December 1, 2008

Alvar Aalto

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto
(February 3, 1898May 11, 1976) was a Finnish architect and designer, sometimes called the "Father of Modernism" in the Scandinavian countries. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware.

Read more, HERE.

Look the Aalto's architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware.

Brock Lesnar’s Future and More

The World Alliance Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) champion and current #1 heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko says he would like to fight Brock Lesnar and he no longer wishes to pursue a fight with MMA legend Randy Couture. Randy Couture recently came back after a year long layoff in an unsuccessful title defense against new comer Brock Lesnar.

Much of Couture’s absence was due to the fighter being tied up in litigation with his promotional company (UFC), as the former world champ attempted to get free of his contract to persue a match with Fedor outside of the UFC.

Fedor has recently said he has grown to consider Randy a friend and respects him too much to want to fight him. Representatives from his camp did however say the Russian wants to fight the current UFC Heavyweight King Brock Lesnar.

They want a co-promoted fight and as we all know the UFC will probably never make that happen.

Emelianenko, who hasn’t lost an MMA match since December of 2000, recently dropped his first Combat Sambo match in eight years on Saturday night.
The loss came at the hands of World Combat Sambo Champion, Bulgarian Blagoi Ivanov. The two fighters met in the semifinals in the 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships. Fedor was outpointed and lost the match by a score of 8-5 to Ivanov.

Word on the mat is several organizations and MMA promotion are expressing interest in bring "the fighter who beat Fedor" to compete in MMA cages in the U.S. The WAMMA champion is currently set to defend his title on January 24th against Andrei “Pit bull” Arlovski.

On Nov 18th, while in Toronto promoting the upcoming super match between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and Lightweight Champion, B.J. Penn, Dana White said he is interested in bringing the face of women’s MMA, Gina Carano, to the WEC to compete.

"Gina Carano is a star, I think she's talented. I think she's got all the tools, so what I'm willing to do is bring Gina into the WEC. We could do fights whenever there's a challenger for Gina. That's how I'll test the waters and see how it goes," White said.

Baring her situation with ProElite, (she is still under contract with the defunct company and currently in career limbo) a Carano fight would be the first female fight on a Zuffa card and huge step for WEC's marketability. If a potential deal was struck, Carano could count herself among the stars of the promotion along with Urijah Faber and Bantamweight Champion (135lbs) Miguel Torres.

Adding a female division to the WEC now would be perfect timing. After the December 3rd Miguel Torres-Manny Tapia card, the WEC is set to cut the light heavy and middleweight divisions. Some of the organizations top names such as Chael Sonnen, Steve Cantwell, Brian Stann, Mark Munoz, and Jake Rosholt have been confirmed as being transferred to the UFC.

Former Middleweight Champion, Paulo Filho, was considered a front runner for the hike up to UFC and a high paid showdown with pound for pound king, Anderson Silva. However, after failing to make weight, an awful performance, substance abuse problems the fact that he said he would not face Silva due to their friendship.

Along with Filho, UFC President Dana White dropped superstar Jon Fitch from the UFC roster as well. The # 2 ranked welterweight in the world was released from his UFC contract on Wednesday and later re-instated. is reporting that the welterweight is back in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
MMARated reported that Fitch spoke with UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta via phone, and the pair had managed to clear the air and that the fighter would return to the UFC and he would sign the company's much-maligned video game licensing agreement that was the cause of all the hub-bub.

Wednesday night while on Hardcore Sports Radio Fitch said that he was dropped from the promotion due to the fact he refused to sign an agreement that would have relinquished his likeness rights for the upcoming UFC video game.

Fitch said he refused to sign the agreement but his decision wasn't based on compensation. "The video game agreement that they have that they wanted us to sign was basically we don‘t get anything for it," he said. "We get free publicity and promotion from the game, which is great, no problem. The problem is it's a lifetime exclusive contract. That means we would never ever be able to work with any video game companies other than the one the UFC provides."

"It's pretty incredible that they'd go to those lengths for something like this, over a video game," he continued.

Fitch also said UFC President Dana White presented his representatives an ultimatum to sign or be scrapped.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports on Wednesday, White said the UFC would no longer do business with Fitch's fight team, American Kickboxing Academy. The outspoken White has stated that Fitch was not released because of the video game situation but rather because the UFC has issue's when dealing with his camp.

"We're looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I'm just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it's not even funny," White told Yahoo Sports. "Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those. [Expletive] him. These guys aren't partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them."

