From the Associated Press:
A 7-month-old boy has died and his grandmother has been injured after the woman's two dogs attacked them at her Texas home.
San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus says the woman, whose name was not released, went to her kitchen for a bottle to feed her grandson Izaiah Gregory Cox on Tuesday and returned to find the two pit bulls attacking the baby.
McManus says the woman grabbed a knife and stabbed one of the dogs and pulled the child away. The dogs then attacked her. She got the dogs into her backyard, where police shot and killed both.
Police say Izaiah died at University Hospital, where his grandmother was admitted. Her condition was not immediately known.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
From the Associated Press:
This one is making the rounds and it gave me a chuckle:
In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays.
He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a judge.
After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring,"Case dismissed!" The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the Ruling, "Your honor,how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays."
The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant." The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."
The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day... Court is adjourned.
North Carolina and Connecticut were no surprise. And nobody will be terribly surprised if they meet a week from tonight in the championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
Carolina and UConn will be solid favorites. Anybody who does not think 'Nova has a chance just has not been paying attention. Are the Wildcats likely to beat UNC in the second game on Saturday? No. Is it possible? With this team, almost anything has to be considered, including a national championship.
Michigan State does not appear to have the firepower to hang with UConn, but the Spartans do have some serious athletes. Will that be enough to beat UConn? Again, unlikely.
UNC (32-4), UConn (31-4), Michigan State (30-6) and Villanova (30-7) are a combined 123-21.
Yesterday's column ("TelePrompter 101") was the most-read piece on the Philadelphia Daily News opinion page and it generated lots of comment on the philly.com web site.
I appreciate all of the interest and comments -- both pro and con.
I always learn something from the readers.
Here are some of the comments, unedited:
Obama does not read everything from a teleprompter. Like the president before him, who fumbled words even with one, he uses it as a tool rather than hold papers, index card, etc. Amazing how, with the economy as it is and all the other problems, the biggest problem for some people is the use of a teleprompter.
This article is a perfect example of someone who does not like the president and is looking for a way to insult him. I do not care if the president uses a prompter or note cards. I care if the president's policies move the country forward. Clearly the author does not care about such niceties.
The dependence on the Teleprompter is very relevant because it puts the lie to the notion that Obama is an original thinker with important, innovative ideas to move this country forward. If he was and if he was confident in his convictions, the power of his arguments and his own intellect, confident in his actual ability to "think on his feet" and effectively articulate his ideas, he wouldn't depend so neurotically on the Teleprompter. He does so precisely because he knows what 47% of the voting public knew on November 4: he's in way over his head, inexperienced and in no way "ready for primetime." Many more Americans are quickly figuring this out --- almost as fast as Uhuhuhbama.
As if Bush never used a teleprompter - which made his mangling of the English language even more remarkable.
While I agree that there are more important things than whether or not the President uses a teleprompter, it cannot be denied that nearly all of his early credibility as "candidate Obama" was gained on our fascination with his abilities as a speaker. His speaking abilities were interpreted as a sign of extraordinary wisdom, intelligence, insight, and thoughtfulness. Rather than fairly exploring his competancies in these areas, we were compelled to accept these competancies as genuine based largely on his stylistic delivery of speeches. Few who supported him did not cheerfully welcome the broadening of merit provided their candidate as a result of this society's willingness to draw elaborate conclusions about the man.
When Sarah Palin made her speech at the convention, the dems cried out: "Oh, she read it from a teleprompter! She just read what somebody else wrote. She's too stupid to have written it herself." No now we get Nobama reading words that somebody else wrote on the teleprompter. But we're supposed to believe that he's smart and articulate. He just reads what somebody else wrote, because he's too stupid to have any original thoughts of his own. As usual, the Democrat double standard is at work here. And who writes his speeches? George Soros? Bill Ayers?
Obama's reliance on the teleprompter reminds me of the great Oz in the wizard of Oz. It only begs to ask, Who is behind the curtain? By the way, the last time Obama was off of the teleprompter, he gave us Joe the Plumber. He can not go off of the teleprompter because he is afraid he may reveal what his ultimate goal is... (destruction of capitalizm, redistribution of wealth (except his own), etc.)
Dear Mr. Cirucci, Your guy lost. Get over it. And if you really want me to take you seriously as someone who is an expert in communication, it would help if you came from somewhere other than one of the Penn State campuses. I've seen your graduates. I'm not impressed.
Republicans are such paethetic, petty and stupid people. Go away creeps! Obamma is a very good communicator. He didn't have a tele-prompter or notes during the debates and he outshone both the Republicans and other Democrats. He's giving lots of press conference and is discussing many complex issues. That's why he using the tele-prompter. Reagan had a great memory until he testified about the Iran-Contra scandal. Then he seemed to forget everything. The "art of memorization"? What's that? I spent 25 years in theatre and have no idea what you're talking about. Neither do you.
Don't they all use tele-prompters? Didn't Bush? What a bunch of stupid sh*t to point out.
In the past, they've all used teleprompters for major speeches, not for small, short announcements and introductions. The difference is, Barry and his handlers have sold him based largely on his eloquence and his Kennedyesque ability to speak. As it turns out, off the 'prompter he hems and haws ("uh...uh...uh...," "aaaaaaannnnd") and makes stupid social faux pas (Nancy Reagan seances, fat Jessica Simpson, Special Olympics bowling skills) worse than George W. Bush, whose fumbles were more often than not a function of his dyslexia. The social faux pas are especially telling because it reveals an apparently insecure man who, while possessing no real sense of self-deprecating humor, certainly has a mean streak for trying to get laughs at others' expense, even the handicapped.
An editorial from Investor's Business Daily:
A president of the United States orders the chief executive officer of General Motors to resign. The same president is further ordering Chrysler to merge with Fiat, the Italian firm specializing in flimsy cardboard boxes on wheels.
This new reality should send a chill down the spines of all Americans. The federal government has begun to run U.S. companies.
