Storming the Pink Palace
A topless protester with the words "Life in plastic is not
fantastic" written across her chest greeted families visiting the
Barbie Dreamhouse attraction for its opening in Berlin yesterday.
She also held a Barbie doll tied to burning crucifix. The woman was
part of a faction of the communist group June Linke, which marched
to the 50,000-square-foot life-size replica of
Malibu Mansion to protest, in their view, the toxic idea of beauty
portrayed by the doll.
Would June Linke members approve of the Angela Merkel Barbie?
) created the Barbie interactive dollhouse to market the iconic toy
doll. Inside the pink-saturated house, girls are invited to visit
Barbie's rooms and travel through the mansion by one of two routes:
one that allows the girl to pretend she has become a fashion model,
and another that makes her a pop star. The aspiring models strut on
a mini-catwalk while the young divas sing on a small stage.
The 200 protesters of what's been dubbed "Occupy Barbie Dreamhouse"
believe that Barbie encourages young girls to focus on looks rather
than careers. "It would be a huge danger for capitalism if working
men and women were united, so one of the best ways to divide and
conquer the workers is by enabling men to over-sexualize women and
by preoccupying women with sexualizing themselves," said group
leader Michael Koschitzki, 27 years old, at the demonstration.
Others dismiss the perceived dangers to young girls' self-image.
"Can you show me that [Barbie has] really held back society with
all the positive changes for women?" asked a father, visiting the
Dreamhouse with two daughters.
Tim Cook Will Propose a Lower Corporate Tax Rate
) CEO Tim Cook will testify before the US Senate's Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations. Congress wishes to encourage US
multinational companies to repatriate foreign earnings and will
question Cook on ways that this could be accomplished. One thousand
US companies keep $1.7 trillion in earnings overseas to avoid the
35% US corporate tax rate. In Apple's case, it only holds $45
billion of its $145 billion cash pile in the US.
In an interview with the
provided no specifics about his first testimony before Congress,
but he will pitch a lower corporate tax rate and a "dramatic
simplification" of corporate tax laws.
The Preferred Fried Chicken of Gaza
Israel's Gaza import restrictions can't stop cravings for
Kentucky Fried Chicken
) in the Palestinian territory. The proof is in the popularity of a
new business started by local delivery company al-Yamama. It has
from a KFC in Al-Arish, Egypt, through underground tunnels into
The company managers launched the idea with a
) advertisement after ordering KFC for lunch and realizing that it
had a marketable service. Recently Israel relaxed some import
restrictions, making only specialized items -- like specific types
of fast food -- worth smuggling. The delivery service now receives
tens of order per week despite charging 300% the normal price for
transporting the meal 35 miles. Customers pay 100 shekels, or $30,
for a meal.
Most of al-Yamama's wealthier customers ignore the high price,
including Rafat Shorono, who was interviewed by the
Christian Science Monitor
"I just want it," said Shorono.
If Traveling to Venezuela, Plan Ahead
Venezuelans now dread using bathrooms.
The country's government enforces price controls on consumer
staples as a matter of socialist policy.But setting
state-controlled prices below market prices has predictably caused
shortages. The latest dearth has upset many citizens. Over past
weeks, long lines have formed outside any store rumored to still
"This is the last straw," said Manuel Fagundes, a shopper hunting
for toilet tissue in downtown Caracas and stopped by reporters.
"I'm 71 years old and this is the first time I've seen this."
The government said this week that it will import 760,000 tons of
food and 50 million rolls of toilet paper to mitigate the
Disney World Fraudsters
Ryan Clement and Jacie Cristiano have capitalized on an annoyance
): long lines. The couple operates
, which brands itself as a company that makes "Dreams Come True,"
organizing and leading Disney tours for adults and children with
special needs. Although the website lists positive testimonials
from customers, a Manhattan mother revealed the
business's less scrupulous side
. She claims part of Cristiano's services includes charging $130
per hour to act as a disabled family member on behalf of paying
clients who don't actually have a family member with special needs.
Cristiano travels alongside the clients' family, riding in a
motorized scooter displaying the words "handicapped." This allows
the family to take advantage of Disney's policy that permits
disabled customers to bring up to six guests and skip waiting
"My daughter waited one minute to get on 'It's a Small World' --
the other kids had to wait two-and-a-half hours," boasted the
Manhattan mother. "This is how the one percent does Disney."