Saturday, June 12, 2010




With most of the world going gaga over the upcoming world football championships
in Africa, I think it would be wise to remember, If God intended us to play soccer,
She wouldn't have given us hands. (PBen)

"Let's see, the Cubs plan on having an illuminated 'Toyota' sign over the left
field bleachers at Wrigley Field, while this weekend they play the White Sox
for ownership of the BP Cup(yes, that BP). What's next, 'Take Me Out To The
Ballgame' being sung by Jesse James?" (Bill Littlejohn)

British Petroleum made some progress Friday in halting the oil spill. They used
giant clippers to cut off the tip of the pipe. The idea is if you can't top it,
cap it or plug it, circumcise it and maybe the God of Israel will deliver us
from oil. (Argus Hamilton)

Several media sources called right-hander Stephen Strasburg's major league
debut the most super-hyped ever in baseball. Clearly a pitcher worth more
than a thousand words. (RJ Currie)

Defense contractor Blackwater is up for sale. Its assets are impressive.
The company currently owns over 50 percent of all Congressmen. (Alan Ray)

In Los Angeles, a porn actor attacked and killed one of his acting colleagues
with a porn movie prop. It is the first time the county coroner ever listed
cause of death as "vibrated to death". Up to now, his porn movie prop had
been known simply as a "weapon of mass distraction". It sure gives the movie
title "Die Hard" a whole new meaning. (Jerry Perisho)

Cameron Diaz told British Vogue that lots of sex keeps a person looking young.
Dennis Rodman recently tweeted that fifty per cent of life in the NBA is sex.
So how do you explain Greg Odom? (RJ Currie)

BGR The Burger Joints, four of them in the Washington, D.C., area, are selling
hamburgers named in honor of the Nationals' fastballing pitching phenom. The
$10.99 Strasburger is a hot dog on top of a hamburger patty smothered in aged
Vermont cheddar and 14 pickles, one for each strikeout Strasburg recorded in
his big-league debut on Tuesday. Economists predict they'll sell much better
than, say, Roethlisbergers. (Dwight Perry)

USC will join Michigan as one of the most renowned programs in college football
that will be on probation for 2010. Too bad, the teams could be a perfect matchup
for the newest bowl at Yankee Stadium. Except they'd have to change the name from
"Pinstripe Bowl" to "Jailstripe Bowl." (Janice Hough)

Actor Woody Harrelson kicked the game-winner in a shootout before 65,000 fans
helping his Rest of the World team down England in a Unicef celebrity soccer
match. Many of those in attendance swear that from now on whenever they hope
to score, they'll pray for a Woody. (RJ Currie)

Pat Thomas, General Curator of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo,
says that Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men cologne is very attractive to big
cats like tigers and jaguars. Well, we already knew that it attracted cougars.
(Bill Littlejohn)


Good to see that Rush Limbaugh is protecting the sanctity of marriage....
for the fourth time! (Paul Benoit)

Rush Limbaugh recently took his fourth wife at a simple ceremony attended by
a few friends and supporters. After the vows were read, the bride threw the
traditional bouquet in the air and out of habit, Sarah Palin shot it.
(Bob Mills)

Rush Limbaugh got married on Saturday. It was weird for the new wife, especially
when on the first night she found Rush in bed with the Republican Party, the oil
and the gun industry. (Pedro Bartes)

Rush Limbaugh got married over the weekend. This is actually his fourth marriage;
he blames the first three breakups on Obama. (Craig Ferguson)

I was really disappointed in Rush Limbaugh's wedding. I was so hoping
Ann Coulter would get Rush (Joe Hickman).

You know who performed at the Rush Limbaugh wedding? Elton John. Isn't that
amazing. It proves that there's absolutely no ideological gap that a million-
dollar check can't bridge. (David Letterman)

Rush Limbaugh married for the fourth time. The bride is a direct descendant
of our nation's second president, John Adams, who Limbaugh argues was 'soft
on the British.' (Ira Lawson)

Rush Limbaugh got married for the fourth time on Saturday. He's 59,
she's 33. So, I'm doing the math. That means when she's 40, he'll be
on wife number seven. ( Jay Leno)

You know who sang at Rush's wedding? Elton John! According to Rush,
gay people can sing at weddings. Just not their own. (Craig Ferguson)

Elton John was paid $1-million to sing at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, although
guests admit it was a little hard to hear him from the closet. (Tim Hunter)

What's more bizarre? That Rush Limbaugh, who openly opposes gay marriage,
asked Elton John to perform at his fourth wedding? Or that Sir Elton
accepted? (Janice Hough)

"Congratulations to Rush Limbaugh, who got married for the fourth time
on Saturday. It was so romantic — so romantic. First, the couple wrote
their own vows and then they wrote their own prescriptions.
(Jimmy Fallon)

"Here now the official Rush Limbaugh wedding announcement. Rush Limbaugh
wed Kathryn Rogers in a quiet Florida ceremony on Saturday. The bridegroom
is a controversial radio host and an influential opinion leader in the
conservative movement in the United States. The bride is clearly insane.
(David Letterman)


Al Gore and his wife getting divorced? After 40 years of marriage, it's kind
of sad. Apparently what happened was, I guess, she walked in, caught him
boring another woman. (Jay Leno)

"They could tell Al Gore was lonely as of late because when he'd hug a tree,
he'd linger. (Bill Maher)

Al and Tipper Gore announced their separation Monday without giving any reason
for their break-up. Friends said Al and Tipper never recovered from losing the
presidential election ten years ago. You just knew it would end up being Bush's
fault. (Argus Hamilton)

Al Gore and his wife, longtime married couple, are separating. Tipper Gore.
And they may get a divorce. Apparently what happened, they experienced global
cooling. (David Letterman)

Bad news for Al Gore. Tipper's divorce attorney called Google to find out
how much half of the Internet is worth. (Paul Seaburn)

Were you sad to learn that Al Gore and his wife, Tipper? I was. I was a little
sad about that. Yeah, according to the report, the two are separating amicably
after a long process of careful consideration. You know, even his divorce is
boring. (Jay Leno)

You guys heard about Al Gore and Tipper splitting up? Everybody is talking about it.
Everyone's blogging about this, and now there are reports online that his daughter
and her husband are splitting up. I bet this is the one week where Al Gore wishes
he didn't invent the Internet. (Jimmy Fallon)

Looks like this Gore divorce could end up being pretty costly. In fact, Al Gore
now talking about only trying to save half the planet. (Jay Leno)

What happened to Al and Tipper Gore is very sad. The wedding vows they took more
than 40 years ago have become an inconvenient troth. (Terry Etter)

The Gores will have an amicable divorce, Al doesn't want arguments to get
overheated! In the divorce agreement, she'll get half of the world that
Al Gore is hoping to save! (Gil Stern)

After 40 years, Al and Tipper Gore have split up. Nobody knows why, but there
is a rumor today that Al came home early last week and found another man's
carbon footprints. (Bill Maher)

There are signs the divorce is starting to get ugly. In fact, today, Tipper
stopped recycling and bought a Humvee. (Jay Leno)

If Mrs. Gore were now to marry the ABC newsman Jake Tapper, she'd be
Tipper Tapper. (Paul Feehan)


According to BP, this containment cap is now capturing, they're capturing
10,000 barrels of oil a day. Which is amazing, considering they said it
was only leaking 1,000 barrels a day. (Jay Leno)

The Gulf oil spill has now lasted longer, cost more, and destroyed more
wildlife than Sarah Palin. (Jimmy Kimmel)

BP officials are now saying the campaign to clean it up could last until fall.
That's why they call it a campaign. You know why it's called a campaign? Because
it's like an election. It's dirty, it's slimy, it never seems to end. (Jay Leno)

BP spokesman Tony Hayward said that the environmental impact from the Gulf oil
spill would end up being "very modest." Right. If Hayward had been Tiger Woods'
frontman, Woods wouldn't have had mistresses, he'd have had bosom buddies.
(RJ Currie)

The oil spill is getting bad. There is so much oil and tar now in the Gulf of
Mexico, Cubans can now walk to Miami. (David Letterman)

Tony Hayward is set to testify before Congress next week. Unfortunately neither
Congress or BP has ever shown any ability to stop a leak. (Jim Barach)

According to a new report, BP has the worst safety record of all the oil companies.
They've paid over $372 million in fines. Oh, they don't call them fines. They call
them "campaign contributions." ((Jay Leno))

BP, which of course stands for "Born Polluted," is spending $50 million on a
p. r. campaign to make themselves look good. In fact, they said they would burn
the midnight oil if they hadn't spilled it. (Jay Leno)

BP says their robots are still trying to cap that oil pipe, and they made a lot
of progress, working all day Sunday. Which is hard on BP, because on Sunday,
robot plumbers get double time. (Frank King)

This BP oil spill looks like it may last longer than any of Limbaugh's marriages.
(Janice Hough)

The White House sent oil stocks falling Friday by vowing to prosecute British
Petroleum for environmental damage. There's a lot of room for interpretation
in the law. Dick Cheney would be prosecuting the pelicans for trying to fly
off with BP's oil. (Argus Hamilton)

Yesterday, British Petroleum stock dropped $17 billion in value. And the executives
at British Petroleum say they have no idea what happened. I kind of have an idea.
I kind of think maybe I got a hunch. (David Letterman)

But British Petroleum, they're getting desperate, so here is what they are going
to do to improve their public image: With every 100,000 gallons of oil that leaks,
you get a free N. F.L. team glass.

