Paul Ryan Has Medicare in the Crosshairs: Ryan's Been Gunning to Kill the Program for Years and He

A week ago at this time, pundits were speculating that Paul Ryan had so alienated the right wing with his tepid support for soon-to-be-presidential-loser Donald Trump that he might not retain his job as speaker of the House when a new Congress is sworn in early next year.What a difference a week —and 100,000 or so votes —makes.Today, Ryan finds himself with a surprising opportunity to enact his long-held dream of shredding America's social safety net like former National Security Councilstaffer Oliver North going after a filing cabinet full of Iran-contra documents. And first up on his chopping block is Medicare.Ryan began laying the postelection groundwork for this big change onThursday. Interviewed by Brett Baier on Fox News, Ryan tried to couch his plans for Medicare as a rational and necessary step in repealing Obamacare, sayingthe following:This is, not to put too fine a point on it, a packof lies. These statements are so untruthful that you would think a practicing Catholic like Ryan would be terrified to utter them out of fear of his tongue turning to ash.Let us start with the obvious. No, Medicare is not going broke — not because of Obamacare and not forany other reason. Obamacare actually strengthened Medicare by helping to bring down the overall rate of health care inflation and increasing tax revenues going to the program.Obamacare extended by 11 years the lifespan of the Medicare hospital trust fund, which gives Medicare the ability to pay 100 percent of the costs of its hospital insurance coverage, and will now not be exhausted until 2028. Other Medicare coverages such as prescription drug benefits and physician costs —Medicare Parts B and D —can't go bankrupt due to their financing mechanisms, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities hasexplained.That Obamacare would destroy Medicare was one of those boogeymen that Republicans pulled out in 2009 and 2010 to scare old people into calling their congressmen to block the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It has been knocked down time and time and time again, only to come back like a zombie lumbering the halls of the Capitol clutching a copy of "Atlas Shrugged."Ryan's plan is to replace the totally-not-going-broke Medicare with what he calls "premium price supports." This is fancy wonk-speak for "vouchers that would be used to buy private insurance but would not keep up with the cost of inflation, thereby saddling seniors with enormous additional health care expenses out of their own pockets." Good luck stretching out those Social Security checks, folks! Assuming Ryan doesn't gut that next.Ryan has wanted to destroy Medicare for years, only to run into the little problem of it being an overwhelmingly popular program, even among the Republican base, which skews toward the elderly who rely on it for their spiraling health care bills. His plan, paired with huge tax cuts on the wealthy, sounded so nuts to a focus group convened by a Democratic super PAC in 2012 that its members simply refused to believe Ryan or any other politician was either crazy or heartless enough to really be proposing it.And yet, he was. And he's still at it, as anyone can see toutingon his website his "A Better Way" legislative blueprint. He has simply been stymied from enacting the plan before now by circumstances such as a Democrat occupying the White House. But now that the GOP has that plus majorities in both houses of Congress, he seems to be gambling that he has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pass this legislative wet dream.It was the possibility that this opportunity would arise that explains Ryan's refusal to denounce Trump during the campaign whenever the mango-colored menace went off on one of his fanciful vendettas or rants. Sure, Trump's an authoritarian xenophobe and misogynist who has allegedly committed sexual assault, but Ryan has the chance to tear up cherished Great Society programs into confetti. You can't put a price on that, not even your soul.It is a sure bet that Ryan's plan will come as a surprise to Trump's voters, who heard nary a word about ending Medicare during the campaign. Which is why he's couching it as part of repealing Obamacare. He's likely hoping voters will not really notice. All he has to do is get it through the House as part of the long-promised Obamacare repeal, hope Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can get the bill through the Senate and then encourageTrump to sign it.Which likely won't be that hard. The president-elect has shown no aptitude or interest in policy details. If Ryan tells him the Medicare plan will do the exact opposite of what it really will accomplish, Trump will happily sign the measure — and then tweet about how awesome it is.One hopes that this plan will go the way of George W. Bush's idea to privatize Social Security after the 2004 election. Or that the usual legislative logrolling and stultified procedures of the Senate will allow Democrats to block it for eternity.We are going to be asking a lot of the members of Senate minority in the coming years. But they may be all that stands between us and Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand-inspired fever dreams.

