With the Powerball jackpot soaring to an all-time high of $600 million ($37, post-taxes) before Saturday night's drawing, many co-workers around the country are trying to improve their odds by forming office lottery pools. Office pools can be fun, but be careful — they've been known to end up in broken friendships or even lawsuits. Here are ten things you should know to make your office pool run smoothly.
The chronic, relatively lo-fi hacking of the world's various media outlets by the group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army is made possible by the victims' own gullible employees. Today, the Financial Times became the latest publication to have its website and Twitter spammed with messages like, "Do you want to know the reality of the Syrian 'Rebels?'" joining the likes of CBS, The Onion, the Associated Press, the BBC, and many more. (In reporting on the epidemic, the New York Times itself admitted that its site "was subjected to denial of service attacks" this week, "which made it temporarily unavailable to a small number of users.") But it's not as high-tech as it sounds.
Even though Mayor Bloomberg thinks the city might find itself without a mayor come January 1 thanks to potential voting-machine snafus, he promised this morning that he will not stay on for a fourth term regardless. "I will not be mayor, no matter what happens," Bloomberg said. (Unless that's what you guys want?)
Because this is where we are as a city and a society, a drinking establishment will host a "Smallest Penis in Brooklyn" pageant this summer, in which nudity is not mandatory, but "contestants should expect to wear wet underwear (which will be provided)." That sounds inexact, but it's not our party.
Dreams that the construction of the new World Trade Center plaza would reintegrate the area into the city as a whole are being shattered by the reality of the reason it's being rebuilt. Newly released security plans make the area "a 'fortresslike' environment," just as Lower Manhattan's Community Board 1 feared, and feature "a fortified palisade of guard booths, vehicle barricades and sidewalk barriers," the New York Times reports. "The police plan calls for nine guard booths ... Eight street intersections would be restricted by a double barricade system ... The trade center site would also be bounded by bollards, the barrier posts that have cropped up around many important structures since 2001."
Providing his first response to news reports that a cell-phone video shows him smoking crack, Toronto mayor Rob Ford told reporters assembled outside his home this morning, "Absolutely not true. I don't — it's ridiculous." Ford added, "Another Toronto Star ..." before trailing off and getting into his car. Later, outside his office, Ford continued to try to frame the scandal as merely some kind of Toronto Star conspiracy, even though Gawker has also seen the tape, and also says it shows Ford smoking crack.
Cosi, the Illinois-based restaurant chain famous for its flatbread sandwiches and free WiFi, is having a very bad day. Its stock is down nearly 15 percent after yesterday's quarterly earnings report, in which it reported a $2.7 million loss and admitted, in the CEO's words, that "our current financial performance may not allow us either the time or resources to build our brand."
Cosi has never been a financial heavyweight. (Amazingly, it has posted only one quarterly profit in its entire eleven-year history as a public company.) But it really seems to be hitting a wall now. On the earnings call, the company announced it was planning to close at least five of its roughly 125 restaurants, and likely many more. Cosi still has about $12 million in cash, but analysts are downgrading the stock, and it looks like only a matter of time before the company's salad days are over.
As the investigative phase of the Obama presidency commences in earnest, Republicans are promising that their overriding goal is to proceed cautiously and let the facts speak for themselves. “We have stuff here that’s real, so you don’t need the distraction of politics to give people an excuse to say we’re being silly,” a House Republican leadership aide involved in the investigations tells Politico. “Everyone is keenly aware of the overreach risk.” Likewise, Charles Boustany Jr., who is helping lead the IRS investigation on the House Ways and Means Committee, tells the New York Times, “I’m being very cautious not to overplay my hand.”
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