President Obama said Monday, "my team will be working closely with GM to produce a better business plan."
To that confident assertion he added these stern sentiments:
"They must ask themselves: Have they consolidated enough unprofitable brands? Have they cleaned up their balance sheets, or are they still saddled with so much debt that they can't make future investments? Above all, have they created a credible model for how not only to survive, but to succeed in this competitive global market?"
Who is in a better position to know the answers to these questions? Rick Wagoner, the GM CEO for nine years and former GM chief financial officer who has been with the automaker since the late 1970s, even running one of its foreign affiliates in Brazil, and who holds a Harvard Business School MBA?
Or President Obama, a former community activist from the south side of Chicago with a great rhetorical gift?
The president answered that question this week by ordering Wagoner's firing.
Imagine if it were not GM, but your own small business employing a handful of people.
How would you like the country's highest-ranking elected officeholder telling you that he and "my team" know better than you about cleaning up your balance sheets and competing against your rivals? How would you like being ordered by the government to fire the person you hired as manager of your company?
Does an entity that is itself $11 trillion (and climbing) in debt have any right to criticize a private business for owing tens of billions, let alone to claim it can do better running that business?
The same arrogance was heard regarding Chrysler. The president announced that, "we've determined, after careful review, that Chrysler needs a partner to remain viable." Why was Fiat picked? Because the Italian firm "after working closely with my team, has committed to building new fuel-efficient cars and engines right here in the United States."
In other words, its politics are right.
The merger will operate under a deadline with Washington holding a gun to Chrysler's head: "We'll give Chrysler and Fiat 30 days to . . . reach a final agreement," the president said. "But if they and their stakeholders are unable to reach such an agreement, and in the absence of any other viable partnership, we will not be able to justify investing additional tax dollars to keep Chrysler in business."
It should now be clear: Federal bailout funds are a corporate narcotic. Once a company starts taking them, a chemicallike dependence develops. The addict does whatever will bring in more of the drug. Ultimately, like heroin, the short-term euphoria gives way to decreased function for the recipient, even destruction.
More importantly for the American people, letting Uncle Sam become a corporate drug dealer — with taxpayer money the addictive poison being peddled — also places Washington in a position of dictatorial control over the private sector.
From Brian R. Ballou and Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe:
Alex Day, 23, of Lawrence joined Robert Lemire, 45, of Methuen in catching the baby as she hurtled towards the earth Sunday night.
"She looked at me and had a weird look on her face as if to say, 'Wow, all of a sudden I'm down here,' " Day recalled in an interview today. He said he rushed the baby back upstairs to her home. On the stairs, he said, the baby actually started chuckling.
Lemire said he was walking down Haverhill Street at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, talking to a friend on his cellphone about softball practice, when he saw some toys falling out of the window of a three-decker.
"Next thing you know, I hear a baby cry, so I automatically looked there and there was a baby hanging out the window," he said. "So I pretty much bolted across the street."
Lemire opened the door of the house on Haverhill Street, yelled for help, then returned underneath the window and tried to call 911. Day, who had been in a Bible study session on the first floor, joined him and Lemire soon warned him, "Here she comes."
The baby fell through the air and when she landed, "he pretty much got the top and I got the diaper end, or the bottom half, or whatever you call it," Lemire said.
Lemire, a home remodeling contractor who is married with two children, 13 and 16, said, "I was nervous as heck, thinking of my own kids."
Day, a trucking manager, said it was fortunate that he had started going back to the gym so he could help catch the baby, who weighed about 30 pounds.
He saw divine intervention at work in the baby's rescue. "Yeah, I think God had a lot to do with this," said Day. "Definitely, by God."
Caliah Clark was taken to a hospital. but is expected to be OK. The two rescuers were "real heroes," Police Chief John Romero said. The Department of Social Services was notified and was expected to investigate.
The child's father, Randall Clark, said he was watching a 2-month-old baby in another room when the incident occurred, Romero said.
Romero said there was no child guard on the window.
"There are a number of things we are doing to investigate on our end," he said. "At this point, we are investigating to determine what led up to this incident."
Officials said the baby had fallen 40 feet, but Lemire said that was incorrect.
The fall was 28 feet, perhaps 30, he said. "Like I said, I'm a remodeling contractor so I'm pretty good at the heights."
"I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. I was just happy we were lucky enough to catch her," he said.
Monday, March 30, 2009
What's one of the first things you think of when I say "Barack Obama"?
Gifted orator, right?
After all, it was his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention that catapulted him to prominence in the first place. And ever since then, he's electrified the nation and the world with his oratorical prowess.
That's the quickie version of the Obama the Orator story. But what if I told you that the president actually isn't a very adept or versatile public speaker.
Would you believe me? Well, let me explain. . . .
To read the rest of my column from today's Philadelphia Daily News, click here.
Sphere: Related Content
From National Geographic:
As the smallest known frog species in the world's second largest mountain range, this new amphibian is easy to miss. But scientists searching the Andes mountains' upper Cosnipata Valley in southern Peru, near Cusco, spotted the coin-size creature--a member of the Noblella genus--in the leaf litter of a cloud forest between 9,925 and 10,466 feet (3,025 and 3,190 meters). (See pictures of other new frogs and amphibians found recently in South America.) "The most distinctive character of the new species," scientists write in the February issue of the journal Copeia, "is its diminutive size." Females grow to 0.49 inch (12.4 millimeters) at most. Males make it to only 0.44 inch (11.1 millimeters). What's most surprising is that the frog lives at such high elevations, said study co-author Alessandro Catenazzi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. In general, larger animals are found at greater heights.
From Jennifer Haberkorn at the Washington Times:
Getty Images Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has lost some political standing heading into re-election because of his ties to American International Group Inc.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was "next in line" to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would "have the opportunity to set the committee's agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
"Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority's leadership," Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Dodd's campaign quickly hit pay dirt, collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses at the AIG Financial Products division (AIG-FP) in Wilton, Conn., in the days before he took over as the committee chairman in January 2007. Months later, the senator transferred the donations to jump-start his 2008 presidential bid, which later failed.
Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government's decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general - even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses, but said the Treasury Department asked him to do it.
The decision has generated national outrage and put the Obama administration into the position of trying to collect the bonuses after they were distributed. It also endangers Mr. Dodd's re-election chances in 2010 as his popularity tumbles in his home state.
Despite all the claims that Washington has changed, the tale of Mr. Dodd's lucrative political ties to AIG is a fresh reminder that special interests continue to use donations and fundraising to sow good will with powerful lawmakers like Mr. Dodd.
From Paul Harris and Robin McKie in Britain's The Guardian:
Britain will get its first chance to see Barack Obama this week when a White House cavalcade - complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US secret service staff and a six-doctor medical team - sweeps into the UK.
Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital's Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.
More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week - along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.
In addition, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food. . . .
US security teams have already carried out three visits to prepare for Obama's first official visit to Britain. The first was a "site survey", the second a "pre-advance visit" which was carried out to pick sites that the president would visit. Finally there was the "advance trip", which took place last week. Its purpose was to set up equipment, sweep venues for electronic bugs, test food for poison and measure air quality for bacteria.
Obama will start his first presidential visit to Europe when he steps down from the US presidential jet, Air Force One, at Stansted airport on Tuesday. The Boeing 747-200B is fitted with its own gym, electronic defence units and shielding to protect its complex communication devices from radiation from nuclear blasts. . . .
Obama will then be flown to central London in a VH-3D helicopter known as Marine One. Again, high-tech security will dominate his journey. Marine One is fitted with flares that can be fired to confuse heat-seeking missiles and always flies in groups containing several identical decoy helicopters. . . .
At the same time, Obama will be constantly minded by his personal aide Reggie Love, who dials his BlackBerry, fetches his jacket and tie and supplies him with snacks. First Lady Michelle Obama will also have a coterie of assistants, including a secretary, a press officer and several bodyguards.
It is a striking presence and shows that, for the next few days, London, not Washington, will be the beating heart of American foreign policy. At the end of the week Obama and his massive retinue will head off for meetings in France, Germany and the Czech Republic, although not before he has indulged in an unprecedented whirlwind of diplomatic activity - he and his advisers will not just be involved in complex summit negotiations, but will also be camped out in London conducting a series of individual high-level mini-summits with the most powerful leaders in the world. . . .
The president's entourage will also include representatives of the White House Military Office, the White House Transportation Agency, the White House Medical Unit, the Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron, the State Department Presidential Travel Support Service, the US Information Agency, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and the Customs Service.
In addition, there will be staff from the White House kitchen ready to turn out a quick burger should the president suddenly feel peckish.
Michelle Obama will have eight of her own staff, including a secretary, a press officer and bodyguards. And Obama's personal aide . . . will be at hand to provide pens, Nicorette gum, throat lozenges, tea or even aspirins.
With its armour-plated body and doors, a raised roof, and reinforced steel and aluminium, The Beast will be Obama's official car. It boasts a titanium and ceramic superstructure and a sealed interior forming a "panic room" capable of shielding him from even a chemical weapons attack. Equipped with a night-vision camera and an armoured petrol tank filled with foam to prevent explosion should it suffer a direct hit, it also has pump-action shotguns, tear-gas cannon, oxygen tanks and bottles of the president's blood. Its tyres allow it to keep driving even if they have been punctured.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
From Walter Alarkon at The Hill:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he fears that President Obama's policies will lead to an "explosion of government" that the country didn't expect when they voted for him last fall.
"I mean they were angry with President Bush. They were not happy with the economy," McConnell said. "All of that we understand. Whether they intended to see America kind of turned into a western European country as a result of an explosion of spending and debt and regulation is another matter."
McConnell and other Republicans have repeatedly tried to portray Obama as a figure radically transforming the government. On Sunday, he also blasted the Democrats' budgets, saying that they'll lead to higher taxes.
Much of the criticism has centered on bailouts the government has provided to banks and other financial institutions, insurer AIG and two of the big three automakers. Much of the funds for these bailout came from the $700 billion package approved by the last Congress and signed into law by President Bush. Obama supported that package.
McConnell also criticized Democrats for suggesting new energy taxes could pay for healthcare legislation. That could be included in budget blueprints the House and Senate will take up this week.McConnell said he fears that the country won't be able to afford what Democrats want to do. He said lawmakers should focus on fixing the country's financial and housing systems."What we ought not to be doing is passing the budget that they propose we pass in the Senate and House next week that doubles the national debt the next five years and triples it in the next 10," he said. A massive tax increase, an energy tax of up to $3,100 per person. An effort we believe the nationalized health care, that has nothing to do with the economic dilemma which we confront at the moment."
McConnell said that he didn't think any Senate Republicans would vote for the Democrats' budget proposal. He suggested it's more likely to see Democrats vote against the budget plan.
"I think they have serious concerns on their side about this budget which is completely disconnected to and unrelated to the current economic crisis in which we're facing," McConnell said.
To add your voice in protest against Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama and the university's plans to honor the pro-abortion President click here.Sphere: Related Content
From MSNBC and the Associated Press:
A Michigan man has learned not to stick his fingers in certain places.
Victor Harris, of Saginaw, Mich., was pouring a fuel additive into his Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle Thursday when a piece of paper fell into the gas tank. Harris tried to fish the paper out, but his index finger became stuck in the gas tank.
WJRT-TV reported Harris tried to extract his digit for two hours before friends called the fire department. It took another two hours before emergency responders cut the gas tank tube out of the vehicle.
Doctors later removed Harris' finger from the tube. He received two stitches.
Harris said he's learned his lesson and won't put his finger back in the gas tank.
The future Archbishop of New York (and probably soon-to-be Cardinal) Timothy Dolan has joined the growing chorus of those critcizing Notre Dame University for its decision to invite President Obama to speak and to honor the President.
