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Gambling with God: Staking a wager on the next pope

Three-time ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi may be an underdog — but at 2,500-1, at least there’s a chance.

MORE: Could next pope come from Africa?

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer round out Paddy Power’s top five — and though betting on the next pope is illegal in the U.S., the Irish bookmaker is offering 20-1 odds on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s top Catholic.

“It’s our biggest non-sporting event of the year,” Davies told CNN, “and we expect the betting to really pick up as we head towards the conclave.”

Paddy Power says it has also drawn 20 bets at 1,000-1 that U2 singer Bono will be the next pope, and another five on Richard Dawkins, the famously outspoken atheist and scientist, at an ominous 666-1.

MORE: Was Benedict the right man for the job?

But Vatican insiders aren’t the only prospective pontiffs punters can wager on in the hopes that a puff of white smoke will finally put their bank accounts into the black.

So if you’re feeling lucky, there’s already one former leader living in Italy who has spare time on his hands. One British bookmaker is even offering 10,000-1 odds that disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong will be chosen to head up the church.

Davies says nine more bets have been placed on Father Dougal Maguire — the dimwitted fictional priest from Irish television sitcom “Father Ted” and a 10,000-1 underdog — than for Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian cardinal who also has the added benefit of being a real person.

But the bookies’ odds aren’t necessarily the best indicator of who the next pope will be, and a phrase repeated by Cardinal Javier Barragan of Mexico is worth remembering: “He who enters the conclave as a possible pope comes out a cardinal.”

According to Davies, Pope Benedict was 20-1 after his predecessor’s death in 2005 before rising to 6-1 at the start of the conclave — “up with the favorites, but not a nailed-on certainty.”

The love of money may be the root of all evil according to the Bible, but that hasn’t stopped bookmakers from offering odds on who will emerge from the white smoke as the next pope.

Claire Davies, a spokeswoman at Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, said more than £300,000 ($450,000) in bets on the next pope have been placed since Benedict’s resignation — and that’s before the papal conclave to choose the next church head has even started.

Story highlights

Milan’s Angelo Scola is odds-on favorite to be elected as next pope

Ghana’s Turkson, Canada’s Ouellet also in top five for UK bookmakers

Betting on next pope “biggest non-sporting event of year,” says Irish bookmaker

Bono, Richard Dawkins, Silvio Berlusconi among underdogs offered by bookmakers

Those betting an African will take the Catholic Church’s top job for the first time will be happy to hear Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson is running a close second at 5-2, while Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, is currently running third with odds of 3-1.

At odds as low as 2-1, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, is the bookmakers’ favorite to succeed Benedict XVI, who Thursday becomes the first pope to step down for almost 600 years.

MORE: Conclave to elect new pope starts Tuesday

MORE: How is a new pope elected?

While the next pope will almost certainly be chosen from among the cardinals set to attend the conclave at the Vatican within the next few weeks, technically any practicing Catholic can be elected to lead the church.

Top 10 Sports Colleges

University of Southern California

Southern California is best known for its varsity football team, which has won 11 championships, but also excels in basketball and a host of other college athletics.

2. Florida State University

Florida State is a top contender in a number of college athletics programs, including football, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and diving. The school is also known for victories in men’s diving, swimming, golf, track, gymnastics, men’s and women’s fencing, and more.

9. University of Texas

This Texas school has won more titles than any other school in the Big 12 League since it was founded in 1996. University of Florida

Florida is renowned in a number of varsity sports, notably excelling in women’s swimming and men’s track and field in the 2009-2010 season. Stanford University

With an impressive record in virtually every varsity sport, this Ivy League school holds the top ranking among sports colleges. University of Georgia

With rigorous academic requirements for all athletes, Georgia is setting the pace for a new paradigm of scholarships among its top level football, baseball, gymnastics, tennis, and swim teams.

3. The university is known for its basketball team, as well as women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, and men’s lacrosse.

8. With the widespread popularity of college sports teams, and the consistent successes of each of these colleges on the field and in the stadium, it’s no wonder these top 10 sports schools garner the support and spirit of students and fans all over the nation.

7. Stanford has brought home the NACDA Director’s Cup award for Division I sports for the past 15 years, qualifying it as best overall for collegiate sports in the United States.

