Miss USA Pageant
Erin Brady, a 25-year-old accountant from Glastonbury, Connecticut, was named the winner of the Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood casino and resort in Las Vegas last night (June 16th). Coming in second place was Mary Margaret McCord of Alabama. As part of the competition, the finalists have to answer a question from the judges, and Brady’s was about the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding DNA swab tests for people who are arrested. Brady said she agreed with the decision, stating, “If someone is being prosecuted and committed a crime, it should happen. There are so many crimes that if that’s one step closer to stopping them, than we should be able to do so.” Brady will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
While Miss CT won, Miss UT is far more memorable…
Putin Denies Taking Kraft’s Superbowl Ring
In a bizarre dustup, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday *(June 16th) denied the contention from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft that he stole Kraft’s Super Bowl ring, which is currently on display in the Kremlin, saying it was a gift. Putin was reacting to a New York Post story quoting remarks made by Kraft at an awards gala last Thursday (June 13th) about his 2005 meeting with Putin as part of a U.S. business delegation, including: “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin]. And he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring.’ I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.” At the time, Kraft said he gave the diamond-encrusted ring worth about $25,000 to Putin as a gift. But the Post quoted Kraft as saying that he’d wanted the ring back, but the Bush White House intervened and said it would be in the interest of U.S.-Russian relations to claim it was a gift. When asked about the Post story, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the Associated Press, “Back in 2005 I stood behind the president’s back and I saw how that ring was presented to him. All that talk about some kind of pressure that was exerted on [Kraft] should be the subject of a detailed talk with psychoanalysts, I think. At the same time, I am aware that this gentleman is feeling such a horrible pain about the 2005 loss. The president will be ready to send him another ring as a gift, which [Putin] can buy with his own money.” Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the holding company for Kraft’s business ventures said the Post article shouldn’t be taken too seriously, stating, “It’s a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert retells for laughs. He loves that his ring is at the Kremlin… ”
Ticket Prices Could Soon Vary By Movie
Director Steven Spielberg is predicting the movie industry could soon move to a two-tier pricing structure that would charge consumer a premium to see summer blockbusters. Spielberg was speaking with fellow director George Lucas at the new media center at the University of Southern California when he told students about his theory. Lucas suggested future movies might follow more of a “Broadway play model” in which fewer movies are released but will stay in theaters longer and have higher ticket prices. The directors said soon less action-packed movies, like Lincoln, won’t make it to theaters at all, but instead be shown on premium TV channels such as HBO. (Daily Mail)
World Population Will Hit 11 Billion By The Year 2100
A new statistical analysis shows the world’s population could reach 11-billion by the year 2100. Researchers say that number is 800-million more people than were forecast back in 2011, and most of that increase comes because birth rates in Africa haven’t dropped as fast as projected. The surge in population is expected to cause mega-city populations to swell, which could worsen environmental problems and overcrowding. Study co-author Adrian Raftery says, “These new findings show that we need to renew policies, such as increasing access to family planning and expanding education for girls, to address rapid population growth in Africa.” (Fox)
A-List Actors Urge Obama in New Video to Push for World Without Nukes
Several A-list actors appear in a new video that urges President Obama to, quote, “set the world’s course” for the elimination of nuclear weapons at next week’s G8 Summit. Those in the two-and-a-half minute spot from the Washington, D.C.-based anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero include Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, John Cusack, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Naomi Watts and Christoph Waltz. Global Zero also sent an open letter to Obama recalling a 2009 speech in which the president committed to their cause, writing, “Four years ago in Prague, [y]ou stated clearly and with conviction your commitment to seek a world without nuclear weapons. You asked for perseverance. You dared us to overcome our differences. You challenged us to ignore the voices that tell us the world cannot change. And you told us words must mean something. We heard you.”
Poll: Americans’ Confidence in Congress Hits an All-Time Low
Americans’ opinion of Congress has been abysmal for a while, and it just keeps falling, with a new Gallup poll out Friday (June 14th) finding that confidence in the legislature has sunk to an all-time low. Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, down from 13 percent the year before and the lowest level in the Gallup poll since they began asking the question in 1973. It was 42 percent then, the highest it’s been since. A majority of 52 percent said in the new poll that they had either “very little” or no confidence in Congress, putting the legislature last on a list of 16 governmental and social institutions for the fourth year in a row, below big business, banks and TV news and newspapers. In fact, that 10 percent confidence is the worst Gallup has ever found for any institution. The main reason for the low rating of Congress is partisan fighting and legislative gridlock.
Jeb Bush Says Parents Split On Whether He Should Run for President
Former Republican Governor Jeb Bush is viewed as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, but apparently his parents are split on whether a third member of the family should sit in the Oval Office. Former First Lady Barbara Bush, the wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother of former President George W. Bush, said bluntly when asked in April about her son Jeb being a possible presidential candidate: “We’ve had enough Bushes.” But when Jeb was asked on ABC’s This Week yesterday (June 16th) what his father thought about his potential candidacy, he said with a laugh, “I think we’ve got a split ballot amongst the Bush Sr. family. Pretty sure that’s the case.” George W. has also said he thinks his brother should run for the White House. As for Jeb himself, he said he won’t decide until at least next year, saying, “Life teaches you that you need to make decisions in the right time — not too early, not too late.”