Paul Krugman: Trillion Dollar Fraudsters (NY Times)
The modern Republican Party's raw fiscal dishonesty is something new in American politics.
Ripple - Inspirational Short Film // Viddsee.com (YouTube)
Watch more Asian Short Films at www.viddsee.com
Rebecca Nicholson: "Justin Bieber: the guy who has it all 'except love, friends and a Grammy'" (Guardian)
The reformed pop-brat manfully soaked up all kinds of abuse at his comedy roast this week - now we just need him to stop saying sorry every three minutes.
Rebecca Nicholson: So, Gwyneth Paltrow, you want to consciously couple yourself to the 'common woman'? (Guarrdian)
Our favourite movie-star/lifestyle guru has been assuring us that, as 'a woman and a mother', she's actually just like everybody else. Anyone buy that?
Joe Queenan: "From Insurgent to Blade Runner: why is the future on film always so grim?" (Guardian)
A miserable vision of tomorrow has taken hold of Hollywood: bad food, lousy transport and Alice Cooper styling. You're better off dead.
Mobeen Azhar: "I would hide 4 U: what's in Prince's secret vault?" (Guardian)
The stash in the basement of Paisley Park contains a legendary collection of unreleased songs - reputedly enough material for Prince to keep releasing albums long after his death.
Ryan Gilbey: "Robert Altman: the genius who 'reinvented the language of cinema'" (Guardian)
He was a maverick innovator 'kicking Hollywood's ass', says Bruce Willis. A new documentary shows how, by breaking all the rules, Altman became one of America's greatest ever film-makers.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Minnie Pearl was a gem!
On this first day of Spring (?) when it's snowing yet again, the quote below in a daily newsletter of quotes cracked me up.
He paid me a compliment. He said I looked like a breath of spring. Well, he didn't use them words. He said I looked like the end of a hard winter.
- Minnie Pearl, 1912 - 1996
I know you've featured Minnie Pearl before, and I told my story about her, but I just have to repeat--When I was living in Nashville and working on my doctorate, I "adopted" a lady in the nursing home not too far from campus. I was visiting her one day when Minnie Pearl dropped by and did 20 minutes of entertaining patter for the assembled residents. The nurses said that she did things like that out of the goodness of her heart all the time. She was so gracious, so kind, so giving--I became a fervent Minnie Pearl fan.
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
The fog horns started before dark - the marine layer has returned.
The House Always Wins
Gamblers who have been ordered to return $1.5 million they won at an Atlantic City casino that unknowingly used unshuffled cards asked a judge on Friday to let them keep the money.
The 14 gamblers say they won the money through no fault of their own playing mini-baccarat at the Golden Nugget in April 2012. They say that if the ruling stands, it would send a chilling message to the gambling public that no jackpot is ever safe.
"By ordering the patrons to return the monies that were paid out by (the Golden Nugget) nearly three years after the game ended sends incredible conditional messages to the public: A win isn't necessarily a win, and that casinos will go after winning players who are without fault" if the casino or one of its agents were to blame, the gamblers said in a court filing asking the judge to reverse her February ruling in favor of the casino.
At issue were games of mini-baccarat using decks of cards the casino had paid a manufacturer to pre-shuffle but that hadn't been shuffled. Once players realized the pattern in which the cards were emerging, they drastically upped their bets from $10 a hand to $5,000 and won 41 straight hands.
The Golden Nugget bought what were supposed to be pre-shuffled cards from a Kansas City manufacturer, which acknowledged in court it failed to shuffle them. The casino said its litigation with the manufacturer has been resolved, but a confidentiality agreement prevents it from revealing details.
The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women approved a resolution Friday blaming Israel's ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian territory for "the grave situation of Palestinian women."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor denounced the resolution saying it was further proof of the U.N.'s bias against Israel, as it was the only country singled out by the 45-member commission.
The resolution, sponsored by the Palestinians and South Africa, was adopted by a vote of 27-2 with 13 abstentions. The United States and Israel voted against it and European Union members abstained.
The resolution stressed the quest for equality and reaffirmed "that the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society." It called on the international community to continue providing urgently needed assistance and services "to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families."