Here's the report from TMJ4 TV in Milwaukee:
Archbishop Timothy Dolan appeared on Today's TMJ4's "Sunday Insight" with Charlie Sykes, and was asked if the University of Notre Dame made a mistake by inviting President Barack Obama to speak at the school's graduation ceremony.
Dolan didn't hesistate a bit, responding "They did, and I say that as one who loves and respects Notre Dame. They made a big mistake."
"There's a lot of things that President Obama does that we can find ourselves allied with and working with him on, and we have profound respect for him and pray with him and for him," Dolan said. "But in an issue that is very close to the heart of Catholic world view, namely, the protection of innocent life in the womb, he has unfortunately taken a position very much at odds with the Church."
Dolan believes honoring and giving Obama a platform to speak at a premier Catholic University like Notre Dame sends a mixed message about the Church's teachings.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan will leave his post as Archbishop of Milwaukee and take over the reigns of the Archdiocese of New York April 15th.
From Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston:
In light of what I wrote above, I want to venture a comment on the recently released statement of the University of Notre Dame; that statement noted that the President has accepted an invitation to give the Commencement Address this year as well as receive an Honorary Law Degree. The news release then outlines the fact that a number of other Presidents have given the Commencement Address at Notre Dame and have thus highlighted, in effect, the university’s importance. I find the invitation very disappointing.
Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning.
The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person. The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life.
Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views. Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a “Teacher,” in this case of the Law.
I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.
Write, call or e-mail:
President of the University of Notre Dame,
Father John Jenkins,
C.S.C. [Cong. of Holy Cross],
President@nd.edu(574) 631-5000 or Fax:(574) 631-7428
Go to http://www.catholicvote.org/ to join the protest and sign the petition.
Take a stand for the unborn!
Through a delightful serendipity Villanova is among the Top Four and so are we.
This website is among the four most influential sites in the region according to BlogNetNews New Jersey.
The other three blogs in the "Final Four" of most influential blogs are Politicker NJ, the Save Jersey blog, and MiddletownMike.
We congratulate the others in the Inner Circle of Influential Blogs and we wish them the best.
And we thank all of you for making us one of the most popular, most clicked, most influential blogs in the region.
Every day and every week and every month more and more people are coming to our blog.
We're gratified and we ask you to keep returning and keep telling your friends!
From Joseph Curl and Stephen Dinan in The Washington Times:
Sen. John McCain says President Obama is breaking campaign promises he made to the American people and has passed up numerous opportunities to reach out to Republicans -- a pledge the Democrat made repeatedly during their battle for the presidency.
"There are things that, statements that then-candidate Obama made during the campaign over and over and over again that obviously he's not staying with," Mr. McCain told The Washington Times in an hour-long interview with reporters and editors.
The Arizona senator said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "put it best" when she described the lack of bipartisanship in the drafting of the $787 billion bailout bill, which garnered just three Republican votes in the Senate.
" 'We won, we wrote the bill.' That applies not just to that bill, but it does to all of the other pieces of legislation, too," he said, clearly exasperated. "We're not in on the takeoff, and anybody who calls the stimulus package ... bipartisan -- you pick off three Republicans? That's not bipartisanship."
Mr. McCain also ticked off a list of campaign promises his presidential opponent has abandoned, including pledges to clamp down on pork-barrel spending, reinvigorate nuclear energy and expand free trade.
Mr. Obama, who vowed to change politics as usual in Washington, made a show of bipartisanship as he took office, even throwing an inaugural ball to celebrate his Republican opponent in the presidential race. But since then, Mr. McCain said he has been consulted just once by the administration, when a White House lawyer visited to discuss the closing of Guantanamo Bay.
"Aside from that, I have not known of an occasion where they sit down across the table. Now, there's been occasions where the president comes and talks to Republicans, the president talks to -- et cetera, but that's not good bipartisanship," he said.
From Rich Hoffman in the Philadelphia Daily News:
Somehow, some way, Villanova is going to the Final Four.
It was a classic game. It was a game that will be talked about for as long as they talk about college basketball in Philadelphia. It was a tight, physical, brutal wonderful game – and Scottie Reynolds won it with a driving layup with 0.5 seconds left.
The final score was Villanova 78, Pittsburgh 76. And when everyone got done holding their breath at the end, when a Levance Fields 75-footer at the buzzer crashed off of the backboard and away, the Wildcats erupted to celebrate the school’s first Final Four appearance since 1985.
It is so hard to describe how tough and good this game was, and how it would have felt if the Wildcats had come up short. It was that good. It was that difficult.
But I think it's a Villanova spirit - an honest, well-grounded "can do" spirit that drives the university and its community to do their very best and to give that extra effort that makes a difference.
Villanova is a school grounded in the Augustinian ethic and the teachings and values of St. Augustine. Villanova doesn't try to hide its Catholic identity or its Catholic heritage. Villanova is proud of it - proud of all of it.
Go to Villanova's web site and you will see Villanova's Christian character. You will see the daily quote from Augustine himself; the Lenten reflections and the open, giving, Catholic spirit of the university.
Here's what Villanova President Rev. Peter J. Donohue says: "We are a Catholic and Augustinian University with a well-rounded academic curriculum and a commitment to the greater good. Saint Augustine believed in the intrinsic connection between the mind and the heart, between truth and love. At Villanova, we celebrate this relationship through a passionate pursuit of knowledge and service to others."
Villanova's understanding of its own Christian character and Villanova's steadfast adherence to the teachings of St. Augustine set it apart.
I honestly believe that Villanova is infused with the love and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Sprit knows.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Our latest poll has already set a record for responses but we won't be satisfied until we hear from you! And there is only one more day to vote, so hurry!
We're asking: Who will be the first Obama aide to depart the Administration?
Who will go first?
The first to go may leave either voluntarily of through some misfortune.
He or she may resign or may be kicked out or forced out.
That doesn't matter to us.