BP is now saying they've captured anywhere from 35 percent to 75 percent of
the oil that is gushing out of the well. Of course, you've got to keep in mind
they usually lie anywhere from 85 percent to 95 percent of the time. (Jay Leno)

BP C.E.O. Tony Hayward said he would just like to get his life back. He wants
to get his life back. You know, I say give him life plus 20. (Jay Leno)

Actor Kevin Costner testified in Washington before a House subcommittee about
the BP oil spill. Kevin Costner is to oil spill disaster recovery what Lady Gaga
is to perfecting the 360-degree tomahawk slam dunk. (Jerry Perisho)

Here's a little bit of good news. The Coast Guard says that BP is now catching
up to 630,000 gallons of oil a day. The bad news is that they're capturing it
with ducks. (Jimmy Fallon)


Tonight, the Obamas invited members of Congress to a picnic at the White House.
The Obamas' picnic featured foods from all over the four corners of the U. S.,
the Pacific Northwest provided the wild salmon and strawberries and the southern
gulf coast provided 400 million gallons of salad dressing. (Jimmy Fallon)

In his commencement speech at Kalamazoo Central High School, President Obama
told the graduating seniors, "Don't make excuses." He said it's better to
just blame someone else. (Bill Mihalic)

President Obama pitched his healthcare bill to a group of seniors. According to
a poll, half of the seniors thought the president was convincing, 30 percent
thought he was unconvincing, and the rest thought he was Will Smith.
(Craig Ferguson)

Paul McCartney visited the White House and performed for the Obamas. I noticed
he stayed away from singing "Fixing a Hole" (Bill Littlejohn)

President Obama is angry. He wants to know what happened in the Gulf and he also
wants to know why a 33-year-old woman would marry Rush Limbaugh. (David Letterman)


Meg Whitman will face the veteran politician Jerry Brown in the California
governor’s race. He’s way past his “sell-by date,” and she’s clearly determined
to “buy it now.” (Bill Williams)

Women won big in California, Arkansas, Nevada and South Carolina. These are
exciting times. I can remember when only rich white men could buy elections.
Now women can buy them, too. (Jay Leno)

This morning in California we found that Meg Whitman has bought.... er, sorry,
make that won the Republican race to compete for the office of Governor of
California, an office she hasn't bothered to vote for in about three decades.
The good news is that many jobs will be created, the bad news is that if her
past is prologue they will be created off shore. (Jerry W.)

Odd side note to the gubernatorial primary: Meg Whitman spent $80 per vote in
the election, and at her victory party in Unversal City, it was a cash bar.
(Janice Hough)

South Carolina Democrats are crying foul after an unknown, unemployed man facing
a criminal charge won the Senate primary. After all, technically he is not yet
a felon. (Clint Thatcher)

South Carolina voters sent Nikki Haley into a runoff for the GOP nomination
for governor. She was linked sexually to two men not her husband but it wasn't
enough to defeat her. Southerners always rally to anyone who reminds them of
Scarlett O'Hara. (Argus Hamilton)

An Ohio woman was surprised when she discovered a groundhog that had been making
noise under the hood of her car. When mechanics pulled it out, the groundhog saw
its shadow; that means 6 more weeks of accelerator pedal problems. (Jerry Perisho)


Sarah Palin is now saying that President Obama needs to make sure that these oil
companies act ethically and responsibly. This from a woman who shoots wolves from
a helicopter. (David Letterman)

Sarah Palin ordered a wall built around her backyard to shield her family from
the prying eyes of biographer Joe McGinniss. The woman must be living right.
Ever since she started building that wall she's gone up ten points in the polls
in Arizona. (Argus Hamilton)

There's a rumor that Sarah Palin got breast implants. Apparently it was started
by a Russian man who said he could see them from his front porch. Actually, when
I hear Sarah Palin's name, I've always thought of two big boobs: George Bush and
Dick Cheney. (Tim Hunter)

Al Gore arrived in California Friday to raise money for Harry Reid at a dinner
with rich Silicon Valley tech executives. Fundraising isn't the only reason he's
in California. He's won the Nobel, the Oscar and the Grammy, and now he wants a
trophy wife. (Argus Hamilton)

Senator John McCain actually tweeted to Snooki from "Jersey Shore," an MTV program,
after she complained about the tanning bed tax in the new health care law. But,
unfortunately, Snooki never got the message because McCain tweeted it off his
electric razor. (Jimmy Fallon)

Democratic California gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown asked for 10 televised
debates with Meg Whitman. She accepted the invitation to debate him, ONCE, in
October. Time and exact date to be worked out, but word has it Whitman is open
to any weekday between 3 and 4am. (Janice Hough)

George W. Bush told a crowd in Grand Rapids Friday he waterboarded Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed and he'd do at again to save lives. He doesn't care that
the confession is inadmissible in court. He just enjoyed reliving Hell Week
at his college fraternity. (Argus Hamilton)


A new report found that 20 percent of people over 45 had to dip into their retirement
savings last year. And the other 80 percent said, "Retirement savings?" (Jimmy Fallon)

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says if we don't cut back our spending, America will
go the way of Europe. After hearing that, President Obama authorized another
$17 trillion in spending. (Jake Novak)


Apple unveiled its new iPhone Monday which features a front-facing camera for
video chats. It could make a porno filmmaker out of everybody who buys one of
these phones. So much for the last sector of California's economy that was
still profitable. (Argus Hamilton)

Delta Airlines apologized for a mix-up where they sent an unaccompanied boy
to Cleveland, instead of Boston, and an unaccompanied girl to Boston, instead
of Cleveland. Everyone had a good laugh, though, when luggage for both kids
ended up in Albuquerque. (Jerry Perisho)

McDonalds is recalling their Shrek drinking glasses because they're tainted
with Cadmium, which could cause "long term adverse health effects." You know,
like the food! (Tim Hunter)

Cereal maker Kellogg has agreed to drop its marketing claims that Rice Krispies
will strengthen a child's immune system. Any parent that bases their child's
health program on what they read on a cereal box can only be called a flake,
a sugar-frosted flake. (Jerry Perisho)

More than 12,000 nurses walked off the job in Minnesota is a well-orchestrated
one day strike. Nursing hasn't been this big an issue in Minnesota since it
looked like Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura was lactating. (Jerry Perisho)

To improve the brand's image, General Motors has told employees they should
no longer refer to a Chevrolet as a "Chevy." In a similar move, Toyota told
employees to stop referring to a Toyota as an "Oy." (Paul Seaburn)


A 63 year-old New Jersey man has been arrested for reaching under the blanket
of a sleeping woman aboard a Continental flight and sexually abusing her. Today
Continental changed its slogan. The new one, "Want to get off?" (Pedro Bartes)


Today, the White House announced they have come up with a cheap, effective
solution for illegal immigration. They're going to have Helen Thomas on the
border, yelling, "Go back to Mexico! Go back to where you came from! Get out!"
(Jay Leno)


Prince William's upcoming wedding is reported to cost as much as $400,000.
Of course it was going to be a fraction of that until Sarah Ferguson was
brought in to be the wedding consultant. (Jim Barach)


Denmark wants to tax donors to sperm banks. Talk about oppressive moves.
It’s yet another example of the little guy getting squeezed. (Alan Ray)

Furious over government budget cuts, workers in Spain are protesting.
Thousands marched, lit fires, blew car horns and chanted slogans, until
it was time to go home for their afternoon nap. (Sean M. Lee)


The only commercial airline in Iraq, Iraqi Airways, folded this week.
The CEO says the company could not survive in a market where everybody
in the country is on the No-Fly list. (Jay Leno)


The chain-smoking toddler from Indonesia has cut down to 15 cigarettes
per day. You know what would get him to stop smoking for good? It's a
lesser-known treatment called, "Don't give him any." (Craig Ferguson)


Scientists in Thailand have found a species of monkey that has learned
to fish. Evolution has caused changes in their physical appearance as
well. They now have big beer guts. (Alan Ray)


A medical study says sports are OK for most kids with high blood pressure.
The fierce competition. The physical play. The emotional stress. And those
are just the parent meetings. (Dwight Perry)

Scientists at Canada's Concordia University have created cloth, woven with
wireless sensors, that can track the wearer's vital signs including temperature,
heart rate, and breathing. If all goes according to plan, Armani will soon
market the "Dr. Georgio 500" -- a business suit that can give you a complete
physical. (Bob Mills)


It's been quite a summer at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where one
trespassing fan got tased, another got arrested for intentionally vomiting
on a fellow fan, and TV cameras recorded a preschooler swigging a beer. Now,
if they could only get that 4-year-old kid from Indonesia who smokes two packs
a day to go to a Phillies game, they will have hit for the cycle. (Len Berman)

The first World Cup game is between South Africa and Mexico. Mexico really
has a solid team this year, especially after they got all those great players
from Arizona. (Jimmy Fallon)

The NBA finals continue. Some guys nod off for three quarters and only pay
attention for the last 2 or 3 minutes of the Fourth. But enough about the
refs. (Alan Ray)

The Atlanta Braves are on pace to pass 300 walks for the season this weekend.
They trail only Derek Jeter in getting to first base. (RJ Currie)

The San Diego Padres turned a triple play against the New York Mets on Thursday.
It's always big news when a Padres triple play doesn't include the Father, Son
or Holy Ghost. (Jerry Perisho).

Apparently after an NCAA investigation, USC's football team will not only
lose scholarships, but also be punished by the NCAA by being banned from
bowl games for the next two years. Which will at least give their players
more time not to go to class. (Janice Hough)

Some schools would worry that with bowl probation, a number of their stars
might jump to the NFL early. Not at USC. Most players don't want to take
the pay cut. (Janice Hough)

The NCAA's investigation of the USC athletic program, which started in
March 2006, lasted longer than the Civil War. (Jerry Crowe)

The Edmonton Eskimos announced all tickets to the 2010 Grey Cup were sold
in just one week - a CFL record. Might be the fastest sellout in Edmonton
since Chris Pronger. (RJ Currie)

Is it just me, or did anybody else watching the final game of the Stanley Cup
on TV think the best-timed shot was that Cialis logo popping up in extra time?
(RJ Currie)

The Brazilian referees working the England-United States match at the World Cup
have been studying English-language swear words so they can make sure players
aren't being abusive. Who says sports isn't educational? (Janice Hough)


Less than 24 hours after winning the first of his record 10 NCAA basketball
championships, UCLA's pious John Wooden got a message from above, from a
pooping pigeon that dropped a souvenir on his head as he was leaving the
team hotel in Kansas City for an Easter church service. Wooden, who died
Friday, recalled the event when he returned to K. C. for a Hall of Fame
ceremony four years ago: "I think the Good Lord was letting me know,
'Don't get carried away.' " (Dwight Perry)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game
Wednesday by umpire Jim Joyce. The ump showed up the next day in tears.
His guide dog took a big chunk out of his ankle when he got home the
night before and it was killing him. (Argus Hamilton)

Hockey great Gordie Howe was given an honorary law degree from the University
of Saskatchewan. You would think with all the teeth Gordie knocked out, he
should have received a doctorate of dentistry. (Derek Wilken)

Where have you gone, ironman pitchers? The Phillies' Jamie Moyer, 47,
collected the 33rd complete game of his 24-year career in Saturday's
6-2 win over the Padres. Bob Feller had 36 for the Indians ... in 1946.
(Dwight Perry)

The Washington Nationals named seventeen-year-old slugger Bryce Harper
the top draft pick Monday, he's being called the best prospect since
Mickey Mantle. The Nationals fans are so excited. They can't wait to
see what the Yankees give up for him. (Argus Hamilton)

Ken Griffey Jr. once pulled a pair of drugstore sunglasses off my head,
threw them on the clubhouse floor in disgust and replaced them with a pair
of $150 wraparound Oakleys. I tried to give them back. He just smirked.
He was determined to give me an upgrade in cool. I next asked him whether
he liked my clothes or my car. (Sportswriter Dan Raley)

Tiger Woods agreed to participate in a skins game Wednesday in a charity
pro-am before the Memorial Tournament. He was surprised to see Jack Nicklaus
and the huge crowd waiting for him at the first tee. He thought he was
signing up for a skin flick. (Argus Hamilton)

The NCAA levied severe penalties against USC for their violation of rules
in football and basketball; USC will appeal those penalties. That noise
you hear is Tim Floyd, Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush and O. J. Mayo laughing
all the way to the bank. (Jerry Perisho)

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, still owed $24.9 million from his days with
Texas, has been named to a three-member committee representing Rangers
creditors during the team's bankruptcy case. Might be the first time he's
ever looked forward to getting a take sign. (Dwight Perry)

A Chicago Sun-Times report said Kevin McHale had been interested in coaching
the Chicago Bulls. I'd like to see Kevin coaching the U.S. Naval Academy
Midshipmen; McHale's Navy has a ring to it. (RJ Currie)

Andre Agassi, Cassius Clay, Karch Kiraly, Lisa Leslie and Mickey Mantle
were among the honorees when Sports Illustrated announced its All-Alliteration
team. (Dwight Perry)

Ferrari Driver Academy signed 11-year-old Montrealer Lance Stroll, winner
of several Canadian karting titles, making him the youngest driver ever to
wear the Ferrari logo. In other words, it was the kart before the horse.
(RJ Currie)

Mavericks forward Caron Butler joined a couple U. S. congressmen and the
crown prince of Denmark on a bike ride around Washington, D.C., to promote
alternative transportation. Hey, who better than an NBA player to give a
traveling endorsement? (Dwight Perry)

A salute to Canadian Daniel Nestor for winning the French Open doubles
championship, his 69th doubles title - tops among active players. Nestor
has won more court battles than Clarence Darrow. (RJ Currie)

Star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, already on double-secret probation,
was kicked off the Oregon football team when his latest brush with the
law included marijuana possession. In other words, one too many roll-outs.
(Dwight Perry)


The finale of "Glee" was just on. The Fox network is the home of "Glee,"
while Fox News is the home of people who don't like people who watch "Glee."
(Craig Ferguson)

New York City officials are complaining that the decision to transfer
"Law and Order" from New York to Los Angeles will result in an $80 million
loss to local merchants. Not exactly cheap for the producers, either. So far,
they've had to spend $75,000 just to have all the graffiti removed from the
squad cars. (Bob Mills)

A revival of "Annie" is in the works for 2012. It's just like the original,
until the end when she's adopted by Brad and Angelina. (Jimmy Fallon)


Charlie Sheen got a month in jail for assaulting his wife days after he signed
a two-million-a-week deal with CBS. He's also addicted to pills and he's hooked
on the Internet. If Charlie Sheen were a board game he'd be a lot more fun than
Monopoly. (Argus Hamilton

Gary Coleman's death should cause us to reflect on a life too short. (Terry Etter)

Willy Nelson has cut off his signature pony tails. Well, he didn't so much
cut them off, he smoked them by accident.. (Alex Kaseberg)

Seems Hall and Oates have canceled an upcoming concert in Arizona to protest
the state's new immigration law. Well, that will teach Arizona a lesson, huh?
Let's see how long they can go without Hall and Oates! Now, apparently, Hall
and Oates were worried Arizona authorities would make them go back to where
they came from — the '70s. (Jay Leno)

Actress Rue McClanahan has died at the age of 76. She was one of the
"Golden Girls." To give you an idea of how long ago that series was
on TV, it was back when a woman named "Blanche" could be considered
sexy. (Tim Hunter)


Shaquille O’Neal challenged last year’s National Spelling Bee winner Kavya
Shivashankar to a spell off. The 14 year old said she would rather compete
at something where she had a better chance at beating Shaq. Like a free
throw contest. (Jake Novak)

A sex tape featuring reality TV star and former Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson
- wife of Philadelpha Eagle Hank Basset - surfaced this week and reports say
ex-XFC fighter Justin Frye, who stars in the tape with Kendra, is behind it.
Other times he is in front of it. (RJ Currie)

Hollywood mogul David Geffen said Friday he can bring LeBron James to L.A.
if he buys the Clippers because he and the free agent NBA superstar are close
friends. LeBron says he wants to win a championship. In twenty years the only
thing the Clippers have ever won is a free taco for guessing the final score
of the Lakers game. (Argus Hamilton)

“The Dog Whisperer” Caesar Millan and his wife of 16-years, are getting divorced.
Apparently she caught him fooling around with some bitch. (Alex Kaseberg)


White House reporter Helen Thomas had to resign Tuesday after she told a rabbi
on camera that Jews should leave Israel and go back home to Poland and Germany.
We won't hear from her for awhile. She's rumored to have eloped to Bavaria with
Mel Gibson. (Argus Hamilton)

Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas has been caught on tape telling
the Jews in israel to "go back to Germany." It's the worst thing Thomas has done
since she tried to eat Hansel and Gretel 375 years ago. (Jake Novak)

White House reporter Helen Thomas is retiring after making some quite controversial
comments about Israel. She said Jews should leave the Middle East and go back to
where they came from. The problem is that's where they came from. (Jay Leno)


A new study shows that language programs in U. S. schools are lagging behind.
Not enough kids are learning foreign languages in America. In fact, here in
L. A., the schools have cut foreign language classes completely. Did you know
that? Everyone just speaks Spanish now. (Jay Leno)

The on time graduation rate for high school students is 75 percent. A senior
at the top of the class is called a valedictorian. A senior at the bottom of
the class is called an SEC running back. (Alan Ray)


A study rules out lead poisoning as a cause of death for Beethoven in 1827.
The results would have come back sooner, but the tests were sent to the lab
at Kaiser. (Alan Ray)


A two-year-old Sumatran baby smokes 40 cigarettes a day. The father says
he is addicted. I’m no Dr. Phil, but I think a good way to stop a baby
from smoking is to take away his cigarettes. (Alex Kaseberg)

Baseball fans in Philadelphia are disgusted after a toddler was caught on
video at a Phillies game chugging a beer. The parents of the toddler say
they don't know what all the fuss is about. The kid always chugs a beer
after a couple of cigarettes. (Frank King)

According to a recent survey by, 55% of married women are happy
with their sex lives. The other 45% are not having affairs. (Pedro Bartes)

According to a recent survey by, 41% of women would rather
catch up on sleep than have sex with their husband. Why does it have to
be either/or? My wife does both things at the same time. (Pedro Bartes)

A study says that four in five poker players use drugs to stay sharp at
the table. The one who isn't staying quite as sharp is the one who keeps
yelling out "Go fish!" (Jim Barach)

A Pennsylvania couple who were born in the same room on the same day
are set to be married 24 years later. Or as they call that in Alabama,
“fraternal twins”. (Jim Barach)


Happy National Doughnut day to everyone. This is why America is such a great
country: 64 percent of our population is overweight and yet we still have
National Doughnut Day. (Jimmy Kimmel)

World Ocean Day marked the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the
famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau Monday. He wouldn't recognize it today.
When Jacques Cousteau explored the ocean it was an eco-system, today it's
an energy drink for cars. (Argus Hamilton)

Compiled by Stan Kegel

Why doesn't Obama save us? He's showing sensible restraint on the spill

Why doesn't Obama save us? He's showing sensible restraint on the spill
By Steve Chapman
Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune
June 13, 2010,0,349441.column

Not long ago, Barack Obama was pilloried for being too activist, too meddlesome and too inclined to see himself as the messiah. He was forcing health care reform down our throats, running General Motors, wrecking the financial system and promising to make the oceans recede.

