Friday, May 29, 2009


Kansan Wins Spelling Bee

It took 15 rounds and three days for champion speller to Kavya Shivashankar to knock out her 292 competitors at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but in the end the Kansas teenager emerged victorious. Her winning word: "laodicean," meaning "indifferent or lukewarm especially in matters of religion." Other words Shivashankar spelled en route to winning $40,000 in cash and prizes included "phoresy," "hydrargyrum," and "huisache." The event was nationally televised on ABC and the live audience included such big names as Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Bear Hugs: The New Fist Bump

Please, talk to your kids about hugging before it's too late. The New York Times reports that among teenagers, hugging has replaced simple hand shakes, hellos, and air kisses as the greeting of choice. The trend has spread so quickly that some students feel pressure to fit in. One Manhattan freshman said that a non-hugger would be thought "weird or peculiar." School officials wary of sexual harassment or improper touching suits have instituted a three-second rule or banned hugging in the hallways altogether. The grassroots trend has has left parents scratching their heads. As one parent put it, “Maybe it’s because all these kids do is text and go on Facebook so they don’t even have human contact anymore."
Read it at The New York Times


Abu Ghraib Photos ‘Show Rape’
Remember those 2,000 Abu Ghraib abuse photos President Obama didn’t want released? Major General Antonio Taguba, who conducted the investigation of Abu Ghraib and retired in 2007, told the Daily Telegraph they “show rape.” One picture, he alleges, depicts an American soldier raping a female prisoner; another shows a male translator raping a male detainee. Other images depict prisoners being sexually assaulted with objects such as a wire, a club, and a phosphorescent tube. Still another shows a female prisoner “having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.” Taguba supports Obama’s wishes not to release the photos. “I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one,” he said, and adds, "The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it." The photos, which are related to 400 cases of alleged abuse from 2001-2005, were originally thought to be similar in content to previously released pictures, which depicted prisoners being threatened by dogs and piled into human pyramids.
Read it at The Daily Telegraph

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


U.N. rights chief calls for Sri Lanka investigation

Tue May 26, 2009 6:46pm IST

GENEVA, May 26 (Reuters) - The United Nations' refugee chief called on Tuesday for an international investigation to determine if Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil rebels had committed war crimes. Ensuring accountability for abuses committed in the recent fighting was important for the island nation's national reconciliation, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Monday, May 25, 2009


Berlusconi to Explain Relationship

Perhaps he should call former president Clinton for advice? Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said that he may explain his relationship with teenage aspiring model Noemi Letizia to parliament, The Times of London reports. The 72-year old Berlusconi's relationship with the 18-year-old Letizia is at the center of his divorce row with his wife, who said that she couldn't stay with a man "who frequents minors." Berlusconi claims a close relationship with Letizia's parents, although Letizia's ex-boyfriend recently said, "Noemi's parents have nothing to do with this, the link was just with her." Berlusconi denies charges of improprieties, insisting the relationship is "nothing improper."
Read it at The Times of London
Posted at 7:42 AM, May 25, 2009



Judges Seek Protection

Threats and other harassing communications against federal court personnel have more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 to 1,278, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. This has prompted hundreds of judges to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals. Many are altering their routes to work, shielding their addresses by paying bills at the courthouse or refraining from registering to vote. Some even pack weapons on the bench. "I live with a constant heightened sense of awareness," said John R. Adams, a federal judge in Ohio who began taking firearms classes after a federal judge's family was slain in Chicago and takes a pistol to the courthouse on weekends. Officials blame the violence on disgruntled defendants whose anger is fueled by the Internet, as well as terrorism and gang cases that bring more violent offenders into federal court. Frustration at the economic crisis might also be a factor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009



Brits to Boot Half of Parliament

At least half of the House of Commons will vacate their seats this year as voters express their displeasure over the embarrassing expenses scandal, according to polls. About 325 MPs are expected to resign, quit, or be defeated at the ballot box, which will make for the biggest clear-out of Parliament since 1945. Almost 40 Labour MPs have already resigned due to public outrage over the misuse of their allowances, where MPs bought personal items with taxpayer money. The Conservative party is expected to win the election by 80 seats, though Prime Minister Gordon Brown has yet to set the date for the election. One politician said the turnover is due to "despair" in the party.



Devastation in Sri Lanka


On Monday the Sri Lankan government declared an end to the 25-year-old civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, but the devastation has just begun as the country continues to be in severe need of water and supplies for its displaced citizens. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the region on Saturday and told CNN, “I have traveled around the world and visited similar places, but this is by far the most appalling scenes I have seen. I sympathize fully with all of the displaced persons.” Nearly 250,000 to 300,000 people are refugees in the coastal villages, although the Sri Lankan government does not believe many civilians were injured in the fighting.

Saturday, May 23, 2009



Two days after telling the Atlantis crew that “We’re soon gonna have a new NASA administrator, I can’t disclose it to you because I’ve got to have some hoopla on the announcement back here on earth,” Obama announced his pick in a move timed to the shuttle's return, naming the agency's first African-American leader, retired Marine Corps General Charles Bolden.
Bolden was part of four space-shuttle missions – two as pilot and two as commander – and flew more then 100 sorties over Vietnam. He was also the Chief of the Safety Division at the Johnson Space Center following the Challenger disaster in 1986.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Michael Moore Goes to Wall Street

Controversy-loving filmmaker Michael Moore will turn his camera to the global economic meltdown in a film due out this October. Moore is staying secretive about the project, but a statement he released suggests the film will target the men and women behind the economic crisis with the same fiery outrage as his former projects attacked President Bush or the health care industry. "The wealthy, at some point, decided they didn't have enough wealth," he said in the statement." They wanted more—a lot more. So they systematically set about to fleece the American people out of their hard-earned money. Now, why would they do this? That is what I seek to discover in this movie."
Read it at Yahoo