It also condemned last summer's Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza which killed and injured thousands of civilians including hundreds of Palestinian women and girls.
Horror Story Published
As she takes in the despair of her in-laws' one-room apartment in "A Streetcar Named Desire," Blanche Dubois exclaims: "Only Poe! Only Mr. Edgar Allan Poe could do it justice!"
Years earlier, Tennessee Williams channeled Poe for an entire story.
Williams' "The Eye That Saw Death," appearing in the spring issue of The Strand Magazine, is a feverish, 4,800-word horror tale clearly inspired by the patron of the genre. Recently unearthed by Strand managing editor Andrew F. Gulli, "The Eye That Saw Death" is narrated by an unnamed man who has suffered from a seemingly incurable disease that has left him nearly blind. At age 30, he receives an eye transplant that restores his sight but leaves him with ghoulish side effects. The narrator is afflicted with visions that begin as a "chaotic blur," then become more focused and traumatizing, whether "huge, black, bulging eyes" or "terrible, tusk-like teeth."
The new eye, it turns out, belonged to a convicted killer. The narrator begs to have the surgery reversed.
Made the Most Money
Considering domestic box office dropped 5.2 percent and physical home entertainment revenue fell 11 percent, the major film studios did surprisingly well in 2014, buoyed by cost controls, subscription VOD sales to outlets like Netflix and TV production, which is part of the film segment at some congloms. THR's annual look at studio operating profits for calendar 2014 reveals box office can be a deceiving indicator of profitability.
Thanks to the global success of Frozen, a 2013 release, Disney was most profitable among the Big 6 studios in 2014 with $1.7 billion - marking the first year since THR began its analysis in 2010 that Warner Bros. hasn't claimed the top spot. Thank home video as well as Guardians of the Galaxy ($774.2 million worldwide), though overall box office dipped 6 percent. With a seventh Star Wars film in December, two Pixar titles due this year and Marvel movies scheduled through 2019, CEO Robert Iger says the studio will be "a significant driver of bottom-line results for the company, certainly through the next five years."
The hack related to the release of The Interview dented Sony's 2014 profits by about $15 million and caused the conglomerate to delay its calendar fourth-quarter earnings report, which was finally released March 16. For the year, the studio's operating income was up 66 percent to $522 million on revenue that rose 2 percent to $8.06 billion. A restructuring saved $130 million during the company's fiscal year ended March 2014, but a $106 million gain from the sale of music publishing in 2013 made comparisons tough, and disappointment The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn't help (and prompted the ouster of co-chair Amy Pascal as much as her leaked emails). In TV, Sony is humming with AMC's Better Call Saul, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
Held For 2 Years As Witness
A man who was jailed for 2½ years so he couldn't avoid taking the witness stand in his son's murder trial was freed Thursday after providing two hours of often-combative testimony.
Benito Vasquez-Hernandez committed no crime, but a judge ordered the 60-year-old Mexico native held because of fears he would flee rather testify against his son, who is accused of killing a suburban Portland woman in 2012.
Federal and state material witness laws allow for the detainment of anyone who might have information about a criminal investigation. Though the use of such laws is not uncommon, it is extremely rare for someone to be held as long as Vasquez-Hernandez was.
State law also requires compensation of $7.50 a day for a material witness.
After testifying, the father returned to jail, where he was processed and released. Biederman said Vasquez-Hernandez plans to rejoin his family in California.
Xenophobia In NY
National Foreign Language Week
A school in upstate New York has apologized for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic after complaints from district residents who lost family members in the Afghanistan war.
The pledge was read in Arabic during Wednesday morning announcements at Pine Bush High School, 65 miles northwest of New York City.
Some students were angered and responded with catcalls. District Superintendent Joan Carbone told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown that she received complaints from residents who lost relatives in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents.
The district said the school's foreign language department arranged to have the pledge recited in different languages for National Foreign Language Week, which was last week.
National Foreign Language Week
Drops By A Quarter
Yearly carbon emissions from the world's forests have dropped by more than 25 percent in the last 15 years, a U.N. agency said on Friday.
The decrease in annual emissions, which cause global warming, is largely due to slowing rates of global deforestation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported.