Will it be Press Secretary Gibbs? Will is be one of Obama's chief confidantes - Jarret, Axelrod or Emanuel?
Maybe it will be Hillary Clinton or Timothy Geithner or Larry Summers?
They are all in the eye of the storm.
But you can only pick one.
Who will it be?
Vote in our poll at the top right corner of this page.
Don't delay. Vote now!
From George Weigel in the Chicago Tribune:
When a university invites a prominent personality to deliver a commencement address and accept an honorary degree, a statement is being made to graduates, students, faculty, parents, alumni and donors: "This is someone whose work is worth emulating." The invitation, in other words, is not to a debate, or to the opening of some sort of ongoing conversation. The invitation and the award of an honorary degree are a university's stamp of approval on someone's life and accomplishment.
Which is precisely why the University of Notre Dame, which claims to be America's premier Catholic institution of higher learning, made an egregious error in inviting President Barack Obama to address its May commencement and accept an honorary doctorate of laws degree.
Since Inauguration Day, Obama has made several judgment calls that render Notre Dame's invitation little short of incomprehensible. The president has put the taxpayers of the United States back into the business of paying for abortions abroad. He has expanded federal funding for embryo-destructive stem-cell research and defended that position in a speech that was a parody of intellectually serious moral reasoning.
The Obama administration threatens to reverse federal regulations that protect the conscience rights of Catholic and other pro-life health-care professionals. And the administration has not lifted a finger to keep its congressional and teachers' union allies from snatching tuition vouchers out of the hands of poor inner-city children who want to attend Catholic schools in the nation's capital.
How any of this, much less the sum total of it, constitutes a set of decisions Notre Dame believes worth emulating is not, to put it gently, easy to understand. . . . .
If Notre Dame wished to invite Obama to debate the life issues with prominent Catholic intellectuals during the next academic year, it would have done the country a public service and no reasonable person could object. If Notre Dame had invited the president to address a symposium on the grave moral issues the president himself acknowledges being at the heart of the biotech revolution, that, too, would have been a public service. For that is one of the things great universities do: They provide a public forum for serious argument about serious matters touching the common good. But, to repeat, a commencement is not a debate, nor is a commencement address the beginning of some sort of ongoing dialogue, as Notre Dame officials have tried to suggest. A commencement address and the degree that typically accompanies it confer an honor. That honor is, or should be, a statement of the university's convictions.
By inviting Obama to address its commencement and by offering him an honorary doctorate of laws, Notre Dame's leaders invite the conclusion that their convictions on the great civil rights issues of our time are not those that once led [former Notre Dame President father Theodore] Hesburgh to stand with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and proclaim an America in which all God's children are equal before the law. And that is very bad news for all Americans.
Groge Weigel, aa eminent Catholic scholar and author is a distinguished senior fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. Join with Weigel in protesting this outgaregous action by Notre Dame.
Write, call or e-mail:
President of the University of Notre Dame,Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. [Cong. of Holy Cross],
(574) 631-5000 or Fax:
Go to http://www.catholicvote.org/ to join the protest and sign the petition.
Take a stand for the unborn!
From the Catholic News Agency:
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.
Mrs. Clinton was received on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. by the rector of the Basilica, Msgr. Diego Monroy.
Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.
After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”
Clinton then told Msgr. Monroy that she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction.
After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador –the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle.
Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”
This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.
From AOL and the Associated Press:
A retired police chief said he was robbed by "probably the dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania," at a police officers' convention on Friday morning.
John Comparetto said as he came out of a stall in the men's room, a man pointed a gun in his face and demanded money. There were 300 narcotics officers from Pennsylvania and Ohio at the gathering.
Skip over this content Comparetto gave up his money and cell phone. But when the man, identified as Jerome Marquis Blanchet, fled, Comparetto and some colleagues chased him. They arrested a 19-year-old man as he was trying to leave in a taxi.
Blanchet is also awaiting trial on four previous robbery charges.
Blanchet was arraigned and taken to Dauphin County Prison. When a reporter asked the suspect for comment as he was led out of court, he said, "I'm smooth."
From the online ABA Journal of the American Bar Association:
Associates and staff were low-hanging fruit waiting to be cut in law firm layoffs. Start dates for new attorneys have been delayed, salaries have been frozen and benefits formerly taken for granted have been axed. At least one well-known law firm has even reduced the coffee service offered at its Chicago headquarters.
But now BigLaw partnerships seeking to stabilize their finances amidst a global economic free fall are getting down to the nitty-gritty. A growing number of major firms are reducing partner pay, Bloomberg reports.
Cuts in partner compensation have recently been announced at Allen & Overy, Dewey & LeBoeuf and DLA Piper, and could well be quietly under way at other major international firms, too, according to the news agency.
“It’s hard to get rid of a partner, so cutting pay is a simple way of sending a message that maybe people ought to think about moving toward the door,” says attorney Bruce MacEwen, a New York City-based legal consultant.
Partners at a number of top London-based international law firms have been warned to expect their compensation to drop as much as one-third this year, compared to 2008, the Evening Standard reported in January.
Sphere: Related Content
Friday, March 27, 2009
Nordstrom's Department Store opened its doors at the Cherry Hill Mall today, seeking to defy an economic downturn with upscale appeal.
As the 10 a.m. opening approached, more than 100 Nordstrom employees lined the sides of the aisle leading to the mall entrance, sending up a cheer with one side yelling "customer," the other answering with "Service."
Shoppers started entering the store even before its metal gate was up, ducking under to be among the first inside. . . .
Within an hour, the store had already sold a half-dozen pricey handbags, including a $1,795 silvery leather Burberry Covington, a $1,585 Chloe Paddington, and a $1,395 Burberry Lawrence with raffia quilting. . . .
Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom was pleased with the enthusiastic turnout - an estimated 1,500 in the first hour, according to a spokeswoman.
Seattle-based Norstrom sold shoes for more than 60 years, before adding apparel in 1963.
It's been expanding ever since - and plans to continue the pace, he said.