The Super Memory Club

The key to a long lucid life may be as simple as a daily bridge game, The New York Times reports. The world's largest study of health and mental acuity in the elderly, begun in 1982, has finally started to figure out what makes a sharp 90-year-old sharp. A University of Southern California study of nonagenarian retirees at a community south of Los Angeles suggests that people who spend three hours or more each day "engrossed in some mental activities like cards, may be at reduced risk of developing dementia," the Times writes. As of yet, it's hard to discern whether the mentally acute stay sharp because they're active, or whether activity can actually cause mental acuity. There's also evidence that people with regular contact with others do better in and outside the home, both mentally and physically.
Read it at The New York Times

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Voice of Mickey Mouse Dies
Wayne Allwine, the man voiced Mickey Mouse for over thirty years died from complications due to diabetes Monday, The Hollywood Reporter announced in a heartfelt obituary Wednesday. His wife Russi Taylor, who voices Minnie Mouse, was by his side at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Allwine first lent his famous falsetto to the character for The New Mickey Mouse Club. He was an Emmy-winning sound effects editor whose voice reverberates at Disney parks, on television and in stage broadcasts around the world. When Allwine took over from original Mickey Jimmy Macdonald in 1977, Macdonald said: “Just remember kid, you're only filling in for the boss.”
Read it at The Hollywood Reporter
Posted at 9:43 PM, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009


A Blonde was down on her luck. In order to raise some money,
she decided to kidnap a kid and hold him for ransom. She
went to the playground, grabbed a kid, took him behind a tree,
and told him, "I've kidnapped you." She then wrote a note
saying, "I've kidnapped your kid. Tomorrow morning, put $10,000 in a paper bag and put it under the pecan tree next to the slide on the north side of the playground. Signed, A
Blonde". The Blonde then pinned the note to the kid's shirt
and sent him home to show it to his parents. The next morning the Blonde checked, and sure enough, a paper bag was sitting beneath the pecan tree. The Blonde opened up the bag and found the $10,000 with a note that said, "How could you do this to a fellow Blonde?"


It's about two blondes arguing over what is farther away — the moon or Florida. One turns to the other and says, 'Like, duh, obviously the moon; you can't even see Florida from here."

A redhead, a blonde and a brunette escape from jail and hide in a barn. The police close in, so the three women each hide in a sack.
The police search the barn, and to check each sack, a police officer kicks it as he walks past.
The officer kicks the redhead's sack, and the redhead says, ' Meow."
The officer kicks the brunette's sack, and the brunette says, " Woof, Woof."
The officer kicks the blonde's sack, and the blonde shouts, :-))



There are three girls in the Fifth Grade. There is a blonde a brunette and a redhead.
Which one is probably the smartest?
If you guessed the blonde you were correct.... she's 19 years old!


The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype usually applied to blonde-haired women. The archetypical "dumb blonde", while viewed as attractive and popular, has been criticised as lacking in both common street-sense and academic intelligence, often to a comedic level. The dumb blonde stereotype is frequently used in the popular blonde jokes. It appeared as the counterpoint of Nazi nordicism in WW2. After the war the term lost its ideological meanings, and it became a popular jest.

A blonde suspects her boyfriend of cheating on her, so she goes out and buys a gun. She goes to his apartment unexpectedly and when she opens the door she finds him in the arms of a redhead. Well, the blonde is really angry. She opens her purse to take out the gun, and as she does so, she is overcome with grief. She takes the gun and puts it to her head. The boyfriend yells, "No, honey, don't do it!!!" The blonde replies, "Shut up, you're next!"

A famous soccer player parked his brand new porsche outside a gift store and went inside to shop. About ten minutes later a blonde salesgirl ran up to him shouting, "I just saw someone steal your sports car.""Did you try to stop him?" asked the soccer player."No," said the blonde. "I did better than that, I got the registration number of the car!"

What did the mom say to her blonde duaghter before a date?A: If your not in bed by 12 come home.*

Why did the blonde stare at the frozen orange juice?
Because it said "concentrate."

A blonde was trying to sell her old car
A blonde was trying to sell her old car. She was having a lot of problems selling it, because the car had almost 230,000 miles on it.
One day, she told her problem to a brunette she worked with at a salon. The brunette told her, "There is a possibility to make the car easier to sell, but it's not legal."
"That doesn't matter," replied the blonde, "if I can only sell the car."
"Okay," said the brunette. "Here is the address of a friend of mine. He owns a car repair shop. Tell him I sent you and he will 'fix it'. Then you shouldn't have a problem anymore trying to sell your car."
The following weekend, the blonde made the trip to the mechanic.
About one month after that, the brunette asked the blonde, "Did you sell your car?"
"No," replied the blonde, "Why should I? It only has 50,000 miles on it!"

A brunette says to a blonde "Look! A dead bird!" and the blonde looks up and says "Where?"

*How do you get a one armed blonde out of a tree??
You wave to her!!!!

Doc, It Hurts All Over A woman explains to the doctor, "When I touch my arm, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my leg, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my head, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my chest, ouch, it hurts." The doctor just shakes his head and asks, "You're a natural blonde, aren't you?" The woman smiles and says, "Why, yes I am. How did you know?" The doctor replies, "Because your finger is broken."How Should I Know?

A married couple was asleep when the telephone rang at two in the morning. The wife, a blonde, picked up the telephone, listened a moment and said, "How should I know, that's 200 miles from here!" and hung up.
The husband said, "Who was that?" The wife said, "I don't know; some woman wanting to know 'if the coast is clear.'" -->

Magic Mirror

There was this bar and in the bar there was a magic mirror. If you told a lie it would suck you in. One day a brunette walked into this bar. She walked up to the mirror and said 'I think I'm the most beautiful woman in the world' and it sucked her in. The next day a redhead walked into the bar. She walked up to the mirror and said 'I think I'm the most beautiful woman in the world' and it sucked her in. Then the next day a blond walked into the bar. She walked up to the mirror and said 'I think...' and it sucked her in.

