Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Apr 4, 2011
April 4, 2011
The President at play:
CNN reports that PRESIDENT OBAMA will send his supporters a text or e-mail message with a video as soon as today announcing his intention to run for re-election. His campaign papers could also be filed today with the Federal Election Commission.
The president's first 2012 fundraiser is set for April 14 in Chicago. (Pacelli)
Crisis in Japan:
When the tsunami sirens went off and everyone fled for the hills, 64-year-old SUSUMU SUGAWARA ran for his boat. He steered the abalone fishing boat, Sunflower, out to sea, cresting over the tsunami as it headed to shore.
"I talked to my boat," he said. "'You've been with me 42 years. If we live or die, then we'll be together.' Then I pushed on full throttle." He made it over the waves, and later that night navigated past wrecked boats and floating houses on his way back to the island of Oshima (about 100 miles north of Sendai, and 45 miles north of the quake's epicenter).
For the first two weeks after the tsunami, his boat was the island's only connection to the mainland, and he's been ferrying passengers and supplies back and forth every hour, asking those who can afford it for $3.50 to cover fuel, and waiving the fare for those who can't. (Maiman)
Trash talk and satellite dish:
Parents of Rutgers University students were outraged to discover that the school paid NICOLE "Snooki" POLIZZI $32-thousand to give a speech.
That's because Rutgers is only paying Pulitzer Prize winner TONI MORRISON $30-grand to give the commencement address later this year.
As for Morrison, she said she usually gets double the fee to give a speech, but she cut the price in half because (quote) "I have some nostalgia about Rutgers because I used to teach there."
Rutgers bigwigs said no taxpayer money was used to bring Snooki to the school, and part of the money also went to a stand-up comedian, who acted as a moderator for her speech.
One student, 18-year-old MARA GAHRMANN, reviewed Snooki's talk over the weekend: "Snooki just talked about bronzer and hooking up on TV. And then we watched a girl get her hair done in a Snooki poof. It wasn't exactly riveting."
Is STING suffering from a serious case of amnesia? Sources tell the NY Post's Page Six gossip column the singer was taking in a Broadway play the other night and a twelve-year-old kid came up to give him a compliment. The legendary POLICE front man wasn't exactly grateful --he pretended he wasn't famous and claimed to be just "some British dude."
Phone starter: There's nothing worse than meeting your lifetime hero and finding out they are a complete jerk! What run-ins have you had with celebrities? (Lee)
The chairman of a British soccer team is catching a lot of flack for putting up a statue of MICHAEL JACKSON at the club's stadium. The Daily Mail says MOHAMED AL FAYED, who owns the Fullham team, unveiled the statue yesterday before a match against Blackpool at Craven Cottage Stadium in west London. Usually, the only statues at soccer stadiums are of legendary players or coaches. Mohamed said people love the tribute to the late King of Pop, and (quote), "If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell." (Marino)
Taking everything much too seriously:
A French mayor has ordered a patriotic statue removed from city hall because its breasts are too big.
Agence France-Presse confirms GERARD GORDON --the mayor of Neuville-en-Ferrain-- threw out the statue, even though the city paid two-thousand-dollars for it. The sculpture is of MARIANNE, a traditional symbol of the French Republic.
Gordon said he didn't like it because "It was making people gossip."
Artist CATHERINE LAMACQUE designed the statue. She says she gave it oversized breasts on purpose to symbolize French "generosity." (Still)
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