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The Blanche Report: Correction, Sochi & Ford

When we err, we fess up. In our last blog we mentioned that the Bahamas does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. It was pointed out to us by a seasoned journalist that we were wrong. They do have one. It could be that the authorities were getting ready to pounce on Porter in the Bahamas when he suddenly up and went to Panama.  It appears that he will not stop the extradition as the jails in Panama are not even close to a 1 star hotel.

EBay recently shut down an auction run by one Ari Mandel, who was selling “My Portion in Olam Habah (Heaven).” Yes Blanche, you read that right – he was selling his portion in the world to come. Bidding started at 99 cents and quickly rose to $100,000. Ebay shut him down because they ruled that sale items have to be tangible. Mandel began the sale because he believed he had accumulated enough good deeds to have a good spot in heaven. Ya can’t make this stuff up.

In 2014, the winter olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. The cost of said olympics so far is $50 billion. Not because of construction costs or overruns. Rather because Russian businessmen and officials close to President Vladimir Putin have stolen up to $30 billion from funds intended for preparations for the games. The price has quadrupled initial estimates, making them the most costly Olympics ever.

Critics of the Putin government allege that the most expensive sports facilities built for the games were commissioned without competition or public tenders. Corruption is endemic in Russia’s construction industry. Sound familiar? Coupled with the fact that the infrastructure around Sochi is one of the least developed areas and almost everything had to be built from scratch  over the last six years, you have a perfect recipe for those in government to rake it in. How about calling a construction corruption committee? Ya think? We definitely have had our share of mayor issues, but right now the spotlight is shining directly on Toronto.  Rob Ford, their illustrious mayor is simply refusing to quit or even step aside until the elusive video of him allegedly smoking crack cocaine either surfaces or he proves himself innocent. We reported last week that both the video and the Somalis who have said video have vanished. Poof! Disappeared into thin air. In the past week, Mr. Ford’s office staff has dropped from 9 people to 5 with hints of more people leaving in the next day or so. Does the emperor have clothes or not? In Mr. Ford’s case we would hope so as we don’t think he would be the prettiest sight sans clothing, if you get the drift. We happened to be in New York this past week and the talk in the Big Apple is Anthony Weiner. His biggest challenge will be the jokes, which seem to coming faster than people can repeat them. The best line (not joke Blanche) came from the New York Post: That Weiner was done in by his own stupidity, immaturity and personal excesses might not qualify as a dealbreaker to a new life in politics.

It seems that the run for mayor of New York is a huge yawner. As of yet, no one who has come forward to run has generated any excitement – except Weiner who is providing some comic relief. Given all of this, believe it or not, he might just win.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

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