Why is it good to have a blonde passenger?A. You get to park in the handicap zone.

Did you hear about the blonde who brought her cosmetics with her for a make-up exam?

A blonde woman was having financial troubles so she decided to kidnap a child and demand a ransom. She went to a local park, grabbed a little boy, took him behind a tree and wrote this note. "I have kidnapped your child. I am sorry to do this but I need the money. Leave $10,000 in a plain brown bag behind the big oak tree in the park at 7 AM." Signed, "The Blonde". She pinned the note inside the little boy's jacket and told him to go straight home. The next morning, she returned to the park to find the $10,000 in a brown bag behind the big oak tree, just as she had instructed. Inside the bag was the following note. "Here is your money. I cannot believe that one blonde would do this to another."


A plane is on its way to Detroit when a blonde woman in economy class gets up and moves into an open seat in the first class section. The flight attendant watches her do this, and politely informs the woman that she must sit in economy class because that's the type of ticket she paid for. The blonde replies, "I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to Detroit and I'm staying right here." After repeated attempts and no success at convincing the woman to move, the flight attendant goes into the cockpit and informs the pilot and co-piolet that there's a blonde bimbo sitting in first class who refuses to go back to her proper seat. The co-pilot goes back to the woman and explains why she needs to move, but once again the woman replies by saying, "I'm blonde, I'm beatiful, I'm going to Detroit and I'm staying right here." The co-pilot returns to the cockpit and suggests that perhaps they should have the arrival gate call the police and have the woman arrested when they land. The pilot says, "You say she's blonde? I'll handle this. I'm married to a blonde. I speak blonde." He goes back to the woman and whispers quietly in her ear, and she says, "Oh, I'm sorry," then quickly moves back to her seat in economy class. The flight attendant and co-pilot are amazed and ask him what he said to get her to move back to economy without causing any fuss. "I told her first class isn't going to Detroit."

A blonde cop stops blonde motorist and asks for her driving license. The Motorist scuffles around in her purse and can't find it. She says to the cop, "I must have left it at home officer." The cop says, "Well, do you have any kind of identification?" The motorist scuffles around in her purse again, and finds a pocket mirror. She looks at it and says to the cop, "All I have is this picture of myself." The cop says, "Let me see it, then." So the blonde motorist gives the mirror to the blonde cop, who looks at it, and replies, "Well, if I had known you were a police officer, I wouldn't have even pulled you over. You can go now."

: Why did the blonde nurse bring a red marker to work?A: In case she had to draw blood!

.. Why did the blonde tip-toe past the medicine cabinet? A .. So she wouldn't wake up the sleeping pills.

Q: What did the blond do when she missed the 66 Bus?A: She took the 33 bus twice instead.

Why did seventeen blondes go to the movie? Because the sign said: "Under 17 not admitted". (You must be a brunette to understand this)

The Bet
A blonde and a redhead met for dinner after work and were watching the 6 o'clock news. A man was shown threatening to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge. The blonde bet the redhead $50 that he wouldn't jump, and the redhead replied, "I'll take that bet!"
Anyway, sure enough, he jumped, so the blonde gave the redhead the $50 she owned. The redhead said, "I can't take this, you're my friend." The blonde said, "No. A bet's a bet."
So the redhead said, "Listen, I have to admit, I saw this one on the 5 o'clock news, so I can't take your money."
The blonde replied, "Well, so did I, but I never thought he'd jump again!"

Q. How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday?A. Tell her a joke on Wednesday.

*Parachute Jumping
On the first day of training for parachute jumping, a blonde listened intently to the instructor. He told them to start preparing for landing when they are at 300 feet.
The blonde asked, "How am I supposed to know when I'm at 300 feet?"
"That's a good question. When you get to 300 feet, you can recognize the faces of people on the ground."
After pondering his answer, she asked, "What happens if there's no one there I know?"

One day, while a blonde was out driving her car, she ran into a truck.The truck's driver made her pull over into a parking lot and get out of the car.He took a piece of chalk and drew a circle on the pavement. He told her to stand in the middle and not leave the circle.Furious, he went over to her car and slashed the tires.The blonde started laughing.This made the man angrier so he smashed her windshield.This time the blonde laughed even harder.Livid, the man broke all her windows and keyed her car.The blonde is now laughing hysterically, so the truck driver asks her what's so funny.The blonde giggles and replies, "When you weren't looking, I stepped out of the circle three times!"


A ventriloquist is performing with his dummy on his lao.

He's telling a dumb-blonde joke when a young platinum-haired beauty jumps to her feet.

" What gives you the right to stereotype blondes that way? She damands. What does hair color have to do with my worth as a human being?

Flustered, the ventriloquist begins to stammer out an apology.

" You keep out of this. " She says. " I'm talking to that little jerk on your knee."

Top 10 Dumb Blonde Jokes
Yes, the top 10 blonde jokes of all time!(In reverse order - best last. Please read the Disclaimer.)

Question: If a blonde and a brunette fell off a building, who would hit the ground first?Answer: The brunette - the blonde would have to stop for directions!

The assistant asked the blonde if she would like her pizza cut into six pieces or twelve.
"Six please" she said, "I could never eat twelve!"

A blonde was walking down the road with a healthy looking pig under her arm. As she passed the bus stop, someone asked,
"Where did you get that?"The pig replied,

"I won her in a raffle!"

A person went into the office kitchen one morning and found a new blonde girl painting the walls. She was wearing a new fur coat and a nice denim jacket.

Thinking this was a little strange, he asked her why she was wearing them rather than old clothes or an overall.
She showed him the instructions on the tin,

"For best results, put on two coats".