5. University of North Carolina

North Carolina has won 51 titles and 34 national championships in 6 different sports, making its mark as one of the top sports colleges in the United States. They finished 5th in the 2009-2010 NACDA reckoning of sports colleges, placing them in the top 5 for the first time.

10. Ohio State University

Ohio State has brought home championship wins in all three of the biggest men’s sports: basketball, football, and baseball. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

One of the country’s most widely recognized sports schools, UCLA was the first university to win over 100 NCAA championships, making the Bruins a fixture among the top basketball schools. Whether you follow college baseball, football, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, or other varsity athletics, these are some of the top universities to beat:

1. University of Virginia

The Cavaliers raced to top positions in women’s rowing and men’s soccer in the past year, among the school’s other sporting achievements.

College sports have captured the hearts of millions of Americans, from loyal students and alumni cheering on their schools to local businesses and fans. The Gators are also known for their strong contenders in football, men’s basketball, and women’s golf, soccer, football, tennis, and volleyball.. They’re especially known for their excellence in football, as well as putting forward strong contenders in track and baseball.

6. UCLA is also renowned for its women’s sports performances, with the softball, track, gymnastics, and rowing teams excelling in 2009-2010.

With a staff of over 100 coaches and assistants, 34 varsity sports, and about 300 athletic scholarships, it’s no wonder this school presented 49 athletes in the 2008 Beijing Winter Olympics and has over 9,000 students enrolled in intramural sports in any given semester.


How To Win Big on Slot Machines and slot machine patterns. A strategy for Casino Slots

First things first here. Mechanical slots are not any “less smart” than the video slots. If the RNG (random number generator) has lacked the percentage payout over a period of time, it may start paying higher win amounts in order to reach a percentage threshold. There is a reason that “The House Always Wins”…..State Laws.

Understand now that a slot needs to be programmed to pay out at least 85% of what is put into it. Usually at least 85%.

A slot machine in a casino under state law, (all legal gambling states have laws), are required to pay out a certain percentage. Think about this for a minute. It’s a term often misinterpreted as a broken machine. But people still like the mechanical slots so the casinos still have many mechanical slot machines. The casino will make between 5 and 15 cents of every dollar spent…..No matter what.

People often hear about “loose” slot machines. More line options, different ways of betting and they are much more entertaining. In other words both types of machines still have equal payout rules. So is it really totally random? I think not.

The Myth about “loose” machines

Mechanical Verses Video Slots

“Mechanical slots” are being outnumbered these days by video slots. Remember that they have to pay a certain percentage. I like both, but I have been leaning more toward the video slots over last few years.

Winning on a slot machine first requires knowledge of how they work. The modern mechanical slot reels are still governed by a computer. These aren’t “old” machines. Most video slots give you a broader choice as far as betting. The casino will not pay you if a machine malfunctions.

A “loose” machine in reality applies to a slot machine that is on a higher pay cycle. I recommend the latter.

If slot machines were truly 100% random, the casino itself would be gambling themselves wondering if their business is going to make money or have to pay out everything and shut down. Do they exist? Not really. Although this is true for both mechanical slots as well as video slots, we need to take a serious look at how “random” they really are.

The mechanics of a slot machine. There is not really any way to tell if a machine is on a higher payout cycle unless you watch people play and see what the machine is doing (that may creep out some people though, so be polite) Or by playing a machine and betting a few small amounts and determining the reaction of the pattern. Some casinos in Vegas I have seen advertise a 95% payout to draw people in. Most people know that a slot machine works on randomly generated patterns

Gina Gheller – Houston divorce support Examiner – Divorce – Page 2.

She has been a regular columnist for “Houston Woman Magazine” and has written “The Divorce Survival Guide.” She has expertise helping people with the challenges before, during and after a divorce. Gina Gheller, LCSW has been a relationship therapist in Houston, Texas for more than 10 years and also happens to be divorced. Learn more about her practice on her website and her Facebook page.