"The good news is there is still plenty of opportunity," he said.
The retailer now has 110 stores in 28 states, with two more slated to open this year in Ohio and Massachusetts. Delaware's Christiana Mall will also get one in 2011, according to nordstrom.com.
The chain had considered Cherry Hill about nine years ago, but the mall seemed "run down," Nordstrom said.
"The developers, to their credit, invested a lot of money, and it was that catalyst, if you will, that gave us the confidence to come and open the store."
Philadelphia Real Estate Investment Trust put more than $200 million into refurbishing the mall, adding restaurants and more than a dozen other new stores.
Norstrom brothers Peter, head of merchandising, and Erik, director of stores, were also on hand this morning, because "you gotta stay close to the customer," Blake Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom's business philosophy is an "upside-down pyramid," he said, valuing customers and sales staff the most.
"Our job," he said of the management team, "has to be to listen and support our troops."
We stopped by Nordstrom Cherry Hill Mall later in the day and found the place was still teeming with shoppers -- and these shoppers were carrying Nordstrom bags. They were (and are) spending.
And yes, we joined in the spending spree.
It's hard not to buy in such a delightful, friendly, customer-centered environment. It's a joy!
From Ruth Gledhill of The Times of London:
The President of the United States is coming under growing pressure to withdraw from a public speaking event at a Roman Catholic university in an escalating row over his backing for abortion and stem cell research.
Conservative Christians are protesting against an invitation to Barack Obama to speak at a Catholic university because of the US President's enthusiasm for policies that go against Catholic belief, such as [abortion and] federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
President Obama is due to deliver an inauguration address at Indiana's Notre Dame University, one of the top 25 universities in the US, on May 17.
But senior Catholic lobbyists have launched a campaign to bar him from the ceremony in protest at his liberal views . . .
Bishops who are protesting include the Right Rev Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, who described the invitation to the President as a "public act of disobedience" and "a grave mistake".
The Right Rev John D'Arcy of the diocese which contains the university, said he will boycott the ceremony.
Bishop D'Arcy said: "President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred.
"As a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth."
A coalition of conservative student groups has also come out against the event.
Anger is building over Notre Dame University's outrageous decision to invite pro-abortion President Barack Obama to speak at its upcoming commencement and to receive an honorary degree.
The anger is entirely justified.
Thousands of letters and phone calls have been pouring into the University protesting this morally wrong-headed decision. Alumni are particularly outraged.
They have a right to be.
Also, it should surprise no one that the university has received sharply worded letters from two bishops. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Phoenix Diocese on Wednesday called Obama's selection a "public act of disobedience" and "a grave mistake." On Tuesday, Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, which includes Notre Dame, said he would not attend the ceremony because of Obama's policies.
More protests and letters will be forthcoming.
Notre Dame can call itself a Catholic institution or it can host and honor those who have been complicit in the grievous sin of abortion. But it cannot do both.
This is about fundamental Catholic teaching and Catholic doctrine.
If the Holy Mother The Church and its instutions and agents do not stand for life then the Church stands for nothing.
Those who do not agree with the teaching of the Church on such a benchmark issue have a choice: They can leave the Church and join another faith community if they wish. Nobody is forcing them (no matter who they are) to remain Catholics.
By rights, the President should simply announce that he doesn't want to turn the event into a circus and say he's saving Notre Dame a lot of trouble and angst by withdrawing his acceptance of the invitation.
Absent that, Notre Dame must rescind the invite.
Here's how you can join the protest:
Letters to the editor in chief of the Notre Dame newspaper,
Mike Connolly or directly via the Observer web site http://www.ndsmcobserver.com/home/lettertotheeditor/
Letters to the editor of the South Bend Tribune: email@example.com
Write, call or e-mail:
President of the University of Notre Dame,
Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. [Cong. of Holy Cross],
President@nd.edu(574) 631-5000 or Fax: (574) 631-7428
Go to www.catholicvote.org to join the protest and sign the petition.
Take a stand for the unborn!
Bob Barker is coming back down to "The Price Is Right."
Not to host but promote his new autobiography, "Priceless Memories."
Barker, who hosted 6,500 episodes of the venerable gameshow before retiring and handing the skinny mic to current emcee Drew Carey, will take part in Wednesday's taping at the CBS lot on the stage named after him. He'll take part in both Showcase Showdowns and give away the book to all 300 members of the studio audience, as well as it having be part of the prize giveaways.
"Memories" looks back at Barker's life in television as well as his dedication to animals. Episode airs April 16.
From Rich Hoffman in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
To paraphrase Bill Parcells, the old basketball coach, you are what the tournament says you are. And what the Villanova Wildcats are is an elite American college basketball program. When they arrived for their Sweet 16 game last night against the Duke Blue Devils, it was their fourth journey of this distance in five seasons. It has been a fantastic run, an elevating period of time for the program.
But they all wanted more - kids, coaches, thousands in the stands at the TD Banknorth Garden. Greed. That remains the second-most dominant emotion.
And now, hopeful, greedy, all of that, Villanova stands on the precipice again. For the second time under coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats are one game away from the Final Four after running Duke out of the gym last night, 77-54. Tenacious on defense, relentless on offense, physically dominating for every one of the court's 94 feet, Villanova now has a game against Pittsburgh remaining between them and the happiest basketball place on Earth.
From Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe:
President Obama got frosty during Tuesday night's press conference when asked about the bonuses paid to employees of American International Group, the failed company that received an $180 billion taxpayer bailout. He said he needed time to get angry "because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."
When Obama finally got mad, he got mad at Wall Street. But he knows who else deserves the cold shoulder. The list of bonus conspirators includes his own economic team, which is headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
The controversial AIG contracts, which provide for so-called retention bonuses, were written in March 2008. A year later, after taxpayers became 80 percent owners of AIG, the bonuses were protected by Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, via a special provision inserted into the federal stimulus bill.
Dodd said he did it because Geithner's Treasury Department asked him to do it.