Fitch had won eight straight fights before dropping a gutsy decision to St. Pierre. His undefeated run tied Royce Gracie's for the most consecutive wins in the UFC.

"I never wanted anything more than to fight in the UFC and be a UFC champ," said Fitch.

The fighter reluctantly singed away his video game rights but maintained the vehicle that drives his dream. Jon Fitch will fight Akihiro Gono at UFC 94, as previously planned.

Source: Ring Side Report

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks was a television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation, headed by Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), of the brutal murder of a popular and respected teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Twin Peaks's pilot episode was first broadcast on April 8, 1990 on the ABC Network, which led to another seven episodes being produced, and a second season, which aired until June 10, 1991. The show was set in a small fictional Washington-town of the same name, and was primarily filmed in Snoqualmie and North Bend.[1]

Twin Peaks became one of 1990's top-rated shows, a critical success both nationally and internationally. Reflecting its devoted cult fan base, the series became a part of popular culture, referenced in other television shows, commercials, comic books, a video game, films and song lyrics. Declining viewer ratings in the long-running second season led to a cancellation. In 1992, the series spawned a prequel; the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which attempted to connect the events leading up to Laura Palmer's death.

Read more, HERE.

Christmas Ideas: Funny Candles Pictures

I love candles. I have many candles ... But not as original as...

Conference call

A conference call is a telephone call in which the calling party wishes to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak. It is often referred to as an ATC (Audio Tele-Conference).

Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call. In most cases, the participants are able call into the conference call themselves, by dialing into a special telephone number that connects to a "conference bridge" (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines).

Usually, most companies use a specialized service provider who maintains the conference bridge, or who provides the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants dial to access the meeting or conference call.

Three-way calling is available (usually at an extra charge) for most customers on their home or office phone line. To three way call, the first person one wishes to talk to is dialed. Then the Hook flash button is pressed and the other person's phone number is dialed. While it is ringing, flash is pressed again. This will put the three people together. This option allows callers to add a second outgoing call to an already connected call.



Businesses use conference calls daily to meet with remote parties, both internally and outside of their company. Common applications are client meetings or sales presentations, project meetings and updates, regular team meetings, training classes and communication to employees who work in different locations. Conference calling is viewed as a primary means of cutting travel costs and allowing workers to be more productive by not having to go out-of-office for meetings.

Conference calls are used by nearly all United States public corporations to report their quarterly results. These calls usually allow for questions from stock analysts and are called earnings calls. A standard conference call begins with a disclaimer stating that anything said in the duration of the call may be a forward looking statement, and that results may vary significantly. The CEO, CFO, or Investor Relations officer then will read the company's quarterly report. Lastly, the call is opened for questions from analysts.

Conference calls are increasingly used in conjunction with web conferences, where presentations or documents are shared via the internet.

Conference calls are also beginning to cross over into the world of podcasting and social networking, which in turn fosters new kinds of interaction patterns. Live streaming or broadcasting of conference calls allows a larger audience access to the call without dialing in to a bridge. In addition, organizers of conference calls can publish a dial-in number alongside the audio stream, creating potential for audience members to dial in if and when they wish to interact.

Party line

Conference calls can also be used for entertainment or social purposes, such as the party line or a group call. People call in to a specified telephone number, and are connected to conversations with other callers. This serves as a way to talk to and perhaps, subsequently, meet new people. However, conference calls are most commonly used by businesses.

Flat Rate Conferencing

Flat rate services are now being offered which enable conference call users to have unlimited access to a conference bridge at a fixed monthly cost. Because telecommunication carriers offer free long distance bundled with local service, this alternative is gaining widespread popularity for budget conscious businesses and non-profits.

In the UK, there are conference services offered on a pay as you go basis where the cost of the phone calls (using 0844, 0870 or 0871 numbers) from each of the participants covers the cost of the conference service. With this service type there is no monthly charge and usually no contracts to sign.

Prepaid Conference Calls

Prepaid conference call services allow businesses and individuals to purchase conferencing services online, and conduct conference calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. Typically, a conference call PIN and it's associated calling instructions are displayed immediately online after being purchased and/or sent via email. Generally, prepaid conference call services are used with a landline telephone, mobile phone, or computer, and there is no need to buy additional expensive telecommunications hardware or add/switch long distance service. Some services allow you to start or join a conference call from virtually any country worldwide--with appropriate telephone access.

