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Thanksgiving & Black Friday: The Best And Worst of America

Thanksgiving And Black Friday Photograph

Turkey, NFL, and family drama. It’s the most American of holidays. We brave invasive TSA pat-downs to brave invasive familial interrogations. Families pose a little too forced in maybe a little too bright sweaters for the holiday picture. Siblings smile knowingly at each other in between sips as the odd uncle starts to ramble.

Mothers and daughters watch SpongeBob Squarepants float by in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Fathers and sons chuckle at the Detroit Lions’ secondary and John Madden turducken references. And we all take a long, wistful look at the “Wizard of Oz” during commercials.

SpongeBob SquarePants at Macys Parade

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A Tale Of Two Industries

A Tale Of Two Industries Banking and Technology

In July, they came for the candy.

The Fun Size Snickers bars. The mini peanut M&M packets. Those seductive, single-serving afternoon pick-me-ups in glass jars on every secretary’s desk. The bane of employee waist-lines everywhere and now, evidently, corporate’s bottom line as well.

In August, they came for the free checking.

The Fed was cracking down. The nettlesome Dodd-Frank regulations yet another nuisance. Banks couldn’t charge retailers 44 cents every time you swiped a debit card anymore. They had to make do with 21 cents.

And it’s not as though the bank could drill for more oil or code a sparkling new app. So the bank took it out on customers. Down came the glossy “free checking” posters. Up went the monthly service charges. The nickel and dime defense of a $100 billion dollar bank under siege. Across the street, Bank of America raked in $6.2 billion last quarter, but it would still like your $5 for the right—the privilege—to access your own money.

Bank of America Protests

In September, they came for the Wall Street Journal.

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The Rise Of The Sleep Over Rebellion

The Rise Of The Sleep Over Rebellion

They wanted the Mayor to sleep over.

For one night. In the park. Sleeping bag and all. They wanted the park renamed after Troy Davis, a Georgia man put to death in September. And finally, Occupy Atlanta wanted a promise no one would be arrested.

No chance on the name change, Mayor Kasim Reed replied. Or the no arrest guarantee. But the Mayor would pray on the sleep-over decision.

The protesters chalked it up as a victory anyway. Yes, Bank of America still raked in too much money. And sure, many of them still did not have jobs. But, at the very least, they were relevant.

They had done it. That scruffy gaggle of un- and under- employed but, thanks to sympathetic local delis, over-fed youths had seized the media spotlight. They would be on the evening news after the game. The Mayor’s PR team spent an entire afternoon crafting the pros and cons of a camp slumber party because of them.

Occupy Wall Street marks an inflection point long overdue. The crystallization of a shattered ideal for millions of Millennials. They are a generation coming to grips that America’s best days may truly lie behind it. An America where politicians serve to get elected, not to govern. A generation that will not be more successful than their parents but will move back in with them.

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The Top Three Osama Bin Laden Hunters

The Top Three Osama Bin Laden Hunters

3. The Ex-Con Ninja With A Home Shopping Network Knife

The sixth time he tried to capture Osama Bin Laden lasted all of three seconds. Gary’s hang-glider nose-dived and dragged him across jagged rocks. He broke his shoulder and several ribs. Gary tried it again the following year (Attempt #7) a little closer to the water this time. He tore up his shins skidding across the beach and just ditched the glider right there.

To be fair, Gary Faulkner is making progress. The first time he tried to find Osama he bought a boat—even though he had never sailed before—and set out from San Diego harbor without a lifejacket, flares, or food. His plan was to just head West until he hit land and eventually Pakistan. A hurricane had other plans, however, and lashed Faulkner’s boat against the Baja peninsula within days.

Gary Faulkner is our Don Quixote. He’s a 50-year old ex-con with failing kidneys who is probably certifiably insane. Faulkner knows bin Laden has a similar kidney ailment, so he plans to hook himself into Osama’s dialysis machine upon discovery and then escort the villain to Pakistan security forces.

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The Heroes And Zeros Of Summer 2011

The Heros And Zeros Of Summer 2011

Loser of the Summer, Runner Up: The Man Diving For Osama Bin Laden’s Body

Bill Warren Diving for Osama Bin Laden

He knows the corpse must be down there somewhere. The water-logged, bullet-riddled corpse of the world’s most wanted man surely lies anchored somewhere to the Indian Ocean seafloor.

It’s why diver Bill Warren will spend up to $1 million combing the depths for Osama Bin Laden. “There is still a $25 million reward that no one has collected, and the reward says dead or alive,” Warren reasoned. “Well, if—in fact—he is dead, then I could collect the $25 million reward. Why not?”

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