Houston Divorce Support Examiner

Contact Subscribe Posts Odds for Summer Reality Shows; World’s Most Comprehensive Online Sportsbook, Casino and Poker Site Leads Trend for Wagering on Pop Culture Events

BODOG is a registered trademark of Bodog Entertainment Group S.A.. He adds, “We are the industry’s driving force behind these types of wagers.” is constantly updating and adding odds for celebrity couplings and un-couplings, trials, milestones, political events and much more. For more information, contact Media Relations at 1-866-892-3371, or

“The significant increase of pop culture wagers placed at reflects the popularity of wagering on the most talked about entertainment events,” says Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of One of the pioneers in the field, is the top ranked US facing online gambling brand, with highest site traffic amongst US gaming web sites according to Hitwise. Hilton hopeful Jabe leads at 2/1., valued at over US $1 billion and ranked in the Power 25 online companies by eGaming Review, has processed over $3.5 billion in wagers in the last 12 months. Poker Sports Marketing Conference,, will take place in Las Vegas July 6 7, 2005, attracting the leaders of the online gambling industry. The Cut favorite is Wes at 3/1 and the top pick for Hell’s Kitchen is Michael at 2/1. For the most up-to-date odds, see, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, is federally licensed by the Costa Rican and UK governments. is also the most complete all-in-one site, and unlike their competitors, customers can access all site features with just one user account.

Recently, players placed more than $50,000 in wagers on the Michael Jackson verdict, with a whopping 80% of bets predicting MJ’s acquittal.

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 23, 2005–Today, announced odds for the following summer reality TV shows: Beauty and the Geek, Dancing With The Stars, The Cut, Hell’s Kitchen and I Want To Be A Hilton.

Geek’s Caitilin and Chuck, and Stars’ John O’Hurley are current favorites at 3/2

7 Of The Funniest Things People Have Insured

Funny, weird, bizarre, however you want to look at them, just take a look at what people have been paying protection on:

Article Directory:

2. Alien Abduction

5. However, there really are some bizarre things that people have insured in the past. I’m sure there are plenty of football fans all over the world contemplating that policy right now as we speak.

James Whale is a well known British radio and television host and in 1998 he opted to insure his tongue for fear that he would lose his voice. It’s not a laughing matter

In 2002 a diehard England football fan obtained an insurance policy protecting himself against severe physiological trauma as a result of England’s premature exist from the 2002 football World Cup held in Japan and South Korea. Death by Crab. That’s the last time his wife ever buys him the statutory Christmas jumper. Despite the assurance of insurance, the next time you’re in Lowestoft I’m sure you’ll have second thoughts staying there.

7. A certain Captain Beaney decided to get himself insured against the threat of Alien Abduction in 2001.

3. Speech Loss Protection

Straight in there with possibly the strangest insurance policy I think anyone can think of. Footballing Woes

4. We suspect though that small print would have stated the payout would be over the next couple of million years, this is outer space we’re talking about after all.

This article was produced by Vincent Rogers, writing of behalf of mobile phone insurance provider insurance2go .

In 2001, comedian Rich Hall insured himself against permanent loss of humour. The sum of the insurance was 1 million. For a measly sum of £25 to £50 for the actually policy itself, the payout was well into its millions. That’s why we’ve established a list of the 7 funniest things that people have insured. We like the way he was insured for permanent loss of humour as opposed to temporary loss; preventing any would-be comedian from seeking out payment if they had a bad gig or too. 6. We doubt there’s anything fishy going on here at all, it’s just better to make it a safer plaice – apologies for the fish puns.

1. I’m sure the insurer wouldn’t be laughing.

The National Sealife Centre in Birmingham decided to take out a policy for its visitors against the threat of death and permanent disability caused by one of their attractions – the Japanese Giant Crab. Whale was known for his aggressive presenting style and would often hang up on callers that he disagreed with; we bet that any offended listeners wouldn’t care too much if his voice were to ever go.

A hotel in Lowestoft, Suffolk called the Royal Falcon insured all of its staff and guests against death and disability caused by the resident poltergeist and other paranormal activity they had been experiencing. Christmas Cover

By: Vincent A Rogers

Andrew Areoff managed to secure an insurance policy in 2001 against “naff Christmas presents”. His policy cost him all of £500, and can claim up to £1 million if necessary. The sum was for £1 million. Ghostly Goings-on

When you think of insurance what springs to mind? Insuring your car, home, pets, travel insurance or even your mobile phone? Sure these are all of your standard everyday things that you want, and in many cases need, to get insured, but it doesn’t end there. You can pretty much insure anything, depending if you can find an insurance company that will actually underwrite what it is that you want to insure.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of sportsmen and women getting their legs, feet, hands or arms insured for extortionate amounts, as well as singers getting their voice boxes insure in case anything happens to them. Now if you can find an insurer who will pay out the £1 million that Rich was insured for, we hope you won’t be joking

Casino-Gaming :: Onlince Casinos V Land based casinos (Page 1 of 2)

This isn’t to say that high rollers don’t get rewarded, certain casinos actively target high rollers with special bonuses.