Large telecommunications providers such as AT&T, Embarq (formerly Sprint), Verizon and other large to medium conferencing service providers maintain a dominant position in the conferencing niche; servicing many of the World's biggest brands. However, the Internet and improved global VoIP networks have helped to significantly reduce the barrier of entry into this niche.

Free Conference Calling

Several vendors in the US now offer free conference calling. Such services generally require users to dial a long-distance phone number to be connected to their conference.

Free conferencing is different from traditional conference calling where the organizer of the conference call pays either a flat rate fee or per minute charge or a mixture of both. It has no organizer fees and allows for multiple people to meet at the price of their long distance connections.

Conferencing in IMS

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) defined a technical specification (TS 24.147) for conferencing within the IP Multimedia Core Network subsystem (IMS) based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), SIP Events, the Session Description Protocol (SDP) and the Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP).

Source: Wikipedia

How to donate a car or boat to charity

It sounds so simple: Donate your used vehicle or boat to charity, avoid the hassles associated with selling it, and score a tax deduction at the same time. Everybody wins, right?

Not necessarily. As the saying goes, the road to h-e-double-hockey-sticks is paved with good intentions, and it can be surprisingly easy to fumble this well-meaning act.

Before you hand one of your biggest assets over to anyone, read the following tips to be sure you’re making the right moves.

1. Avoid middlemen. Numerous for-profit intermediary organizations advertise aggressively on TV, billboards and elsewhere, offering to help you donate your vehicle to charity. Here’s the catch: These organizations typically keep about 50 percent to 90 percent of the vehicle’s value for themselves, and the charities don’t get what they could have gotten. To prevent this, check directly with charities you admire and find out whether they accept car or boat donations.

2. Find a worthy charity. If the charities you normally support aren’t equipped to accept such donations, do some homework until you find a reputable charity that is. You can research charities’ track records online at this Better Business Bureau site and through Charity Navigator.

3. Check the math. If you still feel compelled to use an intermediary organization – possibly because you’re busy – at least ask the organization how much of the car or boat’s value will go to charity. If the organization simply gives charities flat fees — say, $100 for a used vehicle regardless of its value, or $2,000 a month — your donation may not be eligible for a tax deduction.

4. Know the status of your recipient. In order for you to qualify for a deduction, the charity that gets your donation must be an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization. Your church, synagogue, mosque or temple likely qualifies. (Check first just to make sure.) You also can visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Web site and search for Publication 78 to find other qualifying non-profit organizations. (Just type “78” into the search field on the IRS home page and you’ll be directed to the right publication.)

5. Do the delivery yourself. Once you’ve identified a worthy charity, recognize that it will have to pay someone to pick up your car or boat for you. To help the charity maximize the benefit of your donation, drop the car or boat off yourself.

6. Transfer the vehicle with care. Want to eliminate all risk of running up parking tickets and other violations after you’ve said goodbye to your donated vehicle? Then formally re-title the vehicle to the charity, and report the transfer to your state’s department of motor vehicles or licensing. Never agree to leave the ownership space on the charity donation papers blank.

7. Your estimate of the donation’s value probably won’t cut it. If your car or boat is worth more than $500, the IRS is going to want to see evidence of how much the charity got for it. (Most charities that accept these donations turn around and sell them for cash.) You’ll need to get a receipt from the charity revealing exactly how much money it made.

8. Know when you can report the fair market value. You won’t need evidence of the sales price if the charity keeps the vehicle or vessel and uses it in its charitable work, or if your donation is worth less than $500. Then you can report its fair market value based on listings from Kelley Blue Book and similar sources.

9. Keep a thorough paper trail. If your donation is worth more than $500, you’ll have to attach IRS Form 8283 to your tax return. If it’s worth more than $5,000, your documentation must include an outside appraisal. You’ll also need proof of the donation, such as a receipt from the charity and a copy of the title change.

10. Be detail-oriented. This paper trail may seem cumbersome, but think about it: This may be one of the biggest charitable donations you ever make. By taking the time to dot the i’s, you can make sure that the charity gets the most benefit and you get the biggest possible deduction.

Source: MSNBC

Rihanna takes two top awards at AMAs

On a night that saw her performing her latest single, Rehab, Bajan sensation Rihanna was among the big winners with two awards at the 2008 American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Sunday night.

The 20-year-old Barbados cultural ambassador and Grammy Award winner in February this year won the awards for Favourite Female Artist in the Soul/R&B category as well as Favourite Female Artist (Pop/Rock).