Geithner said his staff did it and he did not know "the full extent" of the bonus payments until March 10 - an assertion that defies logic. . . .
Geithner eventually said he would take "full responsibility" but insisted he did not learn of the bonuses until March 10. A Treasury Department spokesman later said Geithner "was not aware of the timing or full extent of the contractual retention payments or other bonus programs until his staff brought them to his attention on March 10." . . .
It took until March 20 for Geithner to confirm that his department pushed Dodd to write the budget loophole into the economic stimulus plan.
The president has made it clear Geithner is his guy. What he has never made clear to the American public is why.
Obama stood behind Geithner when his then-nominee said he didn't pay his taxes because of some misunderstanding of the tax code. Now Obama is standing behind Geithner when he says he didn't know about the AIG bonuses because he didn't fully understand what his staff was negotiating.
The president is now asking American taxpayers to trust Geithner's plan to help buy up so-called toxic assets, as well as to expand the government's authority to take over troubled corporations like AIG.
That's asking for a lot of trust. So far, on a personal level, Geithner has done little to show taxpayers he deserves it. But Obama continues to praise him, and even said in a "60 Minutes" interview that he would reject Geithner's resignation, if offered.
A market rally boosts Geithner's stock when it comes to pleasing Wall Street. But it shouldn't erase the honesty question for Main Street.
A Treasury secretary who trims the truth on any level is a liability. But Obama is sticking with his investment, out of loyalty, stubbornness, or both.
There has been plenty of time to figure out who knew what about the AIG bonus formula and when they knew it. If the full calculation doesn't get Obama angry, it should.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
An editorial from The Economist:
From Flash News:
Cheryl Katz is the co-author of Dirty Bow Wow: A Tribute To Dogs And The Objects Of Their Affection (Ten Speed Press), a book about pups and their favorite toys, which hits stands this April.
According to Katz, a dog’s tie to their favorite toy is much like a child’s bond with their blankie.
Pooches are at their happiest when they’re chewing on their threadbare toys and don’t care how old or stinky their preferred plaything gets.
Although “dirty bow wows” like ratty ropes, balls, and stuffed animals are common with pups, some get comfort from stranger things.
Katz met a Toy Poodle who can’t go anywhere without a little pink purse, an Irish Terrier with an affinity for paper towels, and a French Bulldog who loves playing with empty water bottles and twisting the caps off.
Katz says most dogs go to town on their toys, which is why they’re often frayed and mended.
From Abe Greenwald in Commentary:
To call the Washington Post’s decision to run unadulterated Nazi-inspired anti-Semitism a crisis of judgment is to relegate the incident to a headline-grabbing class of occasional sensitivity lapses. To speak of apologies, hurt feelings, and free speech is to invite “debate” where there is no moral ambiguity. To contextualize by adducing Oliphant’s previous forays into sensation is to miss the point entirely. The cartoon can only be understood as heralding a new popular acceptance of Jew-hatred: the capstone of all that talk about anti-Semitism being “on the rise around the world.”
The acceptance of anti-Semitism moves quickly, in tandem with the ambitions of anti-Semites. Today in America, this means a new forum where a number of hate-filled isolationists can collude with self-righteous liberals to erase entirely the line between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitic fervor. Until recently, suspect critics of Israel made an effort (however unconvincing) to draw distinctions between their objections to Israeli policy and rank Jew-hatred. The cartoon in today’s Washington Post aspires to unify the two phenomena for all to see
From Ralph Peters in the New York Post:
America's enemies smell blood and it's type "O."
All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama's foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence. . . .
Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good.
Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.
Don't worry about the new administration's ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete.
Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months:
China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don't matter. Our "relationship" is more important than freedom and human dignity.
Beijing's response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar. . . .
Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan's coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool.
Obama's response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We'd be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.
Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous "mistakes" in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn't have a clue.
Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran's leaders in office, it's their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn't anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they'd have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.
He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don't shine.
North Korea: Obama wanted a fresh start. North Korea's response? Threats of war with South Korea and the kidnapping of two American journalists. And the renewed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, along with rocket tests.
Cuba: Obama would like to liberalize our relationship. The Castro boys told him to kiss off. They need an enemy, too. (Dear Mr. President: It's not always about us or how evil America is.) . . .
At what point does naivete become cowardice?
As for our allies, Obama apparently needs them less than Bush did. O treated Britain's prime minister like the deputy Paraguayan veterinary inspector, and he blindsided the leaders of the Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico and Canada on issues ranging from missile defense to trade. But he'd like them to take the Gitmo terrorists off our hands, please.
New Jersey State Senator Marcia Karrow (R-Warren/Hunterdon) expressed her deep concern today after New York announced that its unemployment rate is significantly lower than New Jersey's.
"It pains me to see fear grip New Jersey families faced with the loss of jobs and income,” Karrow stated. "Governor Corzine has to stop touting his alleged ‘successes’ and start leading the way in asking why New Jersey has proportionally more workers out of work than neighboring states do. Then we need him to lead on coming up with a far more comprehensive plan for diversifying our economy and reviving the entrepreneurial culture that once made New Jersey an economic powerhouse.
“A good first step: Repeal bureaucratic red tape that is preventing job growth in New Jersey. Corzine should rescind increases in home energy taxes, roll back newly increased fees on motor vehicles and insist he will not sign a budget until ‘affordable’ housing rules that discourage job creation are ended."
Yesterday the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development released state unemployment figures which showed the rate surged in February to 8.2 percent from January's 7.3 percent. This is higher than New York's at 7.8 percent, Pennsylvania's 7.5 percent and Delaware's 7.4 percent. It also marks the first time since October 2006 that the state unemployment rate was higher than the national rate.
"Until Democrats took control in 2002, New Jersey had a rich and proud history of being the economic powerhouse of the Northeast," Karrow continued. "Governor Corzine's failed policies and misplaced priorities have strangled New Jersey businesses, suffocated New Jersey entrepreneurs and hurt the New Jersey middle class. We need a drastic change of course if we are to recover."
