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Celebrity Death

Village Idiot: Tim Russert, RTV

My dad will be buried in Arlington Cemetery on July 23 at 1 p.m. with military honors. He died a few months ago at the age of 89 after serving 33 years in the U.S. Navy and then 20 years as a high school physics teacher. No celebrities will attend his funeral. It won't get a week's worth of coverage on national television.

I can't tell you how disgusted I was by the TV coverage of Tim Russert's death.When the "NBC Nightly News" did their entire half-hour broadcast on his death, I was shocked at how out of proportion the coverage was to Russert's place on the planet. He was not a world leader, he was not the head of a freedom movement, he was not raising money for disadvantaged children. He was the host of a not-prime-time news show.

By whose value system is his death more important than JFK and the pope? By NBC's apparently.I kept hearing what a great father Russert was. My father only had eight kids and raised them on Navy pay, and all but one (me) graduated from college. Russert had one child, raised him on celebrity pay, took the boy to all the Super Bowl and World Series games and got the kid anything money could buy.

I think we all know who was the better father.Many talking heads said Russert loved his work. My dad loved the Navy. He served in World War II, and when I was young, he was out commanding a destroyer squadron in the 6th Fleet during the Cold War on "good will tours." He'd be gone for six months at a time. He loved it. But Russert's love was way better than my dad's because he was on television.

They say Russert never forgot where he came from, that even though he was on television he didn't have a swelled head.

My dad never forgot the tiny Montana town where he was born, his mother who died when he was 3, the ranch that his father had to sell during the Depression that some movie star bought a few years ago. But Russert came from Buffalo, N.Y., which we all know is better, because it is the birthplace of Tim Russert.

Over and over and over and over and over and over (add a week's worth of overs), we heard that Russert was a nice guy. It seems that being on television and being nice is so extraordinary in the world of TV journalism that it's worth mentioning repeatedly.

It's not Russert's fault that television used his death to sell more cereal under the guise of being heartbroken, but it is the fault of the business he was in, a business that aggrandizes the trivial and trivializes the important. By the end of the first week, my shock at the news of such a young man's death and my sympathy for his family were exhausted.

An unexpected celebrity death is like discovering gold for television; now, Russert ranks right up there with the greats of TV overkill: Anna Nicole Smith, Lacy Peterson, Natalee Holloway and JonBenet Ramsey. I hope he would have been appalled.After doing an entire 30-minute broadcast on his death the day he died, "NBC Nightly News" is back to doing what they should have done the day he died; covering soldiers dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 500-year flood in Iowa and the Midwest, and the economic effect of more-than-$4-per-gallon gasoline.

At the end of the broadcast the night he died, Russert should have gotten a five-minute goodbye and good luck.Now, instead of "all Tim all the time," "The Today Show" is back to doing segments like "Five Things You Can Do to Live Longer Now." Four of those things seem to include not eating any of the food advertised on "The Today Show." Things are back to normal. It's good to know they were able to work through their grief so quickly.

I don't think I'll forget my dad so quickly.

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RIMM Sees Q2 Gross Margins Slightly Below Q1 Level; Says Some Component Suppliers Raising Prices

Research In Motion (RIMM) told investors on the company’s post-earnings conference call this afternoon that margins in its fiscal second quarter ending in August of 50.5%, down slightly from 50.7% in Q1.
The company said the weak dollar is resulting in some margin pressure, noting that many of its component suppliers and outsourcing partners have costs in currencies strong relative to the dollar, and that some of them have passed along the costs in the form of higher pricing to RIMM.
RIMM expects average selling price in the second quarter to climb to $349, from $341 in the February quarter.
RIMM confirmed on the call that it expects to ship the new 3G Blackberry Bold this summer, asserting that it is performing well and meeting the company’s “stringent requirements.”
Meanwhile, the company noted that the first quarter saw a benefit of about 2 cents a share from a lower than expected tax rate.
The company also said it expects total operating expenses to rise 26%-28% in the quarter versus Q1, with R&D up 23%-24% and sales and marketing expense up 28-30%.
In after hours trading, RIMM is now down $12.11, or 8.5%, at $130.23.

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Soldiers Help To Tackle Floods

Soldiers should help tackle floods, says review

Military personnel should help lead the response to major floods, a Government review has said.

Recommending that flooding should be treated as a national threat on a par with terrorism, Sir Michael Pitt's review of last summer's floods calls for a major overhaul of emergency planning.
The review concluded that the UK is ill-prepared for a repeat of last years' heavy rains, which brought chaos to Yorkshire, the Humber, the Midlands and south-west England.
Almost 5,000 people forced from their homes last year have still not been able to return.

Sir Michael said it was "shameful" that so many people are still in temporary accommodation. He also attacked electricity, gas and water companies for leaving hundreds of thousands homes cut off when the floods came.

He said authorities and the public were taken by surprise by the "sheer scale" of the flooding, and called for a fundamental overhaul of emergency planning.

"We were not well prepared last summer for the scale of flooding that took place," Sir Michael said.

A Cabinet Committee should be set up dedicated to tackling the risk of flooding, just as there are bodies preparing for terror attacks and disease epidemics.

