Thursday, November 26, 2009

To New Mornings. From Paris.

For each new morning with it's light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Iran reportedly seized Nobelist's medal

Shirin Ebadi in June 2009 in Geneva
Iran has confiscated a Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi in 2003, Norway says. The seizure is the first in the history of the prize. Norway also expresses "grave concern" for Ebadi's husband, saying he was arrested and severely beaten in Iran earlier this fall.

First Pilgrims were surprisingly worldly


Pilgrims who braved the Mayflower were profoundly shaped by their 11 years in Leiden, Netherlands, where they arrived 400 years ago this year. Deeply devout, they were also some of the most tolerant among Puritan groups who headed to the new world.

Warning: Black Friday sticker shock

The gold price is hitting record highs almost every day, reaching $1,174 an ounce Tuesday morning. A gold chain that cost $300 five years ago could go for $900 on Black Friday.

How do you "crash" a state dinner at the White House?

A couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from Northern Virginia appear to have crashed the White House's state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi -- polo-playing socialites known for a bitter family feud over a Fauquier County winery and their possible roles in the forthcoming "The Real Housewives of Washington" -- were seen arriving at the White House and later posted on Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering.

But a White House official said the couple were not invited to the dinner, not included on the official guest list and never seated at a table in the South Lawn tent.

While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner.

Ed Donovan, spokesman for the Secret Service, said a preliminary internal investigation Wednesday identified "a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedure to ensure these two individuals were on the invited guest list." He declined to give further details. An administration official said the White House will conduct its own review.

Well, la-ti-da.

Arrested development .. Polanski in lap of luxury, sort of

After two months in a Swiss jail, Roman Polanski prepared Thursday for the splendid captivity of his $1.6 million chalet in one of world's most luxurious winter resorts, Gstaad.

Polanski will have views of snowcapped Alpine peaks, spacious rooms and the all the amenities of a town with a reputation for catering to the wishes of the rich and famous.

But he won't be able to go out the front door.

In this isolated bastion of wealth—whichElizabeth Taylor once called home andMichael Jackson visited—the 76-year-old director will be placed under house arrest as soon as he posts $4.5 million bail, surrenders his identity documents and is fitted for an electronic bracelet that allows authorities to monitor his whereabouts.

The Justice Ministry declined Thursday to appeal a court decision granting Polanski bail, and said it would release him from jail while it considers whether to extradite him to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.