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Rat Pack

We caught up with Fred, our favorite talking mouse, in Vegas this week. We found him sunning himself by the pool at the Bellagio, wearing some oversized Ray-Ban sunglasses. What's with the shades? ''Too much neon. It's messing up my Circadian rhythm,'' he said. ''Besides, I've got to keep a low profile. CIA may want me to take over for their chief Congressional briefer. The last piece of limburger they sent ...

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Talk to the hand

The fiscal calamity in California moved closer to the brink of total collapse this week, as the state —which has yet to pass a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1—printed up nearly $600-million worth of IOUs. Unless Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger manages to miraculously find a way to close a mammoth $24-billion budget gap during the holiday weekend, the first wave of 30,000 promissory notes will start ...

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Edelweiss meets Evita

''Don't cry for me, Ben Bernanke.'' ''You were supposed to be a genius. That's all we asked for--'' ''You mind your business.'' ''We kept our promise.'' ''You keep your distance.'' The beleaguered Federal Reserve chairman is scheduled to appear before a Congressional committee this afternoon to offer a belated explanation for the government's handling of Bank of America's troubled merger with Merrill Lynch. ...

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Last call in Steel City

About 30 years ago, you could walk into just about any self-respecting saloon in America and get the same response to a word-association game matching beers and the towns that made them famous. Such as: Schlitz -- Milwaukee, WI, Iron City -- Pittsburgh, PA, Rheingold -- Brooklyn, NY, Rolling Rock -- Latrobe, PA-- and so on and so forth. Not any more. This week, the historic red-brick brewery in Pittsburgh t ...

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