Two blondes were in a parking lot trying to unlock the door of their car with a coat hanger.First Blonde:
"I can't seem to get this door unlocked!Second Blonde:

Well you better hurry up. It's starting to rain and the top is down!

Three blondes were walking through a field when they came across a set of tracks.

The first blonde looked down at the tracks and said,

"I think they could be bird tracks."

The second blonde went to look and said,

"No, I think these are deer tracks."
They stepped aside and the third blonde went over to the tracks. She looked down, then got run over by the train!

A blonde asked someone what time it was, and they told her it was 4:45. The blonde, with a puzzled look on her face replied,

"You know, it's the weirdest thing, I have been asking that question all day, and each time I get a different answer."

A blonde was driving down the road listening to the radio and was quite upset when she heard blonde joke after blonde joke. A little way down the road, she saw another blonde out in a field rowing a boat. The blonde stopped her car and angrily jumped out yelling,
"You dumb blonde bimbo! It's blondes like you that give the rest of us a bad name! If I could swim I'd come out there and give you what's coming to you!"

A blonde and a redhead went to the bar after work for a drink, and sat on stools watching the 6 O'clock news. A man was shown threatening to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, and the blonde bet the redhead $50 that he wouldn't jump.

Sure enough, he jumped, so the blonde gave the redhead $50. The redhead said,
"I can't take this, you're my friend."But the blonde insisted saying,
"No. A bet's a bet."

Then the redhead said
"Listen, I have to tell you that I saw this on the 5 O'clock news, so I can't
take your money."

The blonde replied
"Well, so did I, but I didn't think he would jump again!"

A dumb blonde was really tired of being made fun of, so she decided to have her hair she would look like a brunette.
When she had brown hair, she decided to take a drive in the country.
After she had been driving for a while, she saw a farmer and a flock of sheep and thought,

"Oh! Those sheep are so adorable!"She got out and walked over to the farmer and said,
"If I can guess how many sheep you have, can I take one home?"The farmer, being a bit of a gambler himself, said she could have a try.

The blonde looked at the flock and guessed, "157."

The farmer was amazed - she was right! So the blonde, (who looked like a brunette), picked one out and got back into her car.
Before she left, farmer walked up to her and said.

"If I can guess the real color of your hair, can I have my dog back?"
OK, a blonde was standing in an elevator and a man walked in and the blonde said "T-G-I-F!" And the man said,"S,H,I,T." Then the blonde said "T-G-I-F, ya know 'Thank-goodnes it's Friday'?" And the man goes "S,H,I,T,

'Sorry Honey It's Thursday!"



The Right-Winger on the Supreme Court

Jim Young, Reuters / Landov
When George W. Bush appointed two Supreme Court justices, John Roberts breezed through confirmation while Democrats reserved their fire for Samuel Alito. Was that a mistake? In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin writes “Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.” Obama may be leading the country leftward, but “Roberts’s service on the Court, which is, of course, likely to continue for decades, offers an enduring and faithful reflection of the Bush Presidency.”
Read it at The New Yorker
Posted at 6:48 AM, May 18, 2009


Saturday, May 16, 2009


War in Sri Lanka Ends

After 25 years, the war in Sri Lanka may be officially over. Government soldiers seized the final stretch of land controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday, after surrounding it from the north and south. But because the Tigers occupied territory with a heavy civilian population, the government's attempts to weed out the rebels has caused what a U.N. official called a "bloodbath" of collateral damage. The Tigers have fought for an independent minority state in Sri Lanka and at least 70,000 people have been killed since the war began in 1983.

Friday, May 15, 2009

" Building of a ship" Henry Longfellow.

"It is the heart and not the brain
That to the highest doth attain."

So sang the bard whose rythmic strain
We shall not hear on earth again
Yet higher than his tuneful art
We prize the kindness of his heart.

It's time for working people to rise up and defeat
The brokers and bankers and media elite
And all the educated bums in panelled office suites
And throw them in the street.

Author Unknown.

Sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt,
Say brother, don't you call me 'cause
I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store.

Merle Travis.

Thouugh the mills of God gring slowly
Yet they grind exceedingly small,
Though with patience he stands waiting
with exactness he grinds all.

Henry Longfellow.

Looks like what drives me crazy
Don't have no effect on you -
But I'm gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy too.

Lanston Hughes.

Sir I admit your general rule
That every poet is a fool:
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

Alexander Pope.

And could he be indeed so old
As by the news-papers we're told?
Three score, I think is pretty high;
T'was time in conscience he should die.
This world he cumbered long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that's the reason some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.

Jonathan Swift, " A satyrical elegy on the death of a late famous general"


Dead People Get StimulusChecks
Updated: Thursday, 14 May 2009, 10:30 PM EDTPublished : Thursday, 14 May 2009, 5:28 PM EDT
MYFOXNY.COM - This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail. The problem is that a lot of them are dead. A Long Island woman was shocked when she checked the mail and received a letter from the U.S. Treasury -- but it wasn't for her.

Thursday, May 14, 2009



America's Racial Trend: White

The economic recession, coupled with a crackdown on illegal immigration, have unexpectedly slowed down the growth of the Hispanic and Asian populations, according to census data released today. This has pushed back the government's estimates on when minorities will become the majority by as much as a decade. The nation's overall minority population, however, continues to rise steadily, increasing 2.3 percent in 2008 to 104.6 million, or 34 percent of the total population, but when the actual tipping point will occur is now in question. The Census Bureau had projected in August that white children would become the minority in 2023 and the overall white population would follow in 2042. The data released today also shows that Hispanics are increasingly choosing to stay in gateway states such as California, further slowing the growth of that population in emerging immigrant areas in the Southeast, such as Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Read it at The Washington Post
Posted at 6:55 AM, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Robert Frost in " The Road Not Taken."

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

Cole Porter in " Can Can "

If the lass in Michigan can,
If an ass in ASTRAKHAN can
If a bass in the SASKETCHAVAN can,
Baby, you can can-can too.