Emissions from deforestation decreased to 2.9 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide from 3.9 Gigatonnes between 2001 and 2015, the FAO said.
Brazil, Chile, China, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Turkey, Korea, Uruguay and Vietnam have all seen net decreases in deforestation, da Silva said.
Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean all continued to release more carbon than they absorb, the study said. Total emissions from Africa and Latin America, however, decreased between 1990 and 2015, the FAO said.
Lawmaker Wants Apology
New Hampshire's House speaker on Friday called on a state representative to apologize for invoking abortion during the debate of a group of fourth-graders' bill to name the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor.
The students from Lincoln H. Akerman School in Hampton Falls had drafted the measure as part of a lesson on how a bill becomes a law. As they watched the debate from the House gallery last week, Republican Rep. Warren Groen said the bird tears prey apart "limb by limb" and would be a better mascot for Planned Parenthood.
Republican Speaker Shawn Jasper of Hudson said in a statement that Groen's comments were in extremely poor taste and that he should apologize to the students, his constituents and his colleagues.
Groen's remarks provoked a sharp backlash after a video of him speaking on the floor of the House was posted on the Internet. He told The Associated Press on Thursday that he stands by his comments. His voice mailbox was full Friday afternoon and he did not immediately return an email from the AP seeking comment on Jasper's request.
"I totally understand one's right to freedom of speech but we all need to be sensitive to the audience that we are addressing," Jasper said in a statement. "One does not have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre and claim freedom of speech. Rep. Groen clearly crossed the line in his remarks."
Suspended Sentence In 'Stolen Works' Trial
A French court Friday handed down a two-year suspended sentence to a former electrician and his wife, who hid 271 Picasso works in their garage for close to 40 years.
The court in the French Riviera town of Grasse found Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec guilty of possessing stolen goods, after a trial that made headlines in France and abroad.
The works have been seized by authorities and will be returned to the Picasso Administration, which represents the artist's heirs.
Pierre Le Guennec insisted throughout the trial that the art legend and his wife gave him the treasure trove when he was working on the last property they lived in before Picasso died in 1973.
Alaska Prepares For Return
Alaska wildlife officials are preparing to release North America's largest land mammal into its native U.S. habitat for the first time in more than a century.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Sunday plans to begin moving wood bison from a conservation center south of Anchorage to the village of Shageluk, the staging area for the animals' release into the Innoko Flats about 350 miles southwest of Fairbanks.
A hundred wood bison will be released after they're acclimated in a few weeks.
Wood bison are the larger of two subspecies of American bison but did not roam in Lower 48 states. The smaller subspecies are plains bison, which were not native to Alaska but were introduced to the state in 1928, where they have thrived.
It may not serve green eggs and ham, but a Dr. Seuss museum being planned in the author's Massachusetts hometown is expected to fill appetites for the author of "The Cat in the Hat" and other beloved children's books.
The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is scheduled to open June 2016 in Springfield. The Springfield Museums, a group of museums in the city, recently announced the plans after raising more than $3 million.
Organizers say it's the first-ever Dr. Seuss museum. It will be an interactive, bilingual showcase of the work of the author, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel. Plans include three-dimensional book scenes, reading areas and a re-creation of his studio.
Geisel wrote a host of children's classics including "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and "Horton Hears a Who!"
Anthony Jude Pero
A.J. Pero, the drummer for the heavy-metal band Twisted Sister, died Friday. He was 55.
The band said Anthony Jude Pero died of an apparent heart attack while touring with Adrenaline Mob, a group with which he played in between engagements with Twisted Sister.
Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French said Pero was on a tour bus Friday morning when Adrenaline Mob band members tried unsuccessfully to awaken him, then called an ambulance. He was taken to a hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was declared dead shortly after 11 a.m.
Pero was well-known for a scene in the video for 1984's "We're Not Gonna Take It" in which he struck a snare drum covered with glitter, sending it spraying into the air.
He joined Twisted Sister in 1982, right before the Long Island bar band exploded onto the burgeoning heavy metal scene after nearly a decade of slogging through small clubs. Wearing makeup and glam costumes, the highly visual band was a perfect match for the fledgling MTV video network and become one of its mainstays with hits that included "I Wanna Rock."
Anthony Jude Pero