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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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Return to sender

''Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.'' These words are etched in stone atop the nation's largest post office building in midtown Manhattan. For well over a century, they have served as a credo repeated with pride by mail carriers throughout the land. Unfortunately, this famous motto soon may require a dismal addendum ...

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The mouse that roared

The New York Times reported today that scientists have successfully implanted inside a mouse the human gene that governs language and speaking skills. The mouse already is talking, and he's got a lot to say. We caught up with this impressive specimen at a secret government lab. We can't disclose the precise location, but we can tell you it is in Wisconsin. Our subject was working out in a makeshift gym next ...

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