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A Filing Cabinet, Some Contracts, and Kate Duffy | Huffpost
I was surprised and saddened to see in the Times this A.M. that Kate Duffy had died.I had put my toe in publishing waters by agreeing to become Ron Busch's West Coast scout for his new publishing venture, Tudor Publishing, a new mass-market paperback house. One day, out of the blue, Ron told us he was going into the hospital for bypass surgery. He died the next day. Stan Corwin and I were partnered on various ventures then, and I suggested we buy Tudor and become the publishers ourselves. We put together a deal, and bought the company.Within a few weeks we were in New York inspecting our new property, which consisted, in its entirety, as follows: First we had an office, a dingy fluorescent-illuminated lower Park Avenue cell, with a steel desk and a two-drawer beige filing cabinet that Ron must have found in a vacant lot somewhere. In the cabinet was a distribution contract with our mass-market distributors, Kable News, ten contracts for paperback books in various stages of development, and some manuscripts. And there was also a chair, and a person in that chair. Our sole employee. Kate Duffy, our Editor in Chief.Kate held all the knowledge of Ron Busch's vision for Tudor. Our job was to get out of her way, to let her fill the pipeline of our first list. I busied myself with finding our new office/apartment. I found a beautiful spot down the street from our distributors, at the corner of 49th and 2nd, on the 25th floor with 90 feet of glass. Views of the U.N. and up and down the entire length of 2nd Ave. I discovered a fantastic cache of antiques for rent on Roosevelt Island, and had the place furnished in a day. Kate's desk was the pièce de résistance: an ornate French inlaid number with brass trimmings. When Kate first perched at it in her new corner with its spectacular view, She thought I was nuts, that it was too good for her. But she confided to us, "Now I really am Queen of Romances."Within a few days an author came by with a crazy Elvis book, and before long, we had purchased it. With Kate's coaching I reserved enough press time to get more than a million copies, and a million cassette tapes shrunk to it, into print. Soon we had our first paperback bestseller together: Is Elvis Alive? made the N.Y. Times list.Kate was my mentor in those early days at Tudor. Beloved by her authors, unflappable, funny and without pretence.If I still had that original filing cabinet, I'd have it bronzed in her honor. Kate Duffy had mass-market ink running in her veins. She was a book editor, through and through.
On the Trail of Bankrupt's Treasure
Police have seized a fortune in gold and silver from secret compartments in the suburban home of a retired psychiatrist. Now, the case has pulled in one of the country's most successful and reclusive businessmen. For a psychiatrist, Dr Alan Geraint Simpson had one of the best addresses in the world. In the medical world, Harley St in London has gold-plated credibility. But Simpson has seen it all swept away. His professional practice, the prestige that went with it and a small fortune got caught in the greatest financial scandal of the 1990s. The 68-year-old ended up half a world away in the Waikato - along with $2.3 million in hidden gold, silver and foreign currency. On their first visit to Simpson's Hamilton home, a specialist police team found $1 million in gold, silver and foreign currency. But soon, a builder led them to secret compartments he had constructed for the recently discharged English bankrupt. There, they found another $1 million in gold and silver. Simpson had said he was preparing for the end of the world, police were told. Eventually, Simpson surrendered another $300,000 in silver - but it is alleged another $1.8 million also exists. The house was like a Chinese puzzle. And wrapped inside that puzzle is the mystery of Simpson's relationship to one of New Zealand's most successful businessmen, the reclusive Carrick John Clough. The extraordinary story of the gold and silver is playing out in Hamilton's High Court. Simpson was bankrupted in England last year over a 12-year-old debt. The lawyer attempting to recoup money for those owed by Simpson has drawn New Zealand authorities into a world-first - using new international agreements to get our authorities to seize property that could be subject to another country's bankruptcy order. The case has yet to reach the stage of deciding who the gold and silver belongs to - and whether the court will order its confiscation to cover Simpson's debts. The case has drawn in builder Mike Holloway, who told the Herald on Sunday he had been sworn to silence by New Zealand's bankruptcy administrator, the Official Assignee. But court papers show it was his evidence about work he did for Simpson in December last year that prompted the second police search. Holloway told officials he was hired to replace flooring at the house Simpson was living in - and while there was asked to build new structures described in court as "bizarre". Holloway's staff created a compartment under the dining room floor. Examination found that part of the floor could be lifted up if screws holding it in place