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Sarah Palin isn't a complete loser in "Game Change"

I understand why Sarah Palin has a problem with "Game Change" (9 p.m. Saturday, HBO). I wouldn't want a movie made of my life either (and not just because it would be dull and some film exec would look at my hair and say, "Let's get Whoopi Goldberg!"). Who wants their life interpreted through someone else's eyes?

Of course, her protests have drawn more attention to the film. And you know, I think that might work to her advantage. Palin doesn't come across as a saint or a genius, but the film does give a sense of the enormity of what she experienced. It shows how difficult it might have been for anyone. It show how anyone could have been overwhelmed, how anyone could have misunderstood the rules of the political game, how anyone could lose themselves. What I'm saying is even Palin haters might feel sympathy for and/or empathize with Sarah Palin after watching "Game Change."

NCSU insect museum among stimulus report targets

Several initiatives at local universities take a beating this week in a new congressional report on stimulus funding.

The report, Summertime Blues, is at a small handful of projects funded by the $862 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that its authors, U.S. senators Tom Coburn and John McCain, feel are wasteful.

"We owe it to all Americans that are paying taxes and struggling to find jobs, to rebuild our economy without doing additional harm, and to do it in a way that expands opportunities for future generations," Coburn and McCain wrote in the report. "Too many stimulus projects are failing to meet that goal."

Some local notables:

  • From Duke University, a $498,176 grant from the National Science Foundation to look for ways to improve privacy and functionality for social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. This is number 41 on the report's list, on page 29.

 

  • At N.C. State University, a $253,123 grant to an insect museum. The report claims the museum has "virtually no public presence" by virtue of the fact that it averages 44 visitors a year. The stimulus funding would be used for bug storage - the purchase of new cabinets, drawers and units for bug specimens, and for new computer equipment. The museum is number 68 in the report, on page 37.

 

  • UNC Charlotte received $762,372 to develop a computerized choreography program to help design and produce interactive dance performances. This is number 2 on the report's list, page 6.

 

  • NCSU makes the list again, along with Georgia Tech, for video game research. NCSU received $770,856, and Georgia Tech received $427,824, each from the National Science Foundation to examine how video games like the Nintendo Wii can "help improve mental health for the elderly."  That's number 39 on the list, page 28 of the report.

Follow this link to the full report.

NC contributes 8 projects to list of stimulus duds

Stoned monkeys, menopausal yogis, video-gaming retirees and insect trading cards are among the stimulus-funded projects in North Carolina that have made the latest list of 100 questionable projects paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The report issued today by Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma includes eight dubious projects from this state among 100 selected throughout the country.

"Summertime Blues: 100 Stimulus Projects that Give Taxpayers the Blues" highlights projects that are wasteful, mismanaged or plain worthless in terms of job creation.

Sarah Palin chats with Oprah


There weren't any great bombshells in today's Oprah's interview with Sarah Palin.

Indeed both seemed to be trying to be particularly careful, and in Palin's case, guarded; Oprah, perhaps, because she had supported Palin's opponent and Palin, perhaps, because she didn't want to give too much away and undermine her book sales.

It was a very mannerly and cordial interview, which makes for not-great TV, but it wasn't undignified either and that's OK too.

A first look at Sarah Palin on Oprah

Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" looks to be a big hit and in it she's talking about everything: Katie Couric (reports say Palin only did the interview because she was told Couric was insecure), the issues with the McCain campaign and almost son-in-law Levi Johnston.

But you need not wait to read the book. On Monday, her taped interview with Oprah Winfrey airs.

Here's a preview:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

2008's biggest news stories

The past 12 months have been hectic to say the least. Gone, it seems, is the slow pace of life so many people long associated with rural living. As eastern Wake County has become more suburban, the pace of life — and news — has increased.

Here's a look at some of the biggest news stories of 2008. Feel free to comment if you think we've left something out.

The nation's biggest big-box made news throughout the region in 2008. Wal-Mart pulled out of plans to anchor a new shopping center in Knightdale. That decision effectively scuttled the entire project for developer Rick Rowe. He faced stiff opposition from neighbors who didn't want the commercial development in their backyard. Meanwhile, in Zebulon there were no such problems with neighbors as Wal-Mart opened its store on N.C. 97 at U.S. 264. The opening of that store has brought with it several other chains, including Alltel, RadioShack and Murphy Oil.

Business news was a regular part of the news junkie's diet in 2008 as the housing market crumbled and banks started admitting problems with risky subprime mortgages. No banks in eastern Wake County have shuttered their doors, but the pace of residential development has slowed to a crawl as developers find it difficult to gain access to credit. The biggest victim of the credit crunch appears to be the developers of Wendell Falls who have all but stopped work on a project that would triple the town's population.

The past year also saw an historic election. Barack Obama defeated John McCain for the presidency, becoming the first black person to ever win that office. Before Obama defeated McCain he had to fend off a challenge from former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton who entered 2008 as the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Her campaign included a barnstorming visit to North Carolina by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who held a rally in downtown Zebulon just a few days before the North Carolina primary in May.

Next week's print edition of the Eastern Wake News will include a closer look of what made the headlines in 2008.

McCain to appear on Tonight Show with Leno

NBC has announced that John McCain will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday, Nov. 11th, 11:35pm. This will be McCain's first appearance since the election. Read the NBC press release here.

"Yes We Can Can"

Here's one from 35 years ago that still seems relevant today -- whether you're pulling for That One or the "Country First" guy. If you've not yet voted, please be sure you make plans to get'r done on Tuesday.

College newspapers like Obama

Take this for whatever it's worth: College newspapers are endorsing Barack Obama for president in overwhelming numbers.

So says Editor & Publisher, a journalism trade publication. By its count, Obama leads 63-1. The "1" is the paper at the University of Mississippi.

The West Wing: Life imitates art

The New York Times has a fascinating article about how the election storyline in The West Wing (which ended in 2006) is eerily foreshadowing the Obama-McCain race. West Wing writers actually based the Jimmy Smits character (young Democratic congressman and Presidential hopeful Matthew Santos) on Barack Obama, who had just delivered a big speech at the DNC in 2004. There are also incredible similarities between John McCain and Alan Alda's character -- a longtime Republican Senator with white hair and a reputation for "straight talk."

Read the story here.

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