John Gunther's Prayer.

Almighty God
Forgive me for my agnoticism,
For I shall try to keep it gentle, not cynical.
Nor a bad influence
And O,
If Thou art truly in the heavens
Accept my gratitude,
For all Thy gifts,
And I shall try
To fight the good fight.


Monday, May 11, 2009



No Thanks, Mr. President

Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent has turned her into a global phenomenon, but according to the Daily Mail she is still reluctant to embrace the spotlight in full. Case in point: Boyle is said to have turned down an invitation to the White House Correspondents Dinner this week, the glitzy Washington event hosted by President Barack Obama. According to the Mail, Boyle is a big fan of Obama but decided she was too nervous to meet the leader of the free world.
Read it at Daily Mail
Posted at 7:19 AM, May 11, 2009



Civilian Death Scandal

A human rights organization is investigating claims that the U.S. used white phosphorous in a battle with the Taliban last week in which hundreds of civilians have died. A doctor in a nearby village said that civilians were taken to the hospital after the battle with “highly unusual burns” on their hands and feet. “One of the women who came here told us that 22 members of her family were totally burned. She said a bomb distributed white power that caught fire and then set people's clothes alight,” the doctor said. U.S. forces claim they did not use the chemical and that the reports of 147 civilian deaths were exaggerated. But the forces do not deny dropping bombs after militants had left the battlefield, when civilians were more likely to get hurt.
Read it at The Guardian
Posted at 1:00 AM, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Snake Head Served at T.G.I. Friday's

A man in upstate New York was just enjoying his meal at T.G.I. Friday’s when, much to his horror, he found a severed snake head among his vegetables. The man said he became disgusted when he looked down at his plate and saw "eye sockets" staring back at him. The serpentine surprise is being taken very seriously by the restaurant chain, which has requested a full investigation into the matter. It was determined that the snake head was not cooked with the vegetables, but in fact planted by a prankster in the vegetables. "I have to laugh about it now, because if I don't, I'll start to gag again" the man who found the head said.
Read it at Agence France Presse
Posted at 7:47 AM, May 10, 2009



Sri Lanka Shells Civilians

The Sri Lanken government's relentless effort to wipe out the Tamil Tiger insurgency reached a new low Saturday, as civilians caught in the crossfire of the conflict were shelled. Two hundred fifty-seven were killed, and nearby aid workers and hospitals were inundated with 814 wounded. Sri Lanka's military has faced harsh criticism for neglecting the innocents trapped in what appears to be the Tigers' last stand. Rumors have circulated that the government prevented aid from entering the rebels' last remaining small parcel of land. The government denies that it bombed civilians, saying it is using only small arms against the insurgents. The Guardian estimates that 50,000 civilians remain in the war zone, which is still under heavy bombardment.
Read it at The Guardian

Saturday, May 09, 2009



CBS golf analyst: Soldiers would shoot Reid, Pelosi
Even if this was off the cuff, it's not going to go over well with the sports bosses at CBS.
The network's golf analyst, David Feherty, writing a column in D Magazine about the George and Laura Bush moving to the Dallas area, says U.S. soldiers would shoot Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid:
"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."
This column, part of a series of first-person pieces in the Dallas magazine, was brought to our attention by the folks at Media Matters, which quickly added a statement of outrage.
"Mr. Feherty’s violent comments about Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are disgusting,” said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. “Suggesting that our troops would attack the leaders of the very democracy they’ve sworn to sacrifice their lives for is an insult to their integrity, honor, and professionalism. CBS Sports should demand its golf analyst apologize to our soldiers.”


William Blake. 1757–1827

The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,

And water'd heaven with their tears,

Did He smile His work to see?

Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin......

Did he who made Mahatma Ghandi, Mandela and Mother Theresa make thee?

"Did He smile His work to see..."



Buffett Blows $1.5 Billion

The Oracle from Omaha isn’t seeing clearly: The Wall Street Journal reports “Berkshire Hathaway Inc. had a loss of $1.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with profit of $940 million a year earlier, as the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett continued to suffer amid the weak economy and shaky markets.” It was the company’s first quarterly loss since the third quarter 2001, after the September 11 attacks. Buffett was hit by credit-default swaps linked to junk bonds, and a portfolio that includes American Express, Wells Fargo, and Moody’s.


Stamps To Cost 2 Cents More Starting Monday »
AP RANDOLPH E. SCHMID May 9, 2009 at 08:40 AM
WASHINGTON — Peel it and weep: It'll cost an extra 2 cents to mail a letter starting Monday.
The price of a first-class stamp will climb to 44 cents, though people who planned ahead and stocked up on Forever stamps will still be paying the lower rate.
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Friday, May 08, 2009


South Africa's Presidential Polygamy

Jacob Zuma is taking all three of his wives to his inauguration as South Africa’s president this Saturday, sparking speculation as to which of his wives will take on the role of first lady. The 67-year-old has been married five times and has 19 children. He grew up a Zulu in rural South Africa, where polygamy is common, though he will become South Africa’s first polygamous president. Political experts say the role of first lady isn’t defined in South Africa as it is in the U.S., and that Zuma will probably rotate his wives through official occasions, bring them all along, or even have one of his daughters take on the role.
Read it at BBC
Posted at 10:10 PM, May 7, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009



Condemned Cow Earns Freedom

An inspiration for us all: “A condemned cow made a desperate bid for freedom yesterday, bolting from a slaughterhouse and leading cops on a wild chase through the streets of Queens,” writes the New York Post. The cow, nicknamed Molly, escaped from the Musa Hala slaughterhouse and evaded cops for about an hour. “I heard a lady scream. Then I saw a baby cow,” said one witness. "I wasn't surprised at all," said the woman whose yard Molly was eventually cornered in. "In my home country [Guyana], we are used to it. My father was a butcher.” Molly was subdued with tranquilizer darts and then brought to the Center for Animal Care and Control in Brooklyn. Best of all, there appears to be a happy ending: “She may have earned clemency. Officials hope to find her a permanent home at an animal sanctuary.”
Read it at New York Post
Posted at 7:04 AM, May 7, 2009


Few Savings from Obama's Cuts

President Obama has been promising to scour the federal budget for savings, “line by line.” The effort has apparently been in vain. The plan, which will be released today, seeks to trim 121 programs by $17 billion—a tiny fraction of the $3.4 trillion budget. Still, the cuts are likely to face a tough battle in Congress. Budget analysts said that few to none of the programs targeted by Obama will be terminated. According to Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings Institution economist who served as a senior official in the Clinton White House budget office, "Even if you got all of those things, it would be saving pennies, not dollars. And you're not going to begin to get all of them."
Read it at The Washington Post
Posted at 6:32 AM, May 7, 2009


The Madoffs' Amex Bill

Splash News
Bernie Madoff's family may not have known about his Ponzi scheme, but they sure reaped its rewards: According to court records, Bernie Madoff’s relatives and employees routinely charged tens of thousands of dollars a month on his corporate American Express account. The New York Post reports that Madoff’s son, Mark, racked up nearly $81,000 in charges in July 2008, with more than $77,000 going into charter flights. Big-ticket items purchased by the high rolling family include $2,000 dropped at the Giorgio Armani store in Paris by the ponzi schemer’s wife, Ruth. Son Andrew went on a shopping spree at a Polo Ralph Lauren store in June 2008, spending almost $2,400 in a single visit. 18 people held cards for the corporate account, most of them firm employees, except for sister-in-law Marion Madoff, daughter-in-law Deborah West Madoff, and the captain of Madoff's yacht, Richard Carroll. Bernie’s sister-in-law’s name actually appears in the company’s payroll, with an annual salary of $163,500, although there is "no evidence," according to the records, that she did any work for the company.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009



Democrats Deny Specter Seniority

Arlen Specter was hoping to keep the seniority he accrued in several key committees during his years as a Republican. Instead, Senate Democrats have placed him in junior slots on each of the five committees on which he serves. Democrats have suggested that they will consider revisiting Specter's seniority claim after the midterm elections next year, but the move may actually hurt his bid for reelection. Without committee seniority, he cannot claim that that he is in key positions to benefit his constituents. He will lose out, for example, on an appropriations subcommittee chairmanship, a critical foothold he has used in the past to disperse billions of dollars to Pennsylvania. The fall may also take a toll on his pride. After having chaired the committee and ran the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Specter will now be the last senator to ask questions of an eventual Supreme Court nominee.



Madoff's Private Life Revealed

Jin Lee, Bloomberg News / Landov
You can't enjoy these in prison: Madoff “had a roving eye and . . . a habit of getting frequent massages,” Madoff’s secretary, Eleanor Squillari, says in an interview in the upcoming Vanity Fair. “One day, I caught him scouting the escort pages that run alongside pictures of scantily clad women in the back of a magazine," she said. “He straightened up in his chair, startled, and said, 'I'm just looking!'” He had, apparently, about a dozen numbers for “masseuses” in his address book and would schedule hour-long “massages” in the middle of the day. Madoff would also “try to pat me on the ass,” Squillari says, and say, “You know it excites you” when he would exit his office bathroom while still zipping his fly.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Gauguin Cut Off Van Gogh's Ear

Vincent van Gogh is remembered as the tortured artistic genius who cut off his own ear and then killed himself two years later. But a new study finds that van Gogh only pretended to cut off his ear to protect close friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin, who sliced it off with a sword during an argument. Historians Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans point to a few references by van Gogh of a “pact of silence” with Gauguin to back up their claims. Van Gogh also drew a picture of his ear with the word “ictus” next to it—the Latin term in fencing to mean a hit. Van Gogh was “hopelessly infatuated” with Gauguin, and their fight—not his own madness—is what led him to commit suicide, the historians claim.
Read it at The Daily Telegraph

Monday, May 04, 2009



Study has been for me the sovereign remedy against all the disappointment of life. I have never known any trouble that an hour's reading would not dissipate.... Montesquieu.


Books are as important as friends, and may be more so. Because all of us are living in very limited circles, books enable us to runaway from them...Shimon Peres.


Reading makes immigrants of us all.... Anna Quindlen.


My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.... Lincoln.


Socrates thought books are a waste of time, since they remind " one of what one already knows."..... Anna Quindlen.


The eye witnesses die; written word lives for ever.... Anna Quindlen


The mere brute pleasure of reading - the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.


Read the greatest stuff but read the stuff the stuff that isn't so too. Great stuff is very discouraging. If you read only Beckett and Chekov, you'll go away and only deliver telegrams at Western Union.... Edward Albee.


Reading begets rereading, and rereading begets writing.... Alberto Manguel


There are only two ways really to become a writer. One is write. The other is to read....Anna Quindlen.


I have sometimes dreamt when the Day of judgment dawns and great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards, their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble, the Almighty will run to Peter and will say, not without certain envy, when he sees us coming with our books under our arms,

" Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading."

Virginia Woolf.


Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image but thee who destroys a good book, kills reason itself....John Milton.


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested...Francis Bacon.


What we read enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes holiness, and love and wisdom....Eugene H. Peterson.


Researchers in Britain asked 400 accomplished women and 500 accomplished men. men preferred novels written by men, often revolving around loneliness and alienation. Camus- " The Stranger ", Salinger, " Catcher in the Rye ", Vonnegut's " slaughter House Five ".

