Dispatches > The Buzz
- When it comes to generosity, the conservative South is the top region in America and liberal New England rates at the bottom. Mississippi ranked first and Massachusetts dead last in the Generosity Index compiled by the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics. It compared each state's average adjusted gross income with its average itemized charitable deduction on 1998 tax returns. The 10 most generous states were in the South, along with the Dakotas and Utah in the West.
- Communities do not have a right to determine which books their tax-funded libraries offer, according to a federal judge in Texas. U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer struck down a resolution from the Wichita Falls, Texas, City Council that allowed the removal of books from the public library if 300 library-card holders signed a petition. The city passed the law after protests over the library's placing on its shelves Heather Has Two Mommies, a children's book about a lesbian couple who raise a daughter, and Daddy's Roommate, a children's book about a man who leaves his wife and son for a boyfriend.
- The Education Department faces its second major fraud probe this year. Officials couldn't say for sure just how much money the agency has lost to waste, fraud, or abuse, but investigators want to know about $1.9 million in missing money intended for kids living on Indian reservations and military bases. Also, grant money for South Dakota schools ended up in at least two Maryland bank accounts this spring. A Senate panel is considering the rare action of forcing a GAO audit of the federal agency.
- The Rev. Billy Graham headed home for North Carolina after being treated at the Mayo Clinic for Parkinson's disease and fluid around the brain. He underwent several surgical procedures in June and remained in Rochester for outpatient therapy. Mr. Graham says he hopes to have several years of work left, albeit with a reduced schedule. "I have been in Rochester so long that it's beginning to feel like home," he said.