Skimm for March 20th
"I say this with respect, more often than not, the government does a very -- a much better job of sending people to war than they do bringing them home" -- Starbucks Chair Howard Schultz, on why he is giving $30 million to help troops acclimate once back home.
March Madness is here--"The Hunger Games" of college basketball to decide who's #1. It's run by the NCAA. Madness lasts until April 7th. Get your bracket on. Based on knowledge or favorite colors.
This is what your office will be doing for the foreseeable future. Madness is also about college sports, school pride (sometimes for schools you've never heard of), and destroying your co-workers in your office pool. Plus you could win $1 billion.
A lot of it goes towards illegal gambling. Employers apparently waste around $1.2 billion each year on workers pretending to focus while having bracket heart attacks.
68 teams get invitations to the Big Dance (that's the nickname), but with a win-and-advance, lose-and-go-home format, it's quickly thinned to 16 teams. Reaching the Sweet 16 is a major milestone, followed by the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and the National Championship game.
A map of all the teams competing in the tournament, showing who they play as they advance through each round. Brackets get "busted" when many of the teams you've picked to win get eliminated. Busted brackets make great coasters. I'm told.
32 of the teams get there by winning their conference championships, the rest are chosen by an NCAA selection committee. Cinderella will be there, but we won't know what jersey she'll be wearing until next week. Every year, an underdog team wins a few times, leading to heartwarming stories and, well, brackets-as-coasters.
Wow, look at that Midwest Region - Wichita State really got screwed by the committee this year, right?
The search is focusing on the southern Indian Ocean, closer to Australia. Australia's prime minister said satellite images detected objects that could be related to missing Flight 370. Australia called it "the best lead we have," but warned nothing has been confirmed and that it was a very hard search area to get to. Relatives are very ready for answers.
I'm down, and so is the stock market. Janet Yellen met the press yesterday for the first time in her new role as Fed chair and the market did not throw her a welcome party. Yellen said the Fed would push forward with its plans to wind down its current stimulus package, cutting its monthly bond purchases by another $10 billion. But short-term interest rates will stay the same (low) for now. They could increase next year. Or not. You know who doesn't like indecision? The markets. The Fed has previously said it would keep these rates near zero as long as unemployment continued to be meh. The unemployment rate has fallen, but officials don't think this really, truly means the economy is all better.
It could be worse. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law is on trial in the US for terrorist related hobbies that ran in the family. Yesterday, the most senior bin Laden advisor to face trial in the US unexpectedly took the stand to defend himself. He recounted a father-son convo he had with OBL in a cave on the night of 9/11, when bin Laden told him he carried out the attack and asked what he thought would happen next. Every daughter's dream. In other surprises, the head of Pakistan's intelligence service reportedly knew where bin Laden was hiding out. There was even a special desk assigned just to handle OBL. This goes against the official story from both Pakistan and the US. Awkward.
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin beg to differ. The "9 to 5" stars are reuniting in a new show on Netflix, involving the creator from "Friends." "Grace and Frankie" will tell the story of two rivals whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands fall in love with each other. Yes, please.
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. Ukraine feels you. The country is planning to pull troops out of Crimea, pretty much admitting its time there has come to the end of the road. Meanwhile, after officially making Crimea part of the family, Russia is moving in. Russian forces stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters and supposedly detained its commander yesterday. So yeah, tensions are still high and the West is still Team Ukraine.
I have no money. Especially not for a mastiff. A Tibetan mastiff just sold for nearly $2 million. Read that again. The not-so-mini-Lion was sold in China at a "luxury" pet fair by a developer. So many biscuits.
You're never fully dressed without a smile...or color coordinating paper clips. Get both by entering here for your chance to win $2000 in office products from Poppin. Yes, they come in that color.
Ali Cumings (State College, PA); Shara Grossman (Washington, DC); Cassondra Randolph (San Diego, CA); Claire Stern (New York, NY); Dana Klion (New Canaan, CT); Elisabeth Green (Dallas, TX); Kate Coffman (Philadelphia, PA); Elle Rowan (Charleston, SC); Katie Campbell (Norman, OK); Kerri Lowenthal (New York, NY); Kristen Ryan (Hinsdale, IL); Lauren Koffler (New York, NY); Mary Mallaney (San Francisco, CA); Molly Gindin (Philadelphia, PA); Newell Harbin (Atlanta, GA)
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