Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Pooped?

Brought to you by the Minnesota Zoo, a new exhibit examining animals' poop is rolled out with an entertaining website: www.WHOPOOPED.org.

The summer educational exhibit runs through September 7, 2008. Visit the website for a "teaser" quiz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Harvard to Endow Chair in LGBT Studies

From the New York Times:

Harvard University will endow a visiting professorship in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies, a position that, it believes, will be the first endowed, named chair in the subject at an American college.

The visiting professorship was made possible by a gift of $1.5 million from the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, which will formally announce it at a dinner on Thursday, after Harvard’s commencement exercises. With the gift, Harvard said it would regularly invite “eminent scholars studying issues related to sexuality or sexual minorities” to teach on campus for one semester, according to a draft of a university press release.

The chair is being named for F.O. Matthiessen , a Harvard scholar and literary critic who “stands out as an unusual example of a gay man who lived his sexuality as an ‘open secret’ in the mid-twentieth century,” according to the release.

Full Story

Funeral Home Scandal

From AP:

Authorities revoked the licenses of a South Carolina funeral home and its director after he admitted one of his employees cut the legs of a 6-foot-7 man without the family's permission so the corpse would fit in a casket.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

15 Bean Soup

For the past seven months I have been trying to convince people on POGO (www.pogo.com) and some friends that 15 bean soup exists.

The bean mixture comes in three flavours, as far as I know: Original (ham flavor), Chicken, and Cajun.

I have been enjoying this bean mixture with the added bonus of veggies from my garden, that with harvesting the last of the shallots, has come to an end.

Currently, I have beans soaking, a ham hock thawing and the last of the shallots cleaned and ready (see photo below) to make this hearty soup in my slow cooker.

For all the sceptics out there, go to your grocery store's bean or soup aisle. The bag I have pictured was purchased by my cousin in Virginia and was included in a recent "care package." She has seen the original and Cajun flavours. I have purchased and used the Chicken flavour here in South Florida.

Monday, June 1, 2009

GM joins Chrysler in Chapter 11;
International Partnerships Form

General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the morning as part of the Obama administration's plan to shrink the automaker to a sustainable size and give a majority ownership stake to the federal government.

GM's bankruptcy filing is the fourth-largest in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company. The company said it has $172.81 billion in debt and $82.29 billion in assets.

As it reorganizes, the fallen icon of American industrial will rely on $30 billion of additional financial assistance from the Treasury Department and $9.5 billion from Canada. That's on top of about $20 billion in taxpayer money GM already has received in the form of low-interest loans.

GM will follow a similar course taken by smaller rival Chrysler LLC, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in April. A judge gave Chrysler approval to sell most of its assets to Italy's Fiat, moving the U.S. automaker closer to a quick exit from court protection, possibly this week.

The plan is for the federal government to take a 60 percent ownership stake in the new GM. The Canadian government would take 12.5 percent, with the United Auto Workers getting a 17.5 percent share and unsecured bondholders receiving 10 percent. Existing GM shareholders are expected to be wiped out.

Albert Koch, who helped Kmart Corp. through its Chapter 11 reorganization, will serve as GM's chief restructuring officer.

NPR.org Story

In related International News:

Germany has agreed a deal with Magna International, a Canadian car parts maker, to take over Opel, part of the European wing of US carmaker GM.

Talks in Berlin continued into early Saturday before Germany's finance minister announced the rescue deal.

The German government is expected to provide an immediate loan facility of 1.5bn euros ($2.1bn, £1.3bn).

The Magna deal should protect Opel if GM files for bankruptcy protection in the US on Monday, as is expected.

The Canadian company has said it will put more than 500m euros ($700m; £435m) into Opel, which employs more than 25,000 people in Germany.

Significant numbers of workers are also spread around Spain, Belgium, Poland and the UK, where Opel cars are branded as Vauxhall for British customers.

Magna's bid was backed by Russia's state-run bank Sberbank and Russian magnate Oleg Deripaska's truck firm Gaz. The consortium hopes to see GM expand its reach into the Russian market.

BBC News


In his "New Rules" portion of Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill does an extended OP-ED on Greed and the US.

The comic becomes serious in this extended "New Rules" clip from YouTube.

Inside The Obama White House

NBC Special: Brian Williams takes viewers behind-the-scenes for an insider's look of the Obama White House on Tues., June 2 and Wed., June 3. Both nights will be broadcasted at 9 p.m. ET.

Below is a preview from yesterday's Meet The Press with David Gregory

Special's Website

Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom