Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obama's Approval Ratings Higher than Reagan's Oh My the Birthers are going to jump off high places soon, I Hope!

Obama's Approval Ratings Higher than Reagan's
Were at This Point in First Term

(CBS) President Obama may not be the most popular man on the campaign trail at the moment, but the president is still faring better in the polls than Ronald Reagan was during this stage of his first term, the National Journal reports.

According to a new study by the Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll (which was conducted with the Pew Research Center), 47 percent of Americans would like to see Mr. Obama run for re-election in 2012.

The figure, though short of a majority, is significantly higher than Mr. Reagan's 36 percent rating on the same question in August 1982 - just months before his own party lost 26 House seats (but gained a Senate seat) in the midterm elections.

National Journal points out not only that Mr. Reagan was re-elected to his second term by a wide margin, but that the circumstances dictating his first term are not unlike those that Mr. Obama has faced over the past two years.

National Journal's Jason Dick points out:
"Both were elected during difficult economic times and succeeded unpopular presidents.
Both came promising to change the way things were done in Washington.
Both saw their footings slip and their ratings sag as the economies of their times suffered devastating recessions."

Indeed, unemployment rates in 1982 hovered at 9.7 percent - a tenth of a percent higher than the current national levels.

Ultimately, history seems to show that a president's popularity level two years into his first term is not a strong indicator of his re-election prospects:
The Journal reports that former presidents George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter - both of whom lost re-election bids - enjoyed higher ratings than Mr. Reagan in the months leading up to the midterms.

The poll also says that 51 percent of voters likely to vote in next week's elections support the full repeal of health care reform, in the event that Republicans win a majority in the House and/or Senate.

Wes Craven's Favorite Scary Movies

The master of horror is on deck for his fourth Scream film and just released My Soul to Take.

I chose to name films that were in the era where I first really started watching movies and fell in love with cinema. I didn’t watch movies as a kid because my family was a member of a church that didn’t think movies were a good thing—they thought they were the work of the devil—so I didn’t see many movies until I was out of college. There was an art house in the town way upstate in New York where I was teaching and I went to every movie that opened there.

Don’t Look Now (1973)
This was one of the movies that just completely enthralled me and scared me at the same time, where I was watching a film that was a pretty moving work of art as well. There are several scenes where the parents glimpse their missing little girl—wearing the raincoat she was wearing when she disappeared—appearing down at the end of a dank alleyway in Venice. The sense that the child is either a ghost or is torturing them with her presence by disappearing was a wonderful example (not that I followed it) of being able to scare without showing blood.

Blow-Up (1966)
Blow-Up was also a very mysterious film where you did not see much violence at all. This was one of Antonioni’s films, about a photographer coming back from a shoot who sees something in one of his photographs that he hadn’t realized he’d photographed. He blows it up, then blows it up again, and it appears to be a human foot sticking out from behind a bush, so he goes back to see what it might have actually been. He’s pretty sure he’s onto a murder, and he comes back to his loft apartment after finding nothing, finds his place has been tossed, and realizes his life is in danger. It is a very masterfully constructed, gorgeously photographed, and almost surreal film of impending threat and doom—again without much clue of what actually happened or what is going to happen. It is quite extraordinary. Even though I didn’t go on to make films that are quite this art film-ish, these were the films that really inspired me to take the liberty of even what I did in Nightmare on Elm Street, where I could go into these macabre visions in a way that was permitted by the very nature of the film itself.

Psycho (1960)
The scene that really frightened me the most is the one at the top of the stairs where Martin Balsam, playing the detective, comes up and there’s a high-angle, sort of canted shot, where the mother—or what seems to be the mother—comes out of the doorway with the knife raised over her head, charges at him, stabs him in the chest, and he’s so startled he’s not able to move. Hitchcock did a very surreal thing where he put his actor on a lift so he could be flying backwards in midair in slow-motion in a very surreal, dreamlike way. It was utterly terrifying.

The Virgin Spring (1960)
The basic plot of The Virgin Spring, which was lifted off a Medieval tale, became the framework for The Last House on the Left. Two girls go off on a pilgrimage and while they’re in the woods they run into a band of shepherds who are nearly feral, and they are ultimately raped and then murdered. That was horrific enough, but what really was terrifying to me was when these shepherds are lost in a storm and take shelter at a house that they find, and they do not know that this is the home of one of the girls they just killed. The parents discover who these people are by discovering some of the girls’ clothing, and there’s this long sequence where the parents prepare to kill these men. The father systematically murders each one of these shepherds, and that to me, oddly enough, was the most terrifying because his revenge was done so graphically. There was a young boy that was traveling with these shepherds—he was utterly innocent and he ends up being killed, too. I found that really a stunning thing to be depicted in a movie where you have what in an American movie would be justifiable revenge, but at the end seeing how revenge can itself be a murder of the innocence of the victims, how they can transcend from being normal people to being victims to being murderers themselves. That was fascinating to me.

Repulsion (1965)
Repulsion by Polanski is one of my real inspirations of several of his films. It was one of these films spun out of spiderwebs and ether. A woman was left alone in her apartment, and just bit by bit, her sanity is eroding so that the apartment became the literal symbol of her psyche. There’s a wonderful moment where she seems utterly haunted and locked into her apartment—even though she can leave if she wants to—and one of the walls simply cracks. This crack races across the walls of her apartment as if the very building itself is about to collapse. Years and years later, when I did Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, I began the film with an earthquake hitting Los Angeles, and we’re watching the actress who played Nancy on the original Nightmare on Elm Street. So you’re in Heather Langenkamp’s home, and her house is struck by an earthquake, and the first clue that something is happening is one of the walls in her home simply splits in half. Later, I did an appearance where I was showing Repulsion as one of my favorite films, and I’m sitting in the theatre watching the opening of it, and when this crack goes across the wall of the character’s apartment I realize, holy moly, I lifted that whole crack and put it in my movie without remembering where I saw it.

Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Beauty and the Beast was again the idea of near-madness and the fabric of reality being created and replaced with things that were surreal. I think I was very affected by surrealism in general as a sort of outlaw form of looking at the world as semi-mad, especially this scene where a character’s going down a hallway and the sconces for the hallway lights are hands, and they begin grasping and reaching out at the character was just terribly, terribly frightening to me. I think there were elements of that in both The People Under the Stairs and certainly in the hallucinogenic sequence in The Serpent and the Rainbow where Bill Pullman is running down between a wall of cells in a prison and these long, long arms and hands are reaching out for him.

War of the Worlds (1953)
I snuck into a theatre with my older brother to see this one. There’s an invasion of aliens and they land in these big saucers, and the scary thing about these saucers is they put out these long sort of…it looks like the goose-neck lamp material that is kind of coiled and you can turn it many different ways, and these things are very serpentine with a kind of snakelike head, and they’re just sort of looking around the room to sense the presence of humans. I just remember being totally terrified by that.

Frankenstein (1931)
I think the most frightening thing to me about Frankenstein, after getting over how Boris Karloff looked, was a scene where he has escaped his tormenters and he’s in a sort of bucolic setting, and there’s a small lake and he comes across a small girl there, he goes up and kind of makes friends with her. In her innocence, she doesn’t turn around and run screaming, and the next time you see her she’s dead. It’s pretty clear he killed her, and there’s that sense that a movie can show you something you just don’t think a movie is going to show you. Obviously, by today’s standards, that’s pretty attenuated, but at the time when I saw it, it was just so shocking that they would show a dead child, that this creature had actually murdered a child.

Nosferatu (1922)
The way Nosferatu looked was my inspiration for casting Michael Berryman in The Hills Have Eyes. Michael Berryman had been born with a series of birth defects that made his skull misshapen, and he just had an extraordinary look. He was completely a normal human being inside but he looked really, really frightening. Nosferatu to me, just as a character, was so utterly frightening looking, it looked to me like it couldn’t actually be a human actor in there—it had to be this sort of monstrous, vampiric creature.

The Bad Seed (1956)
That’s the delight of the evil child, I think she’s just so revolutionary and so anti-American, where the nice little girl could never be bad. I think later, in The Omen for instance, you got into an evil child, but at this time it was very, very shocking to see this little girl who very cogently and nefariously started killing people in a way that always made it seem like she was utterly innocent. I think it was extraordinarily intelligently written, and it’s one of the few things that I saw as a young adult that never was really remade. I was always struck by the fact that they never did a modern version of it.

LAS VEGAS, Congrats! Dumb, dumber ­-- and we're dumbest?

Dumb, dumber ­-- and we're dumbest?

You noticed it as soon as you moved here.

From the morons who cut suddenly across four lanes without signaling their last-second exit to the co-worker so inept that you were convinced he spent his childhood eating lead paint, it seemed that locals were just, you know, kind of -- well -- dumb.

That hunch? It's not just you.

Las Vegas has displaced Fresno, Calif., as America's dumbest city based on education levels and intellectual vitality, according to a study from news and opinion website The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast didn't respond to a request for comment, but the site's findings are important because "regions with intellectual vigor are more likely to bounce back" from economic travails, the Daily Beast's editors said in their Tuesday report. "Those without risk a stupor."

Wait -- um, whuh?

Seriously, though: The analysis pierces straight to the heart of an age-old knock on Las Vegas. Some local observers have long lamented that the city won't lure diverse, high-tech businesses as long as it claims a bad rap for its citizens' low educational attainment.

Others counter that Las Vegas is its own kind of town, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial hotbed where The Daily Beast's benchmarks don't apply the way they might play out in other areas.

"We're a unique market. A significant share of our employee base is in service industries, and many of those employees are earning fairly decent wages and have been able to succeed and set up roots here," said local business and government consultant Brian Gordon, a pretty smart guy whose first name also happens to spell "brain." "Some of those positions don't require higher levels of education. Las Vegas is just different than many other major markets."

To understand how Las Vegas differs from other places, start with how The Daily Beast compiled its study.

The site analyzed the nation's 55 metropolitan areas with 1 million or more residents, evaluating those markets based on nonfiction book sales tracked by research firm Nielsen BookScan; the number of libraries per capita; the ratio of colleges and universities; and the percentage of residents older than 25 with bachelor's and master's degrees, though when you consider U.S. Department of Education findings that a third of all students in U.S. colleges need remedial math or English instruction, it's not so obvious that a college degree indicates intelligence.

If you tally all those factors, Las Vegas ranks dead-last among the country's big cities. Of its 1.9 million residents, 14 percent earned bachelor's degrees and 7 percent hold master's degrees. Las Vegans have purchased 1.1 million adult nonfiction books year-to-date, or less than one tome per resident. (But hey, we'll go head to head against anybody on adult-video sales!)

No. 1 Boston, by contrast, has a 24 percent penetration rate for bachelor's degrees, while 18 percent of Beantown's population has master's degrees. Its 4.6 million residents have snapped up more than 7 million adult nonfiction books so far this year.

The final score: Boston's Daily Beast IQ comes in at 176.7, while Las Vegas' Daily Beast IQ totals 3.3.


But none of that makes Bostonians smarter, said one local businessman.

Las Vegas hotelier Stephen Siegel doesn't have a college degree. He doesn't even have a high school diploma. The native Californian dropped out of ninth grade and, at 15, began working in restaurants. Today, Siegel employs 1,000 people inside properties ranging from the Mount Charleston Resort to the Artisan boutique hotel on Sahara Avenue. He also owns the Siegel Suites chain of extended-stay apartments, as well as office buildings and shopping centers in California, Arizona and Texas.

"I think school is very important. Education is very important," Siegel said. "But having a college degree is only the start. If you don't use the degree, it doesn't mean anything. Having a college degree doesn't mean you'll be successful. It means you went through a program. Knowledge is power, but only if you use it."

Instead of learning in classrooms, Siegel attended what he calls the "hardest and most expensive school there is: real life."

Siegel said Las Vegas is home to legions of entrepreneurs who similarly got their start in the service sector and grabbed a chance to launch their own operation. From food-and-beverage workers who built catering businesses to cab drivers who formed transportation companies, the city claims thousands of successful entrepreneurs without much formal higher education. Siegel cited perhaps the highest-profile of them all -- Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder who ranks as the country's 13th wealthiest person, despite failing to finish the degree he started at the City College of New York.

"Las Vegas is 100 percent a different city from any other," Siegel said. " It's a very challenging city. You have to understand the market. You really have to educate yourself out there and put a lot of hard work into surviving in this market. It's harder than in most other places."

Gordon added that Las Vegas was, until the recession devastated the city's construction and hotel sectors, one of the nation's fastest-growing cities for the better part of three decades. In the 1990s and early 2000s, you couldn't swing a business license without whacking some magazine that had just anointed the city one of the best places to start a company.

That's because businesses and entrepreneurs don't consider college attainment and book sales alone when they're looking to move or open a new operation, Gordon said. Sure, educational levels and cultural offerings make a difference, but most executives care as well about a city's highway and airport access, its availability and cost of labor, real estate prices and taxes, among other factors. On many of those counts, Las Vegas still has much to offer, Gordon said.

