“news trivia,” wall street journal

“david vs. goliath”………..Corporate giant Wal-Mart got a “stone between the eyes” when historical preservation groups united, using their “slingshot” to stop the world’s largest retailer from building on a 52-acre site bordering Wilderness Battlefield. It was here that “Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee clashed for the first time in battle in 1864.” Evidently there were 30,000 casualties with neither side winning the battle conclusively. But it looks like the “little man” went nine rounds and won this time. Yayyy for “David!!!”  (Wall Street Journal, 1/27/11-“Retailer Retreats From Civil War Battlefield”)

“protestors to have front row seats at royal wedding”………Looks like 62-year-old Brian Haw has had his ticket to William and Kate’s April 29th wedding since June 2001. Did he know something the rest of the world only learned recently? No. It seems Haw has been a long-time “resident” of Parliament Square, a small grassy park, that sits across the street from famed Westminster Abbey.

As a peace campaigner protesting sanctions imposed upon Iran, Haw gained entrée into “a very, very beautiful part of town,” according to Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council. Spending most nights there in tents, Haw and his associates, seem able to invoke squatter’s rights because “The court of appeal made an exception for Mr. Haw, partly because he has been protesting so long, allowing him to continue to camp while his case is reviewed by the high court.”

So while 7 foot-tall metal barriers were erected around Parliament Square, per orders from London Mayor Boris Johnson, space was made for Haw’s 5 tents. Protestors for a variety of other causes who followed Haw’s example over the years, moved their encampments “to the adjacent pavement, which technically doesn’t fall under Mr. Johnson’s order, but rather the Westminster City Council. Hoping to close that loophole, the government last November proposed to outlaw tents in and around the square. But the law is unlikely to be passed in time for the big wedding.”

Once Haw pitched his tent in 2001, didn’t the politicians foresee that he was setting a precedent? I’m sure they weren’t naive enough to think he was just going to go away. Why would he give up prime real estate once he “dug in his heels?” (Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11-“Westminster Squatters Just Aren’t On Wills and Kate’s Guest List”)

“still overpaid, but why ?”……… The L.A. Angels hired Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells for “a $23 million salary in 2011.” In doing so the team is guaranteed to have baseball’s “most expensive outfield–one that actually costs more than the entire payroll of several teams.” Fellow outfielders Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu will make $18 million and $9 million, respectively.  Meanwhile the Angels are “still on the hook for the remaining $11 million on Gary Matthews Jr.,” who was sent packing in early 2010. The total payout costs the team “43% more than the next priciest group.” Unfortunately, this outfielder foursome “combined for 9.7 Wins Above Replacement–a metric that measures a player’s total value over a Triple-A call-up.” The Red Sox quartet scored roughly the same, but the foursome, Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury, are earning almost $22 million less than their counterparts in Anaheim. “Even the much-maligned Chicago Cubs outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Marlon Byrd produced more value for significantly less money.” I may not know baseball, but I know when money’s being flushed down the toilet…big time! I continue to maintain what I posted in “a hand up,” on 7/27/10. Millionaire athletes should consider investing a portion of their mega bucks into helping the careers of athletes, like ballet dancers who are as talented, but are paid “peanuts” by comparison. (Wall Street Journal,1/26/11-“The Absurdly Expensive Angels Outfield)

and the world goes round and round, sometimes spinning upside down…hugmamma.