterback job with Sage Rosenfels, expressed his feelings Monday after being asked about a story on the Fox Sports website by Jay Glazer that strongly predicted Favre will play in Minnesota this season. This came after Favre told the Vikings last month that he wasn't going to play for them and instead would remain retired.

"I didn't hear it, somebody told me about it," Jackson said of Glazer's article. "I didn't watch it on TV or anything like that. I think guys are just doing their job. Just trying to get people to watch their station, you all try to sell papers, that's how it is.

"I pretty much have said [Favre] probably will follow me even when I retire. I'll probably have to hear about it. I'm just trying to take care of my business, and I can't worry about that stuff. If I let that stuff get to me, ain't no telling where I'd be right now. I just let it roll off my shoulder and just keep going. Just keep trying to get better."

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was Favre's position coach for three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, visited Favre this summer to check on his rehab and remains good friends with the future Hall of Famer. However, even Bevell sounds tired of this topic.

"It seems like it's never going to die," Bevell said. "Coach [Brad Childress] showed me the report. There's really no comment on people's opinions. What are you going to do?"

Asked if the report should be dead, Bevell made an exasperated sound and said, "I have no idea about it. The first I saw was when Coach handed me the report."

Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said in a text message Monday morning that he was unaware of Glazer's story.

"Don't know anything about any report," he wrote.

Jackson, to his credit, said after what he has been through, a story based on a prediction isn't going to rattle him.

"This past year, I've been through a whole lot," he said. "The situation last year after the first two games [when he was benched], then the situation this summer [with Favre expected to join the Vikings], then last training camp [when Favre tried to force his way to Minnesota]. There ain't too much you can do to really get to me right now. ... I just have to take it as it is and just live with it. If I ain't dealing with it, that means I'm either doing great or I'm not in the league no more. So I take it either way it comes."

Not again
Ryan Cook lost his job as the starting right tackle last season after being called for seven penalties, including five false starts, in the first 10 games.

Cook opened training camp behind rookie Phil Loadholt on the depth chart, and he didn't help his cause with two false start penalties in one series in the fourth quarter of a 13-3 victory against the Indianapolis Colts in the preseason opener.

"I asked him if he's got some chip implanted in his head that just makes him jump offsides," Bevell said. "He promised me he would get it removed if it was in there."

Cook took some reps at right tackle with the first team in Monday's practice. He's also getting some work at center.

• Jackson and John David Booty took all the snaps Monday with Rosenfels (ankle) out for a second consecutive day.

• Benny Sapp worked with the first-team defense as the nickel back and intercepted a Booty pass in the flat.

US home construction falls 1 percent, misses views

Construction of new homes and apartments dipped slightly last month, missing expectations, in a sign that the building industry's recovery from the housing bust is likely to be bumpy and gradual.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new construction fell 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 581,000 units, from an upwardly revised rate of 587,000 in June. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a pace of 600,000 units.

The decline was led by a 13 percent drop in apartment building. Construction of single-family homes rose 1 percent to the highest level since October 2008 and the fifth-straight monthly increase.

Builders slammed the brakes on construction after the housing bubble burst, and in April housing starts plunged to the lowest point in a half-century. Then construction began a recovery, rising to the highest level in seven months in June before slipping again last month.

The industry is still a long way from non-recession levels. Housing starts last month were still nearly 38 percent below July last year.

Applications for building permits, an indicator of future activity, fell 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 560,000 units. Economists expected an annual rate of 580,000 units.

The industry is seeing increased demand from consumers who want to take advantage of a new federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. It covers 10 percent of a home price up to $8,000. It is set to expire at the end of November.

While numerous signs have emerged that the U.S. housing market has stabilized after the worst housing recession since the Great Depression, there are several threats to any recovery.

The unemployment rate, now 9.4 percent, is expected to surpass 10 percent, leaving more homeowners unable to pay their mortgages. Interest rates are still at attractive levels but they could rise, making buying a home less affordable.

Nevertheless, builders have been growing more optimistic. The National Association of Home Builders said Monday its index of industry confidence rose in August to the highest level in more than a year.


The war in Afghanistan is “fundamental to the defense of our people,” President Obama said Monday, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Phoenix, Ariz. — but the fight will not be easy. “The insurgency in Afghanistan didn’t just happen overnight. And we won’t defeat it overnight,” the president said. “But we must never forget.

This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9-11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.”
(Source: Stephanie Condon, CBS News)

Marshall still wants Broncos to trade him

One would think that Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall would lay low for a while after being acquitted last week of a misdemeanor battery charge for supposedly beating his girlfriend. But apparently that’s just not how Brandon Marshall rolls.

According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Marshall has reiterated to the Broncos that he either wants a new contract extension or be traded.