And the military should be brought into flood planning, the Pitt Review concluded.
It said: "The Ministry of Defence should identify a small number of trained Armed Forces personnel who can be deployed to advise [civilian leaders] on logistics during wide area civil emergencies."

Households also have a greater responsibility to prepare for possible flooding, Sir Michael concluded.

All homes should have a "flood kit", the study said. The pack would include personal documents, insurance policies, emergency contact numbers, a torch, a wind-up radio, a first aid kit, blankets, a mobile phone, wet wipes or anti-bacterial gel and rubber gloves.

The Government should also set up training course and information services to "encourage individuals and communities to be better prepared and
more self-reliant during emergencies."

The floods turned attention to the question of whether it is wise to build houses on flood planes.
Sir Michael said that such construction should be "the absolute exception," but should not be banned because of the wider importance of building new homes.

That anyone buying a home on a flood plane should be given a very clear warning about the potential risk.

All home buyers information packs should be required to carry detailed information about flooding risks, he added.

And building regulations should be revised for refurbishing or building new homes to make them more resilient to flooding.

Last year, ministers faced accusations that they had led the budget for flood defences dwindle. Sir Michael found that the £800 million-a-year flood defence budget for 2010 to 2011 was "about right" but said that money should be spent more wisely.

The review's 92 recommendations include:
:: The Met Office and Environment Agency should have a joint centre to improve their ability to forecast, model and warn against flood threats;
:: Local authorities should collate and map drainage systems - which contributed to much of the problems last summer, as a significant proportion of the floods were caused by surface water systems;
:: The Environment Agency should work with telephone companies to roll-out an "opt-out" telephone flood warning scheme, in which at-risk people are automatically signed up, even those who are ex-directory;
:: In order to ensure people get back into their homes as quickly as possible, the Government should publish monthly summaries of the progress of the recovery, including the number of households still displaced.

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Stuart Wheeler Loses Treaty Court Case

Stuart Wheeler loses EU Lisbon Treaty court case

Stuart Wheeler, the spread-betting multi-millionaire, has lost his legal challenge to Gordon Brown's decision to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.

A High court ruling removed the last obstacle to Britain's ratification of the European Union's treaty despite Labour's manifesto for a public vote.

Mr Brown has been under intense pressure to declare the treaty dead after Irish voters rejected it in a referendum earlier this month.

Mr Wheeler's case had forced the Prime Minister to delay the formal ratification of the treaty until the court's ruling.

At the heart of the case was the question of whether a political party's election manifesto was legally enforceable and whether the public have a "legitimate expectation" to see measures pledged during an election campaign enacted.

Rabinder Singh QC, appearing for Mr Wheeler, 73, said at a recent two-day hearing: "The Government promised a referendum and should keep its promise."

At stake were the fundamental principles "of good administration, fair play and straight dealing with the public," he said.

However, Jonathan Sumption QC, appearing for the Office of the Prime Minister, told the judges: "This case is politics dressed up as law."

The Government argued that the Lisbon treaty is different from the previously-proposed European Constitution on which Labour promised a popular vote.

Mr Wheeler, who made more than £30 million from spread-betting firm IG Index, raised tens of thousands of pounds from donors in addition to his own money to fight the case.

He said he had "high hopes" of winning on appeal.

He said: "I have high hopes of winning on appeal. We shall apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal and we will see what they say."

Eurosceptics said they were disappointed by the ruling.

Ruth Lea, Director of the Global Vision think-tank, said: "Today's ruling by the High Court is extremely dispiriting especially as many European politicians have made it quite clear that the Lisbon Treaty is the Constitutional Treaty in all but name.

"Under these circumstances, the British people are surely entitled to their referendum on the Treaty as the Irish people did. All our polling shows an overwhelming majority in favour of a referendum."

India Vs. Hong Kong

India win toss, elect to bat against Hong Kong

Karachi, Jun 25 (PTI) Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat against Hong Kong in their Asia Cup league match here today.

India has rested middle order batsman Yuvraj Singh and paceman Ishant Sharma while playing Robin Uthappa and Manpreet Gony.For Hong Kong, who suffered a 155-run ignominy against Pakistan yesterday, an injured Zain Abbas will make way for Roy Lamson.


India: M S Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, R P Singh, Manpreet Gony.

Hong Kong: Tabarak Dar (capt), Courtney Kruger, Afzaal Haider, Hussain Butt, Najeeb Amar, Skhawat Ali, Roy Lamsam, James Atkinson, Nadeem Ahmed, Irfan Ahmed, Munir Dar. PTI

Henderson KY : 4 Killed In Shooting

Police: 4 killed in Henderson, Ky., plant shooting

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — Police in western Kentucky say an employee shot and killed four people at a plastics plant before killing himself early Wednesday.
Henderson police Lieutenant David Piller says the shooting happened after an employee at Atlantis Plastics had an argument with a supervisor.
In addition to the four deaths, Piller says two others who were injured were flown to hospitals in Evansville, Indiana.
Piller says the employee used a handgun he got from home during a break.
Names of those involved have not been released.

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