But that was a different guy, from a parallel universe. The President Obama we all know is a passive, detached do-nothing. Or so we have been hearing since the BP oil spill gained our attention.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who once denounced Democrats for scheming to "increase dependence on government," now demands that Washington do more for his state.

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who recently urged Congress to zero out the Environmental Protection Agency, challenges the administration to "save the Louisiana coast, save the fisheries, save the wetlands."

Funny how nobody said that at the 2008 Republican National Convention, where the chant was "drill, baby, drill." Back then, real men didn't protect sea turtles.

"For 35 days, he hasn't used the full force of our government," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., complained of the president last month. That's right: A conservative lamenting that Obama is being too cautious and prudent in his deployment of federal power.

What's next? Griping that he's not enough of a socialist?

It may not be a surprise to find Republicans damning Obama when he does and when he doesn't. But it is novel for them to act as though the president is an omnipotent national father, without whose tender care we are all lost.

"America wants a leader, not a politician," proclaims former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, writing in USA Today. He says Obama should emulate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who after the 9/11 attacks, "camped out at Ground Zero" to lead the response. "There is no substitute for being there," Romney lectures the president.

This is part of Romney's ongoing campaign to make sure no one ever again takes him seriously. Obama is not a mayor. He is commander in chief at a time we are fighting two major wars, confronting a North Korea that recently sunk a South Korean naval vessel, trying to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and grappling with an international crisis involving Israel.

He is also responsible for directing policy and making budget decisions involving numerous federal departments and agencies that exist because the GOP, after all, didn't abolish them during its time in power.

To suggest that Obama should devote his full attention to fixing a single problem (a leaking oil well) that the federal government has no competence or responsibility to fix is not leadership but childish fantasy.

Making rules for deepwater drilling is a legitimate function of government, and so is holding polluters accountable for the damage they cause. Plugging oil wells is the function of oil companies.

The federal government does have a responsibility to help mitigate the harm done by the leaking petroleum. But Obama does not need to be on hand for it to carry out that mission, any more than the chairman of Toyota needs to be carrying a wrench on the factory floor. If the president cannot formulate a policy and direct those under him to carry it out, he has no business being president — because there is no other way to be president.

When his critics accuse Obama of being detached and passionless, they are really faulting him for being calm, rational and realistic. Those qualities, a contrast to the cocky style of his immediate predecessor, are what got him elected. If Americans had wanted a leader to channel rage or grief, they would have chosen someone more demonstrative.

Obama has gone wrong — as conservatives have often been correct in pointing out — when he has pressed against the limits of his rightful powers, taking on responsibilities far greater than the federal government should assume. A president who does too much is far more dangerous to life, liberty and property than one who does too little.

So if Obama is erring on the side of circumspection, more power to him. When he was running for the White House in 1968, Democrat Eugene McCarthy was asked if he felt he would be a good president. "I think I would be adequate," he replied. Here is a goal for Obama that conservatives as well as liberals should be willing to endorse: Just be adequate.

Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board and blogs at

Kirk again challenged over military record - Congressman's use of 'deployment' comes under scrutiny

Kirk again challenged over military record - Congressman's use of 'deployment' comes under scrutiny
By John Chase and Todd Lighty
Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune
June 13, 2010,0,2203077.story

When Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk says he repeatedly deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy, he's referring to two-week training missions as part of his annual reservist requirements.

After acknowledging a series of misstatements that embellished his Navy service, Kirk is being challenged over his use of the military term "deployment," and this could be yet another opportunity for critics to parse his words in what has recently become a resume-bashing battle with Democratic Senate opponent Alexi Giannoulias.

Deployment can mean more than one thing in the military, but it is often used to describe service members going off to war for an extended time.

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Navy Cmdr. Danny Hernandez said there is a difference between annual training and being deployed, which can sometimes last more than a year.

"I would think that would be (considered) two weeks of annual training," Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, said of Kirk's stints. "A deployment is a deployment and annual training is annual training."

Officials with Kirk's campaign said the five-term North Shore congressman and commander with the Navy Reserve was accurate because deployment encompasses any relocation of forces.

"Congressman Kirk was proud to deploy to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009 on military orders issued by the United States Navy," said Kirk spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

Kirk's recent stumbles over his military record — and his attempts to put the focus back on Giannoulias' own resume issues — have dominated the high-profile race to fill the seat once held by President Barack Obama.

Kirk's campaign tried to even the score by pointing out Giannoulias had stated on a campaign Web site resume that he was a director of a little-known banking association when, in fact, he sat on a committee for the group. The shot also was an attempt by Kirk to remind voters of the biggest political baggage for state Treasurer Giannoulias, whose family-owned Broadway Bank was taken over by federal regulators and once made $20 million in loans to a pair of convicted felons.

The Giannoulias campaign admitted the error and changed the Web site. "It doesn't rise to the same level of what Kirk did," Giannoulias spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.

Kirk has been hammered by Democrats after acknowledging he misstated his Navy record, including that he served in the Gulf War, that he once commanded the Pentagon war room and that he came under fire while flying intelligence missions over Iraq.

Last week, he was hit again after publication of a Defense Department document that suggested he had engaged in "partisan political activities" during his last two tours of duty.

The wording was part of a waiver written last year that Kirk needed in order to serve in Afghanistan. Politicians — particularly members of Congress — are not allowed to serve in imminent danger areas unless the Department of Defense specifically allows it.

Kirk insisted he never conducted any political activities while he was in Afghanistan. "Congressman Kirk never violated Defense Department policies," his campaign said in a statement. "The memorandum in question is simply off the mark."

Asked to explain the wording, a Defense Department spokeswoman said Friday the Pentagon was still examining the topic and couldn't comment.

Kirk's campaign also pointed to the congressman's fitness reports, in which supervisors praised his work in Afghanistan.

Illinois suffers new credit rating blow

Illinois suffers new credit rating blow
By Nicole Bullock in New York and Hal Weitzman in Chicago
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.
Published: June 12 2010 00:10 | Last updated: June 12 2010 00:10

Illinois’ unwillingness to tackle its budget woes prompted Fitch on Friday to become the second agency in a week to downgrade the cash-strapped state, which is likely to push up the state’s borrowing costs as it prepares to issue new debt.

Fitch lowered the rating on Illinois’ general obligation bonds from “A+” to “A” and assigned them a negative outlook, signalling it could downgrade the state further. The move came a week after Moody’s moved the state’s general obligation rating to A1 from Aa3. Standard & Poor’s rates Illinois “A+”.

“Something significant needs to happen on either side of the budget – either cutting spending or raising revenues,” said Karen Krop of Fitch. “Now they are relying on deficit borrowing.”

Ms Krop said Illinois has budgeted to raise more than $8bn with bonds in the current and next fiscal years. “There doesn’t seem to be an endgame,” she said.

Illinois’ budget situation is among the worst in the US. The state faces a $13bn budget deficit for the financial year that begins on July 1. More than $6bn of that is unpaid bills from the current year, which have prompted state prisons to let out inmates early, and the state to cut 20,000 teachers and staff.

Illinois’s legislature last month passed a budget bill, but the proposal is billions of dollars short and calls for outstanding payments to be delayed further.

The legislature has now gone into recess, leaving Pat Quinn, the state governor, to balance the budget.

Mr Quinn has proposed borrowing the $4bn needed to cover the pension contributions in order to avoid severe cuts, a plan that has passed the Illinois House but has stalled in the Senate, with Republicans refusing to approve it.

Yields on some Illinois bonds on Friday rose above those of California, the poster child for local financial problems. The state’s 10-year bonds were quoted at 4.20 per cent while California’s 10-year bonds were quoted at 3.95 per cent, according to one trading desk.

“The market is growing more careful about Illinois,” said Matt Fabian, managing director at Municipal Market Advisors. “Higher yields are one of the costs of a poorly balanced budget.”

This week, Cook County, which comprises the city of Chicago, had to boost the proposed yields on nearly $700m of bonds to entice investors, Mr Fabian said.

In the credit derivatives market, dealers bid up the cost of default protection on Illinois debt by 17bps to 283bp on Friday, according to Markit. That means it costs $283,000 a year to insure $10m of Illinois bonds for five years, compared with $290,000 for Californian bonds.

The Markit MCDX North America Index for municipal bonds this week rose about 200bp for the first time in nearly a year.

CDS for municipal bonds is a very small part of the overall market, which is dominated by trading in corporations and sovereigns.

Sales dip raises doubts on US recovery

Sales dip raises doubts on US recovery
By Alan Rappeport in New York
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010
Published: June 11 2010 14:08 | Last updated: June 11 2010 16:50

US retail sales recorded a surprise drop in May, breaking a seven-month stretch of solid increases and signalling that the US consumer remains stubbornly fragile.

Sales fell by 1.2 per cent last month, commerce department figures showed on Friday. That failed to meet economists’ expectations that they would continue climbing, as purchases were pulled back by a drop in demand for building materials and customers held off on buying new summer clothes.

Retail sales have been climbing steadily in the last year, increasing by 6.9 per cent from May 2009, as consumers reaped the benefits of surging equity markets and recovering home prices. Friday’s figures tarnished some of that, and the sharpest monthly decline since last September provoked some analysts to downgrade their economic outlooks.

“This data then certainly fits with a sub-par recovery with tentative evidence of some lost momentum into the spring,” said Alan Ruskin, strategist at RBS Securities, noting that weaker consumption could dent gross domestic product projections for the coming quarter.

The disappointing data rattled US markets, with investors already feeling anxious after last week’s tepid non-farm payrolls report showed that the US economy added just 41,000 private sector jobs last month.

Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, said that some of the recent strength in sales was due to consumers spending their tax rebates and from demand spurred by rebates for energy-efficient appliances.

“With these effects all now gone, the weaker underlying picture is revealed,” Mr Shepherdson said.

Building materials sales crumbled in May, falling by 9.3 per cent after strong rises during the prior two months that were fuelled by homeowners fixing up their houses in the wake of a harsh winter. Car sales, petrol purchases and buying at general merchandise and department stores were also thin last month.

But in spite of the monthly decline, there were some shades of optimism in Friday’s figures.

Electronics shops reported greater demand, and sales were up at sporting goods retailers and grocery stores. April’s results were also stronger than previously thought, with sales revised to show a rise of 0.6 per cent.

Some economists downplayed the May decline as the result of bad weather and a effect of a late Memorial Day holiday on shoppers.

Analysts pointed to optimism in a separate Reuters/University of Michigan survey, showing that consumer sentiment in June rose to its highest level in more than two years.

Businesses also continued to demonstrate confidence, according to the commerce department, boosting their April inventories to a 10-month high in anticipation that sales will stay strong.

“Looking forward, the growth in household labour income and the ongoing improvement in consumer sentiment should lend support to continued growth in real consumer spending,” said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase.

New York Times Editorial: BP’s Responsibility

New York Times Editorial: BP’s Responsibility
Copyright by The New York Times
Published: June 11, 2010

The Times reported on Friday that investors and politicians in Britain are increasingly upset at America’s criticisms of BP. This isn’t an issue of American pique or British patriotism. Americans are rightly angry at BP’s inability to stop a disastrous leak for which it was wholly unprepared and its failure to tell the truth about the extent of the damage.

United States government scientists did nothing to improve Americans’ mood this week when they doubled their estimate of the amount of oil flowing from BP’s out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico. The new range announced by a special panel is 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day. At that rate, the amount of oil fouling the gulf is approaching one Exxon Valdez spill a week.

One can sympathize with people who depend on BP and its large profits for part of their income. BP is also a major taxpayer in Britain, which is eager to reduce its huge government deficit. But what is at issue here is BP’s responsibility for a huge mistake and for the damage to, and possible destruction of, one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet — and the many thousands of livelihoods that go with it.

These are points President Obama can and should make when he meets with BP officials next week. The main point to stress, of course, is that BP must be in this for the long haul, that Americans expect it to meet its obligations under law and that it must honor its oft-repeated commitment to pay claims from individuals even if those claims exceed statutory limits.

The president might also point out that BP is not on Americans’ most-trusted-corporations list right now — partly because of its carelessness, partly because of its chief executive’s tin ear.

Many people are genuinely worried that BP will not have enough money on hand to pay for the cleanup and claims. To make sure that it does, some have suggested the Justice Department enjoin the company from paying its dividends. The company may soon find it prudent to do that on its own.

Although BP has about $11 billion in cash and investments on hand, its obligations in the gulf could exceed this cushion as well as anticipated profits. Credit Suisse has suggested that a total bill of $40 billion is not out of the question — even without a finding of gross negligence. That number is breathtaking. The destruction BP has wrought is even more so.

BP Directors to Discuss Suspension of Dividends

BP Directors to Discuss Suspension of Dividends
Copyright by The New York Times
Published: June 11, 2010

HOUSTON — BP said Friday that its board of directors would meet Monday to discuss whether to suspend the company’s dividend to pay spill-related claims.

BP executives continued to say they were financially capable of paying the dividend, which amounts to $10.5 billion a year. But they also acknowledged the political pressures building in Washington to set aside at least the next dividend payment while the amount of oil being released into the gulf is assessed and the growing federal fines linked to that amount can be estimated.

“There are ongoing discussions, there are lots of options on the table,” said Andrew Gowers, a BP spokesman. Among options being considered by board members, BP officials say, is suspending or cutting the dividend for a quarter, paying the dividend in shares of stock, or issuing an i.o.u. for delayed payment.

The BP board will discuss a strategy for a meeting between top company executives and President Obama on Wednesday. No decision is expected until then. By that time, the company hopes its containment efforts will be gathering most of the oil spilling into the gulf. Such progress could relieve some political pressure as well. Political controversy boiled on many fronts Friday as Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida sent a letter to BP demanding that it put at least $2.5 billion into a dedicated escrow account to cover spill-related losses to the state and its residents. Mexico’s environment minister told Reuters that Mexico was considering how to sue BP for environmental damage if oil reaches the country’s shores.

BP’s efforts to contain the spill were the subject of debate at hearings in Washington on Friday. Robert J. Barham, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told a House of Representatives subcommittee that chemical dispersants used underwater may be more environmentally damaging than the oil.

“As bad as it is, we have a whole lot more experience dealing with oil on the surface than we do in subsea, where we have literally no experience,” Mr. Barham said.

He said that despite repeated requests to BP and to the manufacturer of the dispersant, they have not received information on the percentages of the components of the chemical, Corexit.

John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, told the committee that the shrimping industry was angry over the continued use of the dispersants without proper knowledge of how the chemicals could affect seafood.

Jackie Calmes contributed reporting from Washington.

A Tourist Mecca Fears a Long-Term Oil Smear

A Tourist Mecca Fears a Long-Term Oil Smear
Copyright by The New York Times
Published: June 11, 2010

GRAND ISLE, La. — They are not selling many fried Snickers bars à la mode these days at the Kickin Chicken restaurant here, located by a wide, sandy beach that is now off limits to swimmers because of the oil spill. So its owners are going after different customers, with the help of a roadside sign: “Disaster Catering Available! Let’s Talk.”

Grand Isle, a normally picturesque seven-mile stretch of barrier beach off the Louisiana coast, is slowly waking up to a grim reality: the impact of the April 20 spill will not be measured in months, even if BP manages by fall to plug the well that is gushing oil 50 miles off the coast.

It is likely to be measured in years of oil-streaked beaches and marshes, of plummeting property values in a maritime community suddenly cut off from the water, of teams of hazmat-suited workers on beaches lined with orange booms, and cleanup crews in tourist motels.

“It’s shifted from a beautiful tropical paradise with people running around in bathing suits with rods and reels, having fun, to feeling more like a coastal town near a military base,” lamented Linda Magri, a real estate broker who rents summer homes and camps on the island. “We’ve got National Guard trucks running up and down.”

Like many islanders, Patrick Shay can hardly bear to look at the beach in its current condition. He has transformed his family’s front yard into a memorial for all the rites of summer that have been lost to the oil spill.

Mr. Shay planted 101 white crosses on his lawn, making it look like a national cemetery, and each cross is labeled for a loss: Brown Pelican. The Beach. Fishing. Riding My Golf Cart. Playing Board Games.

“This is our new way of life,” said Mr. Shay, 43, who has a seafood business near New Orleans and comes to his beach cottage here often with his wife and son.

Grand Isle has undergone huge transformations before. Over the last 300 years it has been home to pirates and smugglers, sugar plantations and several grand hotels that were wiped out by the hurricane of 1893. It was the setting of Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel, “The Awakening.” Now most islanders make their living from fishing, tourism, or the oil industry, which have all been imperiled by the oil spill.

More recently it had to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina. Some people here are wondering aloud if the spill is worse.

“A hurricane comes in one night, wipes you out, and you know you’re dealing with mud and water, and material things,” said Mayor David J. Camardelle. “When you’re dealing with material things, on land, in just a little time everything gets better. You see progress. But this oil, it’s like a monster in the Gulf of Mexico. It comes up on the beach, you get rid of it, and you pray the next morning it won’t come back.”

Oil first hit the shore just before Memorial Day, shutting beaches just when an influx of tourists was expected to triple the population of this small island, which has about 1,200 year-round residents. Since then, President Obama has visited twice. Now the mayor is hoping to block the oil from entering the delicate bay behind the island with barges and rocks. Many here pray it works.

Expensive flood insurance bills are due for many residents this month. At least one home was put up for sale because of the spill, a broker said, but it was unclear if anyone would buy it now.

The oil has cost the island another cherished tradition. The Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, a fishing tournament that packs an estimated 20,000 visitors onto the small island at the end of each July, was canceled.

Frank Besson, 61, a native of Grand Isle who runs a daiquiri stand and souvenir shop, said he had missed the rodeo only once, when he was stationed in Vietnam.

“It was the saddest day,” Mr. Besson said.

Fishermen book their rooms for the rodeo a year in advance at the Sand Dollar Motel and Marina. When the rodeo was scrapped, the cancellations poured in, so Butch Gaspard, its owner, rented the whole place to BP and some of the contractors the company hired for the clean-up for the foreseeable future. But his marina is empty.

The contractors staying at Ricky’s Motel and RV Sites have been telling Joe Lamothe, the manager, that they would be likely to need their rooms for at least a year.

But Mr. Lamothe took out a calculator to show that the motel will still be earning less than it would in a normal season. He is renting rooms to the contractors for $800 a month, which nets him less than half of what he would collect if they were going at their usual rate of $65 a day.

But even that kind of shortfall looks good to other local businessmen. Wesley Bland, 33, a builder who advertises all over the island with slogans like “Got Roof?” said that business fell off so abruptly that he had to let several workers go.

Kickin Chicken sold only two of the 12 cases of chicken it bought for Memorial Day. The restaurants here are being hit especially hard: BP has been using off-island caterers to feed the workers, so they do not have much reason to venture to local restaurants.

And there have been tensions between islanders and the cleanup workers, who are bused in from elsewhere. Most of the islanders are white; many of the workers are black. Mayor Camardelle said that he ran one contractor off the island for denigrating its residents.

