Friday, May 4, 2007

In God We Trust (Everybody Else Must Show Proper ID)

This week's edition intertwines money, deception, and redemption -- but mostly deception.

GET THEE TO A SEMINARY. Former New Jersey governor James McGreevey publicly dropped a triple-whammy in 2004: he was gay, he was cheating, he was resigning. Now, add a fourth: he's studying to become a Episcopal priest. McGreevey switched denominations after being raised Catholic. Lest you think this is the most spectacular example of "running to rehab" you've ever seen, the vicar at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan provides some enlightenment, courtesy the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
"This process that he's in right now, is not going to be some snap of the finger, overnight process. That will not happen. That's not how it works. He knows that," [Rev. Kevin] Bean said. "And so at the parish level, and at the diocesan level, everyone knows that this is a process that ... intentionally is deliberate. You don't enter into it unadviseably."
We at The Lightning Round wish McGreevey the best on his spiritual journey, noting he has already embraced honesty -- brutally embraced it -- but embraced it all the same.

TIME TO SHAVE THE BEARD. ABC News reports an Osama bin Laden look-alike has been arrested twice in Pakistan after reported sightings of the al-Qaida leader.

From ABC News' "The Blotter:"
The official said an extensive investigation involving Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officers found that the look-alike has no connection to bin Laden, but that local residents had tried to collect rewards based on Akhbar's resemblance to bin Laden.
Saddam Hussein's former doubles are now asking themselves, "Why weren't we good enough?"

BANK AT HOME. The IRS has shut the doors of the First National Bank of Robert Arant, charged with running an illegal "warehouse bank" out of his home to help people dodge the tax man.

From the AP:
Arant took customers' money - promising to keep their identities private - and pooled it in six accounts at Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, [court documents say]. He would then pay the customers' bills from those commercial bank accounts. He charged about $75 a year in fees for the service, plus fees for wire transfers and for initial account set-up. For $30, customers could buy debit cards to access their money more easily; otherwise, they could access it by check, money order or wire transfer...
We don't know if Bob's Bank gave you a toaster for a new account, but at least 13 people who put their bread in may be burned with federal charges. And you thought the significant penalty for early withdrawal was bad...

NICE PANTS! It's a case tort reform harpies dream of: A Washington, D.C. judge is suing a dry cleaner for $67 million -- yes, million -- over a lost pair of pants.

From ABC News:
Plaintiff Roy Pearson, a judge in Washington, D.C., says in court papers that he's been through the ringer over a lost pair of prized pants he wanted to wear on his first day on the bench.

He says in court papers that he has endured "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort."

He says he was unable to wear that favorite suit on his first day of work.

He's suing for 10 years of weekend car rentals so he can transport his dry cleaning to another store.
The case, amazingly, has not been thrown out -- and Pearson plans to call 63 witnesses. ABC News does the math on the exponential impact should he win his case:
The ABC News Law & Justice Unit has calculated that for $67 million Pearson could buy 84,115 new pairs of pants at the $800 value he placed on the missing trousers in court documents. If you stacked those pants up, they would be taller than eight Mount Everests. If you laid them side by side, they would stretch for 48 miles.
But we at your Lightning Round are perplexed at one simple fact: This guy is a judge?

SMART MONEY. Smarts don't necessarily translate into scratch, according to an Ohio State University study.

From the AP:
While people with higher IQ scores tend to earn more, they don't always save and invest their money wisely, said study author Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University.

"Individuals with higher IQ should not think that they have any particular advantage," he said.

People of below-average intelligence, meanwhile, are just about as wealthy as those in similar circumstances but with higher IQ scores, the study found.
We're still waiting for the studies on Jessica Simpson.

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