The women leaned towards books written by women. The women's books described relationships and a lot better than the books the men chose, " jane Eyre ", " Wuthering Heights ", " The Hand Maid's Tale ", " Middlemarch", " Pride and Prejudice " and " Beloved "


Harper lee to Oprah:

" And Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Kerenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kutz, somethings should happen in soft pages, not cold metal."


Books transport us to other places, give us face time with unforgettable characters, lay bare our deep desires.

Refrain from reading such notions as "fictive", " fabricated" and " untrue to life" into the word " novelistic ". Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion...Milan Kundera.


book in hand the same significance as an elegant cane for a dandy centuries ago. It differentiates you from others.


A good book ( like movie, poetry, music ) should make us think no longer the person when we began.


A book is a portable world no one can take away from you....Azar Nafisi.


Ignorance is not bliss.... Azar Nafisi


I read literature slowly, digging for the hidden..eager to envision what is there, noticing what is not... Tony Morrison.


The important thing is to keep the book in your mind, not on your property... Steve Almond.


What good reading without memory?


Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man...Francis Bacon


The difference between fiction and reality is fiction has to make sense.


Readers regularly abandon books around page 60, vowing to get back to them later.


Like any addiction, the insatiable desire to start new books provides immense pleasure... Joe Queenan.


I cannot live without books.... Thomas Jefferson.


Literature is my Utopia, the story of my life....Helen Keller


Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body....Richard Steele


A classic- something everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read...Mark Twain.


Reading allows you to travel in time and space.


Whenever I begin rading a new book I am embarking on a new enchanted journey with an unmarked destination... Nancy Pearl


I never know where a purticular book will take me, toward what other books I will be led...Nancy Pearl.


Some books let me know from the vey first sentence that I am in great hands, that this reading experience will offer me pure pleasure. Nancy Pearl


One of my strongest - held beliefs is that no one should ever finish a book that they are not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is... Nancy Pearl.


" .. and when I find 0ne that is all-out emotionally assaultive, I grab the baby and hold on tight....something that comes to me full - bore like a big, hot meteor screaming down from the Kansas sky... Stephen King.


I have traveled the world twice. Met the famous, saints and sinners. I've been where no one's been before. Learnt secrets from writers and books all with one library ticket - to the wonderful world of books....Janice James.


The only advise, indeed, that one person can give another abour reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. Virginia Woolf.

The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear ? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions - there we have none. Virginia Woolf.

Nothing can be more fatal than to be guided by the preferences of others in a matter so personal. Virginia Woolf.

We can read such books with another aim, not to throw light on literature, not to become familiar with famous people, but to refresh and exercise our own creative powers.

You read for the " remote feeling of company" - the sense of being at once together and alone"

Kay Ryan.

By Nancy Pearl in " Book Lust "

One of my strongest- held beliefs is that no one should ever finish a book that they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is. Believe me, nobobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read. I live by what I call " the rule of fifty ", which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you're 50 years old or younger, give every book about 50 pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over fifty which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100 - the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding. Keep in mind that your mood has a lot to do with whether or not you will like a book. I always leave open the option of going back to a book that I haven't liked ( especially if some one i respect has recommended it to me ) sometime later. I've begun many books, put them down unfinished, then returned a month or two, or years later and ended up loving them. This happened with Mathew Kneale's " English Passengers ", John Crowley's " Little Big " and Andrea Barrett's " The voyage of the Narwhal "


Obama Cracking Down On Tax Havens »
AP PHILIP ELLIOTT May 4, 2009 at 08:09 AM
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans changes to tax policy certain to be unpopular with corporations with international divisions and individuals who use tax havens.
Obama's two-part plan, which he is slated to unveil at the White House on Monday, also calls for 800 new federal tax agents to enforce the system.



John Edwards Affair Probe

How much does it take to ruin a man? Over the last year, John Edwards has suffered a failed presidential bid, a publicized extramarital affair, a wife with terminal cancer, and now, a federal probe into how he spent campaign funds. Edwards' political action committee paid $100,000 his mistress, Rielle Hunter, for producing a video about his candidacy the Associated Press reports. A more suspicious charge, however, is the additional $14,086.50 the PAC paid her company on April 1, 2007 for "furniture" despite the fact that the PAC only had $7,932.95 in cash on hand at the time. It's also come to light that Edwards' national finance chairman, Fred Baron, was paying Hunter to resettle in California, although he says he didn't use campaign funds. Baron died of cancer last October, and Edwards says he knew nothing about those payments. "I am confident that no funds from my campaign were used improperly," Edwards said in the statement. "However, I know that it is the role of government to ensure that this is true."
Read it at Associated Press
Posted at 6:34 AM, May 4, 2009


Pakistan's Nukes in the Balance

We have bigger things to fear than swine flu: “As the insurgency of the Taliban and Al Qaeda spreads in Pakistan, senior American officials say they are increasingly concerned about new vulnerabilities for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, including the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities,” reports The New York times. While authorities emphasized that the threat was not imminent, they also made clear that “the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located.” Pakistan keeps deflecting American requests for details about the location and security of the country’s nukes. “Some of the Pakistani reluctance, they said, stemmed from longstanding concern that the United States might be tempted to seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal if the insurgency appeared about to engulf areas near Pakistan’s nuclear sites.”
Read it at The New York Times
Posted at 7:08 AM, May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009


America's Iraqi Allies Turn to Al Qaeda
One of the keys to the turnaround in Iraq was paying Sunni militias, known as the “Sons of Iraq" or the "Sunni Awakening," to join America’s cause. Now, with the money drying up, those same allies are returning to the insurgency. The leader of one such militia tells The Times of London that “up to half their members have resigned from the Awakening and rejoined the resistance.” Writes the Times, “The US had been paying nearly 100,000 Sons of Iraq to participate in its security ‘surge’, but handed over responsibility for their welfare to the Iraqi government last month. Their pay has since dried up. Only 5,000 members of the Awakening have been employed by the Iraqi security forces.” The Times adds “There is also growing Sunni anger about arrests of Awakening leaders, including Adil al-Mashhadani, from Baghdad, who warned recently: ‘There’s a 50-50 chance that Awakening guys who are not very loyal to Iraq or who need to support their families will join Al-Qaeda again.’”