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Online casinos have many advantages over land based casinos, one of these is the convenience they offer, especially since there aren’t that many land based casinos in the UK especially outside the main cities. The best way to think of the bonus is that it gives you a bigger bankroll and that if you should loose this bonus then it’s not your own money you are loosing, just the casino winning back money it gave to you. In addition a lot of casinos have actually excluded blackjack from there bonus scheme. This bonus can be anywhere between 20% to 400% depending on the casino.

As you can imagine this isn’t too popular with the casinos and you can quickly get blacklisted if you do it all the time, one way to get around it is to actually exceed the wagering requirement , in the example above I would recommend wagering a total of £1500 instead of the £800, doing this will make you less conspicuous but will reduce the money you can make. For example if the bonus is 100% and the playthrough is 8x then if you deposited £100 they would match that with £100 giving you an initial bankroll of £100, You would then need to make a total number of bets worth £800 (8 x £100) before you could take out the £100 bonus.. There are however some disadvantages and risks to online casinos, but if you take some precautions then you should be absolutely safe.


The majority of online casinos offer a registration bonus which is added to your account. The money to be earned really isn’t that much and it damages the bonus schemes for everyone. Land base casinos also offer incentives like free hotel rooms, meals, entertainment etc but these are only for the high rollers, the beauty of the comps offered by online casinos is that it doesn’t matter how much you play for the bonuses are relative. It also gives you more opportunities to chase progressive jackpots

This bonus will have a maximum amount associated with it, which again varies but is usually around £250, although the highest I have seen so far is £2450! The bonus is subject to various regulations and requirements which you should read about in the casinos terms and requirements but the most important is what is referred to as the playthrough rule. At the same time the graphics and choice of games continues to improve at a staggering rate.

Even if you take these precautions I still wouldn’t recommend this type of playing. An example of this is with Denmark where because of widespread abuse they have different wagering requirements to other countries. It is also important to stick to lots of small bets as this works in your favour.

If you play optimal strategy at blackjack then you should end up with about £180 after having fulfilled the wagering requirements, in other words £80 profit.

The online casino industry has experienced explosive growth in the last few years, in fact sometimes I forget that the industry is in fact only about 8 eight years old!! The competition between the various online casinos has never been fiercer but this is fantastic for us the players as they end up offering bigger and better bonuses and incentives all the time to tempt you to play with them. This rule stipulates the amount of wagering you need to do before you can take the bonus money out as cash. By playing in a smart way on games like Blackjack and going from casino to casino a smart player can use this bonus to maximise their winnings

Could Yemen conflict get worse? Experts warn of rising sectarianism.

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In the attacks Friday targeting two mosques frequented by Zaydi Shia worshippers in the capital, suicide bombers killed 142 people and wounded hundreds.

Small groups of IS sympathizers, notes Knutsen, began emerging in Yemen in August, and IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi accepted a pledge of allegiance from Yemen supporters in November. Last month, IS backers in Yemen”s southern and eastern provinces distributed leaflets declaring their own “wilayats” (provinces).

“It”s going to be extremely difficult for the US to implement any counter-AQAP or ISIS strategy,” warns Knutsen. But the local affiliate of rival Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack ” a first in Yemen. Resentful of their marginalization in the political process and emboldened by the chaos, southerners are demanding full separation.? In the oil-rich province of Mareb, tensions are rising between Houthis and local tribesmen.

Warnings at UN Security Council

In response to the escalating violence, the United Nations Security Council convened an emergency meeting Sunday. But the Houthis have continued to gain ground, seizing the military airport and government buildings of Yemen”s third city, Taez.