"This is the first year, I guess, the fans got to vote, so thank you mainly to my fans who voted for me," Rihanna said upon accepting her statuette.

In the soul/R&B category she beat out Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys, and in the pop segment got the better of Keys and Mariah Carey.

At the same ceremony Sunday, Chris Brown, with whom Rihanna has been romantically linked for the past year, copped three awards: Favourite Male Artist (Pop/Rock), Favourite Male Artist (Soul/R&B) and the prestigious Artist of the Year.

The surprised 19-year-old said: "I don't know what to say. I would have given it to Coldplay (one of the nominees)."

The show, featuring a record 19 performances, was marked by Keys' performance of Superwoman with surprise guest Queen Latifah, along with a medley of Christina Aguilera's greatest hits and show-stopping performances by Rihanna, Beyonce, Coldplay, Kanye West, Carey, Ne-Yo, New Kids on the Block and Pink.

Surprise guest Justin Timberlake was on hand to present the 2008 American Music Awards special Award of Merit to Annie Lennox, honouring her work with the groundbreaking Eurythmics and her illustrious solo career. Additionally, Carey was recognised for becoming the solo artist with the most No. 1 hits of all time.

The winners were:


  • Favorite Male Artist: Chris Brown
  • Favorite Female Artist: Rihanna
  • Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Daughtry
  • Favorite Album: "As I Am" Alicia Keys


  • Favorite Male Artist: Brad Paisley
  • Favorite Female Artist: Taylor Swift
  • Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Rascal Flatts
  • Favorite Album: "Carnival Ride" Carrie Underwood


  • Favorite Male Artist: Chris Brown
  • Favorite Female Artist: Rihanna
  • Favorite Album: "As I Am" Alicia Keys


  • Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Three 6 Mafia
  • Favorite Male Artist: Kanye West
  • Favorite Album: "Graduation" Kanye West


  • Favorite Artist: Jordin Sparks


  • Favorite Artist: Enrique Iglesias


  • Favorite Artist: Linkin Park


  • Favorite Artist: Third Day


  • Favorite Album: "Alvin and the Chipmunks"

T - Mobile Favourite Breakthrough Artist (all genres)

  • Jonas Brothers

Source: Nation News

Model Cindy Guyer brawls in court with husband's mistress

Model Cindy Guyer has graced the cover of countless romance novels, but her real-life husband is no faithful Fabio.

Guyer showed up in court last week to support her husband, Andrew Catapano - a construction honcho on trial for bribing Con Ed and union officials - only to find his new girlfriend sitting in the front row.

"I still love him," Guyer told the Daily News.

"But bringing the mistress to court while he's still married to me was tacky."

Not to mention infuriating.

Guyer, who also played Danny Aiello's girlfriend in "Last Request," waited for a recess and followed her romantic rival into the hallway. Witnesses said she called the woman a "tramp," flashed her wedding ring - and pulled the woman's long hair.

"I tapped her on the shoulder and called her a home wrecker," Guyer said. "Even if I did tug [her hair] a little, what's the big deal?"

Judge Frederic Block ordered U.S. marshals to sit beside Guyer if she returns to Brooklyn Federal Court today, and to boot her at the first sign of a catfight.

Guyer and Catapano have been living apart for about three months.

Still, the blond beauty, who lives in the couple's upper East Side apartment, insists she had no intention of disrupting the first day of her husband's trial.

Guyer blamed the tall, raven-haired girlfriend, identified by friends as Amilina Siekluska, an aspiring photographer, for wooing her husband.

"She's probably cavorting in my house [in Southampton] now," Guyer said.

Catapano, free on $1 million bail, faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted.

His lawyers declined to comment, but the judge didn't mince words.

"If there's any outbursts on [Guyer's] part, we'll have to immediately take her out of the courtroom," the judge said, according to a transcript of a sidebar meeting with lawyers.

Source: NY Daily News

Personalized Ornaments Designer Russell Rhodes

Dallas, Texas based personalized ornaments manufacturer Russell Rhodes announces the launch of his newest customer-request driven line of personalized ornaments-- now available at The user-friendly website allows customers to order extensive custom personalization on 1100+ Christmas decorations. More than just a name and a date, Russell Rhodes allows full legal names on ornaments, custom sentiments in honor of the recipient, and now full custom messages from the gift giver to the recipient hand painted on the back of the ornament.

