Talking Points

Phillip Kurdunowicz
Phillip Kurdunowicz
Phillip Kurdunowicz

Three things you can talk about this week:

1. Public genital-patting in Italy

2. White House aides and their plagiarism

3. Symphonic Diplomacy

And three things you can’t:

1. Prince Harry’s stint in Afghanistan

2. The George W. Bush Presidential library

3. Spring Break tans

Quotes of the Week

“Um, Medved–Medvedova, whatever.”

Hillary Clinton, when asked by Tim Russert of NBC News, after her Feb. 25 debate with Barack Obama in Cleveland, to name Vladimir Putin’s probable successor to the presidency of Russia. Dmitri A. Medvedev won the presidency on Sunday in a landslide victory.

“It’s not like it’s supposed to mean anything. It’s not like I was making out with him or something.”

Chelsea Branham, a 14-year-old student at Shepherd Junior High School in Mesa, Ariz., challenging the school’s policy that bans hugs longer than two seconds. The school has always had a “no-hugging” rule, but officials recently began cracking down in response to complaints about hugging and kissing in school hallways

“No one likes them.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, on Americans serving in the coalition forces in Iraq. The comment came at the conclusion of Ahmadinejad’s two-day trip to Iraq, during which he assailed the United States and lauded his country’s stronger relations with Iraq


T-shirt cop threatens skaters with death

If the last couple years have taught police anything, it’s to avoid acts of brutality when young people with cell phone cameras are around.

First, in late 2006, campus police officers at UCLA repeatedly tasered a student after he refused to leave a library. Then, about a year later, a student at the University of Florida was tasered after he disrupted a speech by John Kerry in a campus auditorium.

But Officer Salvatore Rivieri of the Baltimore Police Department apparently didn’t learn his lesson. He was suspended last month after police saw a YouTube video of him roughing up a young skateboarder in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

After asking a group of teens to stop skating, Rivieri gets mad when one of them calls him “man” and “dude.” He grabs the boy by the neck and throws him to the ground.

“I’m not ‘man,’ I’m not ‘dude.’ I am Officer Rivieri,” he says. “The sooner you learn that, the longer you’re going to live in this world.”

Rivieri must have realized what could happen to him. At the end of the video, he asks if he was being recorded, and the video ends abruptly.

“You got that camera on? Because if I find myself on -” YouTube. Exactly.

– Gabe Nelson

See this and other YouTube videos of the week at youtube.com/user/michigandaily

Study of the Week

American teens ignorant of history and literature

Fewer than half of American teenagers who were asked general questions about literature and history could answer them correctly, according to a study released by a research group called Common Core.

In conducting the study, researchers contacted 1,200 17-year-olds by phone in January, asking them 33 multiple-choice questions that were taken from a test given by the federal government in 1986.

The survey found that fewer than half the students knew when the Civil War occurred, and one-quarter thought Christopher Columbus made his journey to the New World after 1750. In addition, only a quarter of students could identify Adolf Hitler as Germany’s chancellor during the Second World War.

On the literature section, only four out of 10 students could identify the name of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” after hearing a brief summary of it. But about 8 in 10 students correctly chose the title of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” after hearing the story’s premise.

-Brian Tengel

Theme Party Suggestion

Melodic group healing – Last week, the New York Philharmonic played a concert in Pyongyang in what many people saw as a thawing of relations between the U.S. and North Korea. Continuing in this tradition, you should get all your musically-inclined friends together to mediate any long-standing disputes within the group. Fights over girls, unreturned calls, cruel gossiping – it all can be solved with orchestral flourish. Let the overtures begin.

Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu

By the Numbers


Increase in the number of prisoners in the U.S. over the past year

1.6 million

Total number of prisoners in the U.S.


Average cost, in dollars, to incarcerate a prisoner in the U.S. in 2005

Source: Pew Center on the States

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