Irish face bill of €50bn for bank rescue

Dublin has pledged to inject extra capital into its stricken financial sector as fears rose that the total cost to save its banks could rise to €50bn, more than a third of 2009 national income

Buy-out owners plan London IPO of AZ

AZ Electronic Materials is to launch plans to list in London in what could be one of the biggest UK initial public offerings of a private equity backed company this year

Robert Brenner: Wrestlemania: Linda McMahon’s Senate Campaign

I’m Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. And I’m running for senator of the Nutmeg State. I’m not a professional politician, a “Washington insider.” I’m a Washington outsider, a rebel, an iconoclast — like Stone Cold Steve Austin. And I’m willing to spend $50 million of my own money to buy the election.

First, I would like to thank all the little people that have made this campaign possible — the midget wrestlers: Little Beaver, Lord Littlebrook, Mini Vader. (Although there’s no truth to the storyline that Hornswoggle is my husband Vince’s illegitimate lovechild. This is Connecticut, not Alaska, you know.) Then I’d like to take the opportunity to address the issues that matter to this country:

The economy. Governments don’t know how to stimulate the economy; small business owners like me — net worth $1.2 billion — know how to stimulate the economy. (Okay, maybe the Xtreme Football League wasn’t such a good idea. You can’t hit a home run every time at bat.) First, declare all your talent “independent contractors” even though you ban them from wrestling for other franchises. Second, refuse to provide them with health care benefits. Third, don’t renew their contracts when they’re too injured to wrestle anymore. That’s the way to keep the prices of all those wrestling action figures and t-shirts down.

Taxes. They say two things are inevitable — the Undertaker at Wrestlemania and taxes. High taxes have had this nation’s corporations in a sleeper hold too long, cutting off the carotid artery of commerce, oxygen-depriving the brain of business. It’s high time we broke that hold and piledrived corporate taxes into the ground. The fact that the WWE would benefit is strictly coincidental — like when a wrestler just “happens” to find an illegal foreign object hidden in his tights.

Illegal aliens. This issue hits close to home. There have been lots of great Latino wrestlers — Tito Santana, the Guerrero Brothers, Ray Mysterio Jr… Many of them are here illegally — why do you think they wear masks? Some people want to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. I’ve got a better idea — let’s build a giant steel cage around Mexico. Mexicans who make it out and touch American soil automatically receive a WWE contract and a shot at the Intercontinental title.

Drugs. Some of our wrestlers make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like, in the words of Classy Freddie Blassie, a “pencil neck geek.” Back in the 1980s, the WWE was rocked by a steroids scandal. We instituted a strict drug testing policy — then cancelled it because it wasn’t “cost effective.” Since then, steroids have permeated the rest of professional sports — Mark McGwire looks like Hulk Hogan. I think it’s time for the U.S. to rethink its drug policy and decriminalize steroids. If it’s good enough for America’s pastime, it’s good enough for professional wrestling. (So some wrestlers die of drug-related causes — you can’t make an omelette without breaking necks.)

Foreign policy. From the days of Sgt. Slaughter, the WWE has always stood for a strong foreign policy. (The Sarge is more of a war hero than my opponent Richard Blumenthal, who’s systematically inflated his military record — like a wrestler on steroids.) I’ve got a solution to the Iranian problem: how about a match between our two toughest jabronis — say John Cena vs. the Iron Sheik? Okay, the Iron Sheik’s getting a little long in the tooth — he’s replaced the Camel Clutch with Dentu-Grip–but he’s still a Hall-of-Famer. Winner gets hegemony over the Middle East. Just kidding — we’re still going to give Iran the “atomic drop” anyway.

Finally, I’d like to challenge my opponent to a series of debates. He can pick the format — steel cage, lumberjack match, hardcore rules… I guarantee victory — as long as Vince is the special guest referee. I’m Linda McMahon. Professional wrestling may all be fake, but I’m dead serious about becoming a Senator. As Kurt Angle used to say, “it’s real, oh, it’s very real.” (Hey, at least I’m not Christine O’Donnell. That witch sounds like she’s been drop-kicked too many times in the head.)

Ecuador gripped by ‘coup attempt’

A state of emergency is declared in Ecuador after President Rafael Correa accuses the opposition and the security forces of a “coup attempt”.

David Wild: "Bernie’s Tune": A Playlist For The Late Great Tony Curtis

I met the man born Bernard Schwartz, the son of a tailor from the Bronx who went on to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars ever, only once. I was backstage at the arena of the MGM in Las Vegas around the turn of the 21st century waiting to interview Paul McCartney who was getting reading to go onstage. I found myself in a waiting room with Eric Burdon of the Animals fame — already a thrill for me — when in walked Tony Curtis with his significantly younger wife.

Even in this star-studded context, it was stunning to see this genuine Hollywood legend up close in the flesh and blood, even though at my age, I loved his daughter Jamie Lee Curtis from afar first. Tony seemed very nice and quite happy to be seeing Paul McCartney — just like the rest of us. But what was amazing was how fabulously excited Paul McCartney was to talk to Tony Curtis. Paul later explained to me what a massive fan he was of Tony Curtis growing up, and that this man was one of the greatest and biggest movie stars of all-time. Lest we forget, he was all that, and I’m thankful I got to be in Tony’s Fab presence even that one memorable time.

RIP Tony Curtis and Bernie Schwartz too.

BERNIE’S TUNE – Art Pepper
SOME LIKE IT HOT – Marilyn Monroe
LOVE AND MARRIAGE – Frank Sinatra
REAL GOOD LOOKING BOY – The Who
SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS – Elmer Bernstein
MARY’S PRAYER – Meet Danny Wilson
BRONX BLUES – Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio
HOLLYWOOD – Jay-Z
VIVA LAS VEGAS – Elvis Presley
EVER PRESENT PAST – Paul McCartney
DON’T MAKE WAVES – The Byrds
SOME LIKE IT HOT – Power Station
DEFIANT – Brian Eno & David Byrne
YOU CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL – Levon Helm
BOSTON STRANGLER – Mourningside
YOU BET YOUR LIFE – Rush
HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS – Bob Seger
IN THE NAVY – The Village People
HUSBANDS AND WIVES – Neil Diamond
IT NEVER RAINS (IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) – Tony! Toni! Tone!
SUPERSTAR – Usher
THIS IS YOUR LIFE – The Killers
SOME LIKE IT HOT – Dennis Brown
THAT’S LIFE – Frank Sinatra