CEO Designer Russell Rhodes shared, "This launch marks the first time in my over 15 years designing Christmas ornaments, gifts, and Christmas decorations, that an entire line was borne either directly from a design submitted by a customer of our website, or from a combination of Christmas decorating ideas sent in by several customers. I can't tell you how much fun it's been designing exactly what customers are asking for. In the past, I've either designed what other designers thought people might like, or the final collection stemmed from pages upon pages of analytical research on trends and shopping behavior and all this marketing lingo that does its best to guess at what the "average" consumer will want 2 years from now. Now, there's no research and no following requests based on guesswork. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to enjoy a very involved, highly motivated customer base who knows what they want. It's as simple as nobody had asked. Well…we're asking! And they're telling us."

When you're designing even something as specific as baby ornaments and kids ornaments for a wide range of customers and you're doing what they ask for, you're not limited to a specific marketing trend. It's been wonderful to create Christmas decorations for all sorts of tastes and budgets, all in the same year, and for a specific kind of ornament gift recipient.

Russell continues: "Late last year we began aggressively surveying our customer base. We asked what they needed or wanted in terms of Christmas decorations, but couldn't find. Questions like, 'What materials should we consider or does it matter? If so, how? Or, what's most important about a glass ornament versus resin? When is price important and when does price take a second seat or even back seat?' Initially, our questions were fairly broad in an attempt to give us specific design direction, but the responses were extraordinarily precise. Our customers are buying because they want to decorate or they need a gift, and they know exactly what's important and what's not. We are clearly not selling 'impulse buys'. Not only were the vast majority of answers highly specific, but people also sent in sketches, some of them even professionally drawn and colored showing exactly where it was to become a 'personalized ornament'. It was an amazing experience. And, since we own our own design house and manufacturing facility, there's no 2-year process from design to availability. We have the capability of finalizing designs as late as June, sculpting in July, making production molds in August, and then producing through the end of September. Everything's ready to go by the time the season starts."

The primary focus in this initial launch for 2008 is first Christmas ornament and kids ornaments--both of which are in the personalized ornaments departments of the same name. The baby ornaments include everything from the moon and stars, to Noah's ark and animals, circus themes, teddy bears and rocking horses. The ornaments for kids add dinosaurs, space ships, aliens, jet skis and just about everything kids can get into. The design styles range from the cute and whimsical, to highly artistic, detailed blown glass ornaments. Russell adds: "When you're designing even something as specific as baby ornaments and kids ornaments for a wide range of customers and you're doing what they ask for, you're not limited to a specific marketing trend. It's been wonderful to create Christmas decorations for all sorts of tastes and budgets, all in the same year, and for a specific kind of ornament gift recipient."

The website specializes in unique designs by Russell Rhodes, as well as from other American artists. At the top of the navigation bar, a Christmas ornaments section boasts a nice assortment of non personalized ornaments. The second section--Personalized Christmas Ornaments--offers over 38 separate departments with each categorized either by recipient or by occasion. It's in this department that the new baby ornaments and kids ornaments are showcased. Find also custom engraved ornaments, anniversary and wedding ornaments, holiday ornaments of various designs and many more personalized Christmas gifts and personalized ornaments.


The First Day of Winter
In the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere, the first day of the winter season is the day of the year when the Sun is farthest south (on December 21st or 22nd). This day is known as the Winter Solstice.

The declination of the Sun on the winter solstice is known as the tropic of capricorn (-23° 27'). In the Southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged so that the winter solstice is the day on which the Sun is farthest north.

A common misconception is that the earth is further from the sun in winter than in summer. Actually, the Earth is closest to the sun in December which is winter in the Northern hemisphere.

As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the north-south position of the Sun changes over the course of the year because of the changing orientation of the Earth's tilted rotation axes. The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth's equator correspond to the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, and the dates of zero tilt to the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox.

The reason for these changes has to do with the Earth's yearly trip around the sun. For part of the year the Earth's North Pole points away from the sun and part of the time toward it. This is what causes our seasons. When the North Pole points toward the sun, the sun's rays hit the northern half of the world more directly. That means it is warmer and we have summer.

The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. The length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a minimum for the year. In the United States, there are only about 9½ hours of daylight on this day.

At latitude 40 degrees north, the earliest sunset of the year occurs around December 8, and latest sunrise occurs around January 5. The day with the least amount of daylight (the first day of winter), occurs around December 21. Why are all these dates not the same? For a detailed explanation, see The Dark Days of Winter at the U.S. Naval Observatory web site.