As for the "intellectual vigor" that The Daily Beast's editors say Las Vegas lacks, in the leisure and hospitality space, at least, no other market on the planet bests the city, and that bodes well for the area's economic engine, experts said.

"We're the No. 1 resort and entertainment destination in the world, and not many markets stack up when you look at the core industry of Southern Nevada," Gordon said. "That's been true historically, and it will likely be true going forward."

Which brings us to our final point.

Considering Las Vegas entices upwards of 40 million folks a year from smart markets such Boston, San Francisco and Denver to drop major dollars on elusive jackpots, $300 tasting menus and hookers (OK, not officially), just how dumb can our city really be?

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

America's smartest and dumbest cities

Using a tabulation that accounts for college educations, nonfiction book sales and the number of universities and libraries, news and opinion website The Daily Beast ranked the country's 55 biggest metropolitan areas by intelligence. Here's what they come up with:

The five smartest cities

City Bachelor's degrees Master's degrees Book sales Population
1. Boston 24 percent 18 percent 4.6 million 7 million
2. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. 19 percent 15 percent 2 million 2.3 million
3. San Francisco-Oakland 26 percent 17 percent 6.2 million 7.8 million
-San Jose
4. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. 27 percent 16 percent 1.6 million 1.9 million
5. Denver 25 percent 13 percent 2.6 million 4 million

The five dumbest cities

City Bachelor's degrees Master's degrees Book sales Population
1. Las Vegas 14 percent 7 percent 1.9 million 1.1 million
2. San Antonio 16 percent 9 percent 2.1 million 1.3 million
3. Fresno, Calif. 11 percent 6 percent 1.3 million 626,000
4. Houston 18 percent 10 percent 5.9 million 3.5 million
5. Memphis, Tenn. 15 percent 9 percent .3 million 767,000

Source: The Daily Beast

"Ach, du lieber!

Paul the Octopus Has Died

We guess some angry Germans finally got their wish: Paul the Octopus, the animal that correctly predicted the outcome of eight World Cup matches this year (including Germany’s eventual loss, which earned him death threats), has died. He died of natural causes; the staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium in Germany said it was “devastated when Paul was found dead this morning.” The aquarium is planning to build a memorial in his honor.

Der Spiegel

SAD CASE. A train wreak coming?

Charlie Sheen Hospitalized After Trashing Suite

Recovering alcoholic Charlie Sheen reportedly threw such a fit after losing his phone and wallet that police were called to his New York hotel room early Tuesday.

Security at The Plaza Hotel called the cops, who found the Two and a Half Men star drunk and naked in his room, where tables and chairs had been thrown around and a chandelier was damaged.

Sheen told police that he'd been "out partying” and brought home an unidentified woman.

Sheen’s ex-wife and mother of his two daughters, Denise Richards was staying in another room and accompanied him to a local hospital. Although the actor was not injured, he checked himself into the hospital for an evaluation, according to The New York Post’s sources.

It’s not the first time police have paid Sheen a visit—he was arrested last year when his then-wife, Brooke Mueller, called 911, saying that Sheen was trying to kill her with a knife.

The New York Post

Can people being elected to the elite SENATE 100 be truly this stupid! I can hardly wait til NOV 3 to see if VOTERS are equally!

Ken Buck Opposes Separation of Church and State

Christine O'Donnell isn't the only Republican Senate candidate who disputes the notion that the separation of church and state is embedded in the Constitution: Democrats are today pointing to a video showing Colorado candidate Ken Buck a year ago stating that, "I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state."

"It was not written into the Constitution," Buck adds in the video, which was posted by the liberal blog ThinkProgress. "While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that's sanctioned by the government, it doesn't mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion."

The Constitution indeed does not include the phrase "separation of church and state," which was actually coined in a letter by Thomas Jefferson. But the First Amendment does say "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

This so-called "establishment clause" has been the legal basis for limits on government efforts to impose religion. Conservatives suggest, however, that while the establishment clause does prohibit an official state church, it leaves room for other incursions of religion into public life, such as prayer in schools.

Buck's campaign said in response for a request for comment that the candidate was "referring to the political correctness that has run amuck" before criticizing Democratic opponent Michael Bennet. Buck has taken heat in recent days to linking homosexuality to alcoholism as well as earlier in the campaign for calling those who question whether President Obama is American "dumbasses."