Many houses on Grand Isle rest on tall pilings, to protect them from floods. The shade beneath them is a popular spot for escaping the blistering sun.

Sitting under the house he built, Curtis Vizier, 78, who came to the island from an isolated bayou as an infant, showed off some of the huge oyster shells he collected in the bay as a young man, and the ladder he built into a towering oak tree so he could climb up with binoculars to make sure his oyster beds were safe from poachers.

The spill will be adding some unpleasant memories to Mr. Vizier’s later years.

“The oil ruined everything,” he said. “It will be for years to come.”

Tom Zeller Jr. contributed reporting.

Spirit Strike Could Delay Thousands

Spirit Strike Could Delay Thousands
Published: June 12, 2010

A strike by Spirit Airlines pilots Saturday threatened to disrupt thousands of vacationers headed to the Caribbean and Latin America from the eastern U.S.

The Florida-based carrier canceled all its flights for the day after its pilots walked out in a dispute over pay. Spirit is the largest single carrier at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airport, and its tickets aren't good on other carriers.

Spirit runs roughly 150 flights a day from several airports in the eastern U.S. through Fort Lauderdale. More than 5,000 passengers arrive and depart on Spirit at the airport each day, an airport spokesman said.

The airline said it was refunding fares for Saturday flights plus a $100 credit toward future flights. As recently as Tuesday it had said it was ''partnering with other air carrier providers to continue to serve our customers.'' It didn't immediately announce plans for its Sunday flights.

''As you can imagine, it's probably going to be a very busy day,'' said Greg Meyer, a spokesman for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Spirit pilots have said their pay lags competitors such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue. The two sides have been in negotiations for more than three years.

Pilots could have walked out as early as midnight Friday, but kept talking under the guidance of the National Mediation Board in Washington until about 5 a.m. EDT.

''In the end, both sides could not reach an agreement,'' said Sean Creed, a Spirit captain and the head of the airline's branch of the Air Line Pilots Association, in a statement on the union's website.

He said pilots ''will not return to the cockpit until a fair and equitable contract is negotiated.''

The company said it offered to raise pilot pay by 30 percent over five years. It would have included work rule changes but would have retained a four-day break between every pilot trip, something the company said no other ALPA contract has. The offer also included a $3,000 signing bonus and a larger retirement plan match.

''We are frustrated and disappointed that our pilots have turned down an over 30 percent increase at a cost of over $70 million over five years while disrupting thousands of our customers and jeopardizing the livelihoods of our over 2,000 employees,'' Spirit President and CEO Ben Baldanza said in a written statement.

Privately held Spirit is much smaller than major carriers like Delta Air Lines Inc. But from Fort Lauderdale it's the only airline to 14 international cities and five U.S. destinations, Meyer said. That means travelers trying to reach those cities could be stuck.

The Miramar, Fla.-based airline has about 440 active pilots. It dubs itself an ultra low-cost carrier, and says some of its tickets go for $9. It attracted notice recently when it announced that beginning Aug. 1 it would charge passengers up to $45 for carry-on bags.

Air carrier strikes are rare. The last one at a major carrier was in 2005, when Northwest Airlines mechanics walked off the job rather than accept deep pay cuts. The strike failed after Northwest replaced them.

Hawaii Gov Consults With Rabbis on Civil Unions

Hawaii Gov Consults With Rabbis on Civil Unions
Published: June 12, 2010

HONOLULU (AP) -- Rabbis Itchel Krasnjansky and Peter Schaktman hail from different branches of Judaism and hold starkly contrasting views on whether same-sex couples should be permitted to form civil unions in Hawaii.

What they have in common is the ear of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who has until June 21 to announce whether she may veto the only pending civil unions legislation in the nation.

Lingle, in the final months of her second and last term, faces a momentous decision that carries political and legal implications. For the rabbis, with whom the governor has consulted on the issue, her choice is about much more.

Krasnjansky, who heads the Orthodox community group Chabad of Hawaii, said the Torah teaches that homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage, ''is not something that should be condoned or should be legalized,'' he said.

But Schaktman, who leads the Reform Temple Emanu-El, insists Judaism teaches that all people regardless of sexual orientation are and should be treated as ''children of God,'' and thus should not face discrimination.

''Civil unions are a legal arrangement,'' he said. ''Therefore, anyone who uses religion to oppose civil unions is purely using religion to further homophobia.''

Lingle is Jewish, but has rarely -- if ever -- publicly discussed her faith in considering an issue. Lingle's office did not respond to phone or e-mail questions about her religious affiliation.

The debate between Krasnjansky and Schaktman mirrors that of Hawaii's Christians. Catholic, evangelical and conservative pastors have waged a months-long effort to prod the Legislature and now Lingle to block the measure, HB 444. Mainline Protestant and more liberal preachers have worked to get the bill signed.

The bill would allow gay and straight couples to establish government-recognized relationships with the same legal rights and responsibilities as married couples.

Civil unions and same-sex marriage have roiled Hawaii since the 1990s, generating some of the largest rallies at the state Capitol.

The state Supreme Court in 1993 ruled that the state could not discriminate against gay couples who wanted to marry. Five years later, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to ban same-sex marriages, which it did soon after.

Proposals to permit civil unions never gained much traction. But in January, the state Senate passed a bill that had stalled last year. It stalled again in the House, but on April 30, the final day of the legislative session, the House revived, passed and sent the measure to Lingle.

The governor met with both sides before leaving June 4 for a two-week trip to Asia. She is due back June 19, and by June 21, she is requred by law to identify the bills still on her desk that she might veto. By July 6, she must sign or veto those measures, or allow them to become law without her signature.

Earlier this month, she described how divided Hawaii and its small Jewish community are on the issue, citing as an example the two rabbis she knows personally.

In interviews, Schaktman and Krasnjansky said they got little sense which way the governor was leaning during several conversations with her in recent months.

Krasnjansky said he addressed religion with Lingle, whom he describes as a personal friend. He contends that the Torah, in the Book of Leviticus, clearly deems homosexuality a sin. ''The question is, whether the Torah's teachings are eternal and binding, or not,'' he said.

He also worries that civil unions will legitimize homosexuality in the eyes of young people, and steer them away from heterosexual relationships that have formed the bedrock of Jewish survival for centuries.

If people are drawn to civil unions, he said, ''then they wouldn't recognize the blessings of marriage, of family.''

''The governor is very interested in her Jewish heritage and...the traditions and the teaching of Judaism,'' Krasnjansky added. ''I tried to share with her my understanding of the Jewish view on this matter.''

That kind of talk rankles Schaktman, who said no one branch of Judaism can claim ownership of Jewish teachings.

Lingle's suggestion that the Jewish community is torn over HB 444 also troubled Schaktman.

''I think it was misleading for her to imply that there's split in the Jewish community,'' he said. ''It's fair to say the majority are in favor of it.''

Schaktman, who noted that Lingle attends Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at his temple, said he shied from using his view of Judaism's teachings to advocate for civil unions.

Rather, he stressed that civil unions would not impact any religion, nor would it validate homosexuality.

It is up to Krasnjansky and like-minded religious leaders to oppose homosexuality, Schaktman contended. ''That's not Gov. Lingle's job, and they have no right to expect her or the state to promulgate their morality,'' he added.

In his last conversation with the governor, Schaktman said he encouraged her ''to not do necessarily the expedient thing (but) to really search her conscience to do what is right.''

Search Continues After Fatal Flooding in Arkansas

Search Continues After Fatal Flooding in Arkansas
Copyright by The New York Times
Published: June 12, 2010

LODI, Ark. — Rescue workers on Saturday resumed their search for survivors of a flash flood that raged through campgrounds in western Arkansas late Thursday night and killed at least 17 people while leaving dozens more missing. The toll rose Saturday morning when a body was discovered close to the campsite.More than 36 hours after the flood, the families of the missing gathered at a church in Lodi miles from the campgrounds — frantic, grieving and waiting for news from the rescue workers.

“There are searchers on foot, by boat and air, and they’re combing the same area as yesterday, as many as 15 miles of river have been covered,” Bill Sadler, public information officer for the Arkansas State Police, said in a telephone interview on Saturday morning. He confirmed that the body of the 17th victim was located at 8:45 a.m. local time at a store not far from the campground.

“The Arkansas State Police will continue to put all the necessary resources that we have into this area and search every inch of that waterway along the banks of the Little Missouri River until everyone is satisfied that those who are missing are accounted for,” Mr. Sadler said.

Rescue workers do not have an accurate count of how many people might be missing, but about 300 people might have been camping along the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers when the waters surged by 20 feet late Thursday into Friday morning, during a rainstorm, according to Red Cross and state emergency officials.

In pitch darkness, terrified families tried to outrace the churning, swiftly rising water, some fleeing up hillsides as tents vanished, recreational vehicles flipped over into the current and rental cabins were demolished.

The Arkansas Office of Emergency Management set up a call center, and by Saturday morning it had received about 122 calls from worried relatives, said Chad Stover, a public affairs officer of emergency agency.

“We’ve gotten calls from as far away as Texas and Canada who think their families might have been camping there,” Mr. Stover said on Saturday morning. Bob Lewis, the fire chief of Langley, Ark., said that his crews rescued 144 people on Friday. He added that if half of the campground had not been under construction, the toll might have been even worse.

Those who managed to survive gave harrowing accounts of their ordeals. Kayla Chriss, 22, of Vivian, La., and her family had been camping in the area since Monday. “Without warning everything started washing away,” she said.

Around 2:30 a.m., Ms. Chriss, her 3-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and a family of four tried to make it for high ground in a camper, but were blocked by surging water. They briefly made it onto a nearby branch, and the other family’s father — “I only know his name is Jerry,” she said — grabbed her little girl and lifted her onto a tree.