Source: Calendar Updates

When is Hanukkah 2008?

Hanukkah 2008

In 2008 Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday December 21.

Hanukkah Dates

Hanukkah is a eight-day holiday both in Israel and outside of Israel.

Hanukkah begins at sundown on:
  • Friday December 11 in 2009
  • Wednesday December 1 in 2010
  • Tuesday December 20 in 2011
  • Saturday December 8 in 2012
  • Wednesday November 27 in 2013
  • Tuesday December 16 in 2014
  • Sunday December 6 in 2015
Jewish Holiday Calendars

Source: About

Nepotism Definition


is the showing of favoritism toward relatives and friends, based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability, meritocracy or suitability. For instance, offering employment to a relative, despite the fact that there are others who are better qualified and willing to perform the job. The word nepotism is from the Latin word 'nepos', meaning "nephew" or "grandchild".

Papal nepotism

Nepotism gained its name after the church practice in the Middle Ages, when some Catholic popes and bishops — who had taken vows of chastity, and therefore usually had no children of their own — gave their nephews positions of preference such as were often accorded by fathers to sons[1]. Several popes are known to have elevated nephews and other relatives to the cardinalate. Often, such appointments were used as a means of continuing a papal "dynasty". For instance, Pope Callixtus III, head of the Borgia family, made two of his nephews Cardinals; one of them, Rodrigo, later used his position as a Cardinal as a stepping stone to the papacy, becoming Pope Alexander VI[2]. Coincidentally, Alexander elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's brother, to the cardinalate; Farnese would later go on to become Pope Paul III[3]. Paul also engaged in nepotism, appointing, for instance, two nephews (aged fourteen and sixteen) Cardinals. The practice was finally ended when Pope Innocent XII issued a bull Romanum decet Pontificem in 1692[4]. The papal bull prohibited popes in all times from bestowing estates, offices, or revenues on any relative, with the exception that one qualified relative (at most) could be made a Cardinal.


Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications. For example, the popular British English expression "Bob's your uncle" is often thought to have originated when Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, promoted his nephew, Arthur Balfour, to the esteemed post of Chief Secretary for Ireland in what was widely seen as an act of nepotism.

More recently, when U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski was elected Governor of Alaska, he appointed his daughter, State Representative Lisa Murkowski, to fill the remaining two years of his seat and was accused by some of nepotism. John F. Kennedy was accused of nepotism for his appointment of his brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General.

Many countries in the world have examples of this tilt towards dynastic rule, such as:

  • Australia: Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard appointed her boyfriend Tim Mathieson as one of six Men's Health Ambassadors despite having "no health qualifications".
  • Azerbaijan: President Heydar Aliyev, who was suffering from failing health, appointed his son Ilham Aliyev Prime Minister during the last months of his presidency in 2003. Then just prior to the election the elder Aliyev dropped out and put his son up as presidential candidate instead. Aliyev was elected to the presidency and his father died just two months later, having successfully sealed the transfer of power to his son.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Patrick Manning appointed his unelected wife Hazel Manning to the Cabinet for two consecutive terms, first as Minister of Education and currently as Minister of Local Government.
  • India: The Nehru-Gandhi Family, which has exercised enormous influence over Indian politics for the past century, has shown a strong tendency for nepotism, as manifested most starkly through "dynastic politics". The most obvious recent example is the rise of Rahul Gandhi, widely described as a "certain future Prime Minister", despite his lifelong lack of success in academic and professional life, including his failure to graduate from Harvard College, his admission to Harvard also having been seen as a "non-merit exception". In the state of Tamilnadu, legendary politician Karunanidhi promotes his entire family members in various leadership positions in his party DMK, his first son M. K. Azhagiri controls the party in southern areas, wheres his second son M.K. Stalin is nominated for next party president and Chief ministerial candidate, his daughter Kanimozhi is Member of Parliment, his nephew Murasoli Maran and grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran were central ministers.
  • Cuba: Former presidente Fidel Castro appointed his brother Raul as minister of defense during the 60s and during the 80s as his successor to the presidency which materialized in 2007. Fidel´s son "Fidelito" was in charge of the nuclear program in Cuba, which was eventually a failure and involved a loss of 800 million dollars. Fidel´s close family members have been living in big farms or "fincas" disguised as "agricultural research centers" or "army facilities", but in practice they are mansions for Fidel's relatives.[citation needed]
  • Malaysia: Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister, and his son, Najib Tun Razak, the current Deputy Prime Minister; Khairy Jamaluddin who won his position as Deputy Chief of UMNO Youth Wing with the influence of his father-in-law, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the current Prime Minister.
  • Maldives: President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom once had 13 of his brothers, brothers-in-law, and classmates as members of his cabinet.
  • Singapore: Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, is the current Prime Minister of Singapore. Lee Hsien Loong was also the youngest Brigadier General in the Singapore Armed Forces. He joined the forces in 1971 and by 1983, he was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. His wife (Lee Kuan Yew's daughter-in law), Ho Ching, is the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings, a government-controlled fund that owns assets over US$100 billion, including a large proportion of the largest Singaporean companies. These include SingTel, the largest South-East Asian telecom company, which was headed by Lee Hsien Yang (Lee Kuan Yew's younger son) from 1995 to 2006. Lee Hsien Yang became CEO of Singtel at age 38, after a successful career in the Singapore Armed Forces which saw him reach the rank of Brigadier General as well.
  • Syria: Bashar al-Assad was appointed as President after his father Hafez's death, despite being too young for the post under the country's constitution as it then stood.
  • North Korea: Kim Jong-il became Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (the ruling party since 1948), succeeding his father Kim Il-sung, the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who died in 1994.
  • France: in 2008 Jean Sarkozy, son of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, stood for election in a canton in the affluent Parisian suburb of Neuilly, the same district in which his father was Mayor. The original candidate was a loyal member of Sakozy's UMP Party named Arnaud Teulle. He stepped aside to allow Jean Sarkozy to run. This resulted in French commentators announcing "behold, the rise of the dauphin".[5]
  • Sri Lanka after winning the Presidential election in 2005 Mahinda Rajapakse appointed younger brother Gotabhaya Rajapakse a former army officer as the secretary of defense, another younger brother Basil Rajapakse as a minister, elder brother Chamal Rajapakse also as a minister he further went on to appoint several close friends and associates as presidential advisers including Sajin Vass Gunawardene who was also appointed CEO of the state owned Mihin Air, though he did not have any qualifications. [6]
  • Vietnam after "winning" the first ever democratic election in South Vietnam in 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem appointed his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu in charge of the private armies and secret police. Ngô Đình Cẩn, his younger brother, was put in charge of the former Imperial City of Huế.
  • Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and Cilia Flores, president of the Venezuela National Assembly, are also known for their influences to get family members in the government. Flores managed to place relatives in as many as nine of sixty permanent positions at the National Assembly- three siblings, two nephews, a cousin, the mother of that cousin, her mother-in-law and an aunt. [7]

At some point, nepotism at high levels of government might serve to create what are in effect monarchies in nominal republics. In Syria, the case of the al-Assads mentioned above is one example. In Egypt, the likely similar succession of Gamal Mubarak to the Presidency upon Hosni Mubarak's death is equivalent. In Iraq, had there not been an overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein with the US-led invasion, it would have been highly likely that his younger son, Qusay Hussein, would have succeeded to the presidency.

Outside of national politics, accusations of "nepotism" are made in instances of prima facie favouritism to relatives, such as:

  • Peaches Geldof's role as magazine editor in an MTV reality show - produced by a company owned by her father Bob Geldof.[8] One-time Guardian contributor Max Gogarty has also been accused of taking advantage of family contacts to achieve success disproportionate to his ability; his father Paul Gogarty is a frequent travel writer for the newspaper.
  • The Coppola Family of Hollywood includes many distinguished filmmakers. The careers of both Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Cage are attributed to aid by director Francis Ford Coppola who cast his daughter Sofia in The Godfather Part III.[9] [10] Nonetheless, both have subsequently established independent careers. Indeed Cage changed his last name in order to avoid such charges.[11]
  • Cecelia Ahern had her first novel PS, I Love You published just days after finished college, despite her poor quality of writing and mediocre performance in college. Many Irish attribute this to her fathers role as the then Taoiseach of Ireland.

Social and Economic impacts

Nepotism and Cronyism deny ordinarily qualified people access to income and power. This can have long term and short term impacts on a society depending on the extent of the takeup and social acceptability of these practices.

Places where nepotism is known to have a negative impact on a society

  • the Civil Service
  • intergovermental and intragovermental relations (Ambassadors, Civil Service attached personnel)

Why is nepotism necessarily bad for a society? It allows incompetent people to get into power and stay in power for long periods of time with no oversight.