Marshall and his agent apparently got together with Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels yesterday to let him know that the wide receiver still wants a new contract extension or to be traded. The team reportedly has no plans to change his contract or trade him.

So Marshall didn’t practice yesterday and may just hold out till something better comes along. Of course, that means a daily $15,888 fine, which could eat into his $450,000 pretty quickly.
Marshall is reportedly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of what the Falcons gave Roddy White ($48 million over six years). Apparently NFL receivers just can’t be happy for each other without wanting what the other is making. (Don’t forget that White wanted what Greg Jennings got from the Packers earlier this offseason.)

Marshall doesn’t get it. The Broncos aren’t going to commit that kind of money to a guy who could easily wind up in court again by the end of the year, as opposed to helping them on the gridiron. His production on the field certainly warrants a new contract, but his immaturity off it will keep Denver from following through on an extension.

The Broncos aren’t going to trade him and if Marshall were smart, he would play out the remainder of his contract by being good both on and off the field. At the end of the year, the Broncos can decide whether or not he’s worth the investment by either offering him a new deal, franchising him so he doesn’t hit the open market, or flat out allowing him to walk via free agency.

The bottom line is that Denver wants the ball in its court and not allow Marshall (or his agent) to have control of the situation. If things get messy heading into the season, so be it, but the Broncos can’t allow another player to dictate his own situation like Jay Cutler was able to do before he was traded to Chicago.

Lisa Mayfield Mugshot!

MUGSHOT PHOTO! Here is the mug shot picture of Lisa Mayfield, estranged stepmother of Jeremy Mayfield. Lisa Mayfield mugshot is the result of being arrested for allegedly trespassing on the NASCAR driver’s home.

Mayfield himself is current suspended but on Saturday Mayfield was arrested on four misdemeanor counts of simple assault, one misdemeanor count of second-degree trespassing, says reports. Jeremy is the suspended Sprint Cup driver, his home located in Catawba County .

The two have reportedly been fighting in the courts in recent months. In May NASCAR suspended Jeremy Mayfield after allegedly testing for methamphetamines. From there the allegations started to fly. Lisa Mayfield then reportedly claimed under oath she saw Jeremy use the substance at least 30 times, Jeremy accused Lisa Mayfield of being paid by NASCAR to make that allegation and said Lisa was “accused her of killing his father”, promptly her to file a defamation suit back at Jeremy.

According to Catawba chief of police Cecil Cook, the following alleged events happened this weekend:

“According to the officers she was pretty high. The officers took her to jail on public assistance … to make sure she didn’t cause problems to anybody or herself. The Mayfields came up [to the magistrate's office] and took charges out. She was arrested on those charges while in jail.”

Lisa Mayfield’s court date is reportedly September 14. No comment by her to the charges.

Greg Paulus Named Starting QB at Syracuse

Most Syracuse fans seemed to think it was a no-brainer, but it wasn’t official until Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone made the announcement last night that Greg Paulus, everybody’s favorite whipping boy at Duke, will begin the season as the Orange starting QB. Given the fact that he hasn’t played competitive organized football in 4 years the announcement may be surprising to some, but when you remember that Paulus was the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year and that today’s Syracuse program is not the program it was when Donovan McNabb was under center it isn’t that shocking. We wish Paulus the best in his 2nd college career and want to remind him that flopping doesn’t work in football.

Glenn Beck: Losing His Mind, And Losing Advertisers

I’ve detailed some of Glenn Beck’s more insane antics in the past — see here, here, here, and here — but here’s a truly bizarre compilation from last week where Beck agrees that Obama is not Hitler, and then proceeds to tell us that Obama is Hitler:

Well, there finally appears to be some indication that Beck is paying a price for his antics:

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — In what is shaping up to be one of the more effective boycott campaigns in years, advertisers are abandoning the “Glenn Beck” show on Fox News following the host’s incendiary comments that President Barack Obama is a “racist” and has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”

Among the advertisers to pull spots from the popular cable talk show are Geico, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK .A 101,550, -600.00, -0.59%) (BRK .B 3,329, -26.13, -0.78%) ; Procter & Gamble (PG 51.93, -0.37, -0.71%) ; Sargento Cheese; and Progressive Insurance (PGR 16.26, -0.17, -1.04%) , according to the companies and Color of Change, one group that is organizing a campaign against the program.

Beck, who made the remarks during another Fox News program late last month, is among the network’s biggest draws, pulling in an average of about 2 million viewers. (Fox News is a unit of News Corp. (NWS 12.61, -0.40, -3.08%) , which also owns MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.)

Geico didn’t respond to a request for comment but sent Color of Change an email saying it had “instructed its ad-buying service to redistribute its inventory of rotational spots on [Fox] to their other network programs, exclusive of the Glenn Beck program.”

Privately held Sargento told its media buyer not to put any of its ads in Beck’s show, said a spokeswoman.

