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Weekly News Roundup: April 20-24

Weekly News Roundup: April 20-24

This week was a fairly somber one. With the 10-year anniversary of the tragic shootings at Columbine, a head of state hurling racist barbs during a United Nations meeting and the CFO of a mortgage giant taking his own life, the third week of April, 2009, had a sobering and introspective tone.

Freddie Mac CFO Commits Suicide

David Kellerman, acting CFO of struggling mortgage giant Freddie Mac, took his life on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Kellerman was told by a human resources officer to take time off because he had been working too hard. Kellerman was made CFO in September after the government took control of Freddie Mac and fired its top two executives. The company lost more than $50 billion last year, and was bailed out with $45 billion of government money. Kellerman leaves behind a wife and 5-year-old daughter.

Blagojevich Turned Down for Reality Show

Ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was told by a federal judge that he cannot travel to Costa Rica to participate in NBC’s reality series, I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Blagojevich is currently facing indictment for fraud, racketeering and possibly crimes against hairstyling. The reality series will send contestants to the jungles of Costa Rica and put them in grueling situations. Of course, sending a guy under indictment to a vast jungle was deemed to be a little risky. As charges mount against Blagojevich, the next season of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! may be set in a federal prison.

Miss USA Controversy

Sunday’s Miss USA contest has ignited a firestorm of controversy as Miss California Carrie Prejean stated in answer to a question about gay marriage that she believed marriage should be solely between a man and a woman. Apparently, this answer didn’t fly with the judges (who included blogger and all-around irritant Perez Hilton), because the title went to Miss North Carolina. Hilton openly stated that Prejean’s gay marriage response influenced his decision as a judge. In the aftermath of Prejean’s statement, Hollywood turned to Twitter to dump on Miss California, with everyone from Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus to Sean Combs throwing in their two cents. Prejean has stood by her statement, saying she knew she would not win after answering the question but felt she had to stand by her convictions. Apparently, Hollywood does not share this position.

Ahmadinejad Causes UN Walkout

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted a mass walkout at a United Nations conference on race relations when he called Israel a “cruel and repressive racist regime.” The conference was boycotted by the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, who feared that it would be used to hurl criticism at Israel (fears that obviously proved to be well founded). U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned Ahmadenijad’s address. “It was a very troubling experience for me as secretary-general,” he said. “I have not seen, experienced, this kind of disruptive proceedings of the assembly, the conference, by any one member state. It was a totally unacceptable situation.” The United States called the speech “vile and hateful.”

Mind-Reading Twitter Feed

In a pant-wettingly horrifying development, a new device can upload a
message to Twitter by reading the mind of its user. At the small
expense of looking ridiculous, users can wear a cap wired to a computer
that monitors brain waves. The user then looks at a screen of letters,
thinks of a letter and the letter is typed. This sounds absolutely no
more convenient than just typing, and contains a far greater risk of
leading to a computer/robot apocalypse.

Ten Year Anniversary of Columbine

This week marked the 10-year anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. On April 20, 1999, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded about two dozen others before taking their own lives. Residents of Littleton held a candlelight vigil the night before the anniversary, and Columbine High School was closed in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the massacre.


A lake in Webster, Mass., boasts one of the longest place name in the world. Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (which we’re going to assume is pronounced “Charles Nelson Reilly”) is 45 letters long, and has a Native American name whose meaning has been lost to history. Many locals have taken to calling it Lake Webster, presumably because they’re a bunch of quitters. However, historical research by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has found that many of the signs pointing to the lake are spelled wrong. Have they not heard of a little thing called spellcheck?

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