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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Ex-Presidents and Prime Ministers Make their Money

Ethan Trex
by Ethan Trex

Upon taking up residency in the White House, a president also assumes a tidy salary of $400,000 a year, plus extra cash for expenses. That’s certainly not the kind of change you’d find under most couch cushions, but it’s not such a princely sum that the president will be set for life when leaving office. While many leaders are either independently rich enough or old enough that they just retire after leaving office, others are desperate to make a buck or a pound. So how do ex-presidents and other former world leaders support themselves as they while away the autumn of their years?

The Very Broke Harry Truman:

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When Truman’s presidency ended in 1953, he headed home to Independence, Missouri, but there was a nagging problem: he didn’t have any money. His business interests from prior to his political life hadn’t generated any sort of savings for him, and he thought that taken a corporate position or endorsing products would cheapen the presidency. His only income was a $112-a-month army pension, so he did what former presidents now do without thinking: he sold his memoirs. Truman received a $670,000 deal for the two-volume memoirs, but after taxes and paying his assistants, he only netted a few thousand dollars on the project. Things got so dire that Congress passed the Former Presidents Act in 1958, which gave retired commanders in chief pensions of $25,000 a year. At least his health insurance was eventually covered; when Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, he presented President Truman and his wife, Bess, with the first two Medicare cards.

Jimmy Carter:

Picture 35.pngCarter famously rose to the presidency from humble roots as a Georgia peanut farmer, but when he assumed office he placed his business and farming issues in a blind trust to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. It was a noble act, but it didn’t play out so well for Carter; when he resumed control of his assets, he was a million dollars in debt. He needed dough, so he started writing. And writing. Although he’s known for his work with Habitat for Humanity and his willingness to go on global diplomatic missions, Carter is a shockingly prolific author of over 20 books. Some of his tomes are standard memoirs and political texts, but Carter’s also penned children’s books, a volume of poetry, a historical novel, and Bible-study guides.

Bill Clinton:

Picture 36.pngHillary Clinton may not have won the Democratic presidential nomination, but the Clinton family shouldn’t be standing in any bread lines in the foreseeable future. Bill Clinton pulls in $250,000 to give a speech, which has been a fairly lucrative racket for him. A 2007 report in the British newspaper The Independent estimated Clinton’s earnings from speeches alone at somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million since he left office six years earlier. Clinton also sold his memoir My Life to Knopf for $15 million, and he serves as an advisor for the private equity firm Yucaipa Companies, a post that has pulled in at least $12.6 million. When the Clintons released their tax data in April as part of Hillary’s campaign disclosures, they showed income of $109 million since leaving the White House.

Margaret Thatcher:

Picture 37.pngAlthough declining health has slowed her down lately, Thatcher was fairly busy after stepping down as Prime Minister in 1990. She remained in the House of Commons until 1992. She received the title Baroness Thatcher that year, which got her a spot in the House of Lords. Thatcher also penned a two-volume memoir, The Path to Power and The Downing Street Years, which hit the New York Times’ best-seller lists in 1993 and 1994. On top of that, she served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary from 1993 to 2000 and penned the international relations text Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World in 2002. All of this work must have left Thatcher pretty set; after all, she has given Cambridge two million pounds to endow a chair in her name.

John Major:

Picture 38.pngThatcher’s successor as Prime Minister has had a decidedly more low-key life since leaving the post in 1997. As an avid cricket fan, he served as the president of the Surrey County Cricket Club from 2000 to 2001 and has been on the Committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club since 2005. He also joined the private equity firm the Carlyle Group’s European Advisory Board in 1998 and supposedly rakes in 25,000 pounds for each speech he gives on the lecture circuit.

Tony Blair:

Picture 39.pngLike Bill Clinton, Blair got a book advance that ensured he wouldn’t have to hit up any of his friends for a pound or two from time to time. In October 2007 the New York Times reported that Random House purchased Blair’s memoir for a staggering $9 million. Or rather, they purchased the rights to the memoir once it’s written; despite receiving the gigantic advance, Blair’s spokesman admitted that the former Prime Minister hadn’t gotten a chance to “put pen to paper” when he signed the deal. On top of the sweet advance, Blair’s also pulling in cash as an advisor on climate change for Zurich Insurance and as a senior advisor for JPMorgan, both of which have been reported as six-figure-a-year jobs. He’s also making 500,000 pounds for a series of speeches and will teach a course on faith and globalization at Yale this year.

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8 Awesome Beer Commercials and why we love them

Posted in Regretful's Blog

Theres a certain soft spot in every mans heart when it comes to beer commercials. They can lift the mood when your team is losing, give us a chuckle, and make us want another beer all at the same time. Today we’re going to honor some of the best.

8: Real Men of Genius - Silent Killer Gas Passer (Budlight)

90% of the time I will change the radio station once the commercials start to roll. The Real Men of Genius series is part of the 10% that will not get skipped over. They’ve made an ass out of almost every single “that guy” in the world, all while raising up a beer in their name.

7: Can I get another Beer Bitch? (Bierbitzch)

How not to ask for a drink. The first time I saw this my head was sideways like a confused German Shepard. Then I saw the punchline and chuckled. One of these days I will hit the local dive bar and see if saying “Can I get a Bierbitzch” actually works, or gets me 86′d.

6: Wedding Reception (Budlight)


Weddings suck. We go for the free booze and to meet hot brides maids. If it wasn’t for the reception, I’m almost certain the number of wedding attendees would plummet by 80%. If you’re planning to get married, do your buddies a favor and exchange the rings, skip the vows, and say “I do”.

5: Foreplay (Fosters)

Ladies it almost pains me to say this but…Unless you’re in a new relationship, we’re probably going to be more interested in the game on TV. Come back once our team has dominated (minimal talking preferred).

4: Psycho Ex Girlfriend (Brahma)

Whats worse than an Ex girlfriend with a grudge? A psycho Ex girlfriend with a grudge. Whats worse than a psycho Ex girlfriend with a grudge? A psycho Ex girlfriend with a grudge, who knows voodoo. Yup, you’re pretty much fucked. Instead of crying about it; drink a Brahma, piss in her face, and laugh.

3: Better than a Hot Chick at the Pool (Hahn)

A very funny beer commercial - The most amazing videos are a click away

It doesn’t get much better than scoping out a hot babe at a pool from an area where she is oblivious to you. Oh wait, yes it does. Scoping out a hot babe, who is completely soaked, while drinking her beer.

2: Skinny Dipping (Budlight)

Wrong place at the wrong time? Hardly. If I ever hit the mega millions you can bet your ass that one of these is going to be in my back yard.

1: How Men Screw up Romance (Hahn)

Romance is overrated. The tub and the girl aren’t going anywhere. If you see an opening to perform an epic cannon ball, then by god you better take it. Boo hoo, you might not end up being hand fed a bowl of strawberries, but who cares? A stellar cannon ball performance is always well worth it.

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Firefighters Turned Away From Exclusive Nightclub Blaze

DETROIT—After responding to a fire at elite nightclub Tech-Noir, all 20 members of Ladder Company 24 were denied entrance and forced to stand behind the velvet rope guarding the A-list inferno as it raged on well into early Sunday morning. "There was no way I could let them in dressed like that," said bouncer Ken Hess, who asked emergency personnel to step aside while he allowed a group of good-looking, scantily clad women directly into the blaze. "If they had brought some ladies with them, then maybe. But we have to maintain some standards here." While the firefighters were reportedly saddened by the sight of 63 people burning to death, on the way back to the firehouse they agreed the club was probably just full of stuck-up bitches anyway.

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