“We market our products to people regardless of their political affiliations,” she said. “Yet we do not want to be associated with hateful speech used by either liberal or conservative television hosts.”

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

Obama Joker Poster Artist Exposed As Liberal-Leaning Palestinian

Since NewsBusters and the Drudge Report first introduced America to the Obama Joker poster -- with help from talk radio host Tammy Bruce, of course -- most media outlets have speculated the artist was likely white, conservative, and racist.


As reported by the Los Angeles Times moments ago, the up-until-now anonymous creator of the poster sweeping the nation is a 20-year-old college student of Palestinian descent with largely liberal political leanings.

Honestly, you can't make this stuff up:

Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software.

Alkhateeb had been tinkering with the program to improve the looks of photos he had taken on his clunky Kodak camera. The Joker project was his grandest undertaking yet. Using a tutorial he'd found online about how to "Jokerize" portraits, he downloaded the October 23 Time Magazine cover of Obama and began digitally painting over it.

Four or five hours later, he happily had his product. [...]

"After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," Alkhateeb said. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him."

"I abstained from voting in November," he wrote in an e-mail. "Living in Illinois, my vote means close to nothing as there was no chance Obama would not win the state." If he had to choose a politician to support, Alkhateeb said, it would be Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

How delicious: Kucinich, likely the most liberal of presidential candidates last year!

Although Alkhateeb claims he was making no political statement with the artwork, he's plugged into the Washington debate. Though born in the United States, his Palestinian family closely follows Middle Eastern politics.

"I think he's definitely doing better than Bush was," Alkhateeb said of Obama. Alkhateeb's views on foreign relations align with the Democrats, he said, while he prefers Republican ideals on domestic issues.

Alkhateeb's assessment of Obama: "In terms of domestic policy, I don't think he's really doing much good for the country right now," he said. "We don't have to 'hero worship' the guy." [...]

Regardless, Alkhateeb does agree with the Obama "Hope" artist about "socialism" being the wrong caption for the Joker image. "It really doesn't make any sense to me at all," he said. "To accuse him of being a socialist is really ... immature. First of all, who said being a socialist is evil?"


Now that Alkhateeb has been unmasked, it's going to be fascinating to see how media outlets besides the LA Times report his Middle Eastern background as well as his political leaning.

Stay tuned.

Thousands bailing from AARP over ObamaCare

Although the American Association of Retired Persons officially doesn't favor the Democrats' proposal for government-run health care, my guess is that the liberal leaders of the organization are secretly pulling for it.

Old folks join AARP for discounts on hotel rooms and the like, which its leaders can't figure out. But AARP is paying a price for its advocacy.

CBS News has learned that up to 60,000 people have cancelled their AARP memberships since July 1, angered over the group's position on health care.

Elaine Guardiani has been with AARP for 14 years, and said, "I'm extremely disappointed in AARP."

Retired nurse Dale Anderson has 12 years with AARP and said, "I don't wanna be connected with AARP."

Many are switching to the American Seniors Association, a group that calls itself the conservative alternative as CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

That group, which opposes ObamaCare, gained 5,000 new members just last week.

New York City - Mayor Bloomberg Onboard With Segway Drivers, But Police Are Not

New York City - Self-described Segway "outlaw" Jonathan Gleich is delighted Mayor Bloomberg favors letting the geeky-looking contraptions ride on city streets.

He just wishes city cops and traffic judges felt the same way, because he is repeatedly socked with tickets and fines for commuting to work on his standup Segway two-wheeler.

"I've gotten six tickets so far, five of them from the same Manhattan cop," said Gleich, 50, of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, who is information technology director for a midtown clothing manufacturer.

He says he has had two Segways in about four years and has put more miles on them than on his Honda Element SUV.

Wearing a bicycle helmet, Gleich rides alongside parked cars, not out in the street with moving traffic.


His normal route takes him along Coney Island Ave., Prospect Park, Flatbush Ave., across the Brooklyn Bridge via bike lane, Church St. and Sixth Ave. to midtown.

Gleich said the same 10th Precinct cop has nailed him five times a few blocks from his office.

He has also been pulled over numerous times by other officers who scratch their heads and let him go when they can't figure out what to charge him with.

Gleich said he has fought each of his tickets in traffic court and provided administrative judges with safety information on Segways: top speed - 12.5 mph; propelled by "green" rechargeable batteries; 47 states, including New York, have passed laws legalizing them.

He always loses, resulting in fines of $90 to $120 for operating an unregistered vehicle.

"I plead common sense," he cracked. "The judges praise me for being so well-prepared and say, 'I'm sorry, common sense isn't recognized in New York City.'"

The real outlaws, he contends, are the bicycle riders, who heckle him, trying to force him out of bike lanes.