At a debate last week, O'Donnell, the GOP Senate candidate in Delaware, asked "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?," prompting laughter from the law school audience.

She later pointed to the language of the Constitution to defend her position.

"Well I think it says exactly what it says: that the government will not create - will not dictate - that every American has to believe a certain way, but it won't do anything to prevent the free exercise thereof," she said.

"Christine O'Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts," her campaign manager added. "She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution."

The RICH can be really stupid too!

Report Details DUI Arrest of Palms Owner George Maloof

LAS VEGAS -- The report detailing the arrest of Palms Casino Resort owner George Maloof Jr. has been released by police. Maloof was arrested for drunken driving a few weeks ago near his Spanish Trail home.

According to the report, the 46-year-old Maloof was observed going 72 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone and losing control of his car as he attempted to make a turn. The police officer who observed Maloof's driving said, at one point, he drove into oncoming traffic and hit a curb. The officer also reported that Maloof nearly backed into the police motorcycle and couldn't find his driver's license, which turned out to be expired.

Read the Arrest Report

The officer reported that Maloof smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, was wobbling and failed the field sobriety test.

Maloof ended up spending the night of his arrest in jail because he didn't post bail and didn't want to call anyone. He was released the next morning.

Maloof owns the resort with his brothers and sister. His family also owns the NBA's Sacramento Kings.


Glaxo Pays $750 Million Fine for Tainted Products

GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, has agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints that the company for years knowingly sold contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant — the latest in a growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits that drug makers have settled with multimillion dollar fines.

Altogether, GlaxoSmithKline sold 20 drugs with questionable safety that were made at a huge plant in Puerto Rico that for years was rife with contamination. Cheryl Eckard, the company’s quality manager, asserts in her whistle-blower suit that she warned Glaxo of the problems but the company fired her instead of addressing the issues. Among the drugs affected were Avandia, Bactroban, Coreg, Paxil and Tagamet. No patients are known to have been sickened by the quality problems although such cases would be difficult to trace.

Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, and Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney for Massachusetts, announced the settlement in a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Boston. The outcome provides one of the highest whistleblower award yet in a health care fraud case.

GlaxoSmithKline released a statement saying that it regretted operating the Puerto Rican plant in violation of good manufacturing practices. The company said the problem involved only one plant that was closed in 2009. Its American shares were down 0.37 percent in late afternoon trading in New York.

The settlement is part of a growing tsunami of lawsuits that assert that drug makers misled patients and defrauded federal and state governments that, through Medicare and Medicaid, pay for much of health care.

Using claims from industry insiders, federal prosecutors are not only demanding record fines but are hinting at worse. Suffering a research drought, drug makers have laid off thousands of employees. Some of those dispatched have turned to bite the hands that once fed them, filing whistle-blower lawsuits that can start criminal investigations.

Those who win get a cut of the eventual fine. Ms. Eckard will collect $96 million from the federal government, and she will collect additional millions from states.

The suits, all filed under seal, have for years been increasing in size and scope but the collective threat to the industry has been largely unnoticed because the growing mountain is obscured by a wall of judicial secrecy. Each successful claim begets more suits, with more being filed almost every week.

The suits are filed under a federal law originally intended to stop Civil War hucksters from selling rancid meat to the Union Army by paying bounties to tipsters. The pharmaceutical industry has become the law’s most successful target because the government now buys far more pills than bullets, and because fraud in health care is common.

Health care cases accounted for some 80 percent of the $3.1 billion recovered by the Justice Department under the false claims act last year, the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, a nonprofit whistle-blower advocacy group in Washington, reported on Monday. Most of the money is typically returned to the programs in which false claims were filed, like Medicaid and Medicare.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services have both announced recently that they would pursue charges against executives personally under a strict liability rule, although that was not done with GlaxoSmithKline. The rule allows executives to be prosecuted and barred from government sales even if they are not aware of specific violations.

“We want to send a message to industry that it’s not just a cost of doing business,” Lew Morris, chief counsel for the inspector general, said in a recent interview.

Legislation could make such claims even easier to win. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill permitting executives to be banned even if they have left the company where the fraud occurred and permitting the inspector general to prosecute parent companies for the sins of subsidiaries. Any company that deliberately exaggerates the benefits or underplays the risks of its medicines is a potential target because such exaggerations lead to unnecessary drug uses among Medicare or Medicaid patients, thus creating excessive government payments to drug makers that the suits assert should be returned.