From Eli Segall at the Associated Press:
New Jersey's jobless rate continued to climb last month, surpassing the national rate for the first time in two years and keeping the state firmly entrenched in the global recession, according to analysts.
February's unemployment rate of 8.2 percent was nearly a full percentage point above January's rate, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which released the figures Wednesday.
It was the 13th straight month New Jersey shed jobs, pushing the state's jobless rate just above the national rate of 8.1 percent.
"These are dismal numbers," said Rutgers University Professor Joseph Seneca, of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. "New Jersey's economy is fully engulfed by the national recession."
Job losses were heaviest in professional and business services, manufacturing and construction, according to the state. Education and health services had the only significant job growth, but most industries shed workers.
A soaring number of unemployment claims has helped empty the state's unemployment insurance fund, a key source of help for jobless New Jerseyans. It's also been depleted over the years by lawmakers raiding the fund for other programs.
State Labor Commissioner David Socolow said the state has borrowed $185 million this month from the federal government to make its unemployment payments. A provision in the federal stimulus package makes the loans interest free, he said.
Corzine taxes and spend, taxes and spends, taxes and spends and things get worse and worse and worse.
From Bob Secter and Andrew Zajac at the Chicago Tribune:
Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up, huge fines and scalding condemnation of passive directors by a top federal regulator.
One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members was Chicago's Rahm Emanuel—now chief of staff to President Barack Obama—who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.
As gatekeeper to Obama, Emanuel now plays a critical role in addressing the nation's mortgage woes and fulfilling the administration's pledge to impose responsibility on the financial world.Emanuel's Freddie Mac involvement has been a prominent point on his political résumé, and his healthy payday from the firm has been no secret either. What is less known, however, is how little he apparently did for his money and how he benefited from the kind of cozy ties between Washington and Wall Street that have fueled the nation's current economic mess.
Though just 49, Emanuel is a veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton. The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago.In business as in politics, Emanuel has cultivated an aggressive, take-charge reputation that made him rich and propelled his rise to the front of the national stage. But buried deep in corporate and government documents on the Freddie Mac scandal is a little-known and very different story involving Emanuel.
He was named to the Freddie Mac board in February 2000 by Clinton, whom Emanuel had served as White House political director and vocal defender during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals.
The board met no more than six times a year. Unlike most fellow directors, Emanuel was not assigned to any of the board's working committees, according to company proxy statements. Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate.On Emanuel's watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass.
The accounting scandal wasn't the only one that brewed during Emanuel's tenure.During his brief time on the board, the company hatched a plan to enhance its political muscle. That scheme, also reviewed by the board, led to a record $3.8 million fine from the Federal Election Commission for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians. Emanuel was the beneficiary of one of those parties after he left the board and ran in 2002 for a seat in Congress from the North Side of Chicago.
The board was throttled for its acquiescence to the accounting manipulation in a 2003 report by Armando Falcon Jr., head of a federal oversight agency for Freddie Mac. The scandal forced Freddie Mac to restate $5 billion in earnings and pay $585 million in fines and legal settlements. It also foreshadowed even harder times at the firm.
The Obama administration rejected a Tribune request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel's time as a director. The documents, obtained by Falcon for his investigation, were "commercial information" exempt from disclosure, according to a lawyer for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Emanuel's board term expired in May 2001, and soon after he launched his Democratic congressional bid.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Nordstrom at the Cherry Hill Mall doesn't officially open till Friday at 10 AM but on Wednesday evening the store welcomed a huge number of notables for a gala benefit that aided Symphony In C, The Links, Inc. and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The fortunate guests were among the first to celebrate the opening of Nordstrom during an elegant evening devoted to all things fashionable. We all enjoyed live entertainment, cocktails, dinner and dessert buffets, and of course, incredible shopping. Food and beverage service and party production were provided by Peter Callahan and featured an array of goodies.
We saw so many friends and many, many newcomers to the Cherry Hill scene.
What struck us about Nordstrom was the knockout presentation of so many distinctive lines and unique pieces of merchandise (things you won't find anywhere else) as well as the brilliant panoply of color at every turn.
We were dazzled by the entire environment and the brilliant new colors of spring.
Nordstrom has brought the "WOW!" factor to South Jersey. And it's all just a mile or so away from downtown Philadelphia
We hope you enjoy the scenes that follow and we urge you to head on over to Nordstrom ASAP.
Ready, set, SHOP!
From Thomas Fitzgerald at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter trails a lesser-known challenger in the 2010 Republican primary, an indication of the political hit he has taken in his party's base for giving crucial support to the Democratic-drafted $787 billion economic stimulus, according to a new poll.
Former Rep. Pat Toomey, a conservative leader from the Lehigh Valley, leads Specter 41 to 27 percent in a hypothetical matchup in a Quinnipiac University survey released today.
Although Toomey came within 17,000 votes of beating Specter in the 2004 GOP primary, the poll found that 73 percent of Republican voters did not know enough about the likely challenger to form an opinion of him. Seventy-eight percent of all voters had not heard of Toomey.
"Pennsylvania Republicans are so unhappy with Sen. Specter's vote for President Barack Obama's stimulus package and so-called pork barrel spending that they are voting for a former congressman they hardly know," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Toomey came close last time and has strong conservative backing, but his challenge could be fractured if more Republicans crowd into the primary and split the anti-Specter vote."
Specter's support for the stimulus won 87 percent to 6 percent approval among Democrats; and 56 percent to 38 percent support among independents. Republican voters disapprove of that vote by a whopping 70 percent to 25 percent.
Overall, voters approve of the job Specter is doing 52 percent to 33 percent, boosted by strong support from Democrats and independents. That was nearly reversed among Republicans, however, with 36 percent approving Specter's performance and 52 percent disapproving.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,056 Pennsylvania voters by telephone from March 19 through March 23. Results are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; the survey includes 423 Republicans, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.