Source: Wikipedia

Jill Kinmont

Jill Kinmont Boothe (born February 16, 1936 in Los Angeles, California) is a former American ski racer who competed in the mid 1950s.

Jill Kinmont grew up in Bishop, California, skiing and racing at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. In early 1955, she was the reigning national champion in the slalom, and a top prospect for a medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics, a year away. That was until her near-fatal downhill accident at the Snow Cup in Alta, Utah, which resulted in paralysis from the neck down. It occurred the same week that Kinmont, weeks shy of her 19th birthday, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. [1]

After her rehabilitation she went on to graduate from UCLA and earned a teaching credential from the University of Washington. She married in November 1976, and had a long career as an educator first in Washington and then in Beverly Hills, California. She taught special education at Bishop Union Elementary School from 1975-96 in her hometown of Bishop. She is an accomplished painter who has had many exhibitions of her artwork.

Kinmont was the subject of two movies: The Other Side of the Mountain in 1975, and The Other Side of the Mountain Part II in 1978.

Source: Wikipedia

Chicago school for medical technicians closes abruptly

Josephine Kilpatrick was only six weeks away from completing the courses she needed to become an electrocardiography technician, a process that had taken more than a year and cost more than $10,000 in tuition.

"I was in a rut, so I was looking for a new career and at starting a different life," said Kilpatrick, 37, of Logan Square. "I wanted something recession-proof, so I looked into doing cardiovascular work."

But in late October, Kilpatrick's school—Medical Careers Institute, a 31-year-old Loop school owned by the parents of actor Billy Zane—told her not to show up for her Friday class. By the next week, word had spread that the school had closed, leaving students like Kilpatrick with no diploma, untransferable credits and unpaid student loans.

Now the Illinois Board of Education and attorney general's office are looking into the school's abrupt closure, and students are threatening to sue the owners.

"I feel very betrayed," said Aimee Lefever, 31, a mother of two from Cortland who was scheduled to graduate from an ultrasound technician course in December. "I was working so hard and spent so much time studying and preparing, and now to not even be able to finish. . . . I feel kind of defeated."

Across from the Art Institute of Chicago on South Michigan Avenue, Medical Careers Institute was founded in 1977 by William and Thalia Zane, records show. The school's Web site, which has been removed, claimed this year that it had "graduated thousands of students."

Attempts to reach the Zanes were unsuccessful. The school's attorney, Arthur Evans, said he was not authorized to answer questions, but he played down the abrupt closing.

"They closed the school; it went out of business," Evans said. "There are businesses closing every day now."

The school, which reported enrollment of more than 300 students in 2007, offered training as medical technicians who operate equipment such as EKGs and ultrasound machines in hospitals and clinics. For as much as $10,000, students attended one eight-hour session a week for up to 12 months to receive a diploma that would qualify them to take a certification exam after receiving clinical experience.

By suddenly closing, the school left many students with incomplete training that is not transferable to other programs, officials said, requiring them to start a new program from scratch. No warning was given that the school might close, Kilpatrick said. When she called the school, an automated message told her to contact the school's attorney.

Jeffrey Antonelli, an attorney representing several students, said the owners took advantage of people working multiple jobs and looking for better lives.

"What they did to these students, taking their money before closing the door, that is what punitive damages are made for," he said.

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Best Cyber Monday 2008 Ads and Deals

Today is the first Monday following Black Friday and in the online world that means “Cyber Monday”, and today is the official start of the online shopping season before the holidays.

Now just where are the best Cyber Monday 2008 ads and deals? If this is a question you have asked yourself today we want to help you find them. Below we have listed some of the best Cyber Monday ads to help you find the best deal on what you’re shopping for.

First up is GameStop, here you will find some great deals for games systems and these include big discounts on the Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3 and Xbox 360. Portable games systems are not left out with offers for both the DS and PSP.

Circuit City have listed a really cool looking flash ad for Cyber Monday and the rest of the week while stock lasts, you will find big discounts of laptops, HDTV’s and movies.

Just a few moments ago Dell launched their Cyber Monday 2008 ad and it shows some amazing deals with up to 50% off, well worthy of the Cyber Monday label. Dell’s shop covers many products that are from other brands as well as their own, these include digital cameras, laptops, and GPS and Blu-ray players.

Best Buy and have massive savings and just about every product imaginable, the bigger the price the larger the discount. You can get hundreds off a new flat screen TV.

Where will you be shopping this Cyber Monday? Let us know and what really cheap deals you find.

Source: Product Reviews

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