The waters then pummeled Ms. Chriss and her son into the river. She said she started to black out when her hair got caught on a jutting limb, rousing her so she could pull herself and her son onto branches where they waited, wet and scared, until daylight.

“I was just singing to my son, telling him everything is going to be O.K.,” she said Friday evening, shortly after being discharged from a hospital with only minor sprains; her son had a black eye.“I was just trying to find a way to keep him out of the water. If it wasn’t for him being there, I wouldn’t have made it. He kept me going.”

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning around 2 a.m., after the heaviest rains had started, according to The Associated Press. By then, the disaster was already unfolding, and in any case, state officials said, the terrain and lack of cellphone service in the valleys made communications difficult.

As the rivers began to recede on Friday, National Guard helicopters and hundreds of state and local officials worked frantically to search for survivors in the rugged valleys, some of them scouring the swollen rivers by canoe or kayak. Complicating rescue operations, roads in the valleys were washed out or blocked by landslides.

At first, many campers, including vacationers from Texas and Louisiana, had tried to sleep through the torrential rains. But as the rivers suddenly swelled — at one point by four feet in 30 minutes — many tried to run for higher ground.

One survivor, Chad Banks of Texarkana, said his family had tried to escape in their truck but had to abandon it to the torrent. The truck was lifted “like a leaf floating across the top of the water,” he said, and the powerful current tore off the front tires.

They survived, he told Arkansas Online, by lashing themselves to trees on a hillside until dawn.

State officials said they could not recall so destructive a flash flood in recent Arkansas history.

Rains that began at sunset on Thursday saturated the ground before the heaviest downpours arrived between 12:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday, said Chris Buonanno, a science and operations officer with the weather service’s Little Rock office.

The rain ran off into the Little Missouri River in Montgomery and Pike Counties so quickly that the river west of Caddo Gap rose more than 20 feet overnight, from 3 feet to 23.5 feet.

In the rocky terrain of the region, “it doesn’t take much to get up high like that,” said Tabitha Clarke, a weather service hydrologist at the office.

Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas toured the area and visited with survivors and the families of victims on Friday. “I’ve seen flooding before, but I’ve never seen water do this kind of damage,” Governor Beebe said.

Bodies recovered from the flood zone were being taken to Mena, a town in western Arkansas that was damaged by a tornado in April 2009, said Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the state police.

Anxious relatives of missing vacationers gathered in nearby towns as officials set up a center for them in Lodi. Rescuers said they expected to find more bodies as the waters receded.

As the flood tore through the area, it barreled into Cattlemens Trail Stop, a convenience store and gas station on the Caddo River. Tim Bean, the owner, who lives in Glenwood, said his employees saw the water coming and fled the shop as quickly as they could. Everyone escaped uninjured, but the store was deluged, and on Friday evening it remained soaked by several feet of muddy water. Mr. Bean said it would be a week before he opened again. He said he had never seen anything like it.

“There’s a lot of mountainous terrain around here,” he said, “and there’s no place for all that water to go.”

Liz Robbins and Erik Eckholm reported from New York. Evin Demirel reported from Lodi, Ark. and John Eligon contributed reporting from Lodi.

Kyrgyzstan Seeks Russian Help to Quell Unrest

Kyrgyzstan Seeks Russian Help to Quell Unrest
Copyright by Reuters
Published: June 12, 2010

MOSCOW — As violence spiraled out of control in a third day of clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan on Saturday, the Kyrgyz provisional government asked Russia to send in troops.

With the death toll in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city, reaching 69 and a state of emergency extending to a second city, the government acknowledged its efforts to end the violence had been fruitless.

“The situation in the Osh region has spun out of control,” said Kyrgyzstan’s acting president, Roza Otunbayeva. “Attempts to establish a dialogue have failed, and fighting and rampages are continuing. We need outside forces to quell confrontation.”

But Russia, which has a small military base in the north and has been a political patron of this former Soviet republic, said only that it would consider the request.

A spokeswoman for President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia said that no decision would be made until at least Monday, when Russia is to hold consultations with other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional security alliance of former Soviet republics.

“A decision about deploying peacekeeping forces to Kyrgyzstan can only be made collectively with all members of the C.S.T.O.,” the spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said Saturday evening. She also said that Russia was continuing to ship humanitarian assistance, including medicine, to Kyrgyzstan.

On Saturday, heavily armed gangs continued to battle on the streets of Osh, burning and looting as they rampaged through the city.

“It was raining ash the whole afternoon, big pieces of black and while ash,” said Andrea Berg, a Human Rights Watch employee holed up her apartment in the city. “The city is just burning. It’s totally out of control.”

The rioters at one point commandeered two armored personnel carriers from troops stationed in the city, said Timur Sharshenaliyev, a spokesman for the government there. Soldiers were able to take only one back.

Yelena K. Bayalinova, a spokeswoman for the Kyrgyz Health Ministry, said that in addition to the killings, nearly 1,000 people had been wounded. Most victims suffered gunshot wounds, she said.

Meanwhile the violence spread to a second city, Jalalabad, where the government declared a state of emergency on Saturday. At least six people have died in clashes there and dozens more have been wounded, Ms. Bayalinova said.

It remained unclear what started the violence, which threatens to undermine the already fragile provisional government, which took power in April after rioting deposed the country’s president. The interim government has never fully established control in part of the south, where supporters of the ousted president, Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev, have frequently clashed with those loyal to the new government.

Those clashes have reopened a historic ethnic fault line in the region, with gangs of heavily armed Kyrgyz youths clashing with members of the region’s sizeable Uzbek minority. Much of Mr. Bakiyev’s base in the region, his ancestral home, is Kyrgyz, while many Uzbeks support the new government.

Mr. Sharshenaliyev, the government spokesman in Osh, said the military had opened a corridor to allow Uzbek women, children and the elderly to escape across the border, though he said he did not know whether Uzbekistan was prepared to receive them. The Associated Press reported that several children were killed in a stampede at one border crossing.

The government has deployed troops, armored personnel carriers and helicopters, but it has been unable to quell the fighting.

“The day before yesterday we needed special forces to simply disperse the rioters, and as of yesterday the situation had gone over the edge,” Ms. Otunbayeva, the acting president, said Saturday.

Russia and the United States have in recent years been jockeying for influence in Kyrgyzstan, and deploying soldiers there could help solidify Russia’s foothold. The United States has an important military base on the outskirts of the capital, Bishkek, which is used to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Russia, which has a smaller base in Kant, has frequently chafed at the American military presence in what it considers its sphere of influence.

Russia appeared to support the protest movement that led to Mr. Bakiyev’s ouster, and it has sought closer relations with Kyrgyzstan’s new authorities. It was one of the first countries to reach out to the provisional government, and it has offered millions of dollars in aid. Provisional officials frequently travel to Moscow for talks with high-ranking Russians, including Mr. Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin.

Under Mr. Bakiyev, the Kyrgyz government appeared to favor the United States. Mr. Bakiyev incensed the Kremlin when he apparently reneged on an agreement to close the American base in exchange for more Russian aid.

The provisional government took control after riots on April 7 forced Mr. Bakiyev from power. In those riots more than 80 people were killed when the police and presidential guards opened fire on demonstrators, who had gathered in Bishkek to protest government corruption and rising utility prices, among other things.

The new government, though unelected and made up of an uneasy alliance of political forces, quickly established control over the capital and the north of the country, but not in the south, Mr. Bakiyev’s stronghold.

The south of Kyrgyzstan is part of the Ferghana Valley, a fertile strip of land that has a long history of interethnic strife and that also includes parts of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Similar violence between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Osh in 1990 left hundreds dead and only abated when the Soviet government sent in troops

Open letter to Senate candidate Mark Kirk.

Dear Congressman:

I find it offensive that Republican Andy Martin claimed you are a homosexual in a radio ad or that Mike Rogers—who has a reputation for outing politicians—is claiming that you are a closeted gay man. I am a gay man and I get offended because there is nothing wrong with being gay. As a a matter of fact I’m very proud of it!

However, a “single, good looking 50 year old man” is no longer called a “bachelor” in our society. When you voted against repealing don’t ask don’t tell policy in congress, you hurt the gay and lesbian community. And as such, the gay and lesbian community has the “right and duty” to ask if you are gay.

If openly gay Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jacob Meister criticizes me for the question, that’s fine by me; but based on your recent lies about your military career, I an starting to think that you’ll say and do anything to get elected.

Where’s your strong support for a woman’s right to choose? Gone in this election. As a fifth-term congressman who is running for U.S. Senate, you received an 85% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest Gay and Lesbian organization in the US, in part for your support of hate-crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. However, now that you are running for the Senate, you lost the group's endorsement for the race to fill the seat to be vacated by Roland Burris, after the DADT vote last week.

Mr. Kirk, before this election in November, voters have a right to know the truth about you!

Dr. Carlos T Mock is a native Puerto Rican who resides in Chicago, IL. He has published four books and is the GLBT Editor for Floricanto Press in Berkley, CA. He contributes columns regularly to Windy City Times in Chicago, Ambiente Magazine in Miami, Camp Newspaper in Kansas City. He's had several OP-Ed published at the Chicago Tribune. Inducted in the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame October 18th, 2007

Carlos T Mock, MD
Uptown Chicago
June 10, 2010

Who’s Alvin Greene? State Asks After Vote

Who’s Alvin Greene? State Asks After Vote
Copyright by The Associated Press
Published: June 11, 2010

WASHINGTON — For a few hours this week, it looked as if South Carolina might ditch its never-fail reputation for political scandal in favor of a genuine history-making event.