With collective sales forces that once topped more than 100,000, competitive pressures and financial incentives, marketing exaggerations were habitual in the drug industry.

Pfizer alone has settled four whistle-blower cases since 2002 and paid a $2.3 billion fine last year, the largest in history. Whistle-blower cases have become so routine that Wall Street no longer takes much notice of individual suits, while the growing trend remains hidden. When GlaxoSmithKline announced in July that it was setting aside $2.4 billion for legal costs, including enough to pay for the investigation into its Puerto Rico problems, the announcement was greeted with a yawn. The company’s settlement includes $600 million in civil penalties and a $150 million criminal fine.

Still, the GlaxoSmithKline case may lead to a collective industry shiver because it opens a new frontier for whistle-blower suits. Nearly all previous whistleblower cases against the industry involved illegal marketing. This is the first successful case ever to assert that a drug maker knowingly sold contaminated products.

“This case will change the way drug makers run their factories,” Ms. Eckard’s lawyer, Neil Getnick, said.

Among the drugs that GlaxoSmithKline made unsafely at its Puerto Rico plant was Avandia and a related medicine, Avandamet. The F.D.A. decided last month that the drugs should have restricted sales because of their risks to the heart.

Ms. Eckard’s role in the case began in August 2002 when GlaxoSmithKline sent her to Cidra, south of San Juan, to lead a team of 100 quality experts to fix problems cited by an F.D.A. warning letter a month earlier.

The plant was GlaxoSmithKline’s premier manufacturing facility, producing $5.5 billion of product each year. But Ms. Eckard soon discovered that its quality control systems were a mess: its water system was contaminated; its air system allowed for cross contamination between products; its warehouse was so over-crowded that rented vans were used for storage; it could not ensure the sterility of intravenous drugs for cancer; and pills of differing strengths were sometimes mixed in the same bottles.

Although F.D.A. inspectors had spotted some problems, most were missed. And the company abandoned even the limited fixes it promised to conduct, the unsealed lawsuit says. Ms. Eckard complained repeatedly to senior managers; little was done. She recommended recalls of defective products; recalls were not authorized. In May 2003, she was terminated as a “redundancy.” She complained to top company executives; she was ignored even after warning that she would call the F.D.A.. So she called the F.D.A. and sued. The agency began a criminal investigation and used armed federal marshals in 2005 to seize nearly $2 billion worth of products, the largest such seizure in history. Unable to fix the plant, GlaxoSmithKline shuttered it in 2009.

With each settlement, companies announce new checks on misconduct that they promise will prevent future cases while government officials demand reforms like public disclosures of payments to doctors, money that is at the root of many cases. But the failure of these efforts to prevent repeat offenses has led some officials to quietly threaten that they will start charging top executives for the misdeeds of subordinates and may some day impose a corporate “death penalty” — a ban on sales to the government.

Since the government buys about one pill in three, such a ban could severely harm a drug maker and force it to sell its assets. Prosecutors have so far eschewed this remedy because of fears that a ban would disrupt critical drug supplies, and some major drug companies — like big banks — are deemed by officials to be too big to ban. Still, prosecutors have edged closer to this remedy by banning company subsidiaries. In Pfizer’s case, the company created a subsidiary that then got euthanized. Under Tuesday’s settlement, GlaxoSmithKline euthanized its Puerto Rico affiliate.


I'm so proud!! I know you all know the correct answers? RIGHT!

America's Youth Pretty Sure Harry 'Truman' Is Majority Leader

Yahoo's Ask America blog recently went to the University of Colorado to ask the country's youth--who are of course our greatest natural resource--some questions about our democracy. As one would expect, the results were comically horrifying. Among the things the respondents believe to be true, right now:

Name of the current Senate Majority Leader: Hillary Clinton, Harry Truman
Number of United States Representatives: 290, 432, 150, 125, "it depends on the population of each state," 500, 365, "430-something"
Number of United States Senators: 25, 200, 52 (said twice), 102, 56, 97, 50 (also twice)
Number of Supreme Court Justices: 12, 25, 13, "9 or 13," 5, "it's odd," 11, 50
Name of the Current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: John Smith, John Hickenlooper, "a Latin American lady"