"I obey traffic laws, stop at lights, don't ride on sidewalks," he lamented. "Bicyclists see pedestrians as speed bumps to run over."

New Hope for Troy Davis

by Matt Kelley
In an extremely rare move for the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices yesterday issued an order directing a federal judge to hold an evidentiary hearing in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, who has sat on Georgia's death row for nearly two decades for a crime he says he didn't commit. A pile of convincing evidence suggests that Davis is indeed innocent, and the court's move points to the strength of this evidence.

This decision also confirms that Davis' attorneys - and the army of activists who have worked tirelessly on his behalf - are making themselves heard. The justices don't live in a vacuum, and at least six of them found yesterday that allowing a man to be executed before possible evidence of his innocence is fully considered would be a grave injustice and a violation of due process.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were the lone dissenters, and new justice Sonia Sotomayor didn't participate. Scalia wrote a frightening dissent suggesting that he may consider the execution of an innocent person completely constitutional.

He wrote: “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.” That's a scary sentence. But let's focus on the positive for a moment:

Justice john Paul Stevens, writing an unsigned majority opinion, offered full-throated disagreement to Scalia's callous dissent - ordering a lower court to review the case and questioning the constitutionality of the Clinton-era Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. “It ‘would be an atrocious violation of our Constitution and the principles on which it is based’ to execute an innocent person,” Stevens wrote.

The fact that Justices Roberts and Alito joined the majority shows the isolation of Scalia and Thomas in their willingness to allow Davis' execution to move forward despite questions about his guilt.

Scalia's demagoguery aside, however, this case is a big win for Davis and it means evidence in his case will be fully reviewed.

Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 shooting of a Savannah police officer. Seven of nine eyewitness against him at trial have since recanted and several have implicated one of the prosecution's star witnesses as the actual perpetrator.

The Supreme Court's decision yesterday does many things, foremost among them opening the question of whether it is constitutional to execute an innocent person. To most of us, this question seems to have an obvious answer, but Scalia apparently wants more discussion. Davis' case may give him that opportunity to discuss. Hopefully, if this question returns to the court in the years ahead, whether in Davis' case or another, I hope at least five justices will side with human decency and judicial fairness.

The decision also shows how far eyewitness identification evidence has come. The recantations of seven eyewitnesses provide the strongest evidence of Davis' innocence, and eyewitness identification evidence has increasingly come under fire in recent years. More than 75% of the 241 wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing involved at least one misidentification. Cases like Davis', with no DNA evidence to corroborate recantations, have found appeals courts exceedingly difficult to convince in years past, but that is changing. Davis' success at the nation's highest court is another sign that eyewitness misidentification is becoming more fully understood as a common and pervasive cause of wrongful conviction, and one that needs to be addressed before we make the ultimate mistake and execute an innocent person.

What killed Mozart? Study suggests strep infection

Hermann Kaulbach's 1872 oil painting "Mozart's last days," depicting the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Based on eyewitness accounts of the composer's final days, Mozart may have died from acute kidney failure brought on by a strep throat epidemic that appears to have arisen from a local military hospital.

PHILADELPHIA — What killed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart so suddenly in 1791? Was the 35-year-old composer poisoned? Could it have been kidney failure? A parasite?

A report in Tuesday's Annals of Internal Medicine, a medical journal published in Philadelphia, suggests it might have been something far more common: a strep infection.

Researchers looked at death records in Vienna in the months surrounding his death. The data suggests that there was a minor strep epidemic around that time, and some of Mozart's symptoms, including swelling and fever, could have come from strep.

A more than 200-year-old rumor suggests composer Antonio Salieri poisoned Mozart. The rumor has been widely discredited.

How Do You Steal 130 Million Credit Card Numbers?

Police said Albert Gonzalez, 28, launched his career as a hacker cruising Dixie Highway with a laptop to break into the security systems of box stores HAND OUT

A Miami man and two Russian accomplices are being indicted for allegedly stealing 130 million credit card numbers, the largest identity theft in history. That's a lot of credit card numbers -- like, one for every housing unit in the United States. How did they do it?

The historic theft involved five corporate data hackings, between 2006 and 2008, including Heartland, Hannaford, 7-Eleven and two unnamed companies, according to Channel Web. US investigators say the team scanned lists of Fortune 500 companies and learned about their checkout counter machines (also known as point-of-sale systems). Then they would write specific codes to corrupt their data systems and launch a virus from computers in the United States and Europe to pull hundreds and thousands of credit card numbers, and sort through them using a "sniffer," which is basically a data analysis system that decodes big chunks of information.

So how much damage could these kind of hackings do? The group leader is already being prosecuted for stealing another 40 million credit card numbers from TJ Maxx and Marshall's retailers, in a plot that has allegedly cost the companies about $400 million, according to the Washington Post.