Could Yemen conflict get worse? Experts warn of rising sectarianism. Benomar, who has been struggling to reignite talks and broker a political solution in Yemen, warned the county was locked in a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict takes on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”

The chaos has emboldened AQAP and provided fertile soil for IS. “The attack follows his guidance, whether this specific attack was ordered or not. “The US needs to figure out the state of our intelligence on Yemen and whether we can salvage a counter-terrorism partnership from some of Yemen”s intact military units,” she says.

Trajectory of increased sectarianism

While Yemenis generally don”t subscribe to the sectarian logic, experts warn the conflict will turn sectarian if it continues on the same trajectory. Both extremist groups view the Houthis as heretics because they belong to a Shiite minority.

“It is important to remember that historically the conflict between the Houthis and the government was not of a sectarian nature, but what we are seeing is an increase in sectarian language on both sides that has given a sectarian dimension to the conflict,” says Belkis Wille, Yemen and Kuwait researcher for Human Rights Watch.?

Deteriorating security led to the closure of the US and other diplomatic missions in Sanaa in February. Hadi in Aden, prompting a plea from Hadi’s side? for a no-fly zone enforced by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” said UN special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar.? “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”

“Yemen is undeniably at a crossroads: a failure of negotiations towards a power-sharing deal risks ushering in full-on civil war,” writes Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

On Saturday the US military announced it was pulling its last remaining troops ” 100 Special Operations forces members ” from Al Anad air base in Yemen.

Mr. Knutsen. Saudi Arabia has long intervened in the internal affairs of its smaller neighbor and currently backs Hadi against the Houthis, who draw their support from Iran.

“The fragmentation of the state has meant that individual groups have to rely on themselves to protect their political interests, encouraging each political group to consolidate its own military might,” she adds.

Istanbul, Turkey ” Amid a dramatic uptick in violence, the conflict in Yemen is sinking deeper into sectarianism, experts warn, including deadly suicide attacks in Sanaa claimed by the local franchise of the self-described Islamic State.. It is possible that ISIS claimed the attack after the fact for its propaganda value.”

Across the impoverished country, old grievances threaten to crystallize in new violence. President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who resigned in January then retracted his resignation, has been struggling to hold on after fleeing to the port city of Aden in the south.

“Abu Bakr al Baghdadi explicitly called for attacks against the al Houthis from his supporters in November,” says Ms. Conflict at ‘tipping point’

The Houthis, she predicts, will use Friday”s violence as an excuse to further crack down on Sunni dissenters and anti-Houthi political actors. Experts said they regarded the claim as credible.

Recommended:Sunni and Shiite Islam: Do you know the difference? Take our quiz.

“The emergence of IS in Yemen may fuel a broader sectarian conflict,” warns Alexis Knutsen, Yemen analyst for the American Enterprise Institute”s Critical Threats project in Washington.? “The conflict has reached a tipping point, and the international community needs to get both the al Houthis and Hadi to the negotiating table before the situation spirals out of control.”

Test your knowledgeSunni and Shiite Islam: Do you know the difference? Take our quiz.Photos of the DayPhotos of the day 03/23

The impoverished nation, torn between rival authorities, is already facing a severe political crisis.? A descent into civil war along sectarian lines could be a tragedy for a nation that is already riven by competing personal rivalries.

The Houthis, a Zaydi Shia militia traditionally anchored in the north, hold the capital, Sanaa, as well as large swathes of the country. While drone strikes continued after the closing of the embassy, the absence of an effective government is a blow to the US fight against AQAP or IS in Yemen in the long term.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is well-established in Yemen but says it draws the line at the targeting of mosques and public places, distanced itself from the bombings. The militia has already bombed the residence of Mr. Its presidency issued a statement reiterating support for Hadi

Big Three Bailout? Not So Fast

Treasury to bank accounts in Detroit; Pelosi said on Tuesday that a vote could happen in a lame-duck session next week. He is an occasional programmer, avid analog and digital photographer, and lives in the San Francisco Bay area. The labor movement spent, according to Financial Week, a whopping $385 million to elect Obama and other Democrats last week. auto workers employed in the future — tens of thousands already have lost their jobs — is to make it profitable to keep them on the payroll.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are drafting legislation that would direct a $25 billion torrent of cash from the U.S. Except for a brief period in 2001, Mellon received his full salary for not working, which reached $64,500 a year by 2006. One cause is that union labor and legacy costs are too high and make the so-called Big Three companies uncompetitive. Include benefits, and the annual cost to GM exceeds $100,000.