were removed. Unlike the remainder of the floor, this section was not glued. According to Holloway, Simpson had said he wanted the cavity because "the world was going to end". A second compartment was created under the house in the basement furnace room. A concrete block was laid and surrounded by small concrete walls. It was here that searchers later found one of three safes. Simpson had an explanation for each. He told Holloway the first was to store water and a survival kit. The second, beneath the house, was for suitcases. Searchers also found bars of precious metal in the vanity unit in the bathroom. More was found in the home office, some under papers in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet, some underneath that drawer. The gold and silver seized by police are being held in a secure Westpac vault in Auckland. The treasure trove stands in stark contrast to the financial information Simpson had supplied the court. He said he rented the $750,000 house in one of Hamilton's best areas for $186 a week with an income of $347 a week from NZ Superannuation and a UK pension. He had not worked for 12 years and his outgoings, he said, were $357 a week. Simpson said he had three bank accounts - in Scotland, England and New Zealand - and each had meagre balances. There was no mention of a property company he previously owned, Warkworth Land Ltd, which was wound up in 2005. The voluntary liquidation report stated that $670,000 was left with no debts paid and the proceeds returned to Simpson, the sole shareholder. Justice Heath said "questions do arise as to the veracity" of information Simpson had supplied about his financial affairs. It all started in England almost two decades ago with one of the biggest financial scandals of the 1990s. The prestigious insurer - Lloyd's of London - was landed with massive bills for settlements in US courts. Lloyd's passed the cost to its so-called "names": underwriters including members of the Royal family, landed gentry, judges, politicians - and Alan Simpson. In the years that have followed, the financial pressure has been blamed for suicides, divorce and sickness. In 1998, Simpson was ordered to pay $344,000. He did not. Instead, he and others pursued Lloyd's through the courts alleging fraud and a failure of duty. The cases all failed. The order to pay was enforced in 2005, when a judge told Simpson he was using "delaying tactics" and enforcement of the debt was "inevitable". Last year Lloyd's bankrupted Simpson. The debt had grown with interest to $512,000. There are six other creditors, including New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department. By this point Simpson had moved to New Zealand, where he already had links: he and businessman Carrick Clough had been directors in property development company Otaha Land Ltd, set up in 1988, and had established Warkworth Land Ltd in 1999. Clough's lawyer David O'Neill said the pair had met in the 1980s but grew apart as his client worked out of Hong Kong while Simpson stayed in England. In the 1990s, Simpson worked for a while at the University of Hong Kong, a city where Clough had formed successful IT business CSSL in 1983. CSSL now has over 380 staff in dozens of offices across the world, with a turnover in excess of $300 million. Clough and Simpson were also associated through the Hamilton house's mortgage with Sennex Ltd, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The mortgage documents carry Clough's signature. And Justice Paul Heath said there was evidence that Simpson had - through Sennex Ltd - done "significant" dealing in precious metals and foreign currency over the past summer - after he was made bankrupt. The judge said the bullion deals through Sennex Ltd may have been undertaken by Simpson. Clough was unavailable to be interviewed. His palatial Hamilton home - with fingerprint-coded security system - was empty last week and he was said to be in San Francisco. His lawyer said: "John Clough is certainly not happy about what's been going on. He's certainly of the mind that he wants to distance himself from the matter. It's not something that involves him. He's an international businessman. "He is no longer associated with Sennex Ltd and has not been for some time." O'Neill said Clough was also preparing to exit the trust arrangement that connected him to the house in which Simpson lived, and had no knowledge of the secret compartments. "It's all a bit Maxwell Smart." THE HOARDThe Hamilton house has been visited on three occasions by police of staff from the Official Assignee. Gold and silver has been found worth $2.3 million in three safes, a hidden compartment, a filing cabinet and a bathroom cabinet. Office* A safe in the study was found and opened revealing a stash of gold. * Searchers found gold bars beneath papers in a compartment in the base of a filing cabinet. Bathroom* Gold bars were found in the bathroom vanity. Dining Room* A secret compartment beneath the floorboards was revealed. Although no gold was revealed, it was a factor in gaining a new search warrant to further examine the house. Furnace Room* A secret compartment accessed from the furnace room revealed a safe. Stairwell* A third safe was found hidden beneath the basement stairs.
Collaboration Tools Are the New Filing Cabinet
Remember when you needed some information from your teammates and could just walk to the filing cabinet to get it? (If you're under 30, do you even remember filing cabinets?) Even if you do, odds are it's a long walk over timezones to get to it. Now we have information stored in our email, on a shared drive, on your hard drive and somewhere if we only could remember where. And heaven help anyone who tries to find it in a hurry.There are tools that can help you and your team create, organize and access information if you can find your way through the morass of information to find the right one. They go by a number of names, usually using the catch-all of Collaboration Suites. Anyone who survived the early days of Lotus Notes (and survived is the right word, it's better now) might not be thrilled with the notion of using a tool that puts the disparate pieces of information flow together, but they're worth another look. We spoke to Farzin Arsanjani, the president and founder of HyperOffice about how Collaboration Suites have changed, and what to look for.What is the business need for Collaboration tools?According to Gartner, enterprise software is going to be a 253.7 Billion dollar business in 2011, and webconferencing and collaboration are the fastest growing segments of that. The factors driving that are;Email fatigue (find someone who likes the way it works in their office)Distributed workforces ( 85% of managers have at least one team member who works somewhere else)Need to reduce costs (Do you know anyone who hasn't had their travel budget slashed and then gladly reinstated?)General frustration with workflow and processes (Figure the amount of rework we spend on sending files we already sent out but people can't find before the conference call).What's changed since the early days of Collaboration Suites?There have been some fundamental assumptions that turned out to have been faulty. The early giants (IBM'sLotusNotes, MicroSoft's Sharepoint, Novell's Groupwise and the like) thought that the desktop, and the network based environment would be hte home of collaboration software. Smaller companies like HyperOffice , Atomplan and others bet on "the cloud", which has allowed companies of all sizes to take advantage of them.You were in the space fairly early (2004). What's surprised you about the way the market has evolved?The cloud has changed everything. The biggest surprise is mobility, where users increasingly demand access to their information and tools on mobile devices. another theme is trying to understand the applicability of "social" software in a business environment. Blogs, wikis, Twitter and the like were not part of the landscape early on. Trending News Couple arrested after spending mistaken $120,000 deposit Amazon to hire 30,000 workers at job fairs in 6 cities 48 states launch antitrust investigation into Google Kim Kardashian changes name of shapewear line FDA shoots down Juul claims that vaping is safer than smoking What should people look for in choosing a collaboration tool?The feature set: does it integrate with common software like MS Office and Outlook? Does it have mobility and cross-platform features (so it works on MACs as well as PCs and smartphones)Will you be creating a patchwork quilt of technology? This makes it hard for the organization to get the tools and support they need and makes IT a nightmare. You need to identify what you want your people to do and imagine how information is supposed to flow, then look for logjams.What kind of support will the vendor offer? Can anyone call for help when they need it? Can only administrators handle complaints? What's the training like?Will the vendor be around? There are fruitflies with longer lifespans than some Software As A Service (SAAS) companies. How long have they been around? What is their record in terms of security?If you don't have one, it's probably time to look into a set of collaboration tools for your team. If you haven't looked at them or played with one for a while you'll be surprised how much more user (and budget)-friendly they are than in the past.Either that, or get a much bigger filing cabinet.Read more:Get your team to love collaboration toolsHow collaboration tools should work: A Case StudyAgile techniques can develop teams as well as softwarephoto by flickr user slightly-less-random CC 2.0
Interior Design Is Not Just an Eye for Beauty, but True Creative Vision
A blind man once said, "Design is 1 per cent of what you see and 99 per cent of how you respond to it." Although it is easy to think of interior design as a 100 per cent visual pursuit, the man who said this would likely disagree - and he'd be arguing from experience. Eric Brun-Sanglard, a.k.a. Eric B the Blind Designer, discovered his passion for design around the same time he lost his eyesight, about 14 years ago. Unable to rely on the advantages most of us share, Eric learned to use his other senses to perceive his environment. His success proves the key to great interior design is not just an eye for beauty, but true creative vision.Whether an interior is being planned by an experienced expert, or a first-time homeowner, achieving a look that reflects your own needs and dreams requires a little creative thinking and a willingness to experiment with new ideas. My design studio typically works with generous budgets, and I love guiding clients through full-scale top-to-bottom renovations, but anyone can achieve a high-end impact without having to invest a lot of money. It just takes a little thought - a little vision - and some effort.Amanda Brugel, featured in countless Canadian television hits (including Seed, Paradise Falls and M.V.P.), is a terrific example of someone with the imagination to make the most of her space. I took a visit to Brugel's home (that is to say, me, a producer and a whole camera crew) for Cityline's Feb. 7 episode. A tattoo running down the back of Brugel's neck translates to her motto "light up the darkness," and a reading of her house reflects her desire to bring happiness and life to her blank canvas.The walls of Amanda's home were painted a trendy shade of rich beige, a colour that can be inviting or bland depending on how it is dressed. Luckily the actress had the vision (and a very skilled furniture maker for a grandfather) to put together a collection of large high-impact pieces. She admits she wasn't completely sure that all of these items would work together, with everything from beautiful '50s Art Deco cabinets and armoires, to a life-size stone soldier, but a little faith (and a little white spray paint on a bundle of branches) yielded results that speak for themselves. The groupings bring so much character to her living room the walls don't even need art, so the Brugel family photos can all be collected on one feature wall in the family room, and the simple black frames contrasted with a sophisticated plaid paper to complete the scene.I LOVE SNOOPINGI've previously told you about my early love for rocking chairs and radiators, but when I was growing up I had another, less relatable obsession: vacuum cleaners. While other kids would have probably been riffling through their parents' closets to find presents or candy, I was rummaging around the house looking to play with the famed Electrolux. And it wasn't just my own home where I did my prying, either. I would often embarrass my mother by snooping around other people's homes, trying to see where their Hoover was hidden. Now that I'm a bit older, I sadly don't find vacuuming quite as thrilling. To be perfectly honest, however, I still enjoy a good snoop - I'm glad I can now at least say it's part of my job!So, when I visited Cityline viewer Walter's house, I have to admit it wasn't because anybody twisted my arm to go. My love for investigating people's homes, paired with my belief that a little creative intervention can go a long way, lead me to propose a recurring segment called "Instant Makeover," where I would travel to a viewer's home, search through it top to bottom and make use of their existing items to reinvent one room. I love exploring someone's house with them and helping them get a new perspective on things they already own and finding new ways to use them. I always start the process by purging the room of clutter - editing is very important - and then look to see what lost treasure I can bring in. Quite often, I'll find items even the homeowner has forgotten about, like the time I found a rug buried away in a basement, only to used as the perfect finishing for a Cityline viewer Denise's dining room. Many makeovers later and the extremely popular segment continues on as a favourite of both viewer's and mine alike.Walter, an accountant, showed me a room that he called his home office, but admittedly never really used it to work. Feeling inspired by one of my past projects, Walter got a head start by repainting the room with Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray, one of my design staples, and creating an accent wall with some perfect leftover wallpaper. The room still felt more office than home, however, with a drab filing cabinet and overfilled shelves weighing down one wall, and the desk pushed to the end of the room, creating a cubicle-like environment.Scouring the other rooms in Walter's home (my favourite part of the process), I brought in an underused table lamp from the living room to add brightness, and moved out the filing cabinet to declutter. Pulling the desk away from the wall to the centre of the floor allowed Walter more breathing room both for himself and for a second person during meetings. Rethinking his existing belongings already created a more inviting work space with no money - just some biceps. To polish it all off, affordable decor accessory experts Bouclair provided the accessories, including storage baskets, a mirror to create the illusion of more space, and - the pièce de resistance - a beautiful capiz chandelier (one of my favourite go-to materials for a high end look for any budget) dancing in the middle of the room and tying everything together.In each of these cases, the potential was always there to create a beautiful, livable space - it just took a little bit of vision to find it and bring it to the surface. I always suggest its better to have one room completely perfected than a whole house half done. The satisfaction you get from this one space can then inspire you to do even more! Picture your perfect space, snoop around your own home, and keep trying all your options until what you see in front of you matches what you see in your head.And hey, if you can't get it to match, you can always call me in.Yanic Simard, the founder of the Toronto Interior Design Group, appears every two weeks on Cityline (9 a.m. on City) and is the design editor of New Condo Guide. You can contact him at , read his blogs at, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Houzz and Pinterest. He appears every two weeks in New in Homes & Condos.
The Cabinet Files: Staffers Instructed to Check Every Drawer Before Ditching Cabinets After Security
The department responsible for the loss of The Cabinet Files is now digitally tracking storage cabinets and implementing new security training for all staff after an external review.Hundreds of top-secret and highly classified documents were obtained by the ABC and partially published earlier this year, after they were left in a filing cabinet that ended up in a second-hand shop.The documents revealed secret Cabinet deliberations on issues including national security spanning nearly a decade.Days after the ABC revealed one of the biggest breaches of Cabinet security in Australian history, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) confessed it was the one that lost the documents.The department asked former defence secretary Ric Smith to review its security practices.Mr Smith's review was released today, and recommended a number of changes to improve the department's security.In releasing the Smith Review today, PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson noted the Australian Federal Police had already established through its own investigation that the security breach was due to human error and had not been motivated by any malicious intent.Dr Parkinson said he "wholeheartedly accepted" all recommendations from the Smith Review and that the department had been working in recent months to implement changes.Among the issues the PM&C said it was working to improve were:The AFP concluded its investigation into the breach in March this year, but it has not been publicly released. Dr Parkinson revealed today that the AFP had also called for all staff to be re-trained on security and record keeping. Police laid no charges against anyone involved in the security breach.The Smith Review report also states that the AFP confirmed the classified documents had originated from the Freedom of Information section of the department.The review suggests PM&C staff should follow a detailed protocol when relocating secure cabinets in future.The protocol requires staff to destroy all working documents under their control that have "reached the end of their life" or formally pass responsibility to another officer."In the event a secure container is to be moved from a division for any purpose, including disposal, the officer responsible ... should ensure ... it is unlocked, each drawer of a container is open and searched, and the key to the empty container remains in the key barrel."Mr Smith called for another review in a year's time.Topics:government-and-politics,public-sector,federal-government,journalism,police,law-crime-and-justice,australia First posted July 13, 2018 11:43:03
Australia Spy Agency Takes Possession of Secret Files Left ...
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's domestic spy agency on Thursday took possession of thousands of classified documents that were left at a second-hand furniture shop as the government struggles to contain an embarrassing security lapse. The documents, which revealed top-secret details of five previous governments that under Australian law should remain secured for at least 20 years, were left inside a filing cabinet that was then sold at a store in Canberra that was stocked with ex-government furniture. The documents were then passed onto the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that ran a string of stories, embarrassing former prime ministers and several lawmakers who still occupy prominent positions inside Australia's centre-right government. The ABC said the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation took the files after talks with the spy agency in recent days, though as part of negotiations the national broadcaster said it will still have access to the files. The documents showed: Australia's now treasurer Scott Morrison sought to slow down security checks on refugees in order to restrict their chances of resettlement; former Prime Minister Tony Abbott considered abolishing financial aid to unemployed young Australians; the country's police lost hundreds of sensitive files. Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said there had been a serious breach of security. "Obviously someone's had a shocker and the investigation will find out exactly how this happened," Joyce told ABC radio on Thursday. "In the process of running a country, there are things which go awry. This is one of them." Seeking to minimise the fallout of the security lapse, prominent conservative lawmakers have sought to focus attention on the decision of the ABC to publish details found within the top secret files. The ABC defended the publication, insisting it was in the national interest, though former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Twitter on Thursday that he had launched legal action against the national broadcaster. Rudd was this week left embarrassed after the ABC ran a story that said the former leader had ignored advice around the dangers of a home insulation package in 2008. Rudd was later cleared on any wrongdoing by an independent investigation with sweeping powers, which he said the ABC ignored in its reporting. "The report by the ABC alleging I ignored warnings on the risks to the safety of installers of home insulation is a lie," Rudd said in the statement. "Legal proceedings against the ABC has now commenced."
Sandwich Superheroes Philadelphia's Cheese-steak Kings Have Fought for More Than 30 Years. now They
(FORTUNE Small Business) - Phone rings in Frank Olivieri's office (a desk, a couch, a filing cabinet, and a door opening onto a concrete stoop in South Philadelphia), and Olivieri picks up. "Tell me where you are, and I'll tell you how to get to where I'm at." Olivieri waits. "Take Broad Street northbound. Come to the 1200 block south, which is Wharton Street. You'll see a Mobil gas station on your right and a mural of Frank Sinatra. Make a right. Come five blocks down to Ninth. And get the hell out of the car." Welcome to ground zero in the Philly cheese-steak wars. For the better part of a half-century (24 hours a day, seven days a week), Pat's King of Steaks, in business since 1930, and Geno's Steaks, the challenger since 1967, have stared each other down across this barren patch of South Philly pavement like Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa. It's the twin-shrine mecca of greasy meat, drawing visiting rock stars, college students with a severe case of the munchies, and politicos on the trail. (To Olivieri, Al Gore is just "Al" and John McCain is an "awesome guy.") You want diamonds, go to 47th Street in Manhattan. You want a honkin' drippin' cheese steak, right here. Both restaurants stake a claim to inventing the beloved sandwich. Pat, the original king of steaks, was Olivieri's great-uncle, a former street vendor who, the story goes, tossed some sliced beef on the grill because he was tired of eating hot dogs and so invented the steak sandwich. Geno's owner, Joe Vento, claims that he was the first to add cheese atop that sandwich, thereby inventing the classic Philly cheese steak. (Pat's later one-upped by introducing Cheese Whiz, which has since become the topping of choice.) Pat's is the dowdier-looking joint of the two--wrapped in aluminum siding, festooned with Pepsi signs, accessorized with a sheet-metal awning. Geno's is the same idea but a little brighter. The menus are nearly identical, and the prices might well be fixed ($5 for a steak, $5.50 with cheese). Order like a rookie on either side of the street, and the guy behind the window will make loud fun of you. And together they sell an awful, awful lot of meat--about $10 million worth if you accept Olivieri's hard estimate ($5.5 million) and Vento's boast ("He's trying to catch up with me now"). While both Vento, 64, and Olivieri, 38, eat steaks often (though not as often as they used to; Vento's cholesterol topped off at 252 before he discovered chelation therapy), neither will touch the other's product, which is one reason they've never shared a meal. The other reason: They hate each other. Vento uses words like "arrogant" and "idiot" to describe his opponent, and dismisses Pat's steaks. (So why do so many people eat them? "You can acquire a taste for bad food," he says.) Olivieri, who went to a Quaker high school, refuses to be drawn into a shouting match. "I don't even call him a competitor," he sniffs. Whatever. But Olivieri can't deny there's a rivalry. It's addictive, even. I ask him what he'd do if he woke up one day and Geno's was gone. "I'd feel a void--that'd be hard," Olivieri admits, then quickly adds, "I'd buy the place and open it up again. And call it Geno's. And fight with myself."
Home Office Interior Design Tips: Redesign Your Home ...
So, you work from home and are loving every minute of it, right? Then, it's time for some redecorating. No, not your living room, your home office.You'd probably be surprised to know that interior decorating your home-office space can be just as important as designing the rest of your house, maybe even more important. A well laid out office space can improve your productivity and your happiness.Location, Location, LocationNow, to start off, let's think about location. Your home office should be some place where you will have privacy. A spare bedroom or an out of the way alcove will work great. You still want to be part of the house, but you also need your privacy for those phone calls and business client visits.LightingNatural lighting also should be a significant part of your design plan. A window gives you something to look at when you get stressed out and some fresh air when you feel cramped. Speaking of lighting, try to avoid glaring overhead lights like you find in a regular office. Go for more diffused lighting. A good lamp may be all you need.Have extra closet space? Well, you can turn that into a home office. For more information, read Convert Your Closet into a Complete Home Office Space by MiAGon.Color and ConsolidationDecoratingNext up is color. You shouldn't paint your office in drab gray or black nor should it be too gaudy. You want to be comfortable, but not too agitated or depressed. Neutral colors work best. But, if you really want to add some personality to your walls, add artwork. Buy that artist that you admire so much. Just think of it as a business expense.Plants also are wonderful additions to home offices. They, too, will add color and personality to your space. When they bloom, it's like adding a whole different element to the room.StorageWhile you may not think of storage as an "design element", it's actually a very critical part of your home-office interior design plan. Now, when I refer to storage, I don't mean the metal filing cabinet with the key hanging from it. No. Storage can be anything: a built-in wall unit, unique shelving or even your own creation. Be artistic. It's your space. Really make it your own. Just do account for storage. A cluttered desk and work area is very distracting and will affect your work output. Another item that can greatly reduce clutter is a multifunction printer. As a home office worker, you have necessities: printer, fax and copier. Yet, these can come in one neat package. And, nowadays, these printers can be some really striking machines.For more information on what should be in a home office, read 10 Essential Items in a Telecommuting Home Office by S.A. Coggins.Functional FurnitureFinally, let's talk furniture. Forget the particle board desk that's already starting to chip. Try a roll top desk. They're great conversation pieces and fit in with any decor. Go for more decorative pieces for your desk organizers and even your trash can.Your home office is your home office. Don't try to copy the company pattern of function over style. Be your own home-office designer.
Keeping the Colonel's Secret Safe at KFC
Pssst. The secret's out at KFC. Well, sort of.Colonel Harland Sanders' handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices was removed Tuesday from safekeeping at KFC's corporate offices for the first time in decades. The temporary relocation is allowing KFC to revamp security around a yellowing sheet of paper that contains one of the country's most famous corporate secrets. The brand's top executive admitted his nerves were aflutter despite the tight security he lined up for the operation."I don't want to be the president who loses the recipe," KFC President Roger Eaton said. "Imagine how terrifying that would be." Trending News Couple arrested after spending mistaken $120,000 deposit Amazon to hire 30,000 workers at job fairs in 6 cities 48 states launch antitrust investigation into Google Kim Kardashian changes name of shapewear line FDA shoots down Juul claims that vaping is safer than smoking The recipe that launched the chicken chain was placed in a lock box that was handcuffed to security expert Bo Dietl, who climbed aboard an armored car that whisked away with an escort from off-duty police officers.Eaton's parting words to Dietl: "Keep it safe."So important is the 68-year-old concoction that coats the chain's Original Recipe chicken that only two company executives at any time have access to it. The company refuses to release their names or titles, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.KFC executives said they decided to upgrade security after retrieving the recipe amid preparations to add a new line of Original Recipe chicken strips.The recipe has been stashed at the company headquarters for decades, and for more than 20 years has been tucked away in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks. To reach the cabinet, the keepers of the recipe would first open up a vault and unlock three locks on a door that stood in front of the cabinet.Vials of the herbs and spices are also stored in the secret filing cabinet.Others have tried to replicate the recipe, and occasionally someone claims to have found a copy of Sanders' creation. The executive said none have come close, adding the actual recipe would include some surprises. Sanders developed the formula in 1940 at his tiny restaurant in southeastern Kentucky and used it to launch the KFC chain in the early 1950s.Larry Miller, a restaurant analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said the recipe's value is "almost an immeasurable thing. It's part of that important brand image that helps differentiate the KFC product."KFC had a total of 14,892 locations worldwide at the end of 2007. The chain has had strong sales overseas, especially in its fast-growing China market, but has struggled in the U.S. amid a more health-conscious public. KFC posted U.S. sales of $5.3 billion at company-owned and franchised stores in 2007.