There was Nikki Haley, a lawmaker of Indian descent, beaming on election night with her husband and children after taking a major step toward becoming the first female governor of the state. It was a feel-good image to obscure the stain of a campaign marked by ethnic slurs, accusations of marital infidelity and yet more national marveling over how a single state can produce a string of political embarrassments as long as the Appalachian Trail.

But then, the television cameras started rolling on Alvin Greene’s overgrown lawn.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty nonstop for a few days,” said Mr. Greene, 32, in a phone interview Friday.

Because everyone wants to know how Mr. Greene, an unemployed Army veteran who had been completely unknown until Tuesday, inexplicably defeated a heavily favored former legislator and judge to become the state’s Democratic nominee for the Senate — and the state’s latest political circus act.

Mr. Greene had just a few peaceful hours to savor his victory in the tiny, ramshackle home he shares with his elderly father along a quiet highway in Manning, where he has been bunkered since election night. Then, The Associated Press reported that Mr. Greene was arrested in November and is facing a felony obscenity charge; he is accused of showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student. He had been discharged “involuntarily” from the Army and showed no signs of having waged an actual campaign in recent months — no advertising, no staff, no money.

Mr. Greene, who declined to comment on the obscenity charge, would not say how he came up with the $10,440 to register his candidacy. Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina and the House majority whip, suggested that Mr. Greene was a “Republican plant” and that the circumstance reeked of the “shenanigans” that have become the state’s trademark.

“We have embarrassment fatigue here,” said Dick Harpootlian, the former Democratic chairman of the state. “If there is an embarrassment equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder, South Carolina has it.”

Even casual observers across the country can recite the recent litany of Palmetto State political antics. The Republican donnybrook between John McCain and George W. Bush in 2000 left more scars than any presidential primary campaign in recent memory. Gov. Mark Sanford’s public swoon over an Argentinean mistress — an affair he carried on while claiming to have been hiking the Appalachian Trail — remains a spigot of late-night punch lines (while Mr. Sanford remains the state’s governor).

The Republican primary campaign to succeed Mr. Sanford featured two operatives claiming to have had extramarital affairs with Ms. Haley (who strenuously denied the accusations) as well as a Republican state senator dismissing her with an ethnic slur.

Now comes Mr. Greene, adding Democratic balance to the state’s Republican-dominated scandal sheets of recent vintage. Mr. Clyburn immediately called for someone to investigate Mr. Greene’s candidacy — who paid for the campaign, who was behind it, how did he ever win?

Mr. Harpootlian, a former district attorney, wants to know why Mr. Greene had not filed any papers with the Federal Election Commission, and Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman from South Carolina, said he suspected that someone tampered with the voting machines.

“There is something genuinely mysterious about this whole thing,” said Mr. Fowler, whose wife, Carol, the current chairwoman of the state’s Democratic Party, has called for Mr. Greene to step aside.

Mr. Greene said he had no intention of doing so. He said the whole gambit has been his idea, that he paid the entry fee and that his was — and remains — “a self-managed campaign.” He said he would challenge his Republican opponent, Senator Jim DeMint, to a debate in September. “It will be one hour. Live. On a major network,” he proposed.

Mr. Greene said he was determined to go through with this, which would seem to belie the somewhat shell-shocked demeanor he has projected in several interviews over the last 72 hours. “Can I end this?” Mr. Greene asked in the middle of a brief interview with a local television station in front of his house Wednesday. It might as well be his campaign’s official motto, or wish, at least as far as leading Democrats are concerned.

“Sad,” Mr. Clyburn said, referring to the spectacle that Mr. Greene has become on the cable and YouTube circuits.

Even in Manning, a town of 4,000 where everybody knows everybody, nobody seems to know Alvin Greene. “He just all of a sudden shows up and — boom!” said L. G. Mathis, 61, the owner of L. G.’s Cut and Style, a barber shop downtown.

It is another embarrassment for South Carolina, said Carl F. Jackson Jr, a graphic designer at a local newspaper, The Clarendon Citizen. “Anybody who got beyond eighth grade is a little astounded by this,” Mr. Jackson said, adding his own theory of how Mr. Greene had won. “Maybe voters thought it was the singer, Al Green.”

When asked in a phone interview Friday whether he was having “fun,” Mr. Greene quickly answered yes, before asking for clarification.

“What do you mean by fun?”

Without waiting for an answer, Mr. Greene said he was not interested in “fun,” or signing autographs (which he has yet to do) or indulging any of the trappings of his unlikely celebrity. He is interested in sticking to the issues that are important — jobs, education, justice — and to conveying why he is “the best candidate for the United States Senate in South Carolina.”

Before elaborating on why he was, Mr. Greene excused himself, saying that he had to finish another interview.

Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Manning, S.C.

Across Iran, Anger Lies Behind Face of Calm

Across Iran, Anger Lies Behind Face of Calm
Copyright by The Associated Press
Published: June 11, 2010

TEHRAN — One year after Iran’s disputed presidential election, the familiar rhythms of life have returned here. Through a widespread, sustained and at times brutal crackdown, the government has succeeded in suppressing a protest movement that shook the nation for months after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the opposition said was fraudulent.

But the veneer of calm masks what many here call the “fire under the ashes,” a low-grade burn of cynicism and distrust. The major demonstrations and protests are gone, but the hard feelings remain, coursing through the routine of daily life: A young woman who worked for years as a volunteer in a children’s hospital said that she now saw her volunteerism as a “tool of resistance” because it highlighted a failure of the government to provide adequate care.

The son of a prominent official told a friend he would no longer accept money from his father because the father worked for the government, which the son considered corrupt.

A medical school professor recently picked up a green marker to write notes on a white board for his students, and then with a smile chose another color, saying he might otherwise be arrested for using green, the color of the political opposition.

“Maybe on the surface it seems like everything is over, but everyone is keeping the fire under the ashes alive so that when they get the chance they can bring it out into the open again,” said a 30-year-old language instructor who, like most people interviewed in Iran for this article, requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by the state.

Iran has changed since the political crisis of June 12, 2009.

In scores of interviews conducted over the past several months with Iranians from all strata of society, inside and outside the country, a clear picture emerged of a more politically aware public, with widened divisions between the middle class and the poor and — for the first time in the Islamic republic’s three-decade history — a determined core of dissenters who were opposed to the republic itself.

The political grievances have merged with more pragmatic concerns, like high unemployment and double-digit inflation, adding to the discontent.

“I was on the bus the other day and there was a man, you would not believe the kind of information he had,” said a 59-year-old who works for the government. “He started to talk about the foreign currency reserves of different countries and began to criticize the government.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad and his patron, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are stronger today than they were a year ago, political experts say, although their base of support has narrowed.

They are relying heavily on force and intimidation, arrests, prison terms, censorship, even execution, to maintain authority. They have closed newspapers, banned political parties and effectively silenced all but the most like-minded people. Thousands of their opponents have fled the country, fearing imprisonment.

As a formal political organization, the reform movement is dead.

The leaders of the so-called Green Movement — the former presidential candidates Mir Hussein Moussavi, a former prime minister, and Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of Parliament — have not dropped their demands for more political freedom. But they have dropped their policy of direct confrontation with the government, saying it is not worth the price in blood and heavy prison terms, and canceled demonstrations planned for Saturday after failing to receive a permit.

The security services made clear in the days leading to the anniversary that anyone taking to the streets would be dealt with harshly. On Friday, people in Tehran reported receiving a threatening text message on their cellphones.

“Dear citizen, you have been tricked by the foreign media and you are working on their behalf,” the message read. “If you do this again, you will be dealt with according to Islamic law."

A day earlier, the police staged a major show of force, with black-clad police officers riding around on motorcycles and uniformed officers lining the streets and setting up roadblocks.

The crisis accelerated and institutionalized a transfer of power that began with the first election of Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2005. The shift was from the old revolutionaries to a generation that came of age during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, hard-liners who deeply resented the relatively liberal reforms promoted by former President Mohammad Khatami.

The vanguard of the new political elite is now the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which oversees Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and has extended its control over the economy and the machinery of state. It has improved its ability to control the street, to monitor electronic communications and keep tabs on university campuses, and its alumni head the government’s security organs.

Its leaders have promised to deal harshly with the opposition, and since February — when they suppressed protests scheduled for the 31st anniversary of the Islamic republic — their warnings have been heeded.

“The people are more aware than before, but they stay quiet on fear of death,” said an 80-year-old woman as she sat in her kitchen frying onions for a rice dish. “They have killed so many of the young and the well intentioned. Even the shah did not kill like this. They rule the people at the tip of a spear, but the people don’t want them anymore.”

The fear is spread from the top down — and the bottom up.

In recent weeks, the leadership has waged a widespread public morals crackdown which in the scope and tactics exceed what has occurred in the past. It was seen here as an effort to sow fear in advance of the June 12 anniversary of the presidential election.

The authorities have begun filming women they deem insufficiently covered to use as evidence in court. The police have begun issuing fines that some people say exceed $1,000 for beauty treatments deemed inappropriate, like heavily tanned skin. Provocatively dressed women are stationed on street corners, and men who stop to flirt are arrested.

“The opinion of the people with respect to their government was bad, and now they are making it worse,” said a 25-year-old hairdresser.

While many people are disappointed, others say the year of pain and sacrifice is paying off. “People have absolutely gained something, a certain degree of individual independence,” said a 20-year-old medical student. “They began to decide for themselves that they would go out to protest, to follow the news. This is something that has happened for everybody. In different areas of their lives they are losing patience and are not likely to say anymore that they will put up with things.”

Will Yong reported from Tehran, and Michael Slackman from Cairo.