That’s just common sense. Nissan developed the GT-R, a technological marvel with a 0 to 60 time of 3.2 seconds and a lower sticker price than the Corvette ZR1. All rights reserved.

Not quite. They can’t be fixed by another infusion of cash. To earn his pay, Mellon was given the formidable task of showing up in a windowless shed, sitting at a table, and doing nothing for eight hours a day for six years, according to a profile in the Wall Street Journal. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement last week that the Feds must “provide liquidity to auto manufacturers so they can get through the difficulties caused by an across-the-board decline in auto sales.”

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. Honda kept its focus on smaller cars such as the Civic and Accord, and saw its sales continue to increase this summer while GM, Ford, and Chrysler have slid.. Democrats, on the other hand, are eager to loot taxpayers — and reward unions and domestic automakers which made choices that benefited them handsomely in the short term, at the expense of long term competitiveness.

This column, Other People’s Money, is written by CNET’s Declan McCullagh. Toyota, Honda, and other non-Big Three manufacturers that employ over 100,000 Americans, mostly in right-to-work states, have shown that they can make money building cars in the United States. It appears each Wednesday on

One of the best reasons why Detroit automakers should not receive a bailout can be found in a General Motors “Jobs Bank” program that, bizarrely, pays employees not to work.

A beneficiary of that program was someone named Jerry Mellon, who worked for GM until his division merged with another in 2000 and he was no longer needed. The best way to keep U.S. Under Chapter 11, a bankruptcy judge will weigh the different interests of GM’s creditors, labor unions, shareholders, and so on, and the resulting company will emerge leaner and stronger. The Feds have already been profligate in doling out cash; a GM bailout would invite a long line of supplicants, with the most politically-connected companies muscling their way to the front of the queue.

Copyright 2008 CBS. He previously was Wired’s Washington bureau chief and a reporter for and Time magazine in Washington, D.C. Jobs Bank employees have the option of attending classes teaching such important manufacturing skills as dealing blackjack and poker. You can find contact information for your House of Representatives member on their Web site, and the Senate has a similar list. Another is that their profitability is tied to large, heavy trucks and SUVs that Americans no longer want to buy, at least in such large numbers.

During those six years, Toyota surpassed GM as the world’s largest car manufacturer, thanks to innovations like the fuel-sipping Prius. But corporations including ATT and IBM employ more, and by that line of argument, WalMart (2.1 million full-time employees) would always be far too big to fail. Now these same economic whizzes are lobbying for handouts in the form of your tax dollars. His e-mail address is

By Declan McCullagh

The better solution is a simple one: Allow automakers to declare bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 also would let a judge alter gold-plated union contracts and benefits that have hamstrung the Big Three and crippled their ability to compete against Japanese and European car makers. He has taught journalism, public policy, and First Amendment law. Detroit’s problems aren’t caused by a one-time slump. Nobody writes such large checks without expecting something: now it’s payback time.

Contrary to popular belief, that will not mean the end of a company such as GM, which has indicated it may run out of cash by the end of this year. Unfortunately, such a virtue is in short supply in Washington, D.C., where politicians are scurrying to find excuses for a handout.

If you don’t like this use of your tax dollars, now’s the time to phone your elected representatives. My e-mail address is below — please let me know what you hear.

The United Auto Workers union and Detroit executives concocted the Jobs Bank idea in the early 1980s. (See a related video from CBS News.)

President-elect Barack Obama apparently agrees, saying at his first news conference that he supports “additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust” and “weather the financial crisis.”

It’s true, as bailout proponents argue, that GM employs about 263,000 people. Mellon spent part of his time reading Reader’s Digest, learning how to play Trivial Pursuit, napping on a makeshift bed of chairs pushed together, or simply staring at the wall for hours at a time.

One explanation for Washington’s haste is that while bankruptcy would alter union contracts, a bailout probably won’t. Many current customers of United Airlines, Texaco, Global Crossing, and Pacific Gas and Electric probably don’t even know that those companies once filed for Chapter 11.

President Bush has made plenty of missteps, as I wrote about last week, but at least seems somewhat skeptical this time