Peter Byrne is on leave from the North Bay Bohemian to write The Devil's Pitchfork: Multiple Universes, Mutually Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family, a book he tells AAN News is about "quantum mechanics and multiple universes." Byrne recently learned that the project received a $35,000 grant from The Foundational Questions Institute, a group with a mission to "catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology."
Miami New Times' Isaiah Thompson was awarded a IRE certificate in the local circulation weeklies category for his stories on how residency restrictions forced sex offenders to live under a Miami bridge. In the same category, the AAN-commissioned "Who Killed Brad Will?" was a finalist, along with Peter Byrne's series on Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the North Bay Bohemian and Wayne Barrett's reporting on Rudy Giuliani in the Village Voice. The Texas Observer's reporting on sexual abuse at a state-run youth prison and the cover-up that followed it was also a finalist, in the Magazine/specialty publication category. The Chauncey Bailey Project, which the San Francisco Bay Guardian took part in, was awarded this year's Tom Renner Award, which honors "outstanding reporting covering organized crime or other criminal acts."
In January, Metro Silicon Valley and North Bay Bohemian reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard C. Blum was a major beneficiary of contracts from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) that she chaired. Last month, Feinstein quietly left the subcommittee after six years of service. "Perhaps she resigned from MILCON because she could not take the heat generated by Metro's expose of her ethics," reporter Peter Byrne speculates. "Or was her work on the subcommittee finished because Blum divested ownership of his military construction and advanced weapons manufacturing firms in late 2005?" Whatever the explanation, Feinstein's resignation caused a stir amongst a number of right-wing pundits, who claim liberal media bias is keeping the story out of the mainstream media. UPDATE: Peter Byrne informs AAN that it's not just the right that's up in arms about Feinstein's conflicts: Members of Code Pink and the Raging Grannies protested outside her San Francisco home this weekend. "It is an investigative journalist's dream to watch a story mobilize people across the political spectrum -- from Rush Limbaugh's Dittoheads to the Raging Grannies and Code Pink," Byrne tells AAN News. "And having reactionary demogogues pump up a story whose research was funded in part by The Nation Institute has a delicious irony."
Metro Silicon Valley and North Bay Bohemian report this week that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband was a major beneficiary of military appropriations blessed by a subcommittee that she headed, parent company Metro Newspapers announced today in a press release. Feinstein (D-Calif.) approved billions of dollars in military construction expenditures awarded to two firms that were controlled by an investment group headed by the senator’s spouse, financier Richard C. Blum, according to the investigative story by Metro's Peter Byrne. The story "examines the many ways in which Sen. Feinstein committed repeated breaches of ethics as (the subcommittee) chairwoman or ranking member from 2001-2005," according to the release.