- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009

At last

Just so you know, a researcher from the University of California at Los Angeles says he knows, sort of, where Osama bin Laden is hiding.

Using “distance-decay” theories about the distribution of wildlife and factoring in security and logistical needs of the “terrorist recluse,” bio-geographer Thomas Gillespie has extrapolated a specific spot. Bin Laden’s most likely location is the town of Parachinar in the Karrum tribal regions of northwest Pakistan, about 12 miles inside the border.

He’s even narrowed it down to three houses, based on satellite photographs. One has a nice garden, the researcher revealed, advocating that the U.S. “investigate — but not bomb — the three buildings.”

The revelation is “one of the most important political questions of our time,” Mr. Gillespie said, and he suggests that he’s ready to update his research, published in the MIT International Review, with fresh intelligence information.

So, uh, keep your eye on Parachinar. There’s still a $25 million reward.

Blog bog

Time magazine has been sorting through all the cultural and political blogs to determine the “top 25” — not an easy task, given that there are now 103 million blogs pulsating online, according to Neilsen, which tracks such things. An additional 41,000 blogs are typically created each day, incidentally.

Meanwhile, Time has named Talking Points Memo, the Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Metafilter and Andrew Sullivan’s Deep Dish as the top five of their list.

What’s noteworthy is Time’s bold condemnation of The Daily Kos, a fearsome presence that no one messed around with in past years. But Time and time march on, apparently. The magazine listed the site as one of the five most “overrated” blogs.

Markos Moulitsas — alias ‘Kos’ — created Daily Kos in 2002, a time he describes as ‘dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous.’ Be careful what you wish for. With the Bush years now just a memory, Kos’s blog has lost its mission, and its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee,” Time said.

“Time Magazine says we are overrated. Their own readers disagree, so yeah, yet another example of the disconnect between the traditional media and their readers,” Mr. Moulitsas responded.

You’re covered

Going abroad? Passive about the passport? Go ahead, take the plunge: Crate and Barrel presents a stylish way to present one’s national credentials to border agents of every persuasion.

These faux leather passport covers come in fancy green, orange or black and feature accent stitching, contrast lining and an outer slip pocket. Oh, so swank. But they’re only $8 in the age of penny pinching; through Crate and Barrel stores, online (www.crateandbarrel.com) or by phone (800/967-6696).

Days of yore

Today is George Washington’s “real” 277th birthday — he was born in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Va. It also marks the continual saga of the Washington Monument across the decades.

On this day in 1832, fundraising began for the construction of the monument, though work did not begin for 16 years. On Feb. 22, 1855, Congress appropriated $200,000 to continue the project. The monument was finally dedicated on Feb. 22, 1885, and opened to the public three years later, weighing in at 90,854 tons.

Happy birthday today to Sen. Edward Kennedy; the Massachusetts Democrat was born in 1932.

Meanwhile, all plane flights over the White House were officially banned on this day in 1935 — but not for security reasons. They disturbed President Franklin Roosevelt’s sleep.

The Justice Department charged Aldrich Ames and his wife with selling national secrets to the Soviet Union on this day in 1994. Ames was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison, and his wife received a five-year prison term.

Quotes of note

“Harvard narcissists with MBAs killed Wall Street.” — Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg News.

“A first lady can have influence, but she cannot be seen to have power.” — Cherie Blair’s advice to Michelle Obama.

“I spent eight years wishing Dick Cheney had been president rather than George W. Bush.” — Quin Hillyer, American Spectator.

By the numbers

24 percent of American executives say the risk of a government investigation is higher today than a year ago.

21 percent say their organizations are “very ready” to handle a government/regulatory investigation.

26 percent say their organizations have already been subject to such an investigation in the past two years.

60 percent think “self-reporting the results of internal investigations” will help ease a federal investigation.

21 percent place the responsibility for conducting preliminary investigations on internal audit committees.

19 percent would place the burden on their general counsel.

6 percent would ask the board of directors to investigate.

Source: Deloitte survey of 1,100 banking and investment executives released Feb. 17.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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