Anna Quindlen Giving Up Newsweek Column To Make Way For Younger Voices »
Newsweek Anna Quindlen May 3, 2009 at 09:24 AM
This page, this place, is an invaluable opportunity to shed some light. But if I had any lingering doubts about giving it up after almost nine years, they were quelled by those binders on my desk, full of exemplary work by reporters young enough to be my children. Flipping through their pages, reading such essential and beautifully rendered accounts of life in America and around the world, I felt certain of the future of the news business in some form...


Liddy Letter: AIG Plans To Award Bonuses Even If Taken Over By US »
May 2, 2009 at 07:45 PM
Even if the U.S. government were to entirely take over American International Group, company executives would still be able to collect bonuses at taxpayer expense, according to a letter from AIG CEO Ed Liddy to employees disclosed in the company's recent SEC report.
"As this special award is being made to a very select group of executives, I ask that you treat it as confidential," wrote Liddy. The letter is dated less than a week after the government first bailed...
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London Wants To Host Super Bowl: Report »
ESPN May 3, 2009 at 10:36 AM
London has launched an audacious bid to stage the Super Bowl within the next eight years, a move that would see the United States' biggest sporting event played overseas for the first time, the Sunday Telegraph has reported.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What's New


Former US Soldier Apologizes For Iraqi Girl Rape

Angela Merkel Lingerie Ad Shocks Germany
Quick Read

Dutch Parade Attacker, Dies Of Injuries »
AX May 1, 2009 at 10:54 AM
AMSTERDAM — The man who drove his car into a crowd of parade spectators and killed six people died of his injuries Friday, leaving unresolved the mystery of why he tried to attack the Dutch royal family.
The 38-year-old suspect, identified by Dutch media as Karst Tates, had been in critical condition since the attack Thursday on Queen's Day, the Dutch national holiday.


Abu Ghraib Guards: Bush Set Us Up

Some of the twelve Abu Ghraib prison guards found guilty of abuse will appeal on the grounds that they were wrongly convicted and used as scapegoats by the Bush Administration. The guards believe that the recent CIA memos show that Bush officials set them up and then sat back while they went on trial. Their lawyers will argue that the convicted guards could never have invented such torture techniques as stress positions or waterboarding on their own and that they were officially ordered to torture prisoners.
Read it at The Times of London
Posted at 7:41 AM, May 2, 2009

*Britain Ends Combat Iraq Operations
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the end of operations on Thursday, while troops held a memorial for British service personnel who died in Iraq.


After 341 Years, a Woman Is British Poet Laureate
With the choice of Carol Ann Duffy, the post held by such poets as Dryden, Tennyson, Wordsworth and Ted Hughes went to a woman for the first time.

Carol Ann Duffy from her poem " Valentine " in her 2005 collection, "Rapture"

I gave you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Churchgoers Likely to Support Torture

This is both surprising and it isn’t: According to a new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture. According to CNN, “More than half of people who attend services at least once a week—54 percent—said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ justified. Only 42 percent of people who ‘seldom or never’ go to services agreed.” More than six in ten white evangelical protestants said that torture is sometimes justified. Mainline Protestants were most opposed, with more than three in ten saying torture is never justified. 49 percent of all respondents said torture is sometimes or often justified, while a quarter said it never is.
Read it at CNN
Posted at 1:09 PM, May 1, 2009

What's New

Michelle’s $540 Kicks

Michelle Obama may need to get up at 5:15 a.m. to walk Bo—but at least she’s doing so in style. To an event at a local food bank, the First Lady recently wore a pair of über-chic Lanvin sneakers that retail for a cool $540. While the hot stepper paired the shiny-toed sneaks with her trademark J.Crew cardigan and casual capris, 78 percent of Daily News readers thought the fashion choice was in "poor taste." But her reps have fired back, saying that “they’re shoes.” Thanks, we can see that.
Read it at New York Daily News
Posted at 1:01 PM, May 1, 2009



CEOs Still Living the High Life

Chauffeured cars, bodyguards, club memberships, company jets, apparently they have not yet gone out of style. “The median value of these and similar perks rose nearly 7 percent in 2008,” according to the Associated Press. “The increase came even as overall CEO compensation fell 7 percent to $7.6 million.” The median value of perks in the 309 companies that the AP examined was over $170,000, and only three CEOs received no perks at all. The biggest earner of perks was Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon, who took home $3.9 million in perks.
Read it at Associated Press
Posted at 6:28 AM, May 1, 2009


Is Rahm Running the Treasury?

Gerald Herbert / AP Photo
Since President Obama appointed Timothy Geithner to run the Treasury Department, many have alleged that Larry Summers is the “shadow Secretary,” but does Rahm Emanuel deserve the distinction? The Wall Street Journal reports that “Since [Geithner’s appointment], White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been so involved in the workings of the Treasury that ‘Rahm wants it’ has become an unofficial mantra among some at the Treasury, according to government officials.” For the most part, the help has been appreciated, since Treasury is still understaffed, but “the White House also has pushed to announce programs before details were ready. Other times, the department has been left waiting for White House input -- even on such mundane matters as Web-site design.”
Read it at The Wall Street Journal


The CIA's Torture Masterminds

To whom do we owe the CIA’s interrogation regimen? According to ABC News, “the CIA's secret waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe by two well-paid psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane, Washington.” Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, both former military officers, founded Mitchell Jessen and Associates and “together designed and implemented the CIA’s interrogation program.” Their associates say that they “boasted” of making $1,000 a day from the CIA. Neither had any experience as interrogators before